The Best Gardening Shoes for Amateurs and Pros Alike, According to Our Tests (2024)

Gardening shoes are a necessity, as they protect 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, all while remaining comfortable.

"The two biggest things to look for when selecting a great garden shoe are comfort and a waterproof construction,” says Allison Vallin Kostovick, an organic gardening expert and owner of gardening education website Finch + Folly. “You want to look for a shoe that is sturdy enough to provide support and lasting comfort, but because gardening involves a lot of bending and kneeling, you'll also want a shoe that offers a bit of flexibility in the sole."

We tested 15 gardening shoes in real-world conditions over six months and evaluated them on quality, comfort, durability, design, and value. Our top picks check all the boxes, and provide lasting comfort and support no matter what your gardening needs are.

Best Overall Gardening Shoes

Bogs Patch Ankle Garden Boots

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What Stands Out

  • They're totally waterproof and are easy to slip on and off.

What Could Be Improved

  • They aren't as comfortable in very hot weather.

These gardening shoes were so effective at resisting water that we would use them as commuter rain boots on a wet day. The Bogs Patch Ankle Boots are 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, including harvesting rubber in regions approved by the Forest Stewardship Council.

During our testing, these shoes stood out for their performance and comfort. They are well made, with a thick yet flexible sole and contoured insoles, which provide support and cushioning for the feet. These garden shoes were also easy to slip off with the help of the built-in heel kick, and after normal gardening use, only a little wear was visible on the treads toward the heel. After six months of real-world testing, the boots were in near pristine condition and quickly became our favorite for cool weather gardening. Keep in mind that they offer more coverage and warmth than some other garden shoes, so they might not be suitable for very warm weather.

Sizes: 6-12 | Material: Rubber, algae-based EVA | Waterproof: Yes

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Best Slip-On Gardening Shoes

Sloggers Rain & Garden Shoes

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What Stands Out

  • They're sturdy, comfortable, and won't let water in.

What Could Be Improved

  • They're not very lightweight.

These garden clogs scored highly in our testing for their waterproof exterior, durable sole, and overall value. We found the soles to be well cushioned, though they didn’t offer much arch support. 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. Plus, unlike many other gardening shoes, these come in a wide variety of patterns (30 to be exact), including many fun floral and animal options.

The sole is thick and offers a hearty tread, enabling you to traverse all kinds of yard terrain with ease. While this added traction is certainly a benefit, we found that mud became embedded in the treads with extended use, making them a bit more challenging to clean. Our long-term testing revealed that these shoes are exceedingly durable—after six months of use they only had a few scuffs and could be easily cleaned with a hose. Overall, these shoes are well made, comfortable, and durable, making them a good value garden shoe to have on hand.

Sizes: 6-11 | Material: Up to 50 percent recycled material | Waterproof: Yes

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Best Tall Gardening Shoes

Xtratuf x Salmon Sisters Legacy Boot

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What Stands Out

  • They are an especially great option for wet climates.

What Could Be Improved

  • They aren't very easy to clean.

Although these are technically fishing boots, we thought they would be well-suited as gardening boots—and our testing confirmed that these boots are particularly useful for muddy gardening work and wet climates. We found the Xtratuf x Salmon Sisters Legacy Boots to be well-built and sturdy, with impressive traction on the soles. During our testing, we traversed puddles and mud without any slipping—and while these boots boast heavy-duty construction, they were still comfortable and supportive.

This boot is made of waterproof materials including rubber, EVA, and neoprene rubber, a type of synthetic rubber. The boot hits about mid-calf, and you can roll it down to reveal a cute octopus pattern, which was designed by Alaskan fishermen. These boots held up quite well during our testing, but we disliked that mud got stuck in the soles even after thoroughly washing them, tracking mud inside. These boots are such a heavy-duty option that they may be unnecessary for light gardening, but we love them for maneuvering in muddy or mucky conditions.

Sizes: 6-11 | Material: Rubber, EVA, neoprene rubber | Waterproof: Yes

Best Gardening Clogs

Amoji Garden Clogs

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What Stands Out

  • They have holes, so are breathable enough for hot weather.

