Best Gardening Shoes
Credit: amazon.com

The 6 Best Gardening Shoes, According to Our Testing

Our favorite is the Sloggers Waterproof Comfort Shoes.
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Gardening shoes are essential for protecting your normal shoes from getting ruined while gardening. The best gardening shoes can handle dirt, water, and mud thanks to their waterproof materials, and offer traction so you can traverse uneven surfaces in your yard with ease. And of course, they should do all this while remaining comfortable.

There are several different types of gardening shoes to choose from, so to help you narrow your search, we tested 15 gardening shoes in our Lab and evaluated them on quality, comfort, durability, design, and value. Our top pick is the Sloggers Waterproof Comfort Shoes, which our tester found to be sturdy, easy to clean, and surprisingly affordable.

Read on for all of our top picks and learn how to choose the best gardening shoes for your needs and lifestyle.

Our Top Picks

Best Gardening Shoes
Credit: amazon.com

Best Overall Gardening Shoes: Sloggers Waterproof Comfort Shoes

View at Amazon ($35)

Also available at Walmart and Sloggers

Who it's for: People looking for a sturdy, comfortable shoe that won't let water in.

Who it isn't for: People looking for a more lightweight, breathable garden shoe.  

These garden clogs scored high in our testing for their waterproof exterior, durable sole, and overall value. Our tester says: "The soles felt well cushioned, but I didn't notice much arch support. Still, I didn't feel any soreness after standing and walking in these shoes for about a half-hour stretch." The exterior is made of a durable, rubber-like material that effectively prevents any kind of moisture from creeping into the interior of the shoe, even when hosed off after use. Our tester also noted that "half sizes weren't available so I went with a half size larger than I typically wear. The shoes didn't feel too large though, even when I wore them without socks."

Meanwhile, the sole is thick and offers a hearty tread, enabling you to traverse all kinds of yard terrain with ease. It also contains upwards of 50 percent recyclable materials, making it a great option for people who are looking to shop more sustainably. Plus, unlike many other gardening shoes, these come in a wide variety of patterns (30 to be exact), including many floral and fun animal options. "Because these shoes are well made, comfortable, and cute, I feel they're a good value," says our tester.

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 6 - 11
  • Material: Not listed
Best Gardening Shoes
Credit: amazon.com

Best Waterproof Gardening Shoes: Bogs Patch Ankle Garden Boots

View at Amazon ($75)

Also available at Nordstrom and Zappos. 

Who it's for: People who need gardening shoes in extended sizes and people who want a shoe that they can use as rain boots.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to deal with the smell of rubber from their boots.

These gardening shoes were so effective at resisting water that our tester would use them as "commuter rain boots on a wet day." The Bogs Patch Ankle Boots are this waterproof thanks to the materials, which include rubber and EVA, a type of plastic commonly used to make shower curtain liners. The brand uses an algae-based version of this plastic, which is more environmentally-friendly. Bogs also has several other sustainable initiatives that cater to the more conscious shopper. These include harvesting rubber in regions approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, using up to 40 percent of post-industrial recycled material in their rubber factories, and using odor-protection technologies that lack pesticides.

Our tester said these practices would motivate them to purchase these shoes, in addition to the stand-out performance and comfort. They found the boots to be "very well-made" and appreciated the "thick yet flexible" sole. They were also delighted by the contouring in the insoles, which helped provide "support and cushioning" for their feet. The garden shoes were easy to slip off with the help of the built-in heel kick, and after normal gardening use (our tester gardens daily), only a little wear was visible on the treads toward the heel. The one thing our tester did not like, though, was that they smelled of rubber.

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 6 - 12
  • Material: Rubber, algae-based EVA

RELATED: The 7 Best Garden Hoses, Tested in Our Lab

Best Gardening Shoes
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Best Tall Gardening Shoes: Xtratuf Salmon Sisters Legacy Boots

View at Amazon ($140)

Also available at REI and Zappos.

Who it's for: People who do serious gardening in wet environments.

Who it isn't for: People who want gardening shoes that are easy to clean.     

