The 9 Best Footwear Choices for the Garden

If you’re like me, you’ve ruined more than one pair of shoes in the garden.

Vertical image of a woman in khaki pants and red rubber boots, using a shovel to dig in the soil, with green foliage in dappled sunlight in the background, printed with green and white text.

You know how it happens – you’re dressed to go out and you stop to admire the flowers on your way to the car. Before you know it, you’re pulling a weed, watering a plant, and muddying your new-for-spring canvas flats beyond belief.

What is our problem?

Horizontal image of worn brown boots and mud-covered ballet flats, in brown soil with green glass, and bright filtered sunlight.

Knowing we can’t resist the urge to preen a little here and there even when we’re dressed in our best, I highly recommend investing in a dedicated pair of garden footwear.

And I don’t mean an old pair of loafers.

Here’s why: footwear that is not washable inside and out may harbor bacteria that may be unhealthy for feet, as well as plants.

Horizontal closely cropped image of a woman wearing jeans and blue rubber boots, tilling the soil with a pitchfork.

Read on to discover nine types of stylish footwear designed with the needs of the gardener in mind. They’re sturdy, washable, and comfortable enough to wear all day.

Keep a pair in a decorative deck box by the garden gate and never ruin your street shoes again!

Here’s the lineup:

9 Exciting Garden Footwear Choices

We think the following nine pairs of boots, clogs, and shoes are the best of the bunch when it comes to being comfortable, easy to slip on and off, sturdy, and washable.

Read on to find your new favorites.

1. Birkenstock Super-Birki Unisex Clog

This unisex high-grip clog is from the Birkenstock Professional Collection of footwear.

It’s made of vegan-friendly, anatomically-shaped polyurethane and is certified occupational footwear in accordance with EN ISO 20347:2012 OB E (SRC category). This means it has deep treads for excellent traction, and has been tested on ceramic wetted with diluted soap, and steel wetted with glycerol, for use in culinary and medical settings.

It resists abrasions, dirt, grease, oil, and water, and the sole has a tread pattern designed to provide slip resistance and easy dirt release.

Birkenstock Super-Birki Alpro-Foam Sandals in Green

If you’ve never had washable garden shoes before, you’re going to love these Birkis. Drenched, muddied, and covered with grass? No problem. And they’re so colorful, you’ll want to wear them with your favorite outfits, too.

Birkenstock Men’s Super-Birki Alpro-Foam Sandals in Brown

Inside this functional and fashionable clog is an anatomically-shaped  cork-latex footbed with a woven acrylic lining that absorbs moisture and provides exceptional arch support with minimal cushioning, in keeping with the classic, or “regular” Birkenstock style.

Cleanup is easy: simply remove the footbed and wash the clogs in water up to 176°F, with or without disinfectant. Wash the footbed in water up to 86°F.

Birkenstock Original Super-Birki Alpro-Foam Sandals in Apple Green

Choose from an array of colors. Per customer service, a pair of women’s Super- Birki’s in size 6 weighs approximately one pound. Birkenstocks are made in Germany.

Exceptional Features:

  • Birkenstock durability
  • Plentiful color choices
  • Replaceable footbed
  • Hot water washable

Potential Drawbacks:

  • May leave ankles vulnerable to injury
  • Foot may slip from clog with sudden movement
  • Minimal cushioning

The unisex Super-Birki is available in eight colors including apple green, blue, black, brown, green, raspberry sorbet, red, and white. It’s available in whole sizes only.

Replacement footbeds and maintenance products are available from Birkenstock.

Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

2. Chooka Women’s Bainbridge Caroline Boot

This handcrafted ankle boot has a 5 1/2-inch shaft (height) with a rear pull tab, and stretchy elastic gore insets for slipping easily on and off. A delicate floral motif on a gray background and a 1 1/4-inch heel create a stylish appearance.

Chooka Women’s Bainbridge Caroline Boot

You’ll be glad to be wearing your Chookas the next time you’re setting a new shrub, watering, and tamping down muddy soil. Warm, dry, and solid underfoot, they’re so pretty, it’s almost a shame to get them dirty!

