Going out to quickly to inspect the yard, pick veggies or tend to containers? Clogs are great for slipping on easily and keeping your feet protected. They also work well on hot days to keep your feet cooler especially if you are wearing a molded clog with air vents. Flip-flops or sandals are also great for keeping your feet cool doing this type of gardening.
Going to be digging a new bed or standing in deep dirt that could possibly be wet and muddy? Shoes would be a better choice since they keep the dirt and water away from your feet. Something that fits well when you are working in the mud, using a rake, or digging a hole will make your feet more comfortable therefore making the work more enjoyable.
Heavy duty digging in a spring garden? Boots would be the choice I'd make for that. They will likely have safety features that protect your feet when you work with gardening tools, they would be waterproof as well, keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
Once you know which type of shoe you want, narrow your search further by using the following guidelines.
- Looks - Lets face it, we all like shoes that show our personalities. Great, nice looking, colorful shoes make us not only look good but feel good. Just putting on a pair of bright colored or flower covered shoes makes me want to go out and play in the dirt, or splash in a puddle. If you aren't headed to the garden, most gardening shoes look great when you are out and about doing errands. People will envy your style and daring choice when really you just like fun shoes! So don't keep them just for gardening, wear them often!
- Slip on and off-ability - This is a biggy! If the footwear goes on and off easily, then you are more apt to slip them on when you go out there to just "take a look at your plants". We all start out that way and before we know it, you have half your garden weeded or a new bed dug up. Gardening footwear instead of your bedroom slippers or flip-flops will work best in this situation. Boots or shoes that have a kick-off ridge makes leaving your shoes behind a no-handed deal, so look for that feature when choosing your pair.
- Another reason easy on and off is so important is, if you have to run in the house for a second, it's so much nicer when there are no laces to deal with, or buckles to close. You are more apt to slip them off and therefore keep your house so much cleaner. Let's face it, when we come back inside from gardening we are usually too tired to mop the floor. Energy spent on gardening is so much more like play than work. Save the work for rainy days.Stretchy at the top opening in shoes is a great feature for on and off as well as comfort! The whole point of good shoes is to keep your feet dry and clean. A snug top keeps dirt out as well as debris, so make sure the top of your shoe or low boot is snug enough to do this task without being too tight. It's really important to keep you comfortable. Nothing worse than having to stop to get a pebble or stick out of your shoe when you are in the gardening zone.
- Comfort - Fit is really important. Too loose and you get blisters and you could easily fall. Too tight, you could get blisters and you won't likely wear them. So make sure the fit is good and they are made to do the kind of gardening you do. They shouldn't need a break-in period. Put them on and they should feel comfortable. Simple as that.
- Waterproof - Wearing shoes that are waterproof is especially great if the dirt is wet or deep. No one likes a shoe full of water or mud so when looking for garden shoes, try to find ones that will keep your feet dry and comfortable ~that leads to more time gardening. ~Don't worry that waterproof means sweaty. Most of the better shoes are made with linings that keep your feet dry and at a comfortable temperature as well.
- Safety - Having a shoe that protects your toes as well as your arch when using tools is always a bonus. Garden shoes protect your feet from dirt and germs that can lead to all sorts of issues. Not to mention protecting that pedicure.
- Easy to Clean - Finding garden shoes that will clean up quick and dry fast makes them a great choice. Let's face it. Your shoes get dirty in the garden, being able to hose them off and know you aren't ruining them is really important.
So those are the things to keep in mind when you give up that pair of flip flops or old sneakers that you garden in, or when you decide that sharp rock you stepped on makes barefoot gardening seem unwise.