Gardening shoes might seem frivolous, like an extra fashion accessory you never knew you needed, and in some ways, they are. But all gardeners want an excuse to buy new kit for the garden whenever they get a chance because, at the end of the day, we’re all obsessives and collectors to some extent, and gardening gives us an outlet for that need to buy.
But garden shoes, as well as being beautiful objects, and the best presents for gardeners, serve a bunch of practical purposes too. In the rest of this article, we’ll explore the basic reasons for needing gardening shoes and look at some of the best gardening shoe brands too.
Best Gardening Shoes 2023 Collection
Crocs Men's All Cast Garden Boots
Crocs Men's and Women's Garden Clog
Amoji Unisex Gardening Shoes
Sloggers Women's Waterproof Garden Boots
Sloggers Floral Collection Women's Garden Shoe
Guide to Gardening Shoes Australia
What to Look For When Buying Gardening Shoes
There are a couple of important factors when looking for garden shoes, but mostly it’s a choice between waterproof, and tool proof shoes you need to consider. We’ll explain both below:
Waterproof Gardening Shoes
When we talk about waterproof garden shoes, I don’t just mean shoes that stop water reaching your feet, I mean shoes that aren’t going to be damaged by water, mud and everything else.
So leather is pretty much out of the question as it needs too much treatment and loses shape if it’s too wet too often.
Always look for Teflon woven shoes, or rubber-based shoes like gardening clogs or gumboots to keep you dry, and hopefully to keep themselves looking good for longer too.
Heavy-duty Gardening Shoes
The best gardening shoes are practical as well as good looking, needing to protect you from tools, stones and thorns while you work. Steel toe caps might be excessive, but you should definitely choose shoes with protected toes when you can.
Breathable Gardening Shoes
When you’re working out in the Australian sun, you need breathable shoes. Don’t just go all out and buy gumboots for the sake of it if you’re not in a wet area.
Garden clogs are a much better choice for warm climates to stop you from getting stuffy and overheating while you work.
Here are some of the best gardening shoes along with other gardening attires we have reviewed for 2023.
Different Types of Gardening Shoes
There are only really three types of gardening shoe when you consider the backbone of every different type of shoe for gardening:
- Garden Boots
- Garden Clogs
- Gumboots - Read our reviews of the best gumboots in Australia for 2023.
Yes, you can buy garden trainers, but they’re just gardening boots without the cap, or garden clogs with a more breathable material, and you can buy ankle gumboots or knee-high gumboots, but they’re all the same thing.
So the important decision is about understanding why you need either a gumboot, a garden clog, or a garden boot, and the answer is comfort.
What type of garden do you live in? If it’s waterlogged, you need gumboots to garden. Otherwise, you’ll end up with wet feet and socks.
If you’re out in the heat then gardening clogs are really the only sensible choice, offering protection against tools and stones at the same time as the breathability of sandals.
And for heavy-duty work, you need proper work boots or gardening boots to avoid the risk of injury, and to make sure your footwear holds up to the often heavy-duty work of professional gardening. So don’t underestimate the importance of proper garden shoes.
Garden boots and gumboots are often talked about as one thing, but it’s important to create a separation where we can, so I want to talk about garden work boots, and how important steel toe capped shoes are when working in the garden on any big projects.
You wouldn’t head to a building site with a pair of canvas shoes on, so why would you head out into the garden with shovels, forks, sledgehammers and axes?
The best garden work boots have steel toe caps, but they don’t need them. Maybe just consider something with a little bit more protection than your old gumboots next time you’re out shopping though.
When we say gardening clogs, we mean crocs, right? There’s no brand with a better reputation and more solid range than crocs, and they’ve earned that reputation, so let’s not kid ourselves with value options.
There’s only one croc, and they make comfortable shoes, that might not look great, but they’re practical, keep us dry, keep us cool, and keep us clean.
If you’re strapped for cash and don’t want to pay that much for your next set of rubber sandals, there are plenty of budget gardening clogs online too that are more than good enough for the backyard.
Gumboots are designed for one purpose and one purpose only, to keep us dry, but there are two choices to make with gumboots, and they are heat, and height.
Gumboots come lined or unlined, and obviously for 99% of the year here we don’t need lined gumboots in Australia to keep our feet toasty, so you can save a bunch of cash by buying a good quality pair of basic gumboots.
I prefer the extra ventilation of ankle-high gumboots to full knee-high gumboots but that’s a choice for everyone to make by themselves.
There’s no practical reason for either, and both will keep you dry in most conditions. I just prefer the coolness and freedom of shorter gumboots.
Garden Shoes for Women
Women’s garden shoes come in all shapes and colours, but remember to look past the pattern and dig deeper into the comfort, breathability, height, and safety of any garden shoe before you buy it.
The best women’s garden shoes might not look great, but they’ll keep you dry, cool and protected from garden tools.
Garden Shoes for Men
As with any element of the fashion world, women get the best choice, with garden shoes and garden clothes in every possible colour and style, while men’s garden shoes tend to be black, or grey.
But there are some advantages to this, as it makes the choice far easier, basing your choice of garden shoe entirely on practicality rather than visuals, but once in a while, it’d be nice to look at a garden shop online and find a pair of really good looking men’s shoes.
Gardening Shoes FAQs
What shoes should you wear while gardening?
Gardening means getting dirty, sometimes wet, and sometimes warm, so choose garden shoes that are breathable, with some degree of waterproofing to protect you from the most common discomforts.
Why do gardeners wear clogs?
Gardening clogs are great for breathability and some degree of waterproofing, but most importantly they are easy to clean inside and out, making it much quicker to get ready for a day in the garden and clean up afterwards.
Can you use hiking boots for gardening?
Hiking boots are fine to wear in the garden but they are not built to withstand regular pointed pressure. I’ve worn through countless hiking boots in the garden from pressing on spades as they are built to withstand even pressure rather than pointed pressure like the edge of a spade repeatedly in one spot of the sole.
Get the Right Gardening Shoes for You
Garden shoes are by far the most important tool you’ll ever buy in the garden. Even though they might seem frivolous, if you’re serious about spending time in the garden and don’t want to worry about getting dirty, the least you can do is buy normal shoes that are dedicated to the garden.
Every time you use them they will get dirty, and no shoe other than gumboots and gardening clogs can truly hold up to the constant washing that garden shoes need.
Thanks for reading our guide to the best gardening shoes. It might seem like a niche product, but gardening shoes are 100% worth the money.