If you grow roses, you know how painful it can be to prune them. Scratched forearms, thorns stuck in your fingers, torn sleeves from reaching into the center of the shrub… It’s a good thing roses are so beautiful or no one would grow them!
I’ve tried a lot of rose pruning gloves and not one has stood up to my 100+ antique roses. So I was intrigued when Wes and Cher at Bear Wallow Gloves asked if I’d like to try a pair of their Protector “Original” Rose Gloves.
At first glance, these gauntlet-style gloves look like a pair of regular leather gardening gloves with a sleeve sewn on. Kind of a home-made look (which makes sense – they’re hand-made right here in the USA). But don’t let that fool you – these are hands down the absolute best pair of gardening gloves I’ve ever used for pruning roses.
Here’s how I tested the gloves and why I think they’re so great …
Putting The Rose Gauntlets To The Test
I maintain a rose garden with over 100 antique roses, many of which are over 6 feet tall and wide and have canes like razor-wire with long, hooked thorns. Pruning these shrubs is not something I look forward to (although the gorgeous blooms and lovely scent make it worthwhile).
I usually tackle the pruning with my trusty ARS VS8R pruning shears (read the review here) and the lightweight but strong Dramm ColorPoint telescoping loppers (here’s my review) – a perfect combination for lengthy pruning sessions. I cover up with two pairs of leather gloves and a denim jacket which provides some protection from the thorns but I still emerge with my arms covered in deep scratches and stuck full of thorns.
For this year’s spring rose pruning, I wore a t-shirt and the Bear Wallow rose gauntlets. Much more comfortable. And no scratched arms. Seriously.
The gloves are made from goatskin, which is generally considered to be the most durable type of leather. According to Bear Wallow Gloves, it also has the best puncture resistance of any natural material.
The gauntlet sleeves are made from split cowhide which is almost impenetrable. Even better, thorns don’t catch on the leather so you don’t get stuck with your arms in the middle of a rose bush, unable to pull them out without tearing branches off the shrub.
While I did get poked by a couple of thorns, none of them penetrated the leather of the gloves or sleeves. The weak point was the seams on the gloves where the occasional thorn managed to wedge itself between the stitches. I didn’t get any scratches on my arms, even when reaching deep into the shrub to prune old canes.
And, because the sleeves extend all the way to your elbow, I was able to carry armfuls of cut canes to the brush pile without any scratches. Try that with other rose pruning gloves!
Protection Where You Need It Most
When you’re pruning roses, where are you most likely to get scratched or poked? Your arms, right?
With the Bear Wallow Rose Gauntlets, your entire forearm is protected. The blue, cowhide sleeves extend 12 inches from the cuff of the glove. The cowhide is stiff enough to stay in place yet still flexible enough to comfortably move your arm.
And, just in case you have a really thin arm or want to make extra sure that the sleeve stays firmly put, there’s a Velcro strap that cinches around the sleeve just below your elbow. It’s optional – it snaps onto the sleeve if you want to use it. I really liked using the straps because they also kept debris from falling into the sleeve (and who wants thorns inside your gloves?!).
These rose pruning gloves come in a wide range of sizes, from XXS to XXXL. Be sure to measure your hand carefully and follow the instructions on BearWallowGloves.com before ordering; you’ll want to get just to right fit for optimum comfort.
The goatskin gloves are soft and very flexible; you barely feel like you’re wearing gloves at all.
With all of the available gloves sizes, there’s sure to be one that fits you perfectly.
The goatskin sleeve can also be customized to fit your arm length. Because it’s sewn and then held together with rivets, the seam down the side of the sleeve won’t come undone. So if the sleeve is too long, just cut it down to the right size for you.
We give the Bear Wallow Gloves Rose Gauntlets a 5-shovel rating. They’re comfortable, durable, well-designed, and best of all, they almost completely eliminate the pain of pruning rose bushes. These gardening gloves would also be good for handling any type of thorny plant, brush, or anything else that’s likely to scratch.
Where To Buy It
These rose pruning gauntlets are available online at BearWallowGloves.com, along with a range of other gardening gloves. The Original (reviewed here) is $49.95 and the Basic (without rivets or straps and with glove seams on the outside) is $43.95. It’s well worth the price.