How to Find the Best Pair of Garden Shoes
7 Picks to Get Started
Keep your heels and toes protected with a good pair of gardening shoes
AS AN AVID GARDENER who loves getting down and dirty out amongst the flowers and vegetables, you need to find a top pair of garden shoes (also called garden clogs) for your feet. Your garden shoes will soon come to be your best friend, but only if you get the right ones for your feet and the job at hand or foot if you prefer.
After spending months searching for a pair of shoes that were comfortable and that I love to wear, I thought I would share everything I found with you.
Why Do You Need a Good Pair of Gardening Shoes?
So, you've got an old pair of sneakers or hiking boots out in the garage that can do double duty out in the garden, why can't you just wear them? While you could get away with this, they certainly are not going to be the best garden shoes as they don't quite meet the right standards.
One of the most important things about a good solid pair of garden shoes is that they are designed to protect your feet while you are working. Not only can the right pair of shoes or boots protect your feet from injury, they can protect them from chemicals, thorns, debris, pests, insects, spiders, and more.
Not only can they do all this, but the right shoes should also be comfortable for those days when you want to spend hours out among the veggies.
What Should You Look for?
If you are serious about finding the best garden shoes for your feet, there are several very important factors you need to take into consideration.
1. Overall Comfort and Fit
Like any other pair of shoes you buy, you need a pair of garden shoes that fits your feet perfectly. In other words, your feet need to feel fantastic wearing them.
Even after you have found the right style or brand to fit your needs, you may want to try several pairs on to make sure they fit properly. The last thing you want is for your feet to develop blisters while digging or weeding your garden.
Rubber clogs are easy to get on and off if your need to go inside often
2. Easy to Wear
In most cases, you should be looking for shoes that slip on and off. There are two reasons for this.
First shoes or boots without laces are far easier to wash the mud off and keep clean. Secondly, if you buy a pair of slip on shoes, you are far more likely to wear them anytime you get the urge to work out in the garden.
Laces or buckles can be a pain, even if you put them on to go out in the garden, you might not feel like slipping them off when you go inside, dragging dirt and mud in with you.
3. Keeping the Water Out
The last thing you want is wet feet when you are working out in the garden. Wet feet means spending as little time as possible in the garden as no one like it when their shoes fill with mud and water.
Any shoe you choose should be waterproof and at the same time have a lining that helps wick away sweat to help keep your feet dry and comfortable so that you can spend hours instead of minutes enjoying your favorite pastime.
You should also look for shoes or boots that have a snug fitting top, this will also help to keep dirt and water out. Just be sure the tops are not too tight or they will rub your ankles and cause chaffing or blisters.
4. Hose Off Cleaning
No one wants to have to spend hours trying to clean off layers of mud and grime from their garden shoes. What we really want is a pair of boots or shoes that can be cleaned off quickly and easy in just a few seconds. Shoes that can be rinsed off under the hose are likely to be your best choice.
This nursery chooses high rubber boots for it's workers. Likely for safety and easy cleaning reasons
5. Safety First and Foremost
A top pair of garden clogs are those that offer your feet plenty of support, keep your feet nice and dry, and keep you from slip-sliding away in your garden, no matter how muddy it happens to get.
Look closely at the soles, those with smooth soles or very little in the way of tread should be avoided. Look instead for shoes with healthy lugs that can grip the mud and help keep you on your feet. This will help keep you safe and help avoid the risk of an injury that could prevent you from getting the weeding done.
A good pair of gardening shoes should keep both your heels and toes protected. Not only will this help to keep out dirt, stones, and other things that can hurt your feet, but if you drop a garden tool or rock on your toes, they are protected.
One way to display style is with color
6. What about Style?
We all have our own style, especially when it comes to what we put on our feet. No matter what your style happens to be, you can find garden shoes to match from neutral colors to wild and crazy.
But be sure to shop for the most important features before you worry about what they look like. In the case of the garden clogs, form should be far less important than function.
My Personal Recommendations for the Best Gardening Shoes
Each of these pairs of garden shoes has been chosen for what they have to offer rather than their cost. However, I did try to keep price in mind while making sure they were just right for the job.
My list is broken down into shoes, clogs, and boots for men, women, and of course the kiddos so that everyone can get out and help.
Sloggers Women's Rain and Garden Shoe with "All-Day-Comfort" Insole
Lovely midsummer black print with good solid soles
All Sloggers garden shoes and boots are made from 100% recyclable material and are super comfortable. Not only are they fully waterproof, but the soles feature a heavy lug design that is sure to grip in even the muddiest of gardens.
