Tool Rant: Women's Work Gloves.

Saturday, August 28, 2021


women's work gloves at Menards
Taking a brief break here from the DIY to rant about women's work gloves.  Notably, issues regarding gloves of the heavy use variety for ladies.  So bear with me and we'll get back to gloves getting a workout asap.

Women's work gloves.  

Sigh.

It's an oxymoronic unspoken truth out there in the vast DIY world.  And I'm not sure why.  I guess glove makers and retailers have not yet received word that we ladies build, create, make, and do things the same as men.  See this blog.

Right, I'm going to delicately touch upon some points here that some may find, well, less than interesting, shall we say.  Not sorry.

Finding work gloves that fit snugly, are dexterous, sturdy, durable, protect my hands and fingers from stabby bits, monster splinters, and sharp objects plus last more than five minutes is a preposterous challenge that should not be.

First off, Work Gloves for Women, the overarching topic:  they barely exist.  They're either gardening gloves, in cheeseball floral patterns, in pastel colors, are "general purpose" light usage, made for men's hands then incorrectly scaled down, ghastly ill-fitting, logos emblazoned, or worst of all, pink.  

Some marketing marvel thought us women want workwear, gloves, and tools in pink.  No.  We don't.  It's not cute; it's demeaning and bursting with thinly veiled suggestions I will (try to) avoid delving into.  (Maybe.)

Ok, see, the purpose of work gloves, as I mentioned, is to protect hands.  It's safety gear.  Very important.  So why are the types of gloves made for men not made for women?  

Why are women excluded from being safe?  

Second, and the most egregious portion of this issue for me personally though I know this affects many others, is that there's a slim to no chance you'll find gloves in size small.  

Turns out, based on size charts and measuring my hand, I have prototypical size small hands.  Interesting that you can find a bazillion size charts saying what small is but no smalls to fit those smalls.

So here was my quest:  find work gloves for women that are tough, durable, snug fitting, flexible, protective, and have good grip that allow me to get done the nitty gritty big and small tasks I'm looking to get done as a get-in-there-deep DIY'er.  

Men's gloves but in women's sizes.  Shrug, right?

Did I find what I was looking for?  Not really and I realize that is highly dissatisfying.  Do I wish I had the means to create my own glove company?  I sure do now because this is ridiculous.

I hear the excuse is there is no demand.  That is hooey.  Whoooo-eeee.

Additionally, my goal was to locate some in a store that a good portion of us women could get to.  

Continuously ordering and returning gloves online to try on becomes deliriously burdensome fast and the more I search, the more high-end they get with no reassurance of fitting my (pretty basic) criteria.  

As such, this proposition becomes quite expensive in every manner when it should be as simple as get in car, go to store, buy gloves. 

Example:  I'm in the glove aisle at Menards.  Some man thinks his glove quest is more important than mine, keeps stepping in front of me.  Wait, no, the example is some other guy walked up, spent fifteen seconds looking, grabbed a pair (without trying on), and left.  

That's what women should have too.

My most recent pair by Mechanix* came in a woman's size small.  They fit almost as closely as I'd like and they've lasted a bit but have since gotten holey.  These are no longer manufactured.

holey Mechanix gloves
My well-worn Mechanix gloves.
Being hopeful, I attempted a random pair on Amazon* but wow, they were awful.  The fingertips were square, the fit was terrible, and it felt as though they'd fall apart at the mere suggestion of a piece of wood.  Zero idea why these were reviewed so well.  Returned.

Next I found a post by Sarah of Ugly Duckling House who has the same issues as I so I opted to seek out her suggestions.

First, the pair she loved from Home Depot, the Firm Grip.*  These were hands down, ahhh hahaha, hands, pun, the best fitting ones I tried on.  They are billed as a medium though they are clearly small.  Unfortunately, my confidence in these to last beyond one project was not there.  

Firm Grip gloves at Home Depot
I might go back and get these just to see as....I'm so tired.
This was literally the only pair of small women's work gloves in the store.  And only one pair left.

The poor Home Depot employee who happenstanced by asked if I was ok...I said, "sure, but not really because there are no small work gloves here."  He nervously shrugged, muttered "yeah I know," and did not want to get involved.

The remainder of Sarah's suggestions I could not find nor were an avenue I was seeking.  

Left to my own devices, off to Lowe's I ran.  While surprisingly they had more options in small,* most were garden-y general purpose, fit so poorly, were more expensive than men's, or didn't meet any of my other criteria.  It was a waste of gas, time, and effort.

work gloves at Lowes
What's with the weird extra large thumbs on most of these?  And square fingertips?  Seams were extra bulky, too much fabric, no idea about how women's hands are shaped.....sigh.
Either this is typical of Lowe's or it's this particular location, I don't know, the gloves were in scattered locations throughout the store making it onerous to find them.  Upon asking an employee where the work gloves were, his first statement was, "there are some over in the garden department...."  Uhhh no, dude, bad form.

Harbor Freight showed no options online.  Ace had two pairs in small but none within a reasonable driving distance.  Being in a major city, driving six plus miles to a store can be an hour and a half round trip prospect; what if the gloves were a no-go?  

Lastly, a trip to Menards which I realize is midwest regional.  Again, being in a major city, these are generally my options without having to travel an even more formidable distance to something like a Tractor Supply or whatever where there is no guarantee of success.

black gloves at Menards
These fit pretty well though hardly seemed "rugged," and then turn them over....aw jeez.  Nope.  Pink tag too, eye roll.
And have you noticed how aggressively styled some men's work gloves* are in comparison?  Seems a similar inclination as to what's going on with pickup truck trends.

glove section at Menards
Top, women's gloves, pastel.  Bottom, men's gloves, rawr manly.  
Anywhooo.

I ended up with a rinky-dink pair from Menards in desperation.  Freakin' bright purple and I'm not happy about it.  Fit's not terrific either.

purple work gloves at Menards
Had to cave to the system because I'm drained from running all over town.  

It's a system that tells women you don't matter, your activities are trivial, you're not allowed, you shouldn't use power tools, or build things or make things or DIY or participate in anything typically done by a man.  

Nor should you be knowledgeable, self-sufficient, independent, strong, capable, empowered, skilled, think for yourself, nor be proactive.

You should be dust-free, pretty, quiet, smiling, doing little woman stuff.  Pink.

You might surmise I'm reading too much into gloves or placing too much importance on some fabric, but I am not.

It's a system that reinforces the erroneous psychology that women are not equal.  And I have a problem with that.

But, on the plus side (?), these purple things will fall apart fast and I'll have to spend more time, money, and effort finding yet another new pair.  Ya know, the Woman Tax.

Have you had work glove success?  Let me know, I'm happy to follow up as best I can.

*All of the gloves linked in this post are either Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowe's affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

2 comments

  1. I have had the same issues. I read about a hunting clothes company that was started by a woman based on the same issue. The article was in an NRA or USCCA magazine. A company like that may have gloves that fit that last.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you've got the same issues! Thank you for the tip -- I'm going to see if I can track that company down. Thank you!

      Delete

Please no spam or links, thanks!