Ethel Garden Gloves: Review and Giveaway

– Posted in: Tools and Equipment
52 comments

Cadie's pair is on the right. My pair is on the left. Mine have been through the wash.

Cadie's pair is on the right. My pair is on the left. Mine have been through the wash.


I used to think garden gloves were for other people, not me. Oh, sure, I’d put a pair on to deal with brambles, nettles, and wild parsnip, but, on the whole, gloves kept me from feeling the moist earth and from grasping small weeds near precious seedlings. Most gloves didn’t fit me well enough to actually be helpful; they made me feel clumsy and inefficient. The idea that I should put on gloves to prevent blisters was laughable: they were so poorly fitting they would cause blisters.

But as the years went by, I came to see that moist earth feels wonderful, but once it dries on your skin, it doesn’t feel so great. And I realized that my gardening time is actually pretty fractured. I go out to weed in between other inside chores, washing–and drying out–my hands each time I go back in. I’ve yet to find a nail brush that does a good job that isn’t also a bit rough on my skin.

Ethel Gloves Are Different

And the world of garden gloves has changed significantly in the last twenty years, which is about as long as I’ve been gardening. Witness Ethel gloves. They are designed to fit women, and they are styled to appeal to women. Okay, so I’m not a fashion queen under the best of circumstances. I’m not looking for high style, but I do appreciate good fit. It’s what makes a glove worth using. (Though if the glam factor keeps any of my boys from borrowing the gloves, it’s served its purpose.) I was interested to see that the Ethel sizing chart was based on the length of the middle finger, and not on the width of the hand. For most gloves, when measuring around the knuckles, I am a medium, but with Ethel gloves I am a small. I wonder if middle finger length is a better determinant of hand size for women?

As they have done with many garden bloggers before me, Ethel Gloves sent me a pair to try. I’ve been wearing them for all the garden chores I used to not wear gloves for: routine weeding, potting up containers, pushing compost through the sifter, digging, raking, deadheading. The palm is simulated leather and seems thinner than the real McCoy. If I need to yank out brambles or prune roses, these aren’t the gloves I’d use, but I think they’d be fine for nettles or wild parsnip. And for really close weeding near tiny seedlings that I want to save, I take them off. They are just a little too thick at the fingertips for that kind of precision.

Since I’ve been wearing gloves for just about all gardening chores, my hands feel better and clean up is a breeze. The gloves can be washed, too. Not too long after I received my gloves, my daughter Cadie was given a pair. She also appreciates having relatively clean hands after gardening is done.

Win a Pair of Ethel Gloves

If you decided long ago that gloves were not for you, it’s probably time to revisit that decision. Gloves have changed, and you have changed, too. I’m giving away a pair of gloves to one random commenter, so you may soon have your chance to see if these gloves change your mind about garden gloves. Leave a comment before midnight Eastern time on Friday July 3rd. One comment will be selected randomly. Only one comment per person. Open to both U.S. and Canadian readers. Giveaway has ended. Alina won a pair of Ethel Gloves.

Buy a Pair of Ethel Gloves

If you don’t win, you can order Ethel gloves online here and save 10% by entering the code Climate10. This code is good through July 31, 2009. Shipping is free.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Every spring offers another chance to undo the damage done by winter and finally get the garden right.

~Laurie Lisle in Four Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life

51 Comments… add one

Ben July 7, 2009, 9:56 am

I also believe the gloves are not for me:)) i don’t feel comfortable at all wearing them and i’ve tried many to see if i will get used with some or i will like to work with them but no i just like to feel all on the skin, to have a better feeling of what i’m doing, even if i’m getting dirty.Gloves does change, but i’m not sure about me:D

Heather's Garden July 3, 2009, 11:29 pm

I’m going to get in right under the deadline — go me! But I never win anything.
.-= Heather’s Garden´s last blog ..IT WAS A GLORIOUS DAY UNTIL… =-.

Rita Butters July 3, 2009, 10:03 am

I live just south of the PA border – by 7 miles LOL. I’ve been trying to find some good gloves for gardening and so far haven’t found a pair that I don’t wear through. I’d love to give these a try. And I’ve just discovered your site and am enjoying it immensly.

Liga Greenfield July 3, 2009, 7:42 am

It’s true that gardening gloves have changed tremendously over the years, so if you haven’t used them for awhile it’s time to explore again. However, I find that there is yet to be a SINGLE pair of gloves that meets all needs when it comes to gardening. The Ethel gloves look to be fine for the heavier work, but they would not have the same close fit as those made of knit materials (my personal preference), which DO allow you to get into those delicate areas like weeding between seedings, and give you the feel of a plant or the earth as well as protect your hands from damage. Thanks for introducing the discussion about the use of gloves though – it’s a good one.

Kathy Purdy July 3, 2009, 7:58 am

Liga, the backs of the gloves are a knit material, and they do fit very snugly. The pseudo-leather on the palms is thin and flexible. My daughter and I were both surprised at how snug they were; it takes some getting used to. However, a snug knit glove does give even finer control.

quiltingreader July 3, 2009, 2:25 am

My gloves are about to fall apart.

