About Gardening Gloves
There are literally hundreds of types of gloves on the market these days. So how do you know which ones are best for the gardening environment? Some of the most important things to consider are dexterity, comfort, fit, protection from sharp objects, and grip, but there are other things you’ll also want to look at.
You can find a complete description on our Best Gardening Gloves page.
If you’re like me, you probably own several sets of gardening gloves. I’m always trying new brands and technologies in an effort to find one that works well for most gardening tasks. And so far I’ve usually been disappointed …
The Bionic Tough Pro heavy duty gardening gloves were designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon with the intent of producing a glove that features greater dexterity, more gripping power, reduced hand fatigue, fewer blisters, and less fingertip distress.
They’re positioned as a general gardening glove that does almost everything the average gardener could ask for, and are also recommended for those who work with power tools and other equipment. Sorry ladies, they’re only available in men’s sizes.
>> If you’re looking for our review of the Bionic ReliefGrip Gardening Gloves, you’ll find it here.
The description of the gloves sounded promising so I put them to the test to see if the Tough Pro gloves really are all that much better …
Silicon Finger Tips
I’ve owned dozens of pairs of different kinds of glove. But the silicon fingertips (except on the pinky finger) are a unique addition on the Bionic gloves that I’ve never seen before.
According to the manufacturer, the silicon is supposed to give you greater dexterity, durability and protection. I really questioned whether this material would make a difference so I was pleasantly surprised to find that dexterity was greatly improved. I could do a variety of tasks with the gloves on that I normally wouldn’t be able to do without removing them (things like tying the shoelaces on my boots, opening seed packs, picking up small seeds for planting, and installing drip irrigation components).
The durability of the silicon fingertips is excellent – I can’t believe that they’re still in place after what I’ve put them through. I’ve used the Bionic gardening gloves for many months and even after a lot digging in the tough Southern Arizona soil (which is like concrete!), the fingertips have stayed intact and haven’t ripped or worn through. Gloves with traditional leather fingertips would have worn out in a few short weeks if I put them to the test in the Tucson uber-hard soil.
Bottom line is that the silicon made an enormous difference. To this day, after hundreds of hours of use, there has been no damage to the silicon fingertips.
The only thing I noticed was that I wore through the double stitching on both thumbs and the left hand fingertip. I don’t care how tough a pair of gloves is, they will eventually experience fatigue and wear. This didn’t affect the dexterity or flexibility of the gloves. And the silicon still stayed intact.
Like the fingertips, the palms are reinforced with a silicon pad. Bionic says that this is to reduce vibration fatigue when operating power tools (tillers, mowers and the like). I didn’t use the gloves with power tools, so I can’t comment on that. But I do know that any type of rubber (silicon included) in the palm of a glove will help in this area. I owned a tree care company and used chainsaws daily. There were gloves available that incorporated rubber pads into the palms and I can say from experience that these did reduce vibration. I can only surmise that the silicon incorporated into the palms of the Tough Pro gloves would also reduce vibration.
I liked the reinforced palm on the Bionic gloves. It made leaning on my palms a great deal more comfortable than a typical leather glove without palm padding. I also had a couple of spills in the garden where I landed on my hands on very hard, gravel-covered ground. The silicon cushioned the blow and didn’t show any signs of wear. It literally saved my palms from what could have been some major abrasions or cuts.
The Bionic Tough Pro glove has another feature that I liked – the padding on the bottom of the fingers. The pads are placed at the midpoint of each finger on the glove. This may seem like a small thing but it helps distribute the pressure when gripping gardening tool handles and reduces the chance of blisters in these areas.
I found that the padded joints also helped with gripping power. When holding a variety of tools, the pads acted like individual pressure points that prevented slippage. Even when the gloves were soaking wet, I didn’t loose the enhanced gripping that these pads provide.
Lycra “Flex Zones”
Have you ever bought a pair of glove that didn’t bend were you needed them to? I certainly have. Ultimately, this can result in blisters and pinching.
Bionic has solved this problem by engineering Lycra “motion zones” into the gloves. These zones are located at all knuckle points, except the thumbs. I’m not sure why they left the thumb knuckle leather vs. adding a “motion zone” although it didn’t affect the comfort of the glove and I experienced no pinching or blisters in the thumb knuckle area.
