OVER the last few weeks, wherever we are in the UK, we have been battered by weather - from flooding rain to icy frosts. It is exactly these that make us think twice about what we need to wear to survive a day on the jobsite, without succumbing to the wet or cold.
When a parcel from Snickers arrived, I was keen to see what the latest gear could do to prevent my suffering from the usual complaints of cold hands and wet feet.
Onyx Low Work Shoes and High Heavy Wool Socks
My experience of Solid Gear footwear is very positive because the work shoes I have used have proved to be lightweight, strong and warm. The trainer-style Onyx Low work shoes I tested are metal free, with a rubber outsole. This sole has lots of grippy chevrons but the patterns are not so deep that they will pick up loads of mud and distribute it around the jobsite.
The poured PU midsole is lightweight and durable – and dare I say it – ranks amongst the most comfortable I have ever had the pleasure of plunging my feet into. These shoes fitted so well that they felt comfortable immediately, and after half an hour I couldn’t notice the difference between them and my next most comfortable pair of work shoes.
But the best feature by far, in my opinion, is the use of the BOA system. I am told it is based on a system used in ski boots where a simple twist of the BOA button tightens the laces, and a press on the same button releases them. It is easy to see the advantages because shoe removal is so quick – and there are sometimes jobs where leaving muddy boots at the door is a diplomatic thing to do.
Combine the above with a snug pair of the High Heavy Wool Socks and foot comfort is guaranteed for most users. They are thick and warm, with reinforced heel and toes and are long enough to keep a fair bit of your shins warm too. Again, some of the best socks I have ever used in terms of warmth and comfort, which might be down to the 84% merino wool content!
6241 Allround Work Trousers
I thought I was too old-fashioned for stretch trousers – until I tried them. They do make moving, and especially, bending down a lot easier with much less need to pull them back to waist level when you stand up again. But am I modern enough for them?
The 6251 Allround Work trousers have a classic design with pre-bent legs and a looser fit that people of my vintage might prefer. They are made from hardwearing cordura fabric that has already proved its worth on the jobsite. Of course, you get umpteen pockets (these included holster pockets) as well as a tool holder, front loops and key holder, ruler pocket and a cargo pocket with an attachment for the increasingly common ID badge holder. Let me just say that I have never managed to use all the pockets provided, without feeling that the trousers might fall down any minute.
Snickers is one of the few manufacturers that manages to get knee pad pockets in the right place on the trouser legs so that you can just kneel down without having to hitch the legs. No doubt helped by the use of stretch Cordura at the knees? For most jobs, I find the Snickers kneepads perfectly good and I would only consider extra add–on kneepads if I was on my knees for several days.
The 6241 Allround Work trousers have slimmer legs that would probably appeal to a younger and more fashion-conscious demographic. The blurb says it is for a ‘clean, technical look’, but I will let others with better physiques decide their look…
These trousers too, have a multitude of pockets (including holster pockets) for rulers, ID badge, etc. The slimmer legs may have prompted the designers to move to an Advanced Knee Guard Pro design with pleats that keep the foam knee guards in optimum position for ease of work.
1148 Allround Work Winter Jacket
The hoodie is almost a uniform item on cold winter jobsites because it is just a very practical garment. Some workers even manage to balance a hard hat on top of a hoodie-covered head.
Made from a layer of thick 60% cotton and 40% polyester mix, with a soft, fleecy inside, the new Snickers hoodies are the essence of warmth, even if they are bound to be given a hard life on the jobsite. The length is enough to provide some bottom coverage and the hoodie is big enough to protect the whole head from cold – especially if you pull the elasticated drawstring tight. This one has come to the top of my list of hoodies I reach for on a cold day. The bold Snickers logo and striking colour choices are a bit better than the usual dull grey hoodies often seen onsite.
I am conflicted about the 1148 Allround Work Winter Jacket. Never mind the jobsite, I would wear it as an everyday jacket and it is smart enough to wear when visiting clients. But would I wear it onsite and risk it getting dirty? Perhaps a hi-vis vest over it might minimise any dirt?
On the other hand- this jacket is warm! It has a water-resistant polyester outer and padded lining that keep wind and water out. The neck can be zipped all the way up past the chin and the side pockets are well placed to plunge cold hands into. There are two zipped pockets - one outside and one inside (for your phone? Pens?), as well as a big poacher’s pocket on the left inside. A strong elastic draw cord can be tightened to keep wind out at the bottom and the hook and loop straps on the wrists keep warmth in and wet out.
There are a couple of very subtle reflective strips on the arms because this jacket does not shout its virtues, but it has virtue in spades.
Weather Dry Work Gloves
I have tried hard to find the perfect cold weather work gloves, but the conflicting need for hardwearing materials and flexible dexterity conflict, so inevitably they are always a compromise. The Snickers Weather Dry work gloves are very warm, easy to don and comfortable to wear. But as with the jacket above, I would be unwilling to mess them up by handling wet materials like plaster or mortar.
They are waterproof and protective with reinforced palms and strips of padding to protect the knuckles and when I did a few timber handling jobs with them I was impressed with how good they are. I guess I am going to have to risk them a bit just to keep my hands warm.
Snickers users are always guaranteed well-designed and well-made products and I have never found one bit of Snickers clothing that I thought was inferior. The above certainly fit this mould and I am happy to recommend them.