Gardening Shoes: Which Are The Best For You? (2018 Edition)

When you’re working in the garden this spring, you’re going to want the highest quality gardening shoes you can find. After all, you’ll be spending long hours out there preparing for spring planting, dividing your perennials, and more. You’ll want comfortable shoes that can be easily cleaned off!

Here’s my checklist of some of the best garden shoes on the market right now. While a lot of these are unisex in style, they vary in colors available or sizing. Of course, you’ll want to stick with your size, and that varies, but these should give you a great start in terms of what to look for!

Gardening shoes
A pair of men’s Sloggers gardening shoes. Source: Lorin Nielsen

Top Choices For Gardening Shoes:

Other Great Choices:

Why Do You Need Garden Shoes?

Gardening shoes on grass
Gardening shoes on grass. Source: mkreul

If you’re like me, you’ve resisted getting gardening shoes for quite a while. Why would you ever need a pair of shoes for just gardening?

Well, let me tell you why: you will turn nearly any other pair of shoes into a dirty, muddy mess. I’ve used old running shoes out in the garden and have completely destroyed them. You can’t easily rinse them off, because it’ll take a few days for them to dry out fully.

Stuffing your shoes full of newspaper and putting them next to the heater will dry them quicker, but some fabrics will dry rigid where others will end up becoming weakened with repeated washings. And let’s not forget, most standard shoes have insoles that will suck up water and squelch when you walk. Nobody likes squelchy feet.

By comparison, a good pair of gardening shoes will hold up to getting soggy. You can easily rinse mud and muck off of them, and they dry very fast. Even the ones with ventilation holes won’t end up with the insoles getting soggy (unless you’re using the wrong insoles!), and they’re generally quite comfortable.

If you’re going to be in the garden all the time, why not have a pair of shoes that’s made for specifically that purpose? Get yourself a quality pair of gardening shoes. You’ll be glad you did.

Features of Garden Boots, Shoes, and Clogs

Gardening boots
Gardening boots offer protection from muddy conditions and make great rain wear. Source: Lorin Nielsen

We’re talking about shoes, so we all know the basics. But in terms of garden usage, there are some distinct aspects of garden footwear that need to be taken into consideration before you buy.

What’s The Difference Between Shoes, Boots, and Clogs?

The major difference between these different types of footwear is simply in the coverage.

Garden clogs have the least amount of coverage. Typically, these have a low heel, enabling them to be slipped on quickly for a little jaunt out into the garden. Some offer a strap that helps to hold the clog in place so it won’t slide off the foot.

Next, we have garden shoes. These typically are designed like a more typical shoe in that they have a heel cup, but they’re still easy to slide on and off the foot.

Finally, there’s garden boots. Made for muddier conditions, the boot height can either be ankle or mid-calf. Often, these have a more rigid sole and are good for working in larger farm settings or muddier conditions during the winter and spring months.

The Quest For Waterproof Footwear

Garden shoes
Garden shoes come in many sizes from children to adult. Source: dubh

One of the first things you need to establish when looking for the best garden shoes is whether or not you need waterproof shoes.

If you’re going out to water your plants by hand regularly, waterproof shoes are a necessity. Nobody wants to put on soggy, half-dried shoes that got soaked the day before! However, with complete waterproofing comes warmth. In the heat of the summer, those shoes might actually be a little hotter than you’d like.

There are options which are constructed of waterproof materials but also have ventilation. Holes dotting through the shoes might get your toes wet, but they’ll also give your feet room to breathe.

However, holes also allow mud and other stuff to get inside. These can be great if you’re working in the yard in the summer, but won’t protect your feet from the colder months.

Finding The Right Sole

Wide variety of gardening shoes
Gardening shoes come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Source: Lorin Nielsen

Your soles depend on what you’ll be doing with your shoes. And there’s a wide variety of options available.

If you’re just looking for something to slip on when you step into the yard to do some weeding, you’re likely not going to need heavy soles. Something light and flexible will work out well in these conditions. These shoes can be incredibly comfortable and lightweight on the feet. You might even forget you’re wearing them.

