When we think of gardening, the image conjured often looks like this: a retired woman puttering around the roses, wearing a giant floral hat that ties under the chin.  While there may be a lot of gardeners that can fit this description, there are now a lot more guys who are taking up the hobby.

And why not?  It's a healthy activity that actually lowers blood pressure and, with the gift of a green thumb, provides everything from beautiful flowers to delicious, healthy vegetables.  If you are a man who is looking to get into gardening, there is one piece of equipment you need to invest in—your gardening shoes.

Too many people think gardening shoes are unnecessary.  After all, sneakers and running shoes will work just as well, right?  Wrong.  While sneakers may be comfortable, they are horrible when it comes to clean-up after some time in the garden.  After a good cleaning, sneakers take a while to dry out, so it will be a few days before you can use them again.

A primary concern with gardening shoes is the material from which they are made.  You want something that made from durable rubber that can be cleaned off easily with a garden hose.  For instance, the Skellerup Redband Knee Length Mens Wellington Boots have a mixture of canvas and rubber that can be both resilient and still move and “breathe” the way sneakers do.  Another good option is the Polar Mens Adjustable Side Rubber Waterproof Rain Wellington Boots which is made from vulcanized rubber and is a great, sturdy and long-lasting shoe because of the construction of the materials.

Another reason why so many people like to wear sneakers while gardening is because they’re comfortable and seem like the best design for getting up and down.  But the reality is that a good, high boot is probably a better style when it comes to gardening.  Having a boot like the Original MuckBoots Adult Chore Hi-Cut Boot, you are providing yourself with ankle support while also keeping feet dry and clean.  Let’s face it, having a boot that comes halfway up the calf is rather practical while traipsing around a garden, especially on a rainy day.

If you want the best of both worlds try Flyrioc Men’s Antiskid Ankle Short Rubber Shoes.  These are lower boots that rise just above the ankle, providing support and a somewhat higher top than sneakers.

Other important considerations when buying gardening shoes are the safety and comfort features.  If you are going to spend lots of time on your feet, you want to keep your feet comfortable and provide lots of support, so they aren't aching and swollen at the end of the day; the Viking Footwear Handyman Rubber Waterproof Boot is a perfect boot for this.  The boot is not only 100% waterproof but is resistant to oil, most chemicals, and heat.  It is also slip-resistant, especially when compared to other boot materials such as PVC.  It’s Snug Fit design is made to prevent your feet from becoming tired and your ankles from rolling, a common injury when it comes to gardening.

Gardening shoes are an important investment if you are planning to take up the hobby.  Don’t be fooled by the easy comfort of your favorite old sneakers: these will require cleaning and don’t provide the support and safety features that good gardening boots and shoes provide. Being prepared ahead of time, before you start gardening, could save you frustration in long run – not to mention saving you money on replacing footwear.

You’ll be a Master Gardener in no time!