The upper portion and sole are waterproof and handcrafted of vulcanized (hardened) HC silicone rubber. A soft fabric lining and removable 5-millimeter memory foam insole lightly cushion the foot.

The insole board is reinforced with a steel shank for comfort during activities like pushing down on a shovel or pitchfork. The outsole has a shallow, self-cleaning tread for good traction and minimal dirt compaction.

To clean, the manufacturer recommends using dish soap and water, air drying, and applying a silicone conditioning product.

You may remove the insole, hand wash it, and air dry. The manufacturer offers no replacements. Each boot weighs approximately one pound. Chookas are made in China.

Exceptional Features:

  • Complete foot protection
  • Steel shank for solid footing

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Gussets may permit water penetration
  • May be too warm for all-day summer wear

The Chooka Women’s Bainbridge Caroline Boot is available from Amazon in whole sizes only.

3. Crocs Crocband Unisex Clog

The Crocs brand has become synonymous with long-wearing comfort, and this unisex clog is no exception. It’s made entirely of a lightweight closed-cell foam resin that is the property of Crocs, called Croslite™. The fit is snug and the feel is soft and supportive.

Crocs brand pink, white, and light blue clog with ankle strap, isolated on a white background.

Crocs Crocband Unisex Clog in Melon/Ice Blue

Choose from an array of hues with contrasting bands of color in retro-sneaker style. Each has a pivoting heel strap that swings backwards for added support, or forward for slip-on ease. Enjoy secure footing on a footbed comprised of tiny bumps that inhibit slipping when wet.

This Crocs clog makes a great summer garden shoe. Stepped in the mud? No problem. Just hose off and keep right on going, clean and cool all day long.

Crocs brand charcoal gray and blue clog, isolated on a white background.

Crocs Crocband Unisex Clog in Charcoal/Ocean

Per Crocs customer service, this clog weighs an average of just over 6 ounces per shoe with some slight variation depending on the size, so light it’s buoyant.

Ventilation ports allow for comfortable airflow, and the heavy-duty tread is designed to provide solid traction and release soil easily. This product is completely washable. Per Crocs customer service, this product is produced in manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and China.

Exceptional Features:

  • Plenty of color choices
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Optional heel strap
  • Patented cushion comfort
  • Ventilated

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Clog may leave heel vulnerable to injury

The Crocs Crocband™ Unisex Clog is available from Jet.com in 15 solid colors and color combinations including black, charcoal/ocean, khaki/navy, lavender/purple, melon/ice blue, navy/citrus, new mint/tropical teal, pearl pink/wild orchid, pomegranate/rose dust, and white.

Available in whole sizes only, the manufacturer recommends ordering a size up if you need to.

Crocs Kids’ Crocband Clog in Lavender/Neon Purple

A similar shoe is also available  for children, the Crocs Kid Crocband™ Clog. You can find it on Amazon.

Check prices now on Jet.com.

4. Hunter Women’s Gardener Clog

Hunter has been producing boots and shoes since the 1800s, and this high-grip garden clog lives up to the company’s reputation for quality and durability.

Hunter Women’s Gardener Clog in Dulse

This attractive matte-finish model is handcrafted of vulcanized natural rubber, for maximum flexibility and a waterproof exterior. (Natural rubber is the most flexible kind.) The inside is lined with neoprene, or synthetic rubber, for warmth. There’s also a 3-millimeter neoprene insole to cushion the foot.

Hunter Women’s Gardener Clog in Dark Olive/Clay

This shoe offers the slip-on-and-off convenience of a lightweight clog with the solid feel you’d expect to find in a work boot, and thanks to the high grip, it’s got you covered on dry or wet ground.

The outsole consists of a “field tread” with excellent traction that readily releases debris and mud. Wash with water, and maintain with Hunter Boot Shine and Rubber Boot Buffer, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Hunter Women’s Gardener Clog in Vintage Green

Per Hunter, the heel height is approximately 2 centimeters (0.79 inches) and each pair weighs about 1.37 kilograms, or a little over 3 pounds. Hunter Boot Ltd. is based in Scotland with manufacturing in China.

