My "casual" garden shoes

A while back I wrote about my new work boots, what I'll be wearing when digging, mowing, essentially doing anything other than strolling around the garden. When I am just walking around though I wear something more casual. Actually they're not that casual, as they're shoes made of leather, not the colored spongy plastic that is so popular in the garden and everywhere else these days (for good reason).

I didn't purchase these to be garden shoes, but one day I realized that they might be quite good for that purpose, and I never wore them anyway. They ended up being great shoes for the garden. Because they're leather they're quite durable, but do take some care. Today I'm giving them a long overdue polishing.


There are so many different materials that are used in shoes today, it's easy to forget that leather is still one of the best. It's comfortable (once broken in), durable, water resistant when properly prepared, and just so nice on at least three of the senses.

They're not too nice on the senses when they show this level of neglect though:

Shoe polish is key to keeping them happy.

I'm going to need a fair amount of polish on the brush:

It's so satisfying to work the polish into the dry leather, much like staining a bare piece of wood a dark, rich color is -- if you've ever done that.

After the polish dries for a while, it's time to brush it off:

Buffing with the brush is another satisfying part of this job, because the dull, lifeless finish turns glossy and exciting:

Pretty soon you're left with beautiful garden shoes, perfect to wear while showing friends around your newest planting bed or pointing out a favorite new plant acquisition.

Yes, they really are water resistant too.

I really like slipping these shoes on for a quick walk around the yard!

Leather: it's probably what your grandmother wore on her feet when she worked in her garden.

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Anonymous –   – (March 4, 2011 at 6:06 AM)  

Dear Alan, Your posting made me think of that iconic picture of Gertrude Jekyll's gardening boots. Well worn and well loved. What a difference the polish makes....I do like to see polished shoes it makes all the difference to one's apppearance.....even in the garden!!

Carol  – (March 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM)  

Well Done Alan! It is so great to have hardy shoes one can simply slip into to walk and work about the garden.

EvoOrganic  – (March 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM)  

I can't believe the transformation, they look brand new! This reminds me to polish my shoes, haven't done that in years. I'm glad you found something so durable and comfortable. It will make your garden even more enjoyable.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (March 4, 2011 at 4:09 PM)  

I have a pair of those spongy plastic shoes you referred to and hate them for gardening--no matter what I do, I always end up with pieces of bark or dirt in them. I much prefer an old pair of sneakers.

Beth at PlantPostings  – (March 4, 2011 at 7:50 PM)  

What a fun post about quality, comfortable garden footwear. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Alan  – (March 4, 2011 at 8:00 PM)  

Evo: they may look new, but they feel like old friends. =)

Gerhard: I don't do anything too crazy when wearing these, but they certainly won't get sticks or mulch in them like some other shoes will -- like the sandals I'll wear when it's really hot. I've gotten big sticks somehow wedged between the sandal and my foot, and that's not fun.

Donna  – (March 5, 2011 at 1:06 AM)  

brought back memories of childhood when all we wore was leather and my dad would polish all our shoes...

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