Although these are technically fishing boots, we thought they would be well-suited as gardening boots—and after our tests, we discovered that they are indeed, with our tester saying they would be particularly useful "for messy and muddy gardening work" or people who live in wet climates. Our tester found the Xtratuf Salmon Sisters Legacy Boots to be "well-built and sturdy" and was impressed with the traction of the soles: "Even though I was using the hose and creating lots of puddles and muddy areas, I didn't slip at all." Although these boots boast "heavy-duty construction," they're still "very comfortable for this style of boot," with our tester saying how their feet felt supported throughout their time gardening.

This boot is made of all kinds of waterproof materials, including rubber, EVA, and neoprene rubber, a type of synthetic rubber. The boot hits about mid-calf, and you can actually roll the boot down to reveal a cute octopus pattern, which was designed by Alaskan fishermen. Although these boots held up quite well during our testing, our tester wasn't pleased with how mud got stuck in between the soles even after thoroughly washing them, as it resulted in traces of mud being brought inside. If, however, you plan to keep your shoes mainly outdoors or in a mud room, this shouldn't be a major problem.

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 6 - 11
  • Material: Rubber, EVA, neoprene rubber

RELATED: The 7 Best Gardening Gloves for All Types of Gardeners, According to Our Tests

Best Gardening Shoes
Credit: amazon.com

Best Gardening Clogs: Amoji Garden Clogs

View at Amazon ($26)

Who it's for: People who want breathable garden shoes.

Who it isn't for: People looking for something more water-resistant.

Clogs are great for people who want garden shoes that are breathable. Since so many garden shoes are made of thick, waterproof materials such as rubber, they can feel hot or uncomfortable to wear over time. With clogs, you won't get that problem, especially with the holed design of the Amoji Garden Clogs. Our tester liked the pattern of the holes, noting that less dirt and debris got into the shoe compared to other garden shoes with holes that they tested.

Although this design offers breathability, do know that water will seep in a lot easier than covered garden shoes. If you frequently work in wet or muddy garden environments and don't want to deal with cold, and potentially dirty, feet later on, you should go with a different garden shoe. Our tester also found these shoes to be lightweight, easy to slip on and off, and easy to dry. For what you get, our tester would recommend these gardening shoes "for beginners not ready to invest in a more expensive version." 

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 6 - 15 (women)/5 - 13 (men)
  • Material: Rubber
Best Gardening Shoes
Credit: amazon.com

Best Gardening Boots: Evercreatures Ankle Garden Boot

View at Amazon ($60)

Who it's for: People who want a gardening shoe that will remain comfortable to wear for a long period of time. 

Who it isn't for: People who want a gardening shoe that is easier to slip on and off.

No one likes to garden with cold and wet feet. If you've ever had that problem with gardening shoes in the past, you should consider upgrading to a garden boot. These Evercreatures boots are great because they provide adequate coverage for your foot but aren't tall enough to feel bulky. In fact, our tester said that these shoes were "the comfiest wellies I've worn," and experienced no discomfort in the three plus hours that they worked in their garden. Our tester attributed this to the interior of the shoe, which is lined with cotton, as well as the low heel and height of the boot.

In addition to comfort, these boots are also functional thanks to their waterproof rubber exterior and deep tread, which helped our tester avoid slipping. Another perk of these wellies is the range of colors and patterns they come in. Our tester actually found them attractive enough to wear outside of the garden if they needed to run a quick errand. You have your choice of neutral colors such as black and dark blue but also fun, colorful options too, including yellow, a rainbow-striped pattern, and pink polka dot.

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 5 - 10
  • Material: Rubber

RELATED: The 10 Best Raised Garden Beds for Planting Herbs, Flowers, Veggies, and More

Best Gardening Shoes
Credit: amazon.com

Most Versatile Gardening Shoes: The Original Muck Boot Company Muckster II Mid Gardening Shoes

View at Amazon ($110)

Also available at Walmart and Zappos.

Who it's for: Committed gardeners who want a gardening boot that is breathable.   

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to spend a lot on gardening shoes.  

This best-seller from The Original Muck Boot Company is a great option for all types of gardeners. Our tester affirmed this, calling these gardening shoes "extremely sturdy." Not only that, but they also kept our tester's feet completely dry while working with mulch and walking over wet grass, rock, and pavement. The boots even stayed completely dry as our tester hosed them down, as well as when they took their dog for a walk in the rain. 

