The dry-foot gardener.
Fortunately, inexpensive footgear for winter gardening is easy to find. The best places to look are in department, hardware, shoe, and sporting goods stores. Over shoes, over socks: here are choices
Rubber shoes and boots made to be worn over socks are called pacs in the shoe industry. These fit well, and their steel shanks protect your arches--a boon when you're driving a spade home.
Though some pacs have built-in insulation, most have only a thin layer of rubber and liner around your feet; they tend to be cold and, because they're impervious to air, make your feet sweat. Wear them only with heavy socks; wool ones are best since they're warm even when damp.
Combination leather-and-rubber boots and shoes help prevent sweaty feet and work well in all but the wettest conditions. In tall wet grass and ground covers, water eventually leaks through seams, then saturates the leather. Waterproofing compounds can delay leaking and saturation but inhibit the leather's breathability.
Styles of boots vary. The pullover ones last longest, but are hardest to get on and off. They're usually sized large so there's plenty of room for thick socks.
Boots with attached tongues are easier to get on, but tend to crack eventually where the tongue folds over on itself.
Boots with removable felt liners will keep your feet warm in subfreezing weather. When you buy, make sure the dealer will be able to get new liners when yours wear out. If liners get dirty or soaked, run them through your washer and dryer.
Gaiters, galoshes, and overshoes--the names are interchangeable--all fit over your shoes, rarely have steel shanks, and usually have spreading tongues held closed with zippers, snaps, or laces. These don't fit snugly--they can feel awkwardly loose on your feet--but are good choices if you frequently go from house to garden and don't want to remove your shoes every time.
Clogs and rubber shoes are useful for quick trips into the garden but are too low cut for all-purpose winter use. Their biggest advantage is that they kick off readily when it's time to come inside.
Similar styles vary greatly in price. Most low-priced garden footwear comes from Asia, where labor is cheaper. But most higher-priced boots last longer because they're made from ozone-resistant rubber blends that resist cracking.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 1984|
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