Exceptional Features:

  • Flexible natural rubber
  • Field tread
  • Neoprene insulation

Potential Drawbacks:

  • High-grip clog may leave upper heel vulnerable to injury
  • May be too warm for all-day summer wear

The Hunter Women’s Garden Clog is available in dulse (burgundy), dark olive/clay, and vintage green. It comes in whole sizes only. Men’s sizes are available in this style as well, direct from the manufacturer.

Check current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now.

5. Jambu Women’s JBU Gwen Garden Ready Duck Shoe

This slip-on duck-style shoe is perfect for light gardening or a stroll over dewy grass. The upper is made of water-resistant rubber, and the inside is ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) with a memory foam insole, for a vegan-friendly product.

Jambu Women’s JBU Gwen Garden Ready Duck Shoe in Honeydew Floral

An array of color choices are available. Each has faux suede or leather trim, depending upon your choice of shoe, that is adorned with eyelets and a tied shoelace in typical duck fashion.

This is the type of shoe you want to keep handy for a quick run into the garden, perhaps with the dog, or the trash, or to pull those weeds you just can’t forget until you get home from work.

It has a patented All-Terra™ Traction slip-resistant rubber outsole that is made of partially recycled, compressed rubber that is long-lasting, won’t mark surfaces, ensures secure footing, and releases soil easily. These have a 1/2-inch heel.

Jambu Women’s JBU Gwen Garden Ready Duck Shoe in Navy/Lilac Floral

This is a very lightweight shoe that weighs only 12.34 ounces per pair. Arch support is minimal. A Microban® antimicrobial treatment inhibits odors.

The insoles are removable, and the manufacturer recommends hand washing them with dish detergent and a soft toothbrush. There are no replacement insoles available that are specifically made for this product. Jambu products are made in China.

Exceptional Features:

  • Plenty of color choices
  • Lightweight
  • Patented non-slip sole
  • Removable, washable insoles

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Faux suede/leather may stain
  • Minimal arch support

The Jambu Women’s JBU Gwen Garden Ready Duck Shoe is available in blush floral, gray/stone blue solid, honeydew floral, navy/lilac floral, navy/whiskey floral, stone blue floral, and taupe/honeydew solid.

Half sizes are available, and the manufacturer recommends ordering one-half size up from what you normally wear, as these run small.

Check prices on Amazon now.

6. Kujo Yardwear Kujo Yard Shoe for Men and Women

This innovative product by Kujo Yardwear is called a “hybrid” work shoe because it combines the durability and water resistance of a work boot with the flexibility, light weight, and ventilation of a sneaker.

It’s part of an exciting new line launched originally on Kickstarter by Shawn Langton, whose years of lawn and garden work inspired him to partner with his sister, Kelsey Langton Martin, and brother-in-law, Craig Martin, to create the “ultimate yard shoe.” The Kujo Yardwear company is based in Michigan.

Kujo Yardwear Kujo Yard Shoe in Gray/Green

Landscapers love this shoe because it stays dry during early morning work, and the cut grass just slips right off after a job of mowing. And, without the weight of a heavy work boot, there’s less strain on the back and legs. All this, and the look of an attractive sneaker at day’s end, make for a truly unique yard shoe.

Tough and easy on the eyes, the Kujo features a 1/4-inch rubber sole with 6-millimeter lugs and grip pods for excellent traction, firm pressure on a shovel, and easy dirt release. The grooves in the tread flex for optimal mobility.

Kujo Yardwear Kujo Yard Shoe in Gray/Purple

The toe cap is reinforced with segmented polyurethane (SPU) for optimal resistance to abrasion and water.

Arch support is also top notch, with a 1/4-inch-thick ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole and a removable insole that cushions the foot and inhibits fatigue.

The manufacturer does not sell replacement insoles, but advises that customers may insert their own, which is particularly useful for those who require the orthotic type.

Kujo Yardwear Kujo Yard Shoe in Black

An exclusive feature is the “flex window” of air mesh between the laces and toe, for added flexibility and air circulation. The sides of these shoes are also made of air mesh to provide the airflow needed to stay cool and dry. There’s also an inner lining that inhibits soil and water penetration.

A trim of “sonic welds” compresses the air mesh and provides added strength in the lace eyelet and collar areas. And an antimicrobial padded collar reduces the buildup of bacteria around the ankle.

