Hunter Short Boots ($98) are an excellent chocie for gardening boots.
I was one of those kids who went barefoot as often as possible. During the summer, I would go days without ever putting on a pair of shoes. The bottoms of my feet would develop tough, thick calluses. When I helped my parents in their garden, I, more often than not, was shoeless. I loved the feel of dirt and mud between my toes.
I don’t recall my parents wearing gardening-specific shoes during my childhood, though our household did have a designation of attire that we labeled “play clothes” which essentially meant any garment (or shoe) that we didn’t mind getting excessively dirty and didn’t worry about ripping or snagging.
These days, though, both my parents wear Crocs when they work in the flower beds. And I don’t go running around outside without shoes on a regular basis anymore.
The best gardening shoes provide structure, keep your feet dry (even when you accidentally douse them with a wayward gardening hose,) and are easy to clean (again with the hose.) They also provide traction to keep you upright when clomping through mud and muck. All of the following footwear choices fit this ‘best gardening shoe’ definition.
Crocs, which have been around since 2002, often solicit strong feelings in people – whether that be love or hate. You can’t really argue, though, with the fact that these lightweight, slip-resistant (and odor resistant!) shoes are well suited to outdoor activities like gardening.
The company manufactures their clogs with their own proprietary resin compound called ‘Croslite’ which gives their clogs all of the above qualities. The majority of reviewers (including my parents) find these “ugly” shoes to be extremely comfortable.
Made from dense foam, Backdoor shoes are incredibly lightweight (as opposed to those made from rubber). This also means that they won’t cause your feet to get too hot and sweaty so you can wear them without socks.
They feature light arch support in a removable insole that can be thrown into the washing machine to clean. These are slip-on clog style shoes meaning they do not have a full back. As well as this bright, colorful floral design, they are also available with a leaves design, a meadow design, and others.
JBU by Jambu Women’s Gwen Garden Shoe
Made from vegan leather and rubber, these slip-on, water-resistant, duck shoes feature a memory foam footbed and a grippy outsole that provide lots of traction (and they won’t leave a mark on your floors). They come in solid colors as well as a couple of cute floral prints.
Some Amazon reviewers say these garden shoes run small and do not accommodate wider feet very well so consider sizing up. After a day in the mud, just hose off to clean.
Women's Muckster Mid Rain Boot
I’ve been a fan of Muck Boot Company shoes and boots for years. They’re sturdy, reliable, and, with a neoprene bootie construction, warm and comfortable. They’re great for when you have a full morning of gardening or yard chores ahead of you on a cool Spring day. And if the weather warms up, the top folds down transforming them into a stylish bootie.
In particular, I love these light green Muckster Mids which fold down to reveal a floral lining.
Made from neoprene with a rubber sole, the Muckster shoe not only provides shock absorption, waterproofing, and warmth, but also adjust and mold to the shape of your feet – which helps prevent blisters and chafing.
They are also – if you care about such things – the only gardening shoe endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Sloggers Rain and Garden Shoe
Sloggers come in a wide assortment of colors and patterns. One of my favorites is the “hummingbirds pink” motif. Made in the U.S. from 100% recyclable material, every pair of Sloggers include their “all-day comfort” insole and a deep lug sole for excellent traction. When your pair wears out, return them to the company and they’ll recycle them into new shoes so you won’t have the guilt of contributing to the landfill problem.
Reportedly, these shoes are heavier than other waterproof shoe options so they’re not the best choice to travel with. They are an excellent choice though for all your gardening and errand running in the rain needs close to home.
Hunter boots are a classic, well-known boot – and for good reason. As well as being comfortable, these sturdy, waterproof boots come in a variety of colors including red and purple. The pull tab on the heel makes them easy to get on.
Hunter also manufactures a gardener clog which is apparently quite popular as many of the sizes are sold out. These are a slip-on mule with a synthetic rubber outsole for gripping and a textile lining and insole for comfort.
A good pair of gardening shoes will keep your feet happy, protected, and dry while out caring for your flowers, herbs, and vegetables - as well as other outdoor pursuits. I actually wore my Muckster gardening shoes during a multi-day trek through the Borneo jungle which included a whole lot of mud, slippery rocks, and river crossings.
One of the Dayak men who led my group through the jungle was especially complimentary of them, observing that they, “had good soles for rocks.” He, himself, completed the entire journey barefoot, informing us when asked that “I just know how to walk.”