Yards which have mulch that’s regularly walked over or which might get slippery in rainier conditions will require something a little firmer. At this point, a standard-weight semi-rigid sole is ideal. Most gardening shoes come with a semi-rigid sole, so this is by and large the widest selection.

Semi-rigid soles also come with varying levels of texturing on the bottom of the shoes. This texturing helps provide traction in slicker conditions. People who have heavy leaf cover in the fall or who have mud in the winter and spring may require more traction.

And finally, there’s the heavy-duty work boot soles. These can be almost an inch thick and can handle everything from digging holes to mucking out stables. Typically, these have heavy textured soles that will prevent skidding around in inclement weather, but these also tend to be extremely warm once the heat starts.

Reviews of the Best Gardening Shoes

Best Garden Clogs – Ventilated

Crocs Unisex Classic Clogs

Crocs Unisex Classic Clog
  • Perforated clog with textured trim and heel
  • Fully molded Crocs Croslite material for signature Crocs...
  • Fit suggestion for 1/2 size recommended to size down
  • Heel strap offers a secure fit
  • Lightweight, durable, comfortable, and non-marking soles

Crocs get a lot of flack, but let’s be honest: for light-duty gardening shoes, these Crocs garden clogs are great, and they come in a million colors for everyone’s preferences.

Made out of rubber, these are lightweight and comfortable. They’re extremely waterproof because of the rubber as well, and won’t get saturated and squishy. Mud and gunk is easily hosed off. They have a heel strap that keeps them from sliding off, and they will work just as well around the pool or while washing the car as they will out in the grass and dirt.

The ventilation in these shoes does mean your feet might get wet or dirty, but in the summertime, that’s a feature, not a drawback! And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve worn my Crocs to the supermarket on one of those lazy, hot days, just because they’re comfortable and quick to slide on.

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Best Garden Clogs – Waterproof, Non-ventilated

Sloggers Premium Garden Clogs

Sloggers Women's Premium Garden Clog, Geisha Blue, Size 9, Style 260GB09
  • High quality garden clog - Made in the USA - 100% recyclable
  • Includes a high quality, moisture wicking, anti-microbial...
  • Interior liner for more comfort
  • Easily hosed clean; 100-percent waterproof guaranteed
  • Slip-on waterproof convenience

While I’m showing the women’s Sloggers garden clogs in the link, Sloggers makes a men’s garden clog as well.

What I like about these is that they’re lined with a moisture-wicking, fast-drying fabric that will keep your feet dry and comfy. The top is edged in a soft water-resistant edging that’s padded for comfort, too.

Closed-toe, non-ventilated shoes make for warmer feet during the cooler months of the year, and keep all water and mud out. These can be rinsed off under the hose, making them just as easy to clean off as the Crocs.

Best of all, these are 100% recyclable. The company even encourages people to return their Sloggers once they wear out, and they’ll melt down and reuse the material to produce more. So these are eco-conscious as well as incredibly functional gardening shoes. Win-win!

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Best Garden Shoes – Softer Sole

MuckBoots Daily Garden Shoes

The Original MuckBoots Daily Garden Shoe,Garden Green,10 D(M) US/11 B(M) US
  • Lightweight garden shoe with waterproof natural-rubber upper...
  • Pull tab at heel
  • Muck Boot
  • 10 D(M) US/11 B(M) US
  • Garden Green

The MuckBoots garden shoes have a slightly-flexible rubber sole that tends to be quite grippy on slicker surfaces. These are great for working both indoors and outdoors as a result. In the garden, these are truly waterproof, and the top tends to sit snugly around the ankle to keep stray water from going inside.

Neutral colors make the MuckBoots shoes much less kitschy than some models of gardening shoes out there. There’s no crazy patterns printed on these, and they’re available in two colors – a medium sage-like green and a black-brown combination. They’re actually neutral enough in the black-brown combination that they can be worn in public and won’t stand out.

What I like about these, though, is those semi-flexible soles. Those allow for purchase even while working on inclines. For anyone who might find themselves needing to climb up on something to reach the plant they’re pruning, the soles give great stability and security while not sacrificing the bottoms of your feet.

