Best Snake Boots for the wilderness

If you are in a rush and need to know the best tent heater available, I would recommend the Irish Setter 2875 Vaprtrek Waterproof 17″ Hunting Boot.

If you spend a lot of time on the trail, either in the woods, mountains, or the open desert, chances are high that you will encounter a snake sooner rather than later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that between 7,000 and 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the US each year. Some of them die, but “[d]isability and permanent injury (such as the loss of part or all of a finger or the function of it) are much more common, reported to be between 10 and 44 percent in patients with rattlesnake bites” [1]. 

With the incredible camouflage that many snakes possess, you should take the utmost precautions against snakebites. In this article, I review six of the best snake boots available and what you need to look for in your next pair. 

Best Snake Boots Reviewed

Not Just Any Boot

Snake proof boots are designed to give you protection from snake bites – that much is obvious. But, if you are spending hours, or even days, on a trail, your boots should possess all of the other characteristics that regular hiking boots provide. 

The Design of the Boot

For Protection

Although some tree-dwelling snakes exist, the majority of snakes you will encounter on the trail live on the ground. As a result, your feet and lower legs are the most vulnerable parts of your body. Snakes are said to be able to strike at a distance one-third to one-half of their body length. For example, a three-foot snake will have a reach of about twelve to eighteen inches. In general, snake proof boots should be designed to provide coverage of your foot and extend to the knee, thereby protecting you from the typical striking range of a snake. 

For Versatility

Of course, you might encounter a snake only once during your time in the wild, or perhaps not at all, so it is important that your boots provide maximal comfort and versatility, as well as protection.

The various species of venomous snakes inhabit all kinds of environments. As a resident of north-central Pennsylvania, where rattlesnake round-ups are an annual tradition, I have encountered timber rattlers in places as distinct as a sunny, open field, to a rocky trail in the pines, to the cool mouth of a cave. The footing can be uneven, the ground or rocks slippery, so while you’re trying to keep your eyes open for dangerous snakes, your boots should provide the necessary traction to keep you upright. 

yellow sign warning people of rattlesnakes

Comfort

The comfort of a boot depends on three main things: fit, closures, and weight. 

Fit

Since snake boots cover so much of the lower leg, manufacturers struggle to balance function with the proper fit. First and foremost, you want a boot that provides adequate support for the bones, ligaments, and muscles in your foot and ankle. You will probably be wearing your snake boots for extended periods of time through rough or rocky terrain. Your foot can fatigue over time and lead to injury. 

Also, be careful of boots that rub on the back of your heel and cause blisters. Blisters are one of the most common and uncomfortable problems that hikers face on extended hikes, and snake boots will sometimes be more rigid than other types of boots, which can lead to more blisters. 

closeup of snake beside mossy rock

Closures

Snake boots typically have one or a combination of the four main closure types. 

Lace closures allow you to tighten the boot to fit the contour of your leg. Although they do take more time to tie and untie, and to get just right, they tend to provide the most comfortable fit. 

Some boots are made with buckles or velcro straps that tighten similar to laces. While quicker to undo than laces, they lack some of the snugness of lace closures. 

You will also commonly find zippers on the sides of the boots. Zippers can be convenient for getting your foot in and out of the boot, but they have some major downsides. First, they usually can’t be adjusted, so the fit will vary depending on the size of your calf and distance from foot to knee. Second, they have a tendency to catch on your pants and socks. 

Finally, some boots won’t have any closures at all. Slip-on snake boots take away the hassle of tying or securing your boots, and are easy to slide on, but getting the boot off can be a challenge. Also, these boots are commonly waterproof. However, without a way to tighten the boot around your ankle and foot, they provide less support and remain loose, which could be dangerous over uneven ground.

Weight

A general issue that people have with boots is how heavy they can be. For extended walks and hikes, a heavy boot will tire your foot and increase your overall fatigue. In addition, the materials that make a boot heavy will probably make it less breathable, causing your foot to sweat, potentially leading to blisters. I recommend finding a lightweight snake boot for maximal comfort. 

