Boot to the head: find me good work boots
December 10, 2012 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I am female and I work mainly outside as a gardener. I want to get two pairs of work boots, one for warm weather and one for cold weather. Can you give me recommendations for one or both of those pairs of boots?

These will be for daily wear and I'll be beating the crap out of them so they'll need to be sturdy. Each pair should be water resistant - I will be using irrigation and working in the rain during the summer and outside in the snow/sleet/rain during the winter. I have fairly average length and width feet (8.5 USA Women's size and medium width) so I am not terrifically worried about wide toe boxes. I do not pronate significantly.

I'm not adverse to steel toes at all, and they're probably a good safety feature, but you can persuade me in either direction.

I'd like them to be fairly light, but am hoping that they'll last longer than the pair of Timberland Pro's that ended up with cracks in the soles in less than a year.

I do not want to spend much more than $200 unless there's a really compelling reason to do so.

Thanks for the advice.
posted by sciencegeek to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's been a few years, but I had good luck with Caterpillar-branded boots a few times.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:15 AM on December 10, 2012

My boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend, and my brother all swear by tactical boots, despite the fact that none of them work as anything vaguely police/military-related. Is 8'' high enough? Bates is another company to consider if you go that direction, although it's not as clear from their Amazon links whether they're waterproof. If you're looking for something closer to a traditional hiking boot height, I have a similar (slightly lower profile) set of Vasques that I've used for excavations and for hiking and they've been really pretty good. I think I sized up to a 9 to allow for extra pairs of socks in wet or cold weather.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:23 AM on December 10, 2012

Danner are my favorite, they last a long time and are very sturdy.
posted by mlis at 11:25 AM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: Ankle height can be pretty low for summer - even under 6 inches - but higher for winter. I'm in an area that does (usually) get snow.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:26 AM on December 10, 2012

Recommend Keen for durable hiking-style.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:26 AM on December 10, 2012

Red Wing boots are my go-to for all things boots. For cold weather, get the insulated kind or wear additional socks. My steel-toe boots were ~$150 and have held up to wind, rain, etc famously - I wear the same ones in both summer and winter by varying the socks.

Keep in mind that steel-toe boots especially and leather boots in general will take some time to break in.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:59 AM on December 10, 2012

I've been very pleased with my Muck Boots. I have a pair of Wetlands I've used regularly (though not for work) in the winters and occasionally in the summers for the past 5 years of heavy gardening, snow removal and various farm chores, as well as for portaging on canoe trips. They're not light, but I find them comfortable with a pair of thick socks over sock liners and they're dead waterproof. They've held up amazingly well for me so far.
posted by farmerd at 12:03 PM on December 10, 2012

Blundstone is the correct answer here. You should get several years out of them under exactly the circumstances you describe.
posted by fshgrl at 1:08 PM on December 10, 2012

Super-surprised no one has mentioned Bogs. I work in mud/wet soil all winter-long and they are fantastic. In particular, their "agriculture" line is right up your alley. Sturdy, warm and totally waterproof. They are also lighter than other work boots thanks to the neoprene and don't weigh me down as much, I've hiked several miles at a time in them. They have steel-toed versions if that's what you're into. Mine have lasted a couple of seasons.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 1:17 PM on December 10, 2012

Came to say Bogs as well, I don't have a pair but my wife loves hers for tromping around the garden and splashing in puddles with the kids during Seattle's rainy season (aka Seattle's only season).
posted by rouftop at 4:55 PM on December 10, 2012

I wear either REI's basic model women's hiking boot (I have no idea what they're called, but I've had them for years) or Sloggers, year round on our farm in Georgia. The Sloggers are my go-to shoes, and one pair has lasted me two years of daily use.
posted by syanna at 9:18 AM on December 11, 2012

My Vasque Sundowners are perfect for this sort of work....light but sturdy, waterproof, and comfortable.
posted by pilibeen at 8:12 PM on December 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'm thinking about going with Keens.

I don't think that Wellies/Galoshes would work for me - a combination of sweatiness and lack of flexibility; they'd be fine for super rainy days but day-to-day I don't think they'd make sense for my needs.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:45 AM on December 31, 2012

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