Gardening Tips

The Best Gardening Shoes That Keep Your Feet Dry While You Get Down and Dirty Outside

Photo: Getty Images/Mike Harrington
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Gardening boosts your mental health, gets you outdoors for that much-needed vitamin D, and can even save you money if you learn to grow your own veggies. But it’s definitely a messy hobby. You’ll likely soon find that an old pair of sneakers won’t keep your feet dry if you accidentally blast yourself with the hose while watering your plants, which is why your best bet is a sturdy pair of gardening shoes, specifically created to handle the muck.

While some people prefer the protection of gardening gloves, and others are more than OK with some dirt under their nails, no one likes having wet, cold feet. (After all, depending on where you live, occasional cold-weather gardening might be a fact of life.) So no matter what stage you’re in—graduating from caring for houseplants and giving it a go outside, or transforming your yard with your green thumb—gardening shoes are an important part of your gear.

Gardening shoes come in various styles: slip-ons, clogs, and both short and tall boots. They’re also available in lots of prints and designs, especially florals (no surprise there!) and animals. So if your typical work and weekend shoes are pretty staid, here’s your chance to go wild (no pun intended). Most gardening shoes are designed to be comfortable beyond the garden—for example, walking your dog or doing errands. Some of them do a better job of passing as “regular shoes” than others, however.

Whether you’re planting seeds, pruning bushes, or just pulling weeds (one of the most cathartic activities ever, IMO), these gardening shoes will keep your feet comfy, clean, and dry.

Best gardening shoes for women

muck boots
Muck Boots Muckster Ll Women's Rubber Garden Shoes — $95.00

The list of these gardening shoes’ features is a long one: A triple-reinforced toe and quadruple-reinforced heel, a breathable lining, a shock-absorbing insole, a high-traction outsole, a pull loop on the back, and a comfort rating that ranges from subfreezing temperatures to 65 degrees. The shoes are waterproof, lightweight, and self-insulating, and they can adjust to the shape of your feet for comfort. In addition to the pictured green, they come in black and a black/pink combo. (Also, you have the right to feel fancy while wearing these—even if you’re covered in dirt—because they’re “the only gardening footwear endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.”)

One happy customer raved, “I’ve been gardening for 50 years and these are the best garden shoes I’ve ever had.”

Western Chief Garden Clog — $40.00

Western Chief, a family-owned company based in the Pacific Northwest, has been around since 1891 and specializes in rainboots and work boots, plus sandals and slippers. This is one of their garden clog styles, and it comes in this happy daisy print as well as two other florals, two polka dot patterns, a cute watering can design, solid black with a light blue sole, and best of all (depending on how you feel about chickens), a bright yellow pair with a hen on one shoe and three eggs on the other. They’re available in sizes 6–11.

One happy customer wrote, “I have problem arches and wasn’t sure these would work. I’m so happy. Not only do they fit, they are comfortable and support my feet. A pleasure to walk around the house and in my garden. Good grip on wet floor and soil.”


Best waterproof gardening shoes

hunter gardening shoe
HUNTER Women's Garden Clog — $95.00

Hunter may be famous for its tall rain boots, but the footwear brand also makes high-quality gardening shoes, like this garden clog. (It looks pretty stylish for a shoe that’s meant to get really dirty, right?) These handcrafted shoes are made from waterproof vegan rubber and have a cushioned footbed. A quick intro to Hunter, in case you’re not familiar: The company was founded in 1856 in Scotland (a country very familiar with rain!) and it’s still based there today. These gardening shoes should last a long time, but once you’re ready for your next pair, you can send them to Hunter (postage paid) to be recycled.

One reviewer shared this high praise: “I finally found a favorite pair! These are absolutely the best gardening shoes I’ve ever purchased! They are very comfortable and have great support, easy to slip on and are also extremely well made.”

Smith & Hawken Gardening Clogs — $25.00

Smith & Hawken was a well-known gardening company with a great reputation that was acquired by Target about a decade ago. Their gardening shoes include these clogs as well as tall boots and ankle boots; these are the most affordable of the three and are available in gray and dark green. They’re made from rubber and leather and are easy to slip on with the pull tab on the back.

One gardener shared, “These are really comfy to wear while working outside. They don’t look like they would be but trust me they are. They fit perfect so they’re true to size. They’re made really good and strong so they hold up really nicely. Love the color as well.”


