10 best protective gardening garments
Take good care of your green fingers while looking after your garden
Mooch out into the garden and you’ll detect a distinct chill in the air. Gone are the days when you could skip outside and do a spot of light weeding in a pair of shorts and flip-flops. Autumn is here, heralding the arrival of unpredictable weather patterns and with it some hefty garden jobs that require actioning.
Allotments will need to be cleared of spent plants and dying foliage, soil beds will need digging over, hedges and lawns will require their final cut before winter.
For such onerous outdoor assignments, you’ll want to dress appropriately and wear the right protection. Here’s 10 garden garments to keep you snug, safe and warm…
Aigle Botano Gardening Boot: £79, Aigle
A decent waterproof boot for autumnal outdoor tasks is a must, and these super-supple, slipper-like wellies from Aigle are one of the comfiest boots we’ve ever tugged over our toes. Aimed specifically at gardeners, they are made from a natural rubber mix which makes them both flexible and extremely strong. The generous-sized upper helps maneuverability when bending down to tend borders, and the tractioned soles felt grippy and assured when scampering around on wet grass.
Thyrone Safety Trainers: £99.59, Engelbert Strauss
When performing ladder-bound tasks such as tree pruning or trimming a tall hedge, you need something grippy to shove on your feet. These safety trainers are made by German workwear specialist Engelbert Strauss (a name we’ll be using next time we order a takeaway coffee) and, unlike most safety shoes on the market, cut quite a dash. Their sleek, sporty looks belie the safety features on offer; tough nubuck leather outers are lined with dryplexx fabric which makes them waterproof and breathable to boot. The flat rubber/EVA soles feel grippy and assured, with the steel toe caps providing an added safety bonus.
ThornArmor 3092 Gardening and Landscaping gloves: £35.99, Safetygloves.co.uk
For grappling thorny bushes or waging war on roses, you need a decent pair of gloves to protect your mitts. This pair provides maximum puncture protection – you could conceivably high-five a cactus without shedding tears. The black padding on these gloves is where the protection lies, which covers the palms and fingertips and affords a decent degree of dexterity when performing delicate fingerwork such as prizing thistles from the midst of delicate plants. Just be aware that the thorn protection doesn’t extend to the backs of the hands – the gloves' only weak spot – which can be a potential target for a vengeful bramble.
Uvex Pheos Safety Specs: £15.99, Screwfix
To protect your peepers from flying garden detritus when chopping hedges or manhandling a leaf blower, you’ll need a decent set of safety specs. This swish pair boasts anti-scratch polycarbonate lenses with soft foam frame surrounds that hug your face to prevent dust and fine particles wrecking your retinas. Some makes of goggle have a tendency to steam up when worn during the throes of manual labour, but this pair remained crystal clear despite our best efforts. The head strap is a welcome addition – it keeps the glasses tight and secure and means you can dangle them around your neck during well earned tea breaks.
3M Peltor Optime 3 Ear Protectors: £26.99, ScrewFix
When wielding petrol-driven power tools with purpose, you’ll want to protect your ears from decibel damage. This pair is designed for the construction industry and reduce lughole wrecking noise by 35dB - which in effect will reduce the sound of a noisy petrol lawnmower to a hushed whisper. Thanks to the soft foam ear padding and moulded head strap, they are remarkably comfortable to wear. With their glossy black finish and red, mow-faster stripes, you’ll certainly look the part.
Blaklader Garden Trousers: £51.90, Blaklader
These rugged work trousers are a decent practical proposition for the gardener and come equipped with pockets a’ plenty – pockets for phones, pockets for secateurs, pockets for hands – all of which are reinforced with tough cordura. The pre bent knee section (also reinforced with cordura) makes for a comfortable fit – especially when kneeling down to engage in a spot of weeding. There’s also ample material height at the back of the trouser to prevent gardeners bum (a more fragrant version of builders bum). For those who like to feel the wind whistling up their legs, a ¾ length trouser is available.
Dickies Portland Shirt: £35, Dickies
This padded plaid shirt is made from soft polar fleece, the sort of material your cat will claim as its forever bed should you leave it sat on an armchair. It’s super warm to wear – it’ll stand in for a coat on cold days on the allotment and its rugged lumberjack aesthetic will see it suitable to wear on excursions to your local craft beer bar. Studded top pockets will comfortably house packets of seeds and sweets, whilst the hip pockets will keep your hands toasty whilst you survey your garden, contemplating the impending obligation for manual labour.
Barbour Prestbury jacket: £199, Barbour
A gardener's coat needs to be waterproof, snag-proof and hard wearing. The protective properties of a waxed cotton is hard to match and this smart jacket from Barbour – the undisputed kings of wax – is a belter. It’s made from a lightweight four-ounce waxed cotton which provides maximum protection whilst ensuring you won’t overheat when indulging in rigorous digging or similar sweat inducing activities. The cut of the jacket is spot on – it allows a good degree of movement but still feels sleek and stylish to wear. Ignore the preening, studio-based product shots on the Barbour website – this jacket belongs down on the allotment, covered in muck.
Dexshell Wading Socks: £35.39, OutdoorGB
These snazzy socks will give your feet an extra layer of defence on rain days down on the plot. They’re fully breathable, windproof and are 100 per cent waterproof – you can go paddling in these and still have warm, dry toes. They are surprisingly soft and comfortable to wear and grip just below the knee, making them the perfect puddle partner for a pair of wellies.
Tilley Wanderer Hat: £70, Cotswold Outdoor
When it comes to gardening headgear, the white panama is the ubiquitous gardener’s favorite, but this rugged outback-style hat is more of a practical prospect. Made from water-repellant cotton, it offers a sun protection factor of UPF 50+, the highest you can get. The soft inner sweatband helps the hat nestle comfortably on your bonce, whilst the wide brim affords a good amount of shade. You can also raise and attach the brim to poppers at the side of the hat if you feel the need to release the inner cowboy. And if you find yourself partaking in a spot of flower sniffing, a chin strap is provided to prevent your hat falling into the shrubbery.
Verdict: Best protective gardening garments
Keeping your feet warm and dry whilst out battling the elements should be your first priority, and a pair of Aigle boots should be your first purchase. You’ll be pushed to find a comfier welly.
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