The best aerator shoes for fall lawn care

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Aerator shoes 

Aerator shoes are designed to prepare your lawn for fertilizing, weeding and seeding during fall lawn care. Over the summer and fall, grass roots can become compacted. Even a quarter-inch below the surface can create conditions that lead to thin and dying grass. In the fall, aeration is important because it allows your lawn to breathe.

Aeration shoes (sometimes called aeration sandals) loosen soil, making it easier for your lawn to absorb nutrients and water. Using aeration shoes such as Leweio Lawn Aerator Shoes in the fall can help your lawn endure the winter and return greener in the spring. 

What to know before you buy aerator shoes for fall lawn care 

Benefits of aeration

Aeration helps to remove thatch, dead and living roots, stems and other organic matter that get clumped together just beneath the lawn’s surface. Thatch can develop in the summer and fall when organic plant debris accumulates faster than nature breaks it down. A thin layer of thatch is OK and can even help insulate grass from deep frost during the winter. However, thick thatch can restrict oxygen and lead to a decaying lawn. Walking in aeration shoes in the fall can help to loosen thatch by creating holes in the soil.   

When should you aerate your lawn?

When you aerate may depend on the region in which you live. Lawns that go through harsh winters need to be aerated in the fall. Lawns that are subject to drought and long summers do better with spring aeration. Lawns in four-season climates may need aeration in spring and fall.

No matter where you live, you should avoid aerating a dormant lawn (the period in which the lawn turns brown). This could be in the winter in the northern part of the country and in the summer in other parts. In the winter, a lawn may shut down to conserve nutrients. In the summer, a lawn might go dormant to survive a drought.

You’ll also want to aerate before you seed and after the lawn is moist. You can aerate after lengthy rainfall or irrigation. Either way, a moist lawn will make aeration easier and more productive. 

What to look for in aerator shoes

Look for aerator shoes with spikes deep enough to loosen thatch and durable enough to last more than one season. You also want aerator shoes that stay attached to your shoes. This sounds like a gimmie, but some inferior aeration shoes become detached in thick soil. 

How do you walk in aerator shoes?

Before walking, it’s important to make sure that your aerator shoes fit comfortably. Comfort depends on what type of shoe you’re attaching to the aerator sandal. Because stability is important, work boots or sturdy sneakers work best. Wide straps also make wearing the shoe more comfortable. 

It’s best to strap the aerator shoe on with spikes down and already in the ground. This allows you to see how tight you need the straps when lifting up the soil. After the shoes are attached, walk in a semi-marching motion, being careful to avoid nicking any part of your legs with nails. 

Aerator shoes for fall lawn care features


The length and size of the spikes determines how far you can drive them into the soil while walking. Since most problematic thatch occurs about a half-inch beneath the lawn’s surface, you want sharp nails at least an inch long. Shorter nails will disrupt the healthy thatch at the surface. Some shoes come with loose spikes that need to be assembled, while others have preassembled spikes. 

Shoe base

No matter how sturdy the spikes are, they won’t work if your aerator shoe has a flimsy base. The aeration sandal base should be made from tough materials such as aluminum, hard plastic or polymers. Feet and shoes come in all sizes, so you’ll need a shoe base that works for you. 


A good aerator shoe has strong adjustable straps that keep your feet stable while the spikes dig into the lawn. Like with regular sandals, aeration shoe straps that loosen easily can be unstable and result in a rolled ankle or, worse, a fall. Look for wide straps that cross the foot in three or more places.   

Aerator shoes for fall lawn care cost 

Aerator shoes range in price from as low as $12 for plastic-based shoes with light straps to more than $80 for heavy-duty shoes with eight adjustable straps. 

Aerator shoes for fall lawn care FAQ

Do aerator shoes really work?

A. The answer depends on your fall lawn care goal. If you need to aerate a 2-acre lawn with a serious weed problem, aerator shoes might not be the best choice, but if you want a low-cost way to aerate your lawn, loosen the soil as you mow, or walk around, then yes, aerator shoes can do the job. 

Can aerator shoes damage my lawn?

A. The nails attached to aerator shoes are solid, unlike hollow tines on mechanical aeration tools which create holes but remove the soil. Aerator shoes push the soil down, which compacts the soil and can make it harder for fertilizer and other nutrients to reach the roots.

Which aerator shoes for fall lawn care should I get?

Best of the best aerator shoes for fall lawn care

Leweio Lawn Aerator Shoes Metal Spike Sandals for Aerating Lawn: available at Amazon

Our take: These sturdy aerator shoes help to loosen soil and allow air, water and nutrients to reach roots, contributing to a healthier lawn. 

What we like: These shoes have a durable aluminum alloy base and 2.3-inch metal nails. No assembly required. 

What we dislike: Spikes can get stuck in thicker compact soil. 

Best bang for your buck aerator shoes for fall lawn care 

Gardzen Lawn Aerator Spike Shoes: available at Amazon

Our take: Effective, easy-to-assemble aerator shoes with no-fuss straps.  

What we like: These aerator shoes get the job done for a decent price. The shoes come with a free wrench to tighten nails. 

What we dislike: The two straps don’t provide as much stability as you get with three-strap shoes. 

Honorable mention aerator shoes for fall lawn care 

FSTSLK Lawn Aerator Shoes: available at Amazon

Our take: Deep penetrating 2.2-inch metal nails help these aerator shoes break up thatch and reduce soil tamping. 

What we like: Upgraded polymeric materials used on an anti-slip base. Comes with a handy storage bag. 

What we dislike: If spikes get stuck in tough soil, the stronger-than-plastic polymeric materials can break. 

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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