Materials

Protection

The materials in your boots will affect their utility. You should consider the environments in which you will likely be wearing the boots and consider the types of material used. However, the first concern is – naturally – protection against snake bites. For this, you need tough, impenetrable material, such as leather, cordura fabric, or kevlar. These materials are often used in combination with others to create several layers of protection, balanced with practicality and comfort. 

Water Resistance

You should also consider the water resistance of the material used in the boot. Leather will keep water out of the boot for a while, but will eventually soak through after extended periods of time. Additionally, leather seams can be harder to waterproof, and like cordura nylon, may depend on other layers of material within the boot to keep out water. Unfortunately, leather requires additional care with oil and leather soap when it is repeatedly wet and dried. Rubber will provide the best water resistance, but rubber boots may sacrifice comfort and breathability. 

Breathability

While your boots should keep water out, be careful of boots that have the adverse effect of retaining moisture. Some materials, such as rubber, do not allow air to circulate, or moisture to evaporate. Synthetic materials, such as polyester, tend to smell. Look for materials that wick moisture and allow air to circulate, thus keeping your feet dry. 

large snake coiled in tall grass

Durability

A pair of snake proof boots can be an expensive investment, and so you want to find boots that are long-lasting, providing both comfort and protection for many trips into the wilderness. In this area, simplicity usually trumps style, in that the more simple designs, with fewer seams and external materials, will outlast the more stylish ones. Of course, the material used will greatly affect the longevity of your boots. Leather, when well-cared-for, will last a long time and become more comfortable with use. Cordura nylon also offers superb durability. Ultimately, the conditions in which you use your boots and how well you care for them will determine their lifespan. 

Best Snake Proof Boots Reviewed

Irish Setter 2875 Vaprtrek Waterproof 17″ Hunting Boot

Price: $$$$

A very popular snake-proof hunting boot, this boot comes with several features that make them dependable hunting and wilderness boots. To begin with, many users have commented on how light these boots are compared to the competition, and even after several hours of trekking through the woods, they remain light and comfortable. Additionally, break-in time seems to be minimal, so that you can wear these straight out of the box without worrying too much about blisters. 

Their composition includes leather, rubber, and some synthetic materials, all layered around the foot, ankle, and shaft to prevent penetration by fangs and thorns. The boot rises 17 inches, providing protection on most users to just below the knee. Furthermore, the outsole features a wrap-around sole for additional protection from sharp, protruding sticks and rocks, although some users reported that this feature needed extra time to break in. 

Many people were happy with the traction the boot offers for snow, mud, and rocks, but some said that the traction is not well-suited for smooth and slick surfaces. One of the major complaints about this boot is that the tread wears out after only two seasons of heavy use, but of course this would depend on the environment as well. 

Many people also like the ease with which these boots can be pulled on or off, and many commented that the shoelaces are sturdy and remain tied. Most users report that the boots are mostly waterproof when exposed to light rain or dewy grass, but that they tend to leak when partially submerged for extended periods. This appears to be due to the boot having laces (rather than being a slip-on boot) and to the tongue not being properly sealed.

The manufacturer advertises special technology in the boot that helps to prevent odor-causing bacteria, though few users have noted anything about this. Some have commented, however, that the boot does not contain the best arch support, so you may consider replacing the insole with your own orthopedics. 

While these boots stand on the more expensive end of snake-proof hunting boots, they are one of the most popular pairs on the market and compete closely with the high-end competition. 

Pros

  • Leather and synthetic materials
  • Rubber sole
  • 17-inch hunting boot with full grain waterproof leather and lightweight RPM technology
  • UltraDry Waterproofing system
  • SnakeGuard construction to impede fangs, thorns and other elements from penetrating boot upper
  • ScentBan technology to kill odor causing bacteria
  • ArmaTec abrasion resistant protective covering
  • lightweight
  • little break in time
  • wrap around sole needed extra time to break in
  • easy off and on
  • sturdy laces that stay tied
  • great traction for mud, snow, and rocks

Cons

  • tongue does not reach all the way up
  • poor arch support
  • poor traction for smooth, slick surfaces
  • traction wears out after two seasons of heavy use

Rocky Lynx Waterproof Snake Hunting Boot

Price: $$$

Another popular snake boot for hiking or hunting, this boot rises 15 inches up the leg and employs 100% textile materials for protection from snake bites. People have used these boots report that the synthetic sole is solid and comfortable. The reinforced toe and heel cap provide additional protection for two of the more exposed areas of the foot, and still the boot remains lightweight for long periods in the wilderness. 