This product fits snugly, and has a pull tab to aid with putting them on and taking them off at the end of a long gardening session. Per the manufacturer, each weighs between 12 and 18 ounces, for a total weight of approximately two pounds. Kujo Yardwear products are made in China by Otabo.

Exceptional Features:

  • Air circulation
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Lug traction sole

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Expensive
  • Not a slip-on

The Kujo Yardwear Kujo Yard Shoe is available from Amazon in black, black/green, gray/green and gray/purple. It comes in half and whole sizes.

7. MUCK Boot Muckster II Low Waterproof Shoe for Men and Women

If you’ve ever worn a water shoe to the beach for protection from sharp shells, the look and feel of this MUCK® product will be familiar to you. Made for work in wet or dry conditions, the Muckster II model features a high-traction rubber outsole that “self-cleans” by readily releasing dirt. Four-millimeter neoprene (synthetic rubber) insulation makes for a warm, 100% waterproof experience.

Muck Boots brand Muckster II women's green garden shoes, isolated on a white background.

Muckster II Women’s Low Waterproof Shoe in Green

The look of a Muckster reminds me of the rubber rain shoes of my childhood, but without the trouble of having to stretch it over my shoe! It’s the perfect choice for keeping the chill out and your foot dry on those damp, threatening days when you work between the raindrops because you just can’t bear to miss a garden session on one of your few days off.

Muckster ll Women’s Low Waterproof Shoe in Black/Pink

An air mesh lining inside these cozy shoes breathes as it wicks away moisture to keep your feet warm and dry, making this pair an excellent choice for cool weather gardening.

Muck Boots brand Muckster II men's brown garden shoes, isolated on a white background.

Muckster II Men’s Low Waterproof Shoe in Bark

This is not a hands-free slip-on shoe. The air mesh collar stretches, and there’s a handy pull tab for putting on and taking off.

Muckster II Children’s Low Waterproof Shoe in Purple

There’s also a MUCK® Muckster II Low for children,  available from Amazon in purple or navy/green.

Per the manufacturer, a pair of Mucksters weighs between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds. MUCK® is a registered trademark of the Original Muck Boot Company, owned by Honeywell. Products are made in China.

Exceptional Features:

  • Breathable
  • Neoprene insulation
  • Self-cleaning outsole
  • Pull tab

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Air mesh collar may snag on thorns
  • May be too warm for all-day summer wear
  • Not a slip-on

The MUCK® Muckster II Women’s Low Waterproof Shoe is available from Gempler’s in green. It is also available from Amazon in black, black/purple, black/pink, and green. It comes in whole sizes only.

The MUCK® Muckster II Men’s Low Waterproof Shoe is available from Gempler’s in black and bark. It is also Muck Boot Muckster Ll Men’s Rubber Garden Shoes in black, black/otter, moss/green, and Realtree Xtra (camouflage style). It comes in whole sizes only.

8. Sloggers Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe for Men and Women

This garden shoe is made of waterproof resin that is 100% recyclable and composed largely of recycled materials (50% in the sole, 100% in the upper), making it vegan-friendly.

Sloggers Women’s Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe in California Dreaming

For wear throughout a day of routine garden maintenance, this shoe can’t be beat. Whether you’re digging, mowing, planting, or pruning you’ll have the support and comfort you require. And if you have to run an errand, simply hose off and go. Functional and fashionable – what more do you need?

Sloggers Men’s Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe in Brown

This Sloggers product features an “All-Day Comfort” insole that is formed, unlike many flat insoles, to cradle your foot and provide a firm base for actions like pushing down on a shovel. The insole includes a molded arch, 7-millimeter-thick heel, and 5-millimeter-thick ball support.

Sloggers Women’s Wateproof Rain and Garden Shoe in Hummingbird Blue/Pink

But don’t let this pretty shoe fool you. In addition to protecting your foot in comfort and style, it’s a workhorse. A heavy-duty lug tread yields excellent traction and enables easy soil release.

At the end of a satisfying day in the garden, simply hose or wipe off and air dry. Replacement insoles are available from the manufacturer, and worn-out shoes may be sent to Sloggers to be recycled.