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Best Garden Shoes – Semi-Rigid Sole

Sloggers Waterproof Rain & Garden Shoes

Sloggers Women's Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe with Comfort Insole, Midsummer Black, Size 9...
  • Includes Sloggers' exclusive "All-Day-Comfort" insole for...
  • Heavy duty lug tread for excellent traction.
  • Fit info: Whole sizes only. Fits true to size. Half sizes...
  • Hose off or wipe with wet cloth. Removable insole, soak and...
  • Made in USA from 100% recyclable material. Non latex. Vegan...

I have to give it to Sloggers garden shoes – they’re incredibly comfortable. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, these shoes offer slide-on convenience while still completely covering the heel. The women’s designs are bright and colorful, a little playful and appealing. Men’s styles are a bit less wild but no less comfortable.

These shoes are designed with a removable insole. Before washing them off, you’ll want to slide the insole out. The insoles themselves can be soaked and then air-dried, while you can just hose muck off of the shoes, and there are replacement insoles available. The soles are semi-rigid and have a heavy lug tread to handle both muddy and dry conditions with ease.

While Sloggers are only available in whole sizes, they offer a half-size insole (sold separately) which can be placed underneath your regular insole to reduce the shoe size by a half. So if you’re a 9.5, you can either squeeze into a 9, or you can get 10’s and add a half-sizer insole beneath the regular to make it true to size.

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Best Garden Boots – Ankle Height

Sloggers Waterproof Rain & Garden Ankle Boots

Sloggers Women's Waterproof Rain and Garden Ankle Boots with Comfort Insole, Midsummer Black, Size...
  • Includes Sloggers' exclusive "All-Day-Comfort" insole for...
  • Heavy duty lug tread for excellent traction.
  • Fit info: Whole sizes only. Fits true to size. Half sizes...
  • Hose off or wipe with wet cloth. Removable insole, soak and...
  • Made in USA from 100% recyclable material. Non latex. Vegan...

Before I get too deeply into these: these ankle boots can be worn by both men or women. However, men may want to opt for the MuckBoot Muckster II ankle boots instead for something a bit more masculine in style.

However, the Sloggers garden boots tick all the boxes in terms of sturdiness and quality. They have a heavy sole which is designed to handle slick conditions with ease. They’re fully waterproof, and have the same insole that the garden shoes have. Higher sides ensure that both mud and water stay out of your garden boots.

Where most ankle-height garden boots are more designed for stylish rain footwear, and may or may not have non-skid soles, these absolutely do prevent sliding around even in adverse conditions. All things considered, I really like these… but I also like the Muckster II garden boots I mentioned above.

It’s pretty much a tie, and solely dependent on whether you want a men’s style or a women’s style.

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Best Garden Boots – Low-Calf

MuckBoots Scrub Boots

The Original MuckBoots Adult Scrub Boot,Garden Green,6 M US Mens/7 M US Womens
  • Waterproof scrub boot in low-calf height featuring lower...
  • Breathable AirMesh lining
  • Muck Boot
  • 6 M US Mens/7 M US Womens
  • Garden Green

While I generally don’t need more than garden shoes, on rare occasion I wish I had something a little taller that would keep the gunk off the lower part of my legs. These MuckBoots garden boots fit the bill perfectly. With a breathable lining to wick moisture away from your feet, and a rubber sole that has a little flexibility and give, these are perfect for working outdoors.

Fully waterproofed, these MuckBoots do exactly what’s required of them, even in snowy conditions. They’re great for people cleaning out chicken coops or handling livestock messes, and they’re super-easy to clean.

As these are rubber, it’s advised not to leave them in hot cars for long periods of time so they don’t lose any of their shaping in 100+ degree conditions, but they’re extremely long-lasting in most normal conditions.

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Best Garden Boots – High-Calf

Tingley 31151 Kneed Agriculture Boots

Tingley 31151 Economy SZ10 Kneed Boot for Agriculture, 15-Inch, Black
  • 15" - Plain Toe
  • cleated outsole spits out debris for great traction
  • Injection molded construction for 100% waterproof protection
  • Flexible upper material stays supple in cold temperatures to...
  • Tougher outsole material for good abrasion resistance....

If you’re going straight from mucking out the stable to the garden, transporting manure to the compost pile, or just generally need a heavy-duty pair of work boots, these PVC boots are your best bet. Tingley agriculture boots will hold up to nearly any hard working task you put them to.