What Could Be Improved

  • Because of those holes, they won't keep your feet dry.

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. We liked the pattern of the holes on this pair of clogs because it allowed less dirt and debris into the shoe compared to other garden shoes with holes that we tested.

Although this design offers breathability, water will seep in a lot easier than with 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. We also found these shoes to be lightweight, easy to slip on and off, and easy to dry. We recommend these gardening shoes to beginner gardeners who aren't ready to invest in a more expensive version. Even with the affordable price tag, this pick held up impressively well over our six-month testing period and quickly became our go-to shoe for quick tasks in the garden.

Sizes: 6-15 (women) / 5-13 (men) | Material: Rubber | Waterproof: No

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Best Gardening Boots

Evercreatures Rain Ankle Boot

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What Stands Out

  • They are comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.

What Could Be Improved

  • They're very hot in warm weather.

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 provide adequate coverage for your foot but aren’t tall or heavy enough to feel bulky. In fact, these shoes were the comfiest rain boots we’ve ever worn—in the three plus hours straight that we worked in the garden we experienced no discomfort. We attributed this comfort to the interior of the shoe, which is lined with cotton, as well as the low heel and height of the boot. Even after six months of testing in real-world conditions, these boots were still supremely comfortable, not to mention easy to slip on and off for quick garden work.

In addition to comfort, these boots are also functional thanks to their waterproof rubber exterior and deep tread, which prevented us from slipping in wet conditions. Another perk of these wellies is the range of colors and patterns they come in. 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. While we found these boots to be ideal for spring, fall, and winter gardening (with the addition of socks), they might not be breathable enough for hot summer days.

Sizes: 5-10 | Material: Rubber | Waterproof: Yes

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Most Versatile Gardening Shoes

The Original Muck Boot Company Muckster II Mid Boot

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What Stands Out

  • They're suitable for every type of weather, and can be worn for more than just gardening.

What Could Be Improved

  • They're expensive.

Kostovick is a big fan of these boots from The Original Muck Boot Company, telling us that she has been a “Muck Boot girl” for more than two decades. “The boots are made of quality material that’ll last you years on end,” she says. “A well-worthy investment, Muck Boots not only give you all-day comfort and support in the garden, they also easily transition into an everyday chore boot that you can wear throughout the year.” They are so versatile that she wears them just as much in the snow as she does working in her garden.

We were also impressed with these boots, as they kept our feet completely dry while working with mulch, walking over wet grass, rock, and pavement, and walking in the rain. Unlike other gardening boots, the Muckster Mid II can be turned into a bootie instantly with the adjustable calf. This feature, which Kostovick loves, allows for extra breathability for your legs when working on hot summer days. We felt instantly cooler when we rolled down the calf, which also reveals a pretty lining that can range from floral to tartan patterns. While undeniably a high-quality option for avid gardeners, you might not need these boots if you’re only doing light gardening tasks.

Sizes: 5-11 | Material: Rubber, mesh | Waterproof: Yes

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Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Bogs Patch Ankle Garden Boots for their durability, thanks to a thick sole and waterproof construction that allows for working in wet environments and uneven terrain. They are also easy to clean and come in plenty of fun patterns.

Our Testing Process

We tested 15 gardening shoes in real world conditions over a period of six months, assessing them on quality, comfort, durability, design, and value. We first did over an hour of 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. Based on this test, we evaluated the feel of the shoes, the quality of the materials, waterproofing capabilities, and additional features like reinforced toes or traction soles. We also gauged our overall comfort while completing gardening tasks, accounting for tight spots, irritating materials, arch support, and traction. If the gardening shoes we tested had ventilation holes, we evaluated the breathability of the shoes.

After doing a variety of gardening tasks, we examined the shoes for damages and signs of wear and rated their durability. We then washed the shoes to see how easy they were to clean and noted whether they needed additional attention after being hosed off. Throughout our testing, we considered the aesthetic and functional components of the gardening shoe designs, evaluating features like slip-resistant roles, pull-on taps, inner liner, and straps on slip-on styles. Once we finished these tests, we rated the overall value of the shoe for the price, as well as whether we would recommend these shoes to fellow gardeners.