KayGee In the Weeds July 2, 2009, 3:14 pm

I wear leather gloves now…they are the only ones I have that don’t get holes easily, but they get hot in the summer…
.-= KayGee In the Weeds´s last blog ..Sweet Gum Saga Finale =-.

wendy wallach July 2, 2009, 1:13 pm

They look like a product I could use when I garden.

madamerkf at aol dot com

carol ~ July 1, 2009, 11:04 pm

I have heard of these but do not own any, but I prefer to wear gloves when gardening. Once you get used to them you hate not wearing them! Think bugs, animal waste, etc. Ick!

Heavenly July 1, 2009, 10:39 pm

As a yearly vegetable & flower gardener, I’ve yet to use gloves when tending to the landscape, and afterward, my hands show the wear & tear.
So, I’d love to try the gloves & see if they can offer some protection for my hands

MRS.MOMMYY July 1, 2009, 9:51 pm

would love to find a comfortable pair of gloves- usually take them off becuase they are not comfortable and cannot be worn

Alina July 1, 2009, 8:18 pm

I’m not a glove wearer either. Even with the threat of poison ivy I’ve never found a comfortable pair that work!

Sandra K321 July 1, 2009, 4:56 pm

I always wear garden gloves when doing the weeding. These look like they have good grip for grabbing those weeds.

Miranda Allen July 1, 2009, 3:48 pm

I would love to have these gloves
.-= Miranda Allen´s last blog ..Win a 50 Dollar GC Or paypal from Mandatory Blog here =-.

Jenn July 1, 2009, 3:12 pm

Putting my name in the hat. Thanks for the opportunity, Kathy and Ethel!

Foundation Repair Dallas, TX July 1, 2009, 12:55 pm

My mom has that problem. She would love those gloves!

<3 Lindsay

Sharon A July 1, 2009, 11:56 am

I have the same problem with dirty nails and dry hands. I would really like to win these gloves.

Viridian Girl July 1, 2009, 10:55 am

I would really love to try these to compare against my new favorite gloves: West County Work gloves. They’re like bicycle gloves and have velcro at the wrists to keep the dirt out. I think they also base their measurements on the finger length because they fit my small hands wonderfully. Thanks Kathy for the opportunity to win.

Belinda July 1, 2009, 5:56 am

I usually wear out a pair of gloves each gardening season. I bet this would hold up much better. Thanks for the chance to win a pair.

Victoria June 30, 2009, 10:51 pm

These are so pretty and sound like they might actually fit! Thanks for the chance to win! I definitely want to try these.

MMW June 30, 2009, 9:13 pm

I tend to use cheap garden gloves that easily get holes and don’t fit well. I hope to win and wear something better for my hands. Thanks!

Deborah Rosen June 30, 2009, 8:23 pm

I almost could have written your article – gloves don’t fit me well and I’ve always wound up tearing them off in frustration. But these days, I just can’t physically garden for long periods of time, and I’m always coming in and doing something else…after I stop to scrub the dirt from under my nails. I could use gloves that actually work. Thanks for the chance to win a pair.

Abby June 30, 2009, 5:42 pm

I would love these thanks so much for the opportunity!

Kayduh June 30, 2009, 5:38 pm

I am always in need of new gardening gloves!

Melody June 30, 2009, 3:47 pm

I’m a total novice gardener, with the mud under my nails to show for it, so I’d love a pair. Thanks!

Alice Joyce June 30, 2009, 12:39 pm

Hi Kathy!
Sign me up! I always gloves in the garden, since developing a problematic skin condition on my hands. It’s gone now, but I never garden in the ‘nude’!!
Cheers, Alice
aka BayAreaTendrils
.-= Alice Joyce´s last blog ..A Paris Idyll, Parc André Citröen =-.

Pat MacIsaac June 30, 2009, 11:48 am

Yes, I would love to try your gardening gloves, presently I am using a
rubber glove that my hairdresser uses in her shop. Not bad, has a very
short life span, would love to have a REAL gardening glove. I live in
Zone 2B. Pat.

Glamoursurf June 30, 2009, 11:41 am

Would love a pair to help me keep my paws protected. Thanks also for the great review and recomendation.
.-= Glamoursurf´s last blog ..Are You Ready for Fall? =-.

Denise Thornton June 30, 2009, 10:03 am

I think Imelda Marcos would admire my glove collection, but none of them are QUITE right. I’m eager to try one more pair in my quest for the perfect fit to facilitate my gardening and land care. Thanks for the tip!
Denise Thornton
http://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com
.-= Denise Thornton´s last blog ..MREA: Coloring the Midwest Green for 20 Years =-.

Karen June 30, 2009, 9:48 am

Yes, I would love a pair of these gloves! A couple of finger ends are popped out of my favorite pair.

rubymoon June 30, 2009, 9:35 am

I do think I need to revisit garden gloves because iIalways hated the feeling of hands confined in old gloves that kept me from the “feel” of what I was doing. So add me to the giveaway chance. Thank you!

