The Best Boots For Tree Planting: Boot Advice

Best Boots for Tree Planting

It’s that time of the year, the tree-planting season is upon us. Time to gear up.

Whether you’re a rookie or an experienced tree planter, this question will come up every year.

What boots should I get?

I’m not going to go on with blah blah, I’ll just cut right to the chase.

First, there will be two categories.

  • Alberta & BC Planting
  • Quebec & Ontario Planting

Simply because tree planting is not the same on the east coast as on the west coast.

In general, you’ll get more mountains in the west, and more swamps in the east, which changes the kind of boots you’ll want.

Still, most boots will do just fine anywhere, but caulked boots, for example, won’t be necessary on the east coast.

While steel-toed boots might not be required in the west, it’s required in most places in the east.

Note: Keep in mind the shipping fees + taxes are not included in the following prices.

Best Tree Planting Boots for Alberta & BC

First things first, you’ll probably want at least one pair of calked boots for BC planting.

In most of Alberta, chances are you won’t need calks.

Before you buy a pair, just ask your crew boss whether you’ll need them or not.

Note: Coastal and rocky mountain range is mountainous, while BC interior and Northern Alberta are relatively flat.

Keep an eye on these brands, the hikers are all quite similar, it’s all about the right fit.

If you can try them on yourself at a store nearby, that’s the best-case scenario, just pick the ones that fit your feet the best.

Scarpa Fuego – 575$ CAD

Tree Planting Boots - Vibergs Chockerman -

Viberg Chokerman (Calked) – $750 CAD

Tree Planting Boots - Armor Pro Calk Hoffman

Hoffman 10″ Armor Pro Calk (Calked) – $625 CAD


Vasque St-Elias – $315 CAD

Tree Planting Boots - Zamberlan 960

Zamberlan 960 – $470 CAD

Note: Viking boots are a size bigger than they’re advertised. For example, if you’re size 10, get size 9.

There could be a thousand different answers as to what the best tree planting boots are, they all do a similar job. In the end, it comes down to preference.

Keep an eye out for these brands, places like MEC, Altitude, and Atmosphere often have them in store.

Best Tree Planting Boots for Ontario & Quebec

Quebec & Ontario tree planting requires steel-toed boots, that’s the main reason why boots will differ here.

Any of the recommended boots for AB/BC work for tree planting in ON/QC if your contract does not require steel-toe.

Tree Planter Boots - Dunlop

Dunlop Safety Boots – $179 CAD

Tree Planting Boots - Baffins Hunter

Baffin Hunters – $105 CAD

Tree Planting Boots - Timberland Pros Composite

Timberland Pros – $285 CAD

Tree Planting Boots - HAIX Protectors

HAIX Protectors – $545 CAD

Many of these boots are made large, you want to get a size smaller. Ask the manufacturer for the boot chart.

Another good suggestions are to drop by the army surplus to look for combat boots. They often have gortex ones for cheap.

Also, even cheap steel-toed rubber boots at Canadian Tire will work. Many of them have a warranty, you can keep the receipt and exchange your pierced boots for a new pair for free.

Boot Repair Kit

You should also plan for this, a bit of boot repair supplies can make your boots last much longer.

So what are good shoe repair supplies?

  • Superglue, Needle & Fishing Wire – To patch holes, cuts, and scratches.
  • Boot Oil/Grease – Boot maintenance.
  • Laces – Extra pair for when they break.

Superglue & Fishing Wire

When you have cracks or holes to patch, these will come in handy.

Just superglue alone isn’t enough, it needs something underneath to strengthen it. You want to fix the stitchings or tears with fishing wire first to provide a solid, longer-lasting fix.

It’s hard work to stitch your boots, but if you’re on top of things and stitch them before it’s too late, you’ll give your boots a much longer life.

What I did last year was sit down and stitch the tears, and when I finished, I poured a layer of glue on top. What it did was create a kind of hard finish on top that would hold the leather in place and seal the cracks.

Permatex Glue- $25 Per Tube

Permatex Glue for Fixing Tree Planting Boots

30 lb Fishing Line $20

Leather Needle Kit $9

Boot Wax

Also, good boot maintenance will greatly help against cracks in leather and rubber.

It’s not always on the field that your boots break, it’s also when they’re drying on the racks.

A good way to prevent that is to use boot wax to condition and moisturize the leather.