Choose from assorted solid colors and adorable patterns. A pair of women’s size 8 shoes weighs approximately 1 pound. Sloggers are made in the USA.

Exceptional Features:

  • Plenty of color choices
  • Comfort insole
  • Heel protection
  • Recycled content

Potential Drawbacks:

  • May be too warm for all-day summer wear

The Sloggers Women’s Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe is available from Amazon in 23 colors and patterns including black pansy, blue swirls, California dreaming, casual floral charcoal, classic black, flower power, midsummer blue, paisley red, pansy turquoise, rose swirls, and white.

The Sloggers Men’s Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe is also available from Amazon, in black and brown.

It comes in whole sizes and fits true to size. The manufacturer suggests that those who wear half sizes should order up, or purchase Sloggers Cut-To-Fit Half Sizer Insoles, available from Amazon.

9. Tingley Flite Unisex Safety Toe Boot

The name Tingley has been associated with expertly crafted waterproof footwear and garments since the 1800s, so you can be certain you’re getting a quality product with this rugged work boot.

Square image of blue Tingley Flite boots, with one standing and one resting on its side to show the red sole, isolated on a white background.

Tingley Flite Unisex Safety Toe Boot in Blue

Here is the workhorse you want to turn to after a storm, when the yard is full of mud and limbs need hauling and cutting. Or, for when you have to clear a field, muck out stalls, wrestle with poison ivy, hardscape, or apply chemicals. Anytime you’re in over your ankles, you’ll be glad to have the protection of a Tingley boot.

This knee-height model is 15 inches tall and a pair weighs eight pounds. It features a patented design called Calf-Relief Topline (CRT)™ with a comfortable shape and ample calf space.

The upper is constructed from a solid piece of Aerex 1.5.5™, a patented microcellular polymer that is 100% waterproof and more than 40% lighter than most steel-toe and rubber boots with similar dimensions. The manufacturer states, “A one-pound reduction in footwear weight is like five pounds off your back and 5% less energy expended.”

Aerex 1.5.5™ is a material that contains little air bubbles that insulate, keeping out cold or heat as the weather indicates. It resists caustic and greasy substances, for easy cleanup after a day of heavy work. A beveled heel cushions the foot and minimizes back and leg stress. Its heavy-duty tread is “self-cleaning” and readily releases debris when a job is done.

The toe is made of steel for optimal safety, and meets the PT certification for protective toe cap footwear. This boot also meets ET certification standards for electrical safety, as it contains no nails. In addition, it doesn’t set off metal detectors, a convenience appreciated by those who landscape protected public spaces. Tingley products are made in the USA.

Exceptional Features:

  • Heavy duty
  • Resistant to caustic materials
  • Safety toe

Potential Drawbacks:

  • May be too heavy for routine garden use
  • May be too warm for all day summer wear

The Flite® Safety Toe Boot with Chevron-Plus® Outsole is available from Gempler’s in black or blue, and comes in men’s whole sizes only. The manufacturer recommends that women should deduct two sizes from their normal shoe size when ordering. This sturdy, durable boot is also available via Amazon.

Happy Feet

If you find yourself with a collection “garden shoes,” muddied and ruined after too many spur-of-the-moment sessions on the back forty, hurry and order your favorites, before you destroy another!

Each of these nine products offers outstanding value to the home gardener. Get the most out of yours by keeping them in a handy place and washing them after each use.

Be sure to air dry your new favorite garden footwear in a location that’s out of direct sunlight, to keep materials such as cork, resin, and rubber from breaking down. For added protection, apply an appropriate product to protect your new purchase, according to the manufacturer’s directions.

I knew it was time for me to acquire a pair or two when I realized I had a collection of stiff, mud-caked shoes in the shed that had become home to our resident wolf spiders. They were right next to a pair of leather dress gloves I’d inadvertently worn to prune the rosebushes

A black rubber boot-covered food presses a blue metal shovel with a wood handle into brown garden soil.

Remember:

Wear the right footwear for the job, and your feet will thank you.

If you found this article informative, here are a few more you’ll enjoy:

© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Birkenstock, Chooka, Crocs, Hunter Boot Ltd., Jambu, Kujo, The Original Muck Boot Company, Sloggers, and Tingley. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

About Nan Schiller

Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!

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