The idea behind snake-proof boots is simple. To keep snakes from biting your ankles and lower legs, where most snake bites occur. No matter how you feel about snakes, you have to admit that this is a pretty nice feature. The best snake boots provide unmatched protection from a number of aggressive predators, particularly those with the poisonous fangs.
According to the University of Florida researchers, between 7,000 and 8,000 people each year are bitten by poisonous states in the US. It doesn’t seem like a big number at first, but when you consider that outdoor enthusiasts and farm and ranch workers are significantly more likely to be among this number than the rest of the country, seeing as how they’re the ones out there rustling up all the snakes out of the switchgrass.
Finding the best pair of snake boots for you is about comparing protection capabilities with comfort, while keeping an eye on style and price along the way. Our team has compiled a list of the 8 Best Snake Boots for Men, which we will break down by these categories.
The 8 Best Snake Boots for Men
Best Breathability Pick
LaCrosse VENOM SCENT APG HD
When it comes to snake boots, LaCrosee is a real heavy hitter, offering a range of predator proof footwear with an impressive amount of options and features. The VENOM boot is pretty much the flagship, offering full 360 degree protection from snake bites while also being 100% waterproof. This makes them one of the best all-around snake boots you can buy.
The VENOM boot takes on one of the biggest challenges of the waterproof snake boot, and that is, breathability. Waterproof boots designed to keep your feet totally dry can, ironically, also cause your feet to be bogged down in sweat if the sun decides to come out even a little. LaCrosse has addressed this issue with the Hyper-Dri linings. The moisture wicking capabilities aren’t bad; I was able to stay out for hours longer in these without my feet getting sweaty.
One of the big drawbacks to a lace-up snake boot is that no matter how well made they are, if you’re standing with your feet submerged in water for more than a few moments, there is a good chance you are going to take in some water. The VENOM boot is no exception to this, but manages to hold up against mud, heavy rain, and stream crossings just fine.
There is some weakness to the ankle area of these boots which can lead to additional stress on the foot after prolonged use. They’re certainly not the best boots for long hikes, but for most purposes, they’ll do the trick just fine.
Best Waterproofing Pick
Muck Boot Company PURSUIT
My favorite thing about The MUCK Boot Company is the length they go to test out their products, to make sure that they are as tough and protective as they are widely known to me. The PURSUIT’s vigorous QA involved inflating a balloon inside the boot, then exposing the boot exterior to no less than 12 Diamondback Rattlesnake strikes. And sure enough, nothing could get through.
Muck has cornered the industry when it comes to laceless pullover snake boots that are as comfortable as they are impenetrable. Full rubber construction means that you are getting a no-doubt-about-it deal against any water source that isn’t over two feet deep. Which means you’re covered for river crossings and heavy rains, but deeper than that and you’re going to want to look into a nice pair of waders.
Muck boots are known for their signature camouflage aesthetic, making them ideal for turkey or deer hunting, but with extended use the pattern has started to wear off of the boot, making them not look nearly as good when I first got them. Again, it took a while for this to happen.
It’s also a shame that Muck doesn’t make their products in half sizes, as it is something of a guessing game trying to find the right fit when shopping online. Our recommendation is to get into a Cabelas or Dick’s Sporting Goods and try a pair on for yourself before you buy.
Muck’s products tend to run a little tight around the heel and calf; for this reason we highly recommend aiming for one size higher than you normally would.
Best Style Pick
Chippewa 25115 Square Toe Snake Boots
Without question, the Chippewa 25115 Model snake boots are the sleekest, most fashionable snake boots on the market. 100% leather construction not only looks good but provides unmatched durability and bite protection. These things are designed to last, and you can tell from the moment you take them out of the box.
The square toe construction will offer a familiar comfort style to all the cowboys out there, preventing your toes from getting all mashed up in the front of the boot during a long hike (or ride) through the backcountry.
One thing these boots are lacking is a 100% waterproof rating, and this is largely due to the whole leather construction. Now there are plenty of leather waterproofing agents on the market, but few that won’t alter the color of the leather itself, and it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve full waterproofing.
They hold up just fine however to puddles, dense mud, snow, and sudden rainstorms, so everything short of crossing a high creek and you’ll do just fine.
A common complaint with all leather boots and one that the Chippewa boots certainly share is that they tend to be more than a bit stiff when they’re brand new. It is not entirely uncommon for the boots to have a slightly different fit from foot to foot. In almost every case, this goes away after a few days of breaking them in (leather has a high ability to ‘grow’ around your foot) but if you just can’t get your foot inside, then it’s time to send them back for a larger size.
Best Comfort Pick
Seeing as how Ariat got their start by dedicating themselves to crafting the highest performance footwear for equestrian sports, it is no surprise that their CONQUEST snake boot looks just like an old fashioned cowboy boot with a bit of a modern flair, while at the same time offering full protection from unwanted snakebites.
The shaft is about a foot and a half from the arch, meaning that these aren’t the tallest snake boots on the market, but if they were they probably wouldn’t offer the same equestrian style. They’ve got the wide and spacious square-toe design nailed; these are some of the most comfortable boots that we had the pleasure of reviewing. In fact, they feel more like sneakers than heavy duty outdoorsman boots.
If there is any drawback to the CONQUEST snake boots, is that they can get a bit pricey, especially when you are looking at any size above a men’s 11 and with EE (double wide) sizes. Considering the price you might expect these to be waterproof, but they aren’t quite.
What you are most likely paying for is all that imported leather, but the upgraded sole is comfortable enough that it makes them worth it.
Best Hiking Pick
The craftsmen at Danner have done it again with their new PRONGHORN Snake & Hunting Boot.