While these boots come with laces for a more custom and tight fit, they also include a zipper to aid in putting the boots on and off. However, some users have commented that they still had to untie the boots, and that the zipper breaks easily. A much more common complaint has been that the boots take a long time to break in and that the design of the boot causes the material to fold inward right behind the ankle. This seems to cause a great deal of discomfort to many users. 

As is a frequent complaint with lace-up boots, these also appear to be more water resistant than waterproof. Users report that they keep out water in light rain and dewy grass, but do not perform well when walking through a stream or swamp. They come with excellent traction for mud and rocks, and many people enjoy how comfortable they are. 

Pros

  • 100% Textile
  • Imported
  • Synthetic sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 15″ from arch
  • Heel measures approximately 1.5″
  • Lace-up hunting boot featuring D-ring hardware and cushioned footbed
  • Reinforced toe and heel cap
  • Logo patch at tongue
  • laces for adjusting tightness
  • lightweight and comfortable
  • good traction for mud and rocks

Cons

  • zipper on the side for easy in and out, but still requires untying
  • largest complaint, boot pinches at the ankle when you walk, takes a while to break in, cuts in at the ankle
  • zipper seems to be cheap, tends to break
  • water tends to leak in, water resistant not waterproof

LaCrosse Venom Scent APG HD Snake Boot

Price: $$$$

Many people who have purchased this boot report that it provides excellent breathability in both hot and cold conditions. The natural and synthetic materials, in combination with the rubber sole, work to keep water out, although most users say that these boots are prone to leakage even in slightly wet conditions. This can partly be attributed to the tongue not being sealed to the shaft for about 6 inches from the collar. 

The boots rise 18 inches. While many people like this height, others have said that it is too high and inhibits their range of motion at the knee. In addition to laces, these boots come with a zipper on the inside of the calf to increase the ease with which you insert or remove your foot. Also, the designers have included a velcro strap on the collar to prevent the zipper from sliding down during wear. 

Many users like the ankle support of these boots and have found them comfortable for hiking. And if the boot does not provide enough support for your arches, the manufacturer has made the polyurethane footbed removable. Overall, most people seem to be very pleased with these boots and compare them to the most high end boots on the market. 

Pros

  • Leather and Fabric
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 18″ from arch
  • 360º Snake Guard provides flexible snake bite protection
  • Dry-Core lines the boot creating a waterproof, scent-free barrier
  • Side zipper for easy on/off, laces as well
  • Removable polyurethane footbed
  • great breathability in hot and cold
  • water resistant, but not waterproof forever
  • good ankle support

Cons

  • tongue does not keep out water all the way up (about 6″ from the top)
  • common complaint, not waterproof in slightly wet conditions

dark brown snake coiled inside rotting tree trunk

Thorogood Snake Bite 17″ Waterproof Hunting Boot

Price: $$$

These slip-on boots feature two handles on the sides for pulling the boots on, and a zipper to help get your foot out. Made of both leather and textile materials, users have said that this boot is mostly waterproof and is easy to clean after trekking through muddy areas. Some users have noted that the zipper leaks occasionally, so you should plan your hike accordingly or take an extra pair of socks. 

These boots do sacrifice some stability in the ankle because of their lack of laces. As a result, these boots may not be the best for steep or rough terrain, but better suited for smooth and mostly even ground. 

They measure about 17 inches from the arch of the foot with a wider opening at the top of the shaft to help with foot insertion. Many people like the breathability of these boots and the snakebite protection they provide.