Our tester also really liked the versatility of these gardening shoes. Unlike other gardening shoes, the Muckster Mid II can act as both a shoe and a boot thanks to the adjustable calf. Our tester found this feature super helpful when the temperature started to rise while they were gardening: "I felt instantly cooler when rolling down the calf." Plus, when you roll down the calf, you expose the patterns that lie within the shoe, which range from floral to tartan patterns. The only thing our tester didn't like about these shoes was the price. Although our tester found them to be "quality" enough to "withstand many uses and multiple seasons of use," they believed the price was too high for someone who is a casual gardener.

Product Details:

  • Sizes: 5 - 11
  • Material: Rubber, mesh 

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Sloggers Waterproof Comfort Shoes for their durability, which is due in part to a thick sole and waterproof construction that allows for working in wet environments and uneven terrain. They are also easy to clean, made with up to 50 percent recycled materials, and come in plenty of fun patterns.

Our Testing Process

We tested 15 gardening shoes in our Lab and in the real world, assessing them on quality, comfort, durability, design, and value. Our first set of tests involved our testers wearing the shoes for over an hour while doing moderate yard work tasks to measure the quality and comfort of the shoes. These tasks involved standing, crouching, kneeling, and walking on uneven ground or over rocks. If the gardening shoes we tested had ventilation holes, we asked our testers to rate the breathability of the shoes.

After doing a variety of gardening tasks, the shoes were examined for damages and signs of wear. We then washed the shoes to see how easy they were to clean and noted whether they needed additional attention after being hosed off. Once we finished these tests, our testers rated the overall value of the shoe for the price, as well as whether or not they would recommend these shoes to fellow gardeners and if they would wear them outside of gardening. We gathered all of this information and used it to come up with the best gardening shoes.   

How to Shop for Gardening Shoes

Material

Most gardening shoes are made with waterproof materials such as rubber and EVA, or ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is also water-resistant. Not only do these materials keep your feet dry, but they also make them a lot easier to clean. Unless the shoes have a removable insole, all you have to do is wash them down with a hose and let them dry outside. If gardening shoes do not have either of these materials as the primary material in the shoe, especially rubber, they will be harder to clean and will likely break down more overtime.   

Type

There are three types of gardening shoes to consider: clogs, short wellies, and boots. Clogs are great for people who want something that is lightweight and easy to slip on and off. Clogs also often have ventilation holes that allow for breathability, something that you won't get with short wellies or boots. One downside to clogs is that because they have an open back and sometimes ventilation holes, water and dirt will get inside, which may be irritating for some people. As such, these are great for the casual gardener or someone trying out gardening for the first time.

Short wellies are great because they completely cover the foot yet are short enough that your legs are given room to breathe. Tall boots offer the greatest level of coverage and are best suited for someone who lives in wet climates or who frequently works in messy gardening situations. However, the con with boots are that are not breathable, and may become uncomfortable to wear on warm days. Plus, for the agile gardener, they may feel bulky to wear.  

More Gardening Shoes to Consider

Crocs Classic Clogs: These famously comfy shoes are so lightweight that our tester said that "you barely notice you're wearing shoes." Even though our tester ended up wearing them for over six hours with ease, they did note that the big holes gave dirt pathways to get inside.

Naturalizer Marianne Loafer: These are excellent for people who want gardening shoes that look like everyday footwear. Although our tester found these to be "extremely comfortable and have good arch support," they noted that these are not waterproof and would not hold up well in dirty or muddy gardening environments. 

Questions You Might Have

Do I really need to buy separate shoes for gardening?

Unless you want to completely ruin your normal shoes, then yes, you do. One of our testers told us that they actually tried using basic tennis shoes while gardening and ended up ruining multiple pairs over time. Working with plants and getting deep in dirt, soil, and mulch, especially when mixed with water, is not the kind of environment your normal shoes were designed to survive in. Gardening shoes are, so by buying them, you may actually be saving money by not having to replace your regular shoes when they get ruined while gardening.    

What's the best way to clean gardening shoes?

Garden shoes are incredibly easy to clean. Since so many of them are made of waterproof materials, all you really need to do is hose them off and leave them out to dry. However, make sure that you remove the insole, if it is removable, and wash and dry that separately. You can do that with plain soap and water. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. We researched the best gardening shoes and tested 15 of the most popular options in our Lab, evaluating them on quality, comfort, durability, design, and value. 

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible. 

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.