Footwork in the Garden


by Susan
Amy’s glove review got me thinking about my garden footwear problem.  To wit:  My favorite gardeningTornclogs375_2 shoes are falling apart and I can’t find them anywhere.  They’re these torn and battered red clogs, having seen at least 10 good years.  And here’s why they’re my favorites:

  • They’re hard enough to do stand-up digging.
  • They’re big enough to wear with socks.
  • They’re full-size at the heel, which keeps them on my feet.
  • The full heel height also keeps my feet dry.

Maybe these will do the job; they’re only 15 bucks.

Sloggers250_2Now I have Slogger clogs, too, and wear them when I can’t find my first choice.  And unlike their Croc-type shoes that we gave away to our readers, Slogger clogs are hard and thick enough for any garden task.  But they’re missing that high back.  So you see that just like gloves, footwear for gardening is a highly personalized matter and we can be downright fussy abouDirtyfeet2200t it.  And I’m downright annoyed that no one’s making my favorites anymore and I have to adjust.

And btw, why do Klogs cost $54?

Then there’s my other favorite gardening footwear – none.  Call me a Southerner (guilty) but this is my natural state.  Bare, and filthy.  And every spring when I first touch my pristine bare feet to the lush green lawn and the soft, leafmold-covered paths it’s a THRILL, I tell ya.

And btw again, taking pictures of your own dirty feet is just weird


  1. Susan… I think you and share a love for the same brand of gardening shoes. I can tell by the plaid insert. Those look like “Jollys” and you can order them at, of all places.

    I have three pair of them. Couldn’t, wouldn’t be without them.

  2. Susan, my feet are always filthy, too. I am always getting kicked out of bed for this offense.

    My favorite pair of gardening shoes ever were steel-shank, ankle-high workmen’s boots that I bought at Modell’s in Brooklyn for $30. I never injured myself in those boots–which does happen, now that I try to dig savagely in clogs or sandals.

    Those boots fell apart and I have never found the right replacement.

    I did recently buy a pair of waterproof, insulated boots at a horse shop that are incredibly cozy when I’m working in the vegetable garden in November. But they are made to be worn with riding pants and are too tight around the calf for ordinary jeans. I suppose I could buy riding pants, but I’m 47. Might be unseemly.

  3. Curious that with a URL like they didn’t appear when I Googled those very words. Having said that, now I’m afraid you’ll all perform the test yourselves and discover I just have bad eyesight.
    Either way, thanks, Carol!

  4. Susan… it took me FOREVER to find that url, too. I don’t know why it doesn’t show up at the top in a Google search. I finally found it earlier in the spring and it was a “duh” moment for me. I think your eyesight is fine.

  5. What timing. I am on the look for the perfect garden shoe, and work shoe and any shoe as my plantars fasci-whatsis has refused to go away. I exaberated the problem by recyling walking shoes to garden shoes and wore them til they fell apart. I tried woman’s work shoes, but the sole was so thick and stiff I couldn’t feel anything and mashed many new little plants and cats’ tails, so I dumped them. Clogs let in too much dirt and I never found one that was good to spade with. Never go barefoot because of the heel problem and because of the time I saw a giant slug trudging across the grass at high noon in full sun. I can squish japanese beetles with bare fingers but you would hear me skreeeeetch for five counties if I stepped barefooted on a slug.

  6. I’m a croc girl — where other than my garden could I wear bright pink ugly rubberesque shoes? Things I love about my crocs: my feet don’t sweat in them without socks, when I do inevitably get dirt inside the shoes I can just rinse them off with a hose, I can wear them with socks if I want to, the strap can flip up to the front when I want a slip-on shoe, flip down in the back when I need the shoes to stay on (like installing a fence on a hill), and they’re so freaking comfortable that I can walk 2 miles in them without any pain which is more than I can say for my sneakers! Things I don’t love about my crocs: I have, on two occasions slid on wet grass — but I think I would have slid in any footwear on those two occasions, I’m a little leery of what would happen if a shovel or hoe came down on my foot in crocs — so I make my husband do all the really heavy shoveling, and I have forgotten that I’m wearing bright pink clown shoes and run to the store for something I’ve needed.

    All of that said, part of the reason that I love my crocs is that I have wide feet, but yours look nice and narrow (if filthy), and I have heard that people with narrow feet don’t find the crocs as comfortable.

  7. I’ve been on the hunt for new clogs recently as well. I’ve worn sloggers for years, but was looking for something that was more comfortable – that I could wear all day while working. My biggest issue is, why are all garden clogs only produced in whole sizes? Anyone ever find a pair that comes in half sizes?

  8. Michele, according to my fashion writer, who just got back from NYC, jodphurs or riding pants are totally in. As she says: “if you can get away with a stretch cotton riding pant that is not all wide and loose at the sides, then go ahead and show off your fortunate self.”

    I have these solid green clogs that come with a plaid insert and I love them. No heels for me though–I am very blister prone. I don’t like the sloggers we gave away (for gardening purposes, anyway)–they have holes in them. That’s not very helpful.

  9. Well, Elizabeth, I did just go to my first horse show and was interested to see that women were competing into their 60’s. Apparently, the best Olympic riders are in their 40’s. So you can squeeze a middle-aged butt into riding pants. The question is, if you are not as fit as those riders, is it wise?

    In my own case, I’m not sure, but I’ll keep you posted.

  10. Can anyone tell me why clogs don’t get a lot of dirt in them, necessitating sitting down and clearing them frequently? I have always worn tie shoes when gardening (yes, good ones of those are also hard to find, my current ones resemble hiking shoes). I just don’t see how clogs support your foot safely and comfortably when lifting heavy pots or using a shovel or pitchfork. Or do I just do more “heavy” gardening (almost farming) than most people? I doubt it, on this site!

  11. They do get some dirt in them, but I think a lot of us want shoes we can slip on and off and not wear socks with.

    I use shovels, sledgehammers, and various forks and find the clog supports my feet fine. And then I can just slip it off and hose my feet off–I hate having my feet too confined during gardening.

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