This may sound like a dumb question but… Why wear garden shoes? The fact is, your old pair of sneakers has no business mucking around in the garden.
There are different types of gardening footwear to help protect your feet from debris, thorns, sharp sticks, sprayed chemicals, spiders, pests and other things that may injure them.
In addition, if you wore your regular pair of shoes for your gardening tasks you are likely to get them filthy, and ruined. You’ll find shoes available for men, women and kids.
Gardening shoes are made from sturdy materials that hold up to the abuse, dirt and mud you find in the garden. With all this abuse, shoes designed for the garden still help prevent injury to your feet from branches, rose thorns as well as from stray gardening tools.
In this article we will look at the different options of garden footwear that includes:
- Garden shoes
- Garden boots
- Garden clogs
Garden Shoes Do More Than Keep Feet Dry!
When searching for garden shoes make sure they are waterproof, comfortable, secure on your foot and practical. They need to provide you with long-term foot comfort whether you are standing or walking around your garden.
Most garden shoes are lightweight, flexible and highly resistant to abrasion. They should be suitable to wear under all conditions.
Regardless of weather conditions, the shoes should keep your feet dry and clean specially during a rainy day. The footwear should come with a solid sole to provide secure footing whatever the surface underfoot.
One nice advantage of pair of shoes built for gardening… they are quickly slipped on and off without bending. This is very convenient especially when it is necessary to leave the garden and work on other chores.
Most gardening shoes are made from rubber making them easy to clean and dry for storage.
One disadvantage a garden shoe presents is they will only protect your feet, leaving ankles and shins exposed. If you work in waterlogged areas or watering plants for an extended period of time, you’re likely end up with wet feet.
In addition, sharp branches and rose thorns can injure you on the upper part of the leg. Garden shoes are recommended when doing simple tasks such as mowing the lawn, weeding or light pruning.
Garden Boots Offer Your Feet Maximum Protection
Garden boots cover the legs from the knee down offering your feet and legs maximum protection.
Like garden shoes, boots are made with durable materials that hold up under the beating they receive from working outdoors.
Unlike shoes designed to be in the garden where your feet can easily get soaked, garden boots provide a barrier between your skin and the potentially harmful chemicals being sprayed. Plus they keep your feet dry as well.
Boots are an essential item to have and use as part of a gardeners – PPE – Personal Protection Equipment.
When selecting garden boots from a wide variety of products, look for scratch resistant, comfortable, waterproof and easy to wash items. Remember, boots may present you with a little more struggle when putting them on and taking them off.
Garden Clogs – The Outdoor Slippers For The Garden
Garden clogs are sort of like outdoor slippers. The clogs protect your foot from sharp objects on the ground when gardening, mowing the lawn or when taking a leisurely stroll around the garden.
Clogs are easy to put on and take off, easy to clean and nearly indestructible. They are also flexible, light, waterproof and very comfortable.
However if you are planning to water your plants, work on a thorny area or spray harsh chemicals – garden clogs are not recommended.
Depending on what type of work you do and what condition your garden is in, garden shoes, clogs, and boots each have a place in the gardeners toolbox. Just like gardening gloves, and safety glasses, the shoes job is to protect your feet while you enjoy your garden.
The pricks and prods of nature should not be able to break through your garden footwear, so be sure to purchase shoes that fit your needs!
Caring For and Storing Your Garden Shoes
Storing your garden footwear will help them look good and last for many seasons. After gardening, follow these steps to get the footwear ready for storage.
Tip #1 – Clean The Footwear
After time in the garden or mowing your lawn, use a wet cloth to wipe the filth off the footwear. In most occasions, the footwear is not only covered by dirt on the upper surface but also has caked on dirt on its sole.
- Use a scrub brush to remove all the mud, dirt and even small rocks from the sole of the footwear
- Wash the upper surface as well as the sole, making sure that all the dirt and any chemicals are gone
Washing them with soapy water will remove all the grime and dirt from the shoes.
Tip #2 – Dry Them Off Thoroughly
After cleaning, dry them out before wearing them again. Leave them to air dry or use other methods to dry them. Try a hair dryer as an alternative to dry the shoes..
CAUTION: Most gardening footwear is made out of rubber. Do not put them near a heating source, as this will damage them.
Tip #3 – Get Rid Of The Odor
After some time in the garden, shoes often get a strange stench from the plants, dirt, chemical sprays and composted manure.
Filling the footwear with unused kitty litter, or old newspaper will not only keep them dry but also absorb the bad odor.
Other alternatives for removing the odor is using talcum powder or baking soda. Simply sprinkle either of these into the footwear and let them remain in a well ventilated area overnight.
Note: Although essential oils can help, baking soda is more effective in soaking up the odor. Most of the essential oils will only mask the odor.
If your garden footwear is torn and needs repair, usually the best (not the cheapest) and easiest solution is to just replace them. Use the old shoes and boots for unique garden decoration!
Tip #4 – Store Footwear Appropriately
After going to all the trouble to clean the shoes, boots and clogs, stuff them with old newspaper.
Never use mothballs as they tend to infuse the footwear with a stuffy scent that is hard to remove.
Store shoes and boots upright and leave them open, as they need to breath. You can use a shoetree to retain their shape. For boots, to keep them from flopping over place a pool noodle in them.
You can find garden shoes, boots and clogs for men, women and kids in many places from Walmart or Target, online at Smith and Hawken and Amazon. Look for MuckBoots, Tingley, WalterDrake, Crocs and Sloggers garden shoes. These brands and market offer a wide selection of garden shoes, rain boots for rainy day and other garden supplies.
Garden shoes, boots and clogs help protect your feet while working out in your garden. Take the time to find the right size and fit for your needs.