What are the best gardening shoes, boots and clogs for gardening?
This is probably a question you’ve never heard or will likely never hear when people talk about gardening. But, it is something you need to consider.
That’s because your feet are exposed to all sorts of things in the yard including rodents, snakes and dangerous plants.
Plus, things get muddy and wet as well.
Why You Need Garden Shoes
I always used to wear flip flops and am still guilty of doing so when I get lazy, just need to do something quickly in the garden or its hot and humid outside.
Let’s face it flip flops are amazingly comfortable.
They let your feet breathe and there are no encumbrances on the front, sides or back. Also, it’s so easy to put them on and take them off.
But, many of these reasons also make them unsafe in the garden because they keep your feet exposed.
I remember slightly twisting my ankle when my flip flop just slip down one of the slight slopes in my yard. I have also stubbed my big toes a few times against planters, containers and even walls because there was no protection up front.
And, I remember slipping and sliding when the soil is wet. This especially happens with older flip flops where the bottom is a bit worn out.
What I’m trying to say is that while flip flops or other open toe footwear are very comfortable, they don’t offer sufficient protection for your feet.
And, here are some potential problems that can injure your feet in the garden.
- Poison ivy, mosquito bites, itchy, irritation, rashes, risk of bites spiders, snakes or other insects
- Sharp objects can pierce though flip flops, rocks you step on easily let you loose your footing
- And when wet some flip flops slip and slide from your feet which make them irritating and a hassle to wear sometimes
- My good friend has sensitive skin and she gets these rashes just from being close to certain plants so she now wears long socks (up to knee high or the compression leggings when gardening (they’re also great for protecting your legs from the sun if you wear shorts to garden.
- Mud and muck make sneakers a poor choice, when you garden you’re likely to water, so as soil gets wet, it gets muddy and the hassle of cleaning sneakers is something I dreaded when I tried using them when gardening.
- If you’re using power tools or sharp equipment, having majority of your feet exposed is very dangerous. This is especially true when mowing the lawn where the blade are positioned around feet level. Accidentally dropping tools can also end up as a huge problem if you get unlucky.
Types of Gardening Shoes
The good news is, there are tons of gardening shoes available. Better yet, they not only offer many different styles but also come in many beautiful designs.
In fact, gone are the days where single colored gardening shoes are the norm. I remember my mom using black or white rubber boots back in the day. And those were pretty much the only colors besides blue and probably pink.
Now, not only are gardening shoes available in all sorts of colors but also come with cute, cool and attractive designs.
So, you can feel protected while looking good and feel comfortable at the same time.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of gardening shoes you can choose from.
Gardening shoes look pretty much like regular shoes.
Well, okay. They come in the shape of shoes but are not quite as attractive as dress shoes or even casual shoes. That’s because they’re made of rubber.
And, they are intentionally designed to be a little bit bulkier than regular walking shoes.
The reason for this is they focus on comfort wearability, waterproofing, foot security and safety. In short, they’re more for function than they are looks.
Nevertheless, they’re not clunky or ugly looking. In fact, I’ve actually seen a few that resemble actual walking shoes.
Garden shoes are also designed to be flexible, lightweight, able to cling onto surfaces and very robust. They won’t tear or break and can tolerate abrasions. The material is also thicker than leather so objects don’t easily pierce through them.
Of course, they’re designed to work in just about any weather.
The thing I like most is that you can easily slip them on or off like an old pair of very comfortable sneakers.
Since mud and dirt is to be expected, the rubber material is easily cleaned. And, when you wash it, it dries very quickly unlike fabric.
However, the downside of gardening shoes is they are quite low. They are limited to under your ankles leaving the inner bone around your ankle area and everything above that exposed.
This means bushes, shrubs and other taller plants with thorns or spikes can easily prick your lower leg area.
This makes gardening shoes best for simple chores and tasks. Anything that deals with waterlogging or contract with the lower leg still leaves you exposed.
