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Mucksters Rubber Garden ShoesI have a yard with two main seasons: soggy season and sticker season. When it’s not muddy out, there always seem to be a plethora of weeds ready and willing to insert stickers and burrs through my shoes and socks and into my tender flesh.
Fortunately, about 10 years ago, I bought a pair of Mucksters; they handily and comfortably solve both outdoor footwear problems. They’re molded out of rubber with a neoprene inner, so as long as you don’t step in something higher than the top of the shoe, your feet will stay dry (get muck boots instead if this is a frequent occurrence). They’re easy to step in and out of, and the neoprene forms snugly around your ankle, so they don’t fall off.
They have two layers of foam insoles inside; they’re comfortable enough that I’ve found myself forgetting to remove them and going on walks or errands—you can basically wear them all day.
And they will repel the most tenacious bur or sticker—they may get on your pants but they’ll never poke your toes again. The thick rubber around the toe also provides a measure of protection if you accidentally drop something on your foot, or if the mower kicks something out at you.
They make working in the yard, plus any chore involving water (such as washing the car, or the siding, or the dog) a much more pleasant experience, and your regular shoes will last longer once you start letting the Mucksters handle the dirty work.
If it gets hot enough, of course, they eventually get sweaty inside, but even on days over 100F I often end up wearing them just to avoid those dratted stickers.
You can wash them easily with soapy water; the top foam insole can be machine washed. If they do get wet inside be sure to pull out the insoles and let the shoes thoroughly dry upside-down and toes-up, or your Mucksters may become odiously odiferous.
Order a size that fits comfortably but a little loosely; otherwise, you may not be able to wear your thick socks in winter. Loose enough that you can step into them without having to bend over and pull them on, snug enough that they’re secure on your foot and you won’t accidentally walk out of them.
There are cheaper versions made, which I haven’t tried; I see that people complain that they’re not as comfortable and wear out sooner, but if you only will use them occasionally for short periods they’d probably do the job. If you’re going to be using them a lot, I’d stick with the Mucksters