The other day I was about to go outside to straighten up all the stuff we have stored behind our tool shed. The recent snow had pretty much disappeared but we had some rain so I knew I would be working in some areas of mud. I was having trouble deciding on which shoes I should wear and realized that over the years I have a small collection of what we might call “yardening shoes”. I have four pairs of shoes for working in the yard. In the past decade I have tried other models, but what I have now are my final four.
I buy a new pair of sneakers every year, so my working sneakers this year were my dress sneakers last year. They still have good tread. still have a nice firm fit, and most important feel comfortable. For thirty years now I have worn New Balance sneakers (in $60 to $80 range) because they seem to fit my particular foot better than other brand. I wear my working sneakers to mow the lawn, do outside chores, and do most of the gardening when there is no mud to worry about.
For the muddy task of straightening out the mess behind the tool shed, I chose my high top walking shoes. In the past, looking for a mud shoe I have tried the popular high top work shoes worn by construction workers, but they never felt comfortable. I also tried a pair of knee high rubber boots, like the ones my grandfather the farmer used to wear. I got blisters on the back of my heal, so I passed on the boots. Maybe I never wore either of those shoes enough to truly break them in, but when I discovered the high top walking shoes with the fuzzy suede leather uppers, I had what I was looking for. I got a shoe I could wear shoveling snow, doing tasks that might need some extra support on my ankles, and for working outside in the mud.
We live with a yard surrounded by twenty acres of woods. The best tool for thinning the woods around the house is a chain saw. I have enormous respect for the potential dangers working with a chain saw, so I always wear a shoe with steel toes. I tried a number of models over the years, but have settled on a pair of what I call army boots. They lace about four inches above the ankle giving excellent support when working in a woodsy area with lots of potential for twisting an ankle. Since I do much of my woods thinning in the winter, I wanted the higher boot for those times I am working with snow on the ground.
I did not find my favorite wet gardening shoe until last year. I’ve tried old sneakers but the treads collect mud. I tried ankle high rubber boots, but they were not comfortable. I tried clogs because they seemed to be so popular and they looked like they would be easy to put on and take off. Unfortunately whenever I tried to walk backwards I walked out of theclog.