The key to their comfort lies in the "All Day" comfort insole that is 7 mm thick at the heel and 5 mm thick at the ball. Slogger even recycles their own waste materials back into the sole and asks you to send your old Sloggers back to be recycled when you are done with them.
|Made from 100% recyclable material
|You may have to buy a half size up for fit
|Heavy lug sole
|Ordering a half size bigger may make the heel feel loose
|Super comfortable insole
|Smallest size is a 6 (U.S.)
The Original MuckBoots Daily Garden Shoe
Lightweight, waterproof, and comfortable
MuckBoots are rapidly becoming very popular among gardeners as they offer a wide range of sizes and are perfect for just about any type of work out in the garden.
Not only are they relatively inexpensive, the feature a special ribbed sole design that helps to shed garden mud while you walk to keep you from dragging it in the house.
These shoes are made from rubber and are completely waterproof. They also feature a stretch-fit top that helps to keep out dirt and debris.
|Ribbed soles shed mud
|Short lifespan toe area cracks after a year or so
|Stretch-fit top keeps dirt out
|No ankle support for rough garden terrain
|Very reasonably priced
|Sizing tends to be off (bigger than size listed)
MuckBoots Women's Breezy Mid-Height Boot
Mid-height boot is perfect for digging and heavy work
Not everyone wants a super heavy boot for working in the mud and dirt. While MuckBoots does make a "Chore" boot, these are lighter and most will find more comfortable.
They feature a durable rubber exterior and a comfortable "XpressCool®" lining that is designed to keep your feet nice and dry all day long, no matter how hot it gets.
The EVA sole features heavy lugs that will help keep you from sliding around when the going gets messy.
|Rubber exterior keeps the water out
|Shaft area is too big for skinny ankles
|EVA sole prevents slipping
|Sizes seem to be a bit off on the big side
|XpressCool lining keeps your feet dry
|Pull tabs tend to rip out
For the Guys
Now let's take a look at the best gardens shoes and boots for the guys.
Sloggers Men's Premium Garden Clog with Premium Insole
Top quality clogs made with 100% recyclable materials
These are one of the most comfortable men's garden shoes/clogs on the market thanks to the open cell polyurethane insole that helps wick away moisture while providing plenty of padding for your feet.
The outer material is not only completely waterproof but is fully recyclable. The sole is highly flexible and features a heavy lug design to keep your feet from sliding out from beneath you in the mud. Best of all the soles are made to stand up to light digging.
|Lightweight yet highly durable
|Sizes may be smaller than indicated
|Heavy lug soles won't slip
|May slip off in heavy, wet mud
|Tend to be hot and sweaty
The Original MuckBoots Adult Chore Hi-Cut Boot
Hi-Cut boots that are perfect for working in a muddy garden
These garden boots have a rubber lower half that is completely waterproof and a nylon upper for added comfort and flexibility. They feature an extra wide heel that makes them among the most stable garden boots on the market and ideal for long days out in the garden or down on the farm.
The Achilles, toe, and heel areas have been reinforced for added protection. The best part is when your day is over, you simply rinse them off with the hose and carry on.
|Rubber lower half completely waterproof
|Nylon top might start to leak
|Heel, toe, and Achilles areas reinforced
|No ventilation means hot feet
|Sizes run about half a size small
StormWells Unisex Gardener Garden Clog/Welly Shoes
Great garden shoes/clogs for both men and women
While these may not be the prettiest garden shoes on the market, the PVC uppers and soles will get the job done. Easy to slip in and out of and rinse off with the hose, the heavy lug patterned soles will certainly keep you from sliding around.
They are perfect for both sexes and are fully water resistant. The only thing missing is a comfortable insole, but that can easily be fixed with a pair of replaceable liners from your favorite department store.
|PVC can be hot to wear
|Heavy lugs keep you from slipping
|Sizes are bigger than listed
Can't Forget the Kiddos
Gardening is something the whole family can enjoy, even the youngest members.
Kamik Stomp Camo Boot
Perfect for getting the kids to help out in the garden
You can buy these boots in both toddler and big kid sizes. They are tall enough to keep the dirt out and feature a full rubber sole.
The sole has nice deep lugs to help keep your kids on their feet in the mud. They can go stomping around in the mud and rain without fear as the entire boot is fully waterproof.
Not only can these be worn to work out in the garden, but they can double as rain boots for school. Kamik has a reputation for building strong, simple boots that get the job done.
|Rubber uppers rip
|Sizes are on the small side
|Deep lugs to keep your kids on their feet
|Seams have a tendency to split
The Last Step
Now that you know what you should be looking for when you want the best garden shoes, the only thing left is to decide which ones are right for you.
Personally, I have two different pairs. One is a pair of the Sloggers men's clogs for warmer weather, the other is a pair of MuckBoots for rainy weather, heavy mud, and digging up the garden each spring.
I have had both of them for quite a while and to date have had no real problems with them.