Good gardening shoes?

roselee z8b S.W. TexasMarch 13, 2011

What do you all wear for gardening shoes and where do you get them?

My pair of Born Werks thick leather shoes are 12 plus years old and wearing out. The soles on one side are being held together with Gorilla glue and strapping tape -- I like them that much :-) but I don't think they make them anymore.

Anyway, I'd like to have something in leather that I can try on and that will last. Where to look?

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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

I haven't given much thought to 'garden shoes'. I have a couple of easy to slip on pairs for light outdoor use, and some leather lace up work boots for heavier chores. But I know what it's like to grow attached to a particularly good pair like your Born Werks and wonder if they can ever be replaced. What kind of shoes are they? I'm not familiar with that brand so had to google them. It seems that the company, at least, still offers shoes. But maybe not the style you have. At I saw that they carried a heavy sandal called 'gardner' which I believe is for men, and several kinds of shoes/boots. But didn't see any called "Werks". Maybe they make something similar?

What are the characteristics you're looking for in a good garden shoe? I like something that protects my whole foot and is easy to slip on and off. If I'm going to do any digging or heavy work I need something like a boot that supports my foot and ankles, will stay on my foot and has a thick sole.

Here is a link that might be useful: Born shoes

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:26PM
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These aren't leather, but I prefer shoes I can easily wash the mud off of. I like Sloggers gardening shoes for everyday light garden chores, and Smith & Hawken Muck shoes or boots for the heavy duty stuff.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 8:47AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thanks to you both for your responses. I was beginning to think you all gardened in flip flops, which I've been known to do myself. In fact before full light this morning I was out repoting a jasmine Jolana gave me a couple of years ago in my flip flops and night gown. Don't tell me none of you have never done anything like that ... hahaha!

Wings, you found more than I did on the internet. The official Born site evidentally shows only their current styles where the site you linked has styles from other years. I thought for awhile that I might even find 'my' shoes on it, but I didn't. And the ones available that might work weren't available in my size.

I have a couple of other 'dressier' Born shoes (the brand just seems to fit my feet well) but my gardening shoes are so 'ugly' that even when new that my Mom would break into gales of laughter every time she saw them. Now that they are old they are even worse. Patty asked Bob to please buy me some more shoes when she was over here recently. Actually he was thinking of having them bronzed as a momento ;-) and so I couldn't wear them anymore ... LOL

Bird, thanks for the tips on Sloggers and Smith & Hawkins Muck shoes. Both have quite a following. There was a post on another GW forum praising the Smith & Hawkins Muck shoes. I might have to take another look at non leather shoes.

Off to do some more searches ...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:13AM
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Since you are considering at looking at other types of shoes:

I'm happy with several pairs of crocks. Easy to slip off and on. I keep one pair at each doorway.
I can wear socks or no socks depending on what I'm doing. I've even bought knock off's at Big Lots that work fine. I prefer them to be a size too large so my feet have room to breath and don't get so sweaty hot. Nice thing about these is when you're all hot and nasty feeling just hose your feet right through the shoes! :)

But for the really rough gritty work, I have to wear my reebok princess style leather tennis shoes which I just throw in the washer when they're really looking bad. I wear these all the time, they are my everyday shoe. When they're looking worn they get put in the garden/camping shoe pile and I buy a new pair.

I'm not out in the wilds gardening, just my suburban back yard or over at Carrie's pilfering her beds. I usually put on outside clothes to go to her place and we don't need those thigh hi snake boots.

I can only wear the flip flops when I'm on the patio potting up stuff. Never for out in the beds.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:34PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Melvalena, thanks! I like that idea of washing hot, tired feet with cool water while wearing shoes :-)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 2:36PM
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dragonfly_wings(Z8 - Central TX.)

I have a NEW favorite gardening shoe I'd like to share.
I've travelled enough to know that the most important item to take is an extraordinarily comfortable and supportive
pair of walking shoes. It's really one of my ultimate tests for shoes, and the good ones really stand out. I had purchased some slip-on Keen shoes (similar to their "Paradise Sandal" style) for my last trip to Europe as a secondary pair to my official walking shoes. However the Keens were so comfortable and durable that I ended up wearing them the whole time. I had bought them at an REI store, so I figured that I'd look for another Keen shoe to purchase for working around my home. As I said in my post above, my criteria is that the shoes need to cover my feet, slip on and off easily, have a thick enough sole to hold up to things like digging with a shovel while preventing anything from poking through the sole, and just generally be well made, comfortable and flexible. So then I found the Keen "Summer Golden Slip-On" shoes and have not looked back. They are perfect!

I also really enjoy being barefoot, though it isn't always the best idea due to bothersome ouchies like grass burrs. However a friend of mine just purchased some shoes that were
created to replicate the "barefoot experience". He's a physical therapist and loves the feel, the look and the whole barefoot rationale for these shoes called VivoBarefoot. They come in different styles for Men, Women and Children. He had purchased a style called "RA" and they looked attractive, beautifully well made and invitingly comfortable. So I may be trying some of them next, although those Keens I purchased for traveling seem very similar in construction and walking experience and have lots of life left in them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keen,

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Beatrice_z10(z10 FL)

Roselee, I found a pair of Born Werks on eBay. When I absolutely have to have a particular thing that is not readily available, I set up an eBay alert to find it.

That said, Born makes good shoes that last well and yo may find that they make something else now that you will like just as well. Here in the Killeen area I'd be hard pressed to find anything Born to choose from, but I don't know where you are.

Keen and Merrel both also make really good comfortable shoes. I also have a pair of Tevas that have worn wonderfully since 2007 and they can be hosed out.

Good luck in your search!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:50PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thank you both for those good tips!!! I'm going to check them out right after the family Easter dinner is over and done :-)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 7:06PM
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I bought Birkenstock clogs years ago for gardening and they've held up very nicely.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 6:44PM
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