I think as far as routine safety goes, leather gloves are the best. I always keep a few pairs of leather gloves around the house for DIY projects and for yard work. They're pretty loose fitting, so you don't have a whole lot of dexterity, but for things like weeding, chopping wood, or hauling light brush, they work really well.
I would also recommend using them for light construction. Although a basic leather glove is not going to stop a saw or a nail if you happen to get in the way of one, they will prevent a whole lot of splinters and blisters.
You just have to make sure that you get a pair that fits you. They should be slightly loose, but not so loose that they fall off if you put your hands down by your side -- otherwise you get blisters.
So there's my two cents on safety gloves -- leather all the way for me!