Although I feel like I could work in the garden every day, all year long, it's probably good that there are a few months during the winter when there's not much I can do. It's a great time to inspect all of the tools that I'm too busy using during the growing season too even think about, let alone inspect or replace.

One of the "tools" that I've really not paid attention to this past year is my work shoes.


Oh I knew they were getting a little beat up, but when I finally took a close look at them this fall I realized that I had to get a replacement pair. Today I got the new ones!

I don't think I've ever spent so much time and effort choosing footwear as I did with these.

I actually started looking before Christmas, but I don't have the best stamina when shopping for shoes or clothing so had to leave the shoe departments or stores after at most an hour or so -- usually much sooner than that. So the search took me several weeks.

I wanted something with a steel toe and was originally looking at work boots, but decided that a steel-toed hiking boot would be best for me. Here's what I ended up choosing:

Want to see what they're replacing?

Ok, but first you should understand that I've had these for a while... probably 4 years. They're pretty beat up. They're hikers too, but lack steel toes:


Once I started looking, work boots didn't seem to have an appropriate tread for climbing the slopes of my yard, but these have got some good "bite" to them:

They're oil-resistant too, which makes absolutely no difference to me:

What did make a difference to me though was that these were on sale: 1/2 price! Good thing I couldn't decide what I wanted sooner, as I would have bought them before the sale -- I'd probably never even know that they were on sale.

The old shoes don't have much traction anymore, and in fact are probably pretty close to wearing through. I really noticed it when stepping on rocks this past year:

The new ones have the most tongue loops that I've ever seen on a shoe before:

Good metal lace "eyelets" too -- avoid the nylon ones, as they just don't last from what I've read!

I had no complaints with the old shoes in the eyelet area:

In fact, I really didn't have many complaints with the old shoes at all except they didn't have steel toes and were just worn out.

The new ones are supposedly waterproof. The old ones, not so much:

In fact, not only are they not waterproof, they're also not compost-proof, mulch-proof, or pebble-proof. I spent a lot of time taking my shoes off to empty out various foreign object this past fall.

They were comfortable though -- quite well broken-in, as you can imagine.

The new ones will be stiff for a while, but they've got a good amount of padding (more than the old ones) so shouldn't be too bad even at the start:

I think I'm going to wear them around the house for the next few weeks to loosen them up a bit.

As for the old ones -- I think they're going straight into the garbage. They're way past being useful to anybody, even to a project like the Shoeman Water Projects (I think -- I'll verify though).

I can't wait to get out there this spring and give these new shoes a workout!

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Alan  – (January 6, 2011 at 9:22 AM)  

They're Diehard (Sears). I was looking at Timberland Pro, Wolverine, etc., but this was the only one that had all of the features I wanted. Plus at 1/2 price, it ended up being 1/3 of the price of the Timberland's.

GrowingHabit –   – (January 6, 2011 at 10:36 AM)  

Totally not what I expected this morning, and gave me the giggles. I thought I was the only one who mulled over garden footwear with such intensity. But when you got to the part about breaking them in- well, there's cocoa on my monitor now. Via my nose.

Great post!

Gene  – (January 11, 2011 at 2:53 AM)  

Yep, garden shoes are important- steel toes is a must for me now, and a good steel shank....amazing how shoveling will destroy the footbed on a pair of boots.
I look for the LEAST tread possible however! It seems that I'm constantly running in to the house to get something, and I hate taking the boots off just as much as I hate sweeping and mopping the floor because I DIDN'T take them off! Gentle tread and a handy hose are my recipe for sanity (and a happy marriage!)

Alan  – (January 11, 2011 at 9:03 AM)  

Gene -- what style of boots do you use? Work boots? It's not easy to find a hiker with steel shank.

Good point about the treads, but I've slid down my hill too many times (scary!) with insufficient treads so I'm sticking with the gnarled ones at least for now. =)

Gene  – (January 11, 2011 at 10:10 AM)  

I found a style by brahma boot that is a hybrid between a work boot (usually too heavy for my taste) and hikers. Water proof, steel toe, steel shank, but mild tread- the big drawback is that they have those "C" shaped hooks on the top part of the boot for you to catch the laces on....... I tend to have problems with those bending, and then breaking when I pull out the pliers to bend them back. For some reason they are more flimsy than the ones on standard boots.
Since I wear boots almost constantly, I'm always on the lookout for the perfect ones! I will have to look up the ones you show here. For me, I wear a pair of boots out about every 6 months. My sneakers that I bought over a year ago look brand new, I've only worn them twice!

Alan  – (January 11, 2011 at 11:08 AM)  

I'm not really sure what sort of shank material these Diehards have. I love those C hooks, but have never bent any -- I'll keep an eye on it though.

I'm hoping these will last at least a couple of years, but we'll see.

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