If you’re an avid gardener you’ll need some gear to protect the feet from thorns, sharp sticky-out things and mud, lots of glorious mud. Enter the best gardening boots and garden shoes on the market.
The majority of garden shoes are of the slip-on variety and very often in the form of clogs. Some models don’t have a heel grip which makes them especially easy to crouch in while tending to the garden border. They are also extremely easy to slip off before coming indoors.
However, clog-style garden shoes are not quite as easy to walk in and they can be dislodged when moving about on uneven, obstacle-strewn ground. Thick mud can also cause them to stick fast leaving your foot dangling while you try to retrieve the shoe while standing on one leg. Despite these minor niggles, clogs are far and away the most popular style of garden shoe.
The vast majority of garden shoes are made from rubber or some weird synthetic substance and are, by definition, totally waterproof and therefore not especially breathable. But since you’re unlikely to be wearing them all day long, breathability shouldn’t be much of an issue.
We’ve sourced a quintet of women’s, men’s and unisex shoes and clogs and, in most instances, put them through their paces in a variety of different garden conditions so you don’t have to.
Now go forth and dig, rake, hoe and weed with full confidence that your feet won’t bear the brunt and your home won’t look like a mud bath.
The best gardening boots you can buy in 2022
Gardening is dirty business so the last thing you want to be doing is trudging around the borders or allotment wearing unsuitable shoes. These excellent slip-on men’s Muck Boot shoes are made from pliable rubber with tough soles and a soft, breathable air mesh lining. They are supremely comfortable and supple enough to bend with the shape of the foot when in a crouched position. The outer soles, meanwhile, are thick enough to fend off sharp thorns and rusty nails and protect the arch of the foot when stomping on a spade or fork.
Being made entirely from rubber, they are naturally a doddle to clean – simply blast with a hosepipe and leave to dry. These shoes are also perfect for mowing the lawn, walking the dog first thing in the morning through wet or dewy grass, even going on a short hike.
MuckBoot’s sizing is pretty accurate so if you’re normally an 8, then that’s the size to order. These shoes are also available in women and children styles.
When these ladies clogs arrived I thought there was one missing in the package because they were so light – 290 grams light! They’re also supremely comfortable. So comfortable that you could feasibly forget you’re wearing them when you go out to some fancy restaurant. And that may be embarrassing, especially if they’re covered in mud.
But I digress. These clogs are available in a huge variety of pretty patterns and colours schemes – 29 in all – so you shouldn’t have any problem selecting a pair for your feet (they come in UK sizes 3 to 8). They all have a 1/2-inch heel on the back which makes them pretty easy to walk around in without any shuffling, and there’s a decent amount of space around the dorsal (instep) region so you can crouch with ease.
Clogs like this are usually generously sized so you may need to go for one size smaller if you want a tighter fit. But then again, a slightly looser fit is generally a better bet when pottering around the garden.
For sheer breadth of colours and styles, these extraordinarily comfy garden clogs are in a league of their own.
This writer’s a big fan of the Muck Boot brand, not least because its raft of styles are comfortable to wear, extremely practical and tough as tough can be.
If you don’t fancy putting a pair of clogs on your trotters, consider these tapered ladies sport pumps instead. They’re extraordinarily comfy and they grip onto feet like a limpet, which means they will never fall off if somehow caught on an obstacle.
The Muckster II Flats are so flexible you can crouch down with heels in the air and feel zero resistance. They are, to all intents and purposes, as comfortable as wearing no shoes at all.
Obviously the low-cut styling will allow mud, earth and water to occasionally cover the unprotected instep region but they fit so snuggly that there’s little chance of anything working its way into the shoe. And anyway, what’s a bit of mud between friends, eh?
From a grip point of view, these shoes are perfect for scaling rockeries, elaborate water features and possibly even El Capitan. The rubberised front section also protects the toes from any accidental stubbing when working in stony areas while the reinforced heel adds extra strength, rigidity and grip.
It’s a shame Muck Boot doesn’t produce this style in a range of colours – it’s only available in black with a floral patterned insert – but other than that, these are fine gardening shoes that can also be worn for other daytime adventures.
When it comes to Wellington boot choice, Hunter rules supreme – in the pantheon of country style attire, the brand is truly iconic. However, Hunter doesn’t just make wellies and ankle boots these days, they also produce a range of gardening clogs – like this chunky pair in dark olive or vintage green, replete with chunky Dutch-style clog heels.
The raised, block-shaped heel does look pretty weird it has to be said, but then it is a Hunter signature detail that appears on all of its rubbery products. Half a ton buys you a pair of Certified Vegan shoes in natural rubber that flexes with the foot for undeniable comfort in the rough and total waterproofness against everything Mother Nature throws in your path. The comfortable neoprene lining, meanwhile, ensures your feet aren’t chafed to bits when shuffling about among the rhododendrons. Oh, and they come with the famous logo on the front, too, just so everyone knows that you know that they know. Shame they’re not available in any other colours, mind.
Here’s an interesting slant on the humble clog – Croc-style ventilation for hot summer months in the allotment. The Amoji Unisex are available in 12 vibrant colours and nine sizes (from UK 4 to 12 Men and UK5 to 13 Women) so there's plenty of choice for everyone.
I’ll hasten to add that I never actually received a press sample of these garden shoes but having seen the colours and airy styling and dipped into the shedload of positive Amazon reviews, I now wish I had.
The majority of users say they’re super light and really comfy even though many wear them as slippers. Conversely, an admittedly smaller proportion of buyers have said that they’re cheap looking and, perhaps even more pertinently, quite a few users have said that Amoji’s sizing is way off the mark. Their advice is to buy a pair at least one size larger than you would normally wear and possibly even two sizes larger. One thing’s for sure – they’re cheap to buy.