Pros

  • 100% Leather/Textile
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 17.75″ from arch
  • Boot opening measures approximately 18″ around
  • Construction: cement; insole: removable dual-density polyurethane
  • Midsole: eva/pu cushion; outsole: z-trace slip-resisting rubber
  • Waterproof; breathable construction; 100% snake proof
  • Side zipper; 3m scotchgard protector
  • Snake guard extreme, mossy oak break up infinity
  • easy clean up
  • most users report waterproof
  • pull-on handles
  • lightweight

Cons

  • little ankle support
  • some users have experienced leakage at the zipper

Chippewa 17″ Waterproof Pull On 25110 Snake Boot

Price: $$$$$

One of the more high-end snake boots that you will probably come across, this Chippewa boot comes with the brand reputation for quality, American-made boots. In this product, the manufacturers seem to have succeeded in making an extremely comfortable boot, but many users have said that getting the boot on or off can be a chore. The boot is made with cordura in the shaft and leather around the foot, and features a pull-on loop at the back of the collar. Unfortunately, the ankle bend seems to be too small for some people, making it hard to put on or take off. Still, with the proper fit, many people have remarked on the comfort of the insole and boot as a whole. 

The absence of a zipper and laces allowed the makers to use a seamless liner for waterproofing these boots, with the only downside being that they lose some breathability and can make the feet hot. These boots come with two accent buckles – one over the side of the foot and one at the top of the shaft – for a splash of style. Rising about 17 inches, they provide protection from snake strikes from the foot to just below the knee. 

Since these boots do not come with deep tread, I would caution you to consider the nature of the terrain in which you plan to use them. They are suitable for streams, standing water, or smooth and even ground, but they may struggle to provide traction in mud or snow. 

If these boots do not provide enough comfort for you, the removable insole can be replaced easily with your preferred arch support. Some users have said that they require a long break-in period, so I would recommend testing them out before heading on a long trek through the wild. Additionally, they land on the high end of the price spectrum, but many people who bought these boots swear by them and justify spending a little more. 

Pros

  • 80% Cordura, 20% Leather
  • Vibram sole
  • Mixed-media tall boot with breathable leather foot featuring buckle strap accents and logo embroidered on shaft
  • Pull-on styling with topline gusset
  • Removable insole
  • Chip-A-Tex waterproof membrane
  • very comfortable

Cons

  • difficult to put on and take off, can be tight at the ankle
  • low breathability
  • long break in

BONUS REVIEW: Best Snake Boot for Women

Irish Setter Women’s Vaprtrek 1821 Knee High Boot

Price: $$$$

These boots are made of both natural and synthetic materials, which the manufacturer has combined to balance comfort, utility, and style. They measure about 14 inches from the foot, providing ample coverage of the lower leg from snake bites while also preventing irritation below the knee. With a little break-in time, users have reported that these boots are very comfortable. Only the sole needs some extra time to break-in. They do tend to run a little smaller in the shaft, so if you have larger calves, take this into consideration before buying. 

Some people who have bought these boots have expressed disappointment that they are currently not available in designs other than camouflage. However, the RPM technology that the manufacturer uses continues to impress people with how lightweight these boots are. These boots do not feature a zipper, and the laces seem to keep out water in light rain or dewy grass. Many people also like how breathable these boots are compared to some of the competition, and some have gone so far to say that they function just like a hiking boot with added snake protection. 

Pros

  • Leather and Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 14.5″ from arch
  • Platform measures approximately 1.0 inches inches inches
  • ScentBan
  • SnakeGuard
  • ArmaTec
  • UltraDry Waterproof
  • RPM Technology
  • very comfortable with little break in time
  • lightweight

Cons

  • shaft seems made for smaller calves, laces not long enough and tongue opens up
  • sole is a bit stiff
  • only come in Mossy Oak Camo

Our Top Pick for the Best Snake Boots

After comparing the design, comfort, and materials of these boots, we would recommend the Irish Setter 2875 Vaprtrek Waterproof 17″ Hunting Boot as our top pick. These boots provide great protection from snake bites while also serving the function as a comfortable, sturdy, every-day hiking boot. The laces allow you to fit the boots to your body, while remaining lightweight and providing adequate breathability and water resistance. While they are slightly more on the expensive end, these boots offer outstanding quality for the price. 

If you have a recommendation for your favorite pair of snake boots, let us know in the comments below!

And here’s some great info to boot!

Sources: 

  1. “Venomous Snakes.” National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health. Center for Disease Control. May 31, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/snakes/default.html
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