Following the initial evaluation, we tested them over a period of six months. After this additional time we re-evaluated the shoes, noting if there were any changes to their quality, and whether they became a go-to pair for gardening work.

How to Shop for Gardening Shoes Like a Pro


Kostovick says the biggest mistake people make with gardening shoes is not getting a pair that is waterproof. “Even if your garden looks dry, there’s dew and moisture all about, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself with soggy shoes,” she says.

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 over time.

Although rubber is a great waterproof material, Kostovick warns that rubber shoes do tend to get hot during summer. Instead, she suggests getting a pair that is a combination of rubber and neoprene. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is actually used to make wetsuits.


Clogs: 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. “Garden clogs are a great option for those days in the garden when you’re doing lighter work, like harvesting or simply walking about enjoying your garden,” Kostovick says. “If you’re growing in raised beds with fairly clean pathways all about, these kinds of shoes will work great throughout your season.”

Wellies: Short wellies are great because they completely cover the foot yet are short enough that your legs are given room to breathe. “When it comes to getting a bit more down and dirty in the garden, like deep weeding, pruning, or wading into a sea of vegetation, I recommend wearing at least ankle-height boots, both for better support (so you have solid footing and don’t topple on top of your precious plants), as well as protection from insects. Nothing wakes you up faster than looking down and seeing your legs covered in ants,” says Kostovick.

Tall boots: 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. Kostovick uses these types of gardening shoes for heavy-duty gardening work such as building beds, lugging compost, tackling brambles and stinging nettles, and working in wetter conditions. “This style of boot tends to get the most wear during the beginning and ending of your growing seasons when you’re focusing on the setting up and cleaning up,” she says. “They also provide a little extra warmth on those chillier days.” The con with these boots are that they are not breathable, and may become uncomfortable to wear on warm days. Plus, for the agile gardener, they may feel bulky to wear.


The fit of your gardening shoe can make or break your gardening experience. “Flimsy footwear is a big hazard,” says Kostovick. “Many of us gardeners find ourselves stretching in awkward positions as we reach to pluck that perfect tomato or pea.” It’s important that you get gardening shoes that are snug enough that your foot feels secure, but not too tight that your range of motion is limited. Kostovick emphasizes being mindful of the width when trying out different gardening shoes.

“Sometimes those garden clogs can be a bit too wide for some folks, which can make them easily slip off when you’re walking/working or twist an ankle,” she says. “On the flip side, sometimes the shaft of tall garden boots are too narrow, giving you the opposite problem of making them almost impossible to take off, much less the discomfort of having that tightness around your calf.”

Kostovick also recommends looking for good support around the footbed and ankle. And for petite people, it’s important to be mindful of the height of a garden boot’s shaft. "I find some tall boots are just too tall to wear comfortably, because when you bend they pinch right under your knee, almost like the top of the boot is cutting into your leg,” she says.

More Gardening Shoes to Consider

Crocs Classic Clogs: These famously comfy shoes are so lightweight that you’ll barely notice you’re wearing shoes. Even though we were able to wear them for over six hours with ease, the large holes allowed dirt to get inside the shoe.

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

Questions You Might Ask

Do I really need to buy separate shoes for gardening?

Unless you want to completely ruin your normal shoes, then yes, you do. 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.

Should you wear socks with gardening shoes?

Some types of gardening shoes, like boots and wellies, might be more comfortable with the addition of socks, which isn’t to say you absolutely need to wear them. Waterproof materials like rubber are more likely to cause blisters or chafing, but if you’re slipping on a pair of low profile clogs or gardening shoes with holed ventilation, socks are less critical.

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 real-world conditions, evaluating them on quality, comfort, durability, design, and value. We also spoke to Allison Vallin Kostovick, an organic gardening expert with more than 25 years of experience and owner of gardening education website Finch + Folly.

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. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

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

The Best Gardening Shoes for Amateurs and Pros Alike, According to Our Tests (2024)
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