Semi-rigid soles offer sturdy support, and these are thick — it’s not likely you’re going to sink into the muck in these. Fully waterproof and comfortable, these are designed to not get stiff in cold conditions. Need to walk the snow blower around? These boots can handle it.

While most of us will never really require something this solid, it’s good to have the option for those who are constantly on their feet, going from dirty task to dirty task. And if you’re in an area where the springtime mud flows freely, these boots are going to be your best friend.

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Other Good Choices

MuckBoot Muckster II Ankle Work Shoes

Muck Boot Men's Muckster II Ankle Work Shoe, Black/Otter, 12 M US
  • Lightweight 4 mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene is 100% waterproof...
  • Stretch-fit Comfort Topline is curved to improve range of...
  • Breathable Airmesh lining wicks away humidity and...
  • High traction rubber outsole delivers sure footing in mud,...
  • Easy on-off with pull-on tab

I mentioned these above when I was talking about the Sloggers ankle boots — and for men, these are the comparable option. These ankle-height garden boots offer a flex-fit sole for good comfort, and the shallow cleats don’t fill up with mud or gunk. They’re tall enough to handle tasks in wet grass or loose, soggy soil comfortably.

Like the Sloggers garden shoes, these are extremely easy to clean. Just run a hose over them and it’s done, no muss, no fuss. All things considered, it really was a tie between these and the Sloggers. I would happily select either company’s garden boots.

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Habit Gardening Shoes

Habit Gardening Shoes For Men Slip On Rubber Shoes (10)
  • All weather shoe. Rubber lower and neoprene fabric is...
  • Pull tab at heel. Insulated lining on the inside.
  • Waterproof
  • Ribbed sole for traction provides grip in dirt, mud and...
  • Slip-on

Those of us in good climates are just as likely to garden barefoot as we are to need shoes. And for folks who want the closest thing to a barefoot experience without risking the soles of their feet, there’s the Habit gardening shoes.

These all-weather shoes offer great traction no matter what surface you’re walking on. The soles are supple and flexible, providing just enough protection from sharp stones or mulch splinters to spare your feet. They’re easy to put on or take off, and the neoprene material acts much like a wetsuit would.

So if your preference is a barefoot experience without the barefoot hazards, the Habit gardening shoes should be high on your list. These would be just as good out hiking with river crossings as they are in the garden, so those with an active lifestyle might want these for other purposes too!

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Backdoorshoes Premium Garden Clogs

Backdoorshoes Waterproof Premium Garden Clogs With Arch Support-Meadow Design
  • WATERPROOF & LIGHTWEIGHT: 100% waterproof & a pair of our...
  • GREAT FOR GARDENING & EVERYDAY USE: Our shoes are so stylish...
  • SIZING: Please consult our Sizing Chart below Description...
  • Backdoorshoes

Do you need a little more arch support than other garden shoes may offer? While many varieties have sole material which will shape itself to your foot pattern, the Backdoorshoes garden clogs offer built-in arch support from the start. This is all thanks to their insole design, which helps support higher-arched people easily.

Insoles like the Backdoorshoes variety are also great because they can be removed and tossed in the washing machine to clean. No more stinky insoles! The rest of the shoe can simply be hosed off for cleaning purposes.

While these don’t last quite as long as some of the other makes of garden shoe on the market, these are definitely something to consider. Comfortable and more breathable than some other varieties, these garden clogs are a good option for warmer climates. All things considered, while they may not be my top pick, they might be yours!

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Gardening shoes don’t have to be difficult — they just have to do the job. And my list has provided you with some of the top choices available right now to select from. Do you have a favorite type of gardening shoe? Is your preference clogs, shoes, or boots? Tell me in the comments!


Quality gardening shoes will make your time in the garden much easier. Learn all about them and discover our top picks in this buying guide!

Last update on 2018-03-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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2 thoughts on “Gardening Shoes: Which Are The Best For You? (2018 Edition)

  1. I’d rather wear a minimalist shoe than Crocs, but minimalist shoes are too expensive to get so dirty, lol! So, Crocs it is, not just for the garden, but other outdoor work as well.

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