Best gardening shoes for arch support

Sloggers Rain and Garden Shoes — $30.00

Sloggers were created in 1997 and are made in the U.S.A. The brand is known for their fun, colorful designs that include several florals as well as prints with chickens and other farm animals. The shoes, which are available in sizes 6–11, are vegan and made from 100% recyclable materials. (Send them a worn-out pair to recycle and you’ll get a $5 coupon.) The waterproof, comfortable shoes feature a heavy-duty lug tread for traction and an insole that’s removable for cleaning. To clean the shoes, simply wipe or hose them off.

An avid gardener shared, “I can’t believe what I’ve been missing all these years! I am working in my flower beds and yard several days a week all through the year. After putting on and taking off, tying and untying sneakers multiple times during the day I have finally found the answer to this madness. SLOGGERS!”


Best gardening boots

Crocs Women's Jaunt Shorty Boot — $45.00

Love ’em or hate ’em, Crocs are definitely known for their comfort, and lots of gardeners are fans of these lightweight, waterproof rain boots. They’re cushioned for comfort and are easy to put on (thanks to the pull holes), and the soles have good traction. They’re available in black and navy and are easy to clean.

One reviewer in Virginia noted, “I slip them on before going out to water my plants. If they get dirty, they hose off so easily! I like them better than regular shoes because they come up on my ankles a bit. There is a possibility of getting a snake bite in our area so a bit of protection is nice!” (Well, that is definitely a good reason to wear a boot rather than something lower!)


Best slip-on gardening shoes

Easy Spirit Martha Stewart Collection Tgarden — $42.00

Since “Martha Stewart” basically translates to “expert gardener” and “Easy Spirit” means “really comfortable shoes,” these limited edition gardening shoes have an excellent resume. The shoes are waterproof, breathable, and slip-resistant, and they’re made from EVA, so they have some give rather than being inflexible, uncomfortable clogs. The shoes are very easy to clean and are made to be comfortable enough to walk in (beyond the garden). They’re available in solid colors as well as a couple of small floral prints.

One happy gardener wrote, “Love these shoes. Kinda like getting dressed up to go out in the mud, etc. LOL. Actually really pretty, fit like Easy Spirits are supposed to, and I feel I will get years of use from these.”

JBU Gwen Garden-Ready Shoes — $28.00

These waterproof, duck shoe-style gardening shoes have brushed vegan suede trim and rubber uppers in four colorways, including two pretty, subtle florals. They have memory foam insoles for comfort and non-slip rubber outsoles for safety, and they’re available in sizes 6–11. If you have “problem feet,” here’s something that might sell you on these: These shoes were given the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health!

One of the many 5-star reviews—more than 1,000, in fact—reads, “I searched for a while for a gardening shoe that would be waterproof but not a full boot that would make my feet hot in the summer. These are FANTASTIC. … This is a sturdy, quality, waterproof shoe and I cannot wait to get them dirty!”

SaphiRose Unisex Garden Shoes — $31.00

These gardening shoes are waterproof, thanks to their neoprene and rubber upper, and they have a breathable lining. The loop on the back helps make them easy to slip on, and the top has some stretch that makes them easy to take off. Note that these shoes are unisex, so it’s probably best to choose a size by measuring your foot and using the provided size chart. The shoes are available in four colorways.

Many reviewers noted that these work really well for walking your dog in wet grass, and gardeners are also big fans of these shoes. One noted, “Finally I have dry toes working in my yard. They are very comfortable and not stiff. I like them so much I bought a different color and smaller so I don’t have to wear socks. Perfect.”

 


Best gardening shoes for men

Muckster ll Ankle-Height Men's Rubber Garden Boots — $110.00

These waterproof men’s gardening shoes have a lot to offer: a breathable lining that wicks away sweat (and has odor control), a high-traction rubber sole, and a comfort rating that ranges from subfreezing temperatures to 65 degrees. The neoprene material provides comfort and heat retention, and the pull tab on the back makes the boots easy to put on. They’re available in green, black, and brown.

One of the more than 3,000 reviewers that gave these boots five starts shared, “Best all-weather/rain/garden/mud boots! Both my wife and I have these boots and we use them for anything that involves dirt/mud/water. By far the most comfortable weather rubber boot.” Another reviewer mentioned that these boots are comfortable enough to wear all day at work, so they’re definitely multitaskers!

 

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