The Best Gardening Shoes, According to the Experts
From printed wellies to rubber clogs and more, these shoes will keep you comfortable and dry during long days in the garden.
A well-designed pair of gardening shoes can be a game changer when it comes to your comfort while tending to your yard. "A good pair of shoes can result in less aches and pains after a long day in the garden," explains Samantha "Foxx" Winship, founder of Mother's Finest Family Urban Farms in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "I like shoes that are comfortable and easy to slip in and out of when I come in from working." But what elements are essential to a good pair of gardening shoes?
For starters, Melissa Reavis, the Studio Director at Hollander Design Landscape Architects, says they should be waterproof. "Gardening is very wet work," she explains. "In addition to water, your shoes will also be covered in horticultural oils and fertilizers. It's important that you can hose them down and leave them outside to dry—and they should dry quickly." Of course, a solid base and an open tread don't hurt either. "One of the most basic activities of gardening is digging holes," Reavis explains. "Avoid garden shoes that have flimsy soles; they'll make stepping on a shovel difficult or even painful." She also points out that while gardening shoes with thick treads can provide good traction on slippery surfaces, they can also be problematic. "If the sole's tread holds too much soil, your shoes will get very heavy very fast. An open tread eliminates 'soil stick' and lets you walk around more easily."
Curious to know which pairs of gardening shoes professional wear while tending to their own home gardens? We asked a handful of experts to share their favorites, and here are the options that rank highly among those in the know.
If you're searching for a pair of breathable gardening shoes that won't cost you an arm and a leg, look no further than these sleek unisex clogs. Composed of ultra-lightweight EVA, these waterproof mesh garden clogs are perfect for working in the yard, and will only set you back about $20.
Shop Now: Amoji Unisex Garden Clogs, $21.99, amazon.com.
Winship says a pair of waterproof rubber boots can make long days in the garden a breeze. "I wear Joule rain boots when beekeeping and gardening," she says. "Not only do they have good soles (so you won't fall down on a wet day), they're comfortable and come in a variety of fashionable prints."
Shop Now: Joules Welly Print With Adjustable Back Gussett, $84.95, zappos.com.
If you thought Crocs were reserved for chefs and nurses, then Christopher Landercasper, the director of farming operations for Sonoma's Best Hospitality Group, says to think again. "Crocs are an easy-to-clean and relatively cheap shoe for a hobby gardener," he says. "They are hard to beat if you are not going to be gardening for hours a day."
Shop Now: Crocs Classic Clog, $44.99, crocs.com.
You can't go wrong with these iconic L.L. Bean nubuck rubber slip-ons, which come in a myriad of classic colorways.
Shop Now: L.L. Bean Nubuck Rubber Moc, $74.99, llbean.com.
If you aren't already in the know about Bogs gardening shoes, Reavis says now's the time to wisen up. "Most gardening shoes are more like clogs; they have a very loose fit which allows soil and mulch to get inside the shoe," she explains. "The Sauvie Chelsea boots fit snugly—they can be worn with or without socks and still keep feet clean. They also help you avoid the physical pain of stepping on bits of mulch that get inside a looser shoe!"
Shop Now: Bogs Sauvie Chelsea Boot, $85, bogsfootwear.com.
In the market for a pair of slip-on gardening shoes that are every bit as charming as they are durable? Melinda Myers suggests a pair of Muck Garden Boots. "They're rugged but easy to clean, and you can simply slip them off when going inside for a quick bathroom break or drink of water," she says.
Shop Now: Muck Women's Muckster II Mid in Green/Veggie Print, $115, muckbootcompany.com.
Strong, Sleek Boots
Rugged gardening boots can absolutely look good, too. Engineered for comfort and safety, Bobby Wilson, the founder of Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, says that Georgia Boots keep his feet protected throughout the day without sacrificing an inch of style.
Shop Now: Georgia Boot Wedge Work Wellington, $167, georgiaboot.com.
Beloved by both green thumbs and rookie gardeners alike, Winsip says Sloggers are stylish and affordable to boot. "Sloggers are waterproof, slip-resistant, and come in many fashionable styles," she explains. "They also won't break your pocketbook if you're a frugal gardener."
Shop Now: Sloggers Women's Rain & Garden Shoe in Floral Fun Coral, $29.99, sloggers.com.
We love this cheerful option, which features a bloom you might actually be growing in your yard. These lightweight slip-on clogs are composed of crack-resistant, flexible plastic and come clad in a sweet floral motif.
Shop Now: White Flower Farm Rough & Ready Daisy Clogs, $44, whiteflowerfarm.com.
Pretty Tough Boots
Dreaming of a tough pair of gardening shoes that aren't a total eyesore? Landscape and garden designer Amber Freda recommends these adorable all-season work boots that keep her feet comfortable and protected in the garden—and have a bright yellow sunflower painted on them for flair.
Shop Now: ElephantSity Bohemian Sunflower All-Season Boots, $89.95, elephantsity.com.