Canadian Beeseal Wax – $46 Per Kit

The kit includes a case with 2 tins, a hard brush, a soft brush, and a cloth to apply the wax. I got a kit like this last year and used about 1 tin of wax out of the 2 so this should last you two years (I did wax them regularly about every weekend).

I really enjoyed the little ritual this created, just sitting down and waxing your boots can be pretty relaxing, and the wax has a nice citronella smell to it! 10/10 would recommend.

Boot Wax for Tree Planting Boots


Laces sometimes last the whole season, and sometimes last only a few weeks. It depends on your luck, but you should at least have extra pairs of laces.

I like thin laces like these that are easy to take apart at the end of the day. Seriously, after a day of planting with wet feet, those boots can’t come off any faster!

I bought new boots last year and the laces ripped within a couple of months, I wish I had a pair of these around then. I ended up going back to the city just for laces, and couldn’t find this level of quality. Get a pair! You’ll be happy you did.

Ironlace72 Inch$27 Per Pair

Boot Comfort Supplies

These items will make your life a lot better while tree planting:

Bamas/ Boot Liners

I personally don’t use bama liners, but it’s a staple in the tree-planting world.

Bama liners will also absorb some of the shock on your knees, but their primary use is for boot comfort and water absorption.

When tree planting, as much as you try to avoid it, you’ll get water in your boots and get your feet soaked. This is especially true in Quebec, and Ontario.

There’s just no avoiding it, but you can make yourself more comfortable with bama socks.

Pioneer$17 Per Pair

They’ll absorb the water and keep your feet from being waterlogged.

Most tree planters in my camp use these.

2024 Edit: I converted and used these last year to some mixed effect. Here are my thoughts:

  • Pro: They are great to fill the space if your boots are a bit too big.
  • Pro: They absorb water super well, you rarely have the lake-in-your-boots effect.
  • Con: Heel problems, there’s a collar that goes around the top part of the sock that can put pressure on your heels to the point where it hurts. I fixed this by just cutting it off. Note: This didn’t happen with the pioneer liners I linked above, but with the Viking liners I bought after when the first pair had holes.


You want sturdy socks that won’t easily tear at the heel, they’re not cheap but really worth the investment.

I bought pairs that were 15$ each but lasted two whole seasons before they started tearing.

Also, some good pairs of wool socks are great for tree planting.

These are the exact pairs I had.

Dristex2 Pairs for $30

Socks for Tree Planting

Are you getting blisters on your heels? The solution is ridiculously simple, just wear two pairs of socks. Problem = gone.

Dr. Scholl’s Insoles

If you prefer not to use bamas, these are a must-use.

I’ve been using these since the start, they make a world of difference. The gel-like insoles absorb a lot of the shock from your steps and kicks during the day.

Your movements throughout the day put a strain on certain parts of your body, your knees especially.

Having a gel insole will reduce the strain, and your knees will thank you for it.

I used the regular kind, they were a little thin and would sometimes move around in my boots.

I can’t speak for the work kind, but I suppose their thickness would fix that problem.

Dr. Scholl’s Work Insoles2 for $50

Knee Pain? Collagen Supplement with Hyaluronic Acid 

On the subject of knee pain, I have had problems with my knees while tree planting, and found a solution that works for me.

The continuous shock wears down the cartilage on your knee joints, and collagen supplement with hyaluronic acid helps it rebuild your cartilage and reduce joint pain.

I’ve been using these for two years, and they work like magic, my knee pain has been non-existent since then.

If you suffer from knee pain while tree planting, I highly recommend it.

Webber’s$25 Per Bottle

Collagen Supplement for Knee Pain

It’s about a bottle per month, I think last season I went through 4 bottles.

100$ investment to avoid knee pain? It’s an easy choice for me.

2024 Edit: I still use collagen supplements to this day and swear by them. Are there any side effects though? Yes, they’ll give you naturally beautiful skin, hair, and nails. 10/10 recommend.


Quick recap of everything you’ll need:

So what are the best boots for tree planting?

According to most tree planters, the best boots for tree planting are Scarpas, and Vikings.

  • Vikings: Cheap, easily replaceable, steel-toed, calk, flexible, and waterproof.
  • Scarpas: Deluxe, comfortable, long-lasting, and light.

It’s not really about picking one or the other, veteran tree planters usually end up having both.

Some last words of advice, don’t cheap out on supplies.

You’ll make that money back within a week, but the right supplies can help you plant comfortably for the whole summer without pain or stress.

What’s more worth it? A week’s worth of money or a summer’s worth of comfort?

Plant comfortably, my friends.


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