Cory June 30, 2009, 6:33 am

Noticing some dirt under my nails as I write, think it may be time for me to convert as well!
.-= Cory´s last blog ..June Gardening Chores =-.

Garden Mad June 30, 2009, 4:45 am

I read your blog and can’t believe that you read my mind so well!! I need these gloves NOW!

~~Rhonda June 30, 2009, 2:05 am

Garden gloves are a must! I like the cheap cotton gloves, but they aren’t great if it’s wet in the garden. I’m always willing to try a new pair! Thanks for hosting a great giveaway! ~~Rhonda
.-= ~~Rhonda´s last blog ..a walk in the garden =-.

san June 29, 2009, 11:40 pm

Your timing is perfect!!! I’m in the market for some new garden gloves and now my search is over.
Thanks for the helpful review!

Michele P. June 29, 2009, 11:32 pm

Living in Maine, I totally understand about gardening with our colder climates. Was glad to have found your blog-this is my second year with a veggie garden but this June has been so rainy! Sometimes I am so jealous of the fact that others can garden year round while our little gardens are covered with snow and ice :( I would love to try out these gloves, I’d look stylish in the garden and they’d also help my hands out!

Stephanie Reed June 29, 2009, 11:10 pm

I wear garden gloves because I’ve had poison ivy one time too many. I also like clean hands. I also hate getting green stains under my fingernails, which I don’t paint. Okay, I love gardening gloves, but I’ve always had the cheapie $1.99 kind. Ethel gloves look great!
.-= Stephanie Reed´s last blog ..Win The Light Across the River! =-.

Scherrie June 29, 2009, 10:32 pm

I always buy 2 or 3 pair of cheap cotton gloves first thing in the spring. I always manage to wear them all out………and still have dirty fingernails! And a good fit is amazingly hard to find! Count me in, please.

Lynn June 29, 2009, 10:01 pm

They sound great! Like you I feel I’m constantly washing off hands, but wearing my favorite gloves, “Mud Gloves,” gets too much since they’re impermeable and a bit clunky for weeding. Great review and thanks for the contest.
.-= Lynn´s last blog ..1? of rain ~ 1.5 hours =-.

Doug June 29, 2009, 9:32 pm

They sound almost “cool” for gardening gloves. My wife’s mom does a lot of gardening in Pennsylvania and would really appreciate a pair of these. Thanks for the giveaway!

Julie June 29, 2009, 9:25 pm

I’ve never heard of them, but I will have to try them!
.-= Julie´s last blog ..Some of my recent Digital Layouts =-.

Michele Grosspietsch June 29, 2009, 8:28 pm

I have been using a pair of Atlas 370′s and they feel great but I fear the rubber will puncture These look very durable.
I would love to try them out!

Bonnie June 29, 2009, 8:00 pm

gloves that actually “work”??? I want a pair, please.

Jennifer Patterson June 29, 2009, 6:25 pm

I would love to try these, my nails are always dirty, and scrubing dirt off my hands, leaves them dry and chapped.

gen June 29, 2009, 6:23 pm

I haven’t heard of this brand before. Thanks for pointing them out. Count me in for the drawing!

Tammy June 29, 2009, 5:08 pm

I keep hearing about these gloves from people like you, whom I trust. Sound like a great product and so count me in for the drawing.

While I’m at it, let me thank you for all your posting here. I’m in NH and your colder climate tips have helped me tremendously.
.-= Tammy´s last blog ..Conflict Zen =-.

Chiot's Run June 29, 2009, 5:07 pm

I love Ethel gloves. Mr Chiots got me a pair for Christmas. I’m sad to say I’ve already worn them out though, I wish they had a leather pair that would last a little longer. I’ll still be buying another pair, because they’re perfect for weedings and other lighter gardening chores. If you’re going to be building rock walls and heavy duty gardening, use a pair of heavy duty leather ones so your Ethel ones last longer.
.-= Chiot’s Run´s last blog ..Worms in the Garden = Good Soil Health =-.

Robin Mayfield June 29, 2009, 4:59 pm

Kathy, I’m a wimp and I totally need new gloves. I wore out my favorite two pairs this spring and haven’t replaced them. thanks.
.-= Robin Mayfield´s last blog ..It’s time to think about moving (again) =-.

commonweeder June 29, 2009, 4:42 pm

My dirty fingernails used to be a badge of my seriousness. I’ve outgrown that and I’d love to try the Ethels. Fashion is not my strong suit, but the idea of well fitting gloves has great appeal.
.-= commonweeder´s last blog ..The Sun Shone on The Rose Viewing =-.

TC June 29, 2009, 4:39 pm

Hmmm. It seems men are being slighted. I like having soft hands. The darker pair on the right in the picture looks like some I’d wear. ;~P
.-= TC´s last blog ..Weak =-.

Amy June 29, 2009, 4:17 pm

Sounds like a great glove! Count me in.
.-= Amy´s last blog ..GiST Weekend Wrapup =-.

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