Finally, remember that the soles of these shoes also wear out. Abrasion and friction will cause them to loose their grip so you’ll need to replace the shoes as they get worn out.
Garden boots are the biggest of the 3 types of gardening shoes. They are well, boots.
They pretty much resemble rain boots. In fact, I remember my mom using her garden boots to wade through a river once when we went camping. She also used them to get through flooded sections or small streams.
These offer the most protection.
They cover everything from the knee down.
And, although some people will argue that they are clunky, uncomfortable and can get stuffy especially in warm weather, they provide maximum safety.
In fact, you can just slide your feet into gardening boots while still wearing your flip flops.
Garden boots are made from very resilient and durable material. They are rubber and designed to be waterproof. This also makes them perfect for mud, dirt and debris. Not to mention that cleaning is a breeze.
You can also try kicking things with them and you’ll never feel the objects hurt your toes.
They take a little more effort to put on and remove especially when you get something that’s a bit on the tighter side.
However, avoid very loose boots as they may feel more comfortable but they’re a pure hassle to walk around in. I know because I’ve had a pair and it became a headache to walk as you needed to drag them instead of just going about your normal gait.
The best part about gardening boots is they save your legs from bug bites,
During the colder months, they help keep your legs warm as well.
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Garden clogs are better known as crocs. At least most people just use crocs because they’re the perfect design for this purpose.
However, there are actual garden clogs you can choose from. And, they look more like slip on slippers.
In most cases the back is lower then the normal heel of regular shoes. This makes them easy to put on and remove.
But, many garden don’t even have a back section at all as they pretty much only cover the front half of the foot.
As you would expect, garden clogs offer the most comfort because they’re very similar to slippers. They also allow for lots of air circulation.
Because they offer most of the protection up front, they’re best used for doing simple things in the garden like watering or landscaping.
Caring for & Storing Your Gardening Shoes
He last part of this guide is all about caring for your garden shoes. Like all things, they’ll last longer with proper care.
Because of their construction, many of these footwear are close to being indestructible. As such, you don’t need to replace them often. in most cases, you’ll only need one for many years.
I do know some gardeners who enjoy different looks and designs. So they get a few pairs to switch around every so often.
Here are some things to keep in mind when caring for and storing your gardening shoes.
Make sure to clean them after use.
Always clean them before storing. The garden is full of dust, dirt and other particles. You don’t want to put the shoes in a closed, dark storage room with no air without cleaning them first.
Another option is to keep them in an open space. You can leave them just outside your home by the side or have some kind of open cabinet there.
But I find that cleaning them regularly helps maintain good condition.
Let they dry completely under the sun after washing
Because they’re made from durable rubber, it is very easy to wash them. Soap and water works really well. You do need to scrub away from stuff that have dried up as well.
But, everything comes off quite easily.
After washing make sure to leave them under the sun to dry. I’ve found air drying combined with sunlight not only dries them but also seems to refreshen and get rid of odors.
Get rid of any odors
Odors is not a big problem for clogs. But, gardening shoes, and especially boots are more prone to these.
That’s because they have more closed areas.
Also, since you’re dealing with compost, manure and other strange odors from plants and some animals, you always have to check for these smells.
Rubber tend sot absorb smells over time. So, the sooner you wash them after exposure to the stenches, the better odds you have at avoiding long term odors.
Washing easily gets rid of them.
Other DIY options include baking soda and talcum powder.
Check the soles every few months
As mentioned earlier, the soles will eventually lose their traction and grip. This will take a long time since you don’t use the shoes for a ton of walking.
Nevertheless, you do want to be aware of how much wear they get to avoid slipping or sliding unnecessarily.
Also, once the soles wear out, just replace the pair. This same is true for damages since not many people, I don’t know anyone, who repairs rubber footwear.
Store them properly
Finally, store the shoes properly. Always store only after they’ve been cleaned and dried.
This ensures that the area is sanitary and so are the shoes.
Keeping the hold open allows air to circulate to avoid any odors.