Lycra is also sewn between each finger in the “web zone” of the glove to help dissipate heat and fit better at the finger/hand interface. I also found that when the gloves were wet, these “web zones” acted as natural drainage areas so my gloves didn’t fill up or retain water.
And one other area that Lycra is incorporated into is on the backside of the glove, between the thumb and the top of the hand, and just above the pinky knuckle. These Lycra bands run all the way back to the wrist closure. These made the gloves stretch to fit the hand and really enhanced comfort. As I flexed my hands in all possible directions, these Lycra bands stretched to accommodate the movement while maintaining a secure and comfortable fit.
All of these Lycra zones are also responsible for dissipating heat from your hands. This is a real benefit in places like Tucson, AZ where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F in the summer gardening season.
Yet another nice feature of these Bionic gloves was the wrist closure. Essentially, this area is an elastic band about ½” wide. It has a pretty neat zigzag stitching that attaches the elastic band inside the glove. Double stitching contributes to the quality and longevity of glove. I found that the glove fit around my wrist securely and adjusted perfectly to my wrist size without causing any constriction or circulation problems (not too tight, not too loose).
The glove had a nice flare at the wrist, making it wide enough to easily slide my hand into the glove.
Once fully pulled on, the glove felt like an extension of my skin – in other words, it “fit like a glove” (pun intended). The soft goatskin combined with all the Lycra stretch points made for an exceptionally comfortable and secure fit.
My testing revealed that the Tough Pro was one of the best fitting gloves I have ever used. There were no pinch points and I never developed blisters, even when the gloves were soaked from water or sweat.
Additionally, the finger and thumb lengths were perfect. I don’t know how the Bionic designers got this one right, but whatever they did impressed me. My hand fit perfectly into the Tough Pro. I’m sure you’ve tried on all kinds of gloves and found that nothing seems to fit “just right”. I’ve experienced fingers that were too long or short. Finger and thumb pockets what were too large or too small. A large size that felt like I was swimming it and a medium size that was too constrictive. But with the ToughPro glove, Bionic took glove design to the next level and focused on the ergonomics and physiology of the human hand. I’ll bet that it took them a lot of tries in their new product development department before they got it right. But from my perspective, they nailed it.
The Tough Pro gloves come in sizes M through 3XL. Be sure to check Bionic’s online glove sizing guide before ordering your gloves.
Strong, Soft and Supple
There’s a big difference in the leathers used to make gardening gloves. It’s a balance between a lot of factors, such as cost, fit, dexterity, durability, material choice, etc.
Goatskin leather is by far one of the most sought after glove materials, combining softness, flexibility, and toughness. It’s the “top shelf” of leathers and is used throughout the Bionic Tough Pro glove.
And, for those of you who tend to get your gloves dirty, one of the nice features of the Tough Pro is that you can wash them without affecting their performance. Use mild detergent and cold water. Although you can throw them in the washing machine, it’s best to hand wash – the agitation from the washing machine can loosen the stitching a bit. And don’t throw them in the dryer afterwards – just let them air dry.
The Bionic Tough Pro is one heck of a glove. It’s one of my absolute favorites. Its ergonomic design, the use of both goatskin and Lycra, the double stitching in virtually all areas, its supreme comfort and flexibility, and the use of silicon pads for dexterity and vibration reduction put it in a class all its own.
I was a little disappointed that some of the stitching at the thumbs and left index finger let go but I attribute this to the extreme use I put these gloves through – stitching will eventually wear and fail with enough abuse. The gloves are still going strong despite the wear failures in these areas and I anticipate that they still have significant life left in them. Nothing lasts forever, including gloves.
So, if you’re looking for a pair of gardening/landscaping gloves that will likely last you many, many months, and perhaps years, you can’t go wrong with the Bionic Tough Pro gloves. They are not inexpensive (see below), but the expression, “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here. I have gone through several sets of much less expensive (and a lot less comfortable) gloves in the time that it would take to destroy the Tough Pro gloves. In the long run, these gloves may actually be less expensive and provide so much more than the typical leather gardening glove.
Where to Buy
The Bionic Tough Pro Gardening Gloves for men can be purchased online from the Bionic website for $39.99 with shipping between $5.95 and $10.95, as well as through Amazon (with prices starting around $29.00).
Now over to you – What’s your favorite gardening glove? Let us know in the comments below!