In this series of articles, we will be sharing exclusive coverage from all aspects of the ARB Show 2024. 

WHILE the days of arboriculture being solely the pursuit of bearded young men are long gone, it remains a common complaint that gear is still designed with only fellas in mind. For women in arb, this often means ill-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) as they make do with male-focused clothing. 

Trying to change that is Solidur, a French brand dating back to 1946, that is in the process of launching what it calls its ‘Women’s Series’ of safety jackets and trousers. Prototype models of both were among the highlights on the stand of Severnside Safety Supplies, the UK importer. 

“It’s not just a matter of sizing,” said Severnside's Bruce Salisbury. “It is difficult to see it as such, but these are tailored to fit women by making adjustments to waist sizes and leg narrowness. It is a way of trying to get a better fit for more women. 

“It’s a prototype for now, but they should be available in the autumn. 

“Like a lot of industries, the number of women doing jobs that would traditionally be considered a male thing has increased. There are more and more female arborists and foresters, and they have had to put up with not always having a great fit. The same applies to footwear. 

“We are trying to cater for as many people as possible.” 

While Solidur may not be as well known as some of the other brands that could be found at the ARB Show, Bruce is confident its quality matches the best of them. 

“One of the really common things when you are climbing a tree is the trousers splitting the crotch area, but we don’t have that problem,” Bruce said. “We think they compare to anything in terms of products.” 

Elsewhere on the stand, Severnside was showing off its Solidur Logwood S3 Class 3 chainsaw safety boots, which had certainly impressed one arborist. 

“The rigidity of the sole lends itself really well to spike work,” said Solidur brand ambassador Darren Burke. “I use them an awful lot. I’ve been in the game 20 years and had some good stuff, and some crap stuff. These are fantastic.” 

Keep an eye across our channels for the full version of this interview and more in-depth coverage from arb's biggest event.