The PRONGHORNS not only offer one of the best heel-capture fits of all the boots we reviewed, but the lace pull system is smoother than anything else we’ve seen. What do you get when you put these two things together? One of the most snug fits available in the industry, and a snug fit means you can go both harder and longer on your next hunting trip.
We’re not going to lie; these things are also quite pleasing on the eye. They’ve got a sleek modern design that combines Gore-Tex and imported stitched leather in such a way that seems to be beckoning you to the outdoors. They’re also 100% waterproof, which is a great feature considering their relatively high price compared to other models in the group.
The stiffness in the ankle construction is the one major drawback to the PRONGHORNS. While the rest of the boot seems to break in just fine, the ankle area stays stiff for far longer, which can lead to some skin discomfort and blisters after extended use. Make no mistake, they will break in eventually, it just takes a bit longer than you’d expect. An extra pair of wool socks usually does the trick for me.
Best Value Pick
Guide Gear PURSUIT II
We actually had a hard time getting our hand on a pair of the PURSUIT II boots from Guide Gear. The new model that just hit the shelves is apparently so popular that many outlets have been on back order for some time. If that does not say something about the performance quality that I do not know what does.
Perhaps it’s the construction. These puppies are sturdy indeed, and though we haven’t had them for that long, it is hard to imagine them giving out anytime soon. At 16’’, the trunk is amongst the tallest of any other snake boot in its class. This can provide a welcome increase in protection from even the gnarliest diamondback. Anyone who has ever come close to stepping on one of those will know how valuable that extra peace of mind can be.
The strength of these boots is definitely the value; they are more affordable than LaCrosse or Danner and offer many of the same features. There is however a slight reduction in longevity as a result. The PURSUIT II boots will break down a bit faster than other brands, and the waterproofing will start to fade after a few seasons of wear.
While these are a great pair of beginner boots, enthusiasts and experts may want to consider springing for a pair of Ariats or Danners.
Best Gaiters Pick
Razer Snake Gaiters
So we’re technically breaking the rules by adding a pair of gaiters to a list that’s all about snake boots, but we think the infraction is worth it when you consider all the benefits you’re getting with a pair of gaiters over a full pair of boots.
Oregon based Razer Gaiters has created a product that provides the same level of snake bite protection that traditional snake boots offer with the added benefit of being easily and quickly removable. This is a handy feature for anyone out riding on the trail or working the fields who might only need snake protection in certain areas.
Ready for the best part? They’re only about $60.00. So even if you don’t feel like springing for a shiny new pair of boots, there’s a way to keep the snakes from biting.
The RAZER GAITERS are basically leg armor that you strap on. The polycarbonate nylon is tough and thick (they weigh about 13oz) and feels like it would be able to stop a lot more than just a snake bite.
The added weight makes these a bit heavy for long hikes, unless you are into weight training, in which case, just think of the gains, bro.
Best All Around Value Pick
Rocky RETRACTION Waterproof Snake Boot
The RETRACTION by Ohio shoe manufacturer Rocky is a great all around hunting boot that provides a good balance of features and value. They slip on comfortably and seem to stay in place quite well even over rough terrain. Fully waterproof (we checked) and seemingly impenetrable against snake bites (we didn’t feel like verifying this one).
Rocky brand boots have a reputation for being more affordable than they are durable, but I have not found that to be the case with the RETRACTION boots. I spent a solid six days in the Gila Wilderness clambering around in the rocks and there was no visible sign of damage. So anyone who is looking for a snake boot that can handle a few extra miles, this might be the one for you.
There is some difficulty getting the foot all the way into the boot with these. The ankle area is just tight, so it takes some effort to put them on. Time will tell if it loosens up any.
Waterproof seals around the sole have held so far, but I imagine with continued heavy use they might lose their seal after two or three seasons.
One thing that is for sure when ordering Rocky brand boots: they run small; do yourself a favor and order one size up.
How do Snake Boots Work?
Snake-proof boots, so simply snake boots, are a specialized version of hunting boots that utilize dense fabrics and thinly woven nylon layers to achieve a barrier that protects against snakebites. Because the majority of snake bites occur below the knee, this is the ideal way to protect yourself from poisonous predators if you’re going to be shuffling about in snake country.
Construction Material & Insulation
There are a few things to pay attention to when selecting a pair of snake boots:
Different brands utilize different fabrics and construction techniques to make their boots more and more effective at guarding against snakebites.
- Leather is the old standby, and has been the material of choice for footwear since the very beginning. Incredibly durable, lightweight, and water resistant, leather usually compromises some portion of the boot.
- Gore-Tex is no newcomer to the outdoor industry. It’s a breathable waterproof fabric that offers high durability and tear resistance at a remarkably light pack weight.
- Nylon Weave is a construction technique as well as a material, and offers many of the same waterproofing benefits of Gore-Tex but can often be cheaper.
Not all snake boots are 100% waterproof, so it is important to double check before you make a purchase.
While waterproof boots can come in quite handy in river crossings and bog hunting, they can also get a little warm in the summer months and offer lower degrees of breathability than non-waterproof models.
In general, rubber pull-on boots will be more waterproof than lace-up boots.
The ‘trunk’ of the boot is the part that comes up over your ankle and up your calf. Essentially, where the leg goes. When hunting for a good pair of snake boots it is important to consider how high this trunk rises from the heel.
The higher the trunk, the more of your leg is protected against both predators and water entry.
The snake boots we reviewed varied from 13” to 17”, but there are both taller and shorter pairs on the market that offer the same protective construction.
Comfort & Style
A good snake boot has to me more than just a piece of armor. A comfortable pair of boots can go with you everywhere; an uncomfortable pair can ruin your day real quick.
Look for boots that have good ankle grip and tightening mechanisms to ensure that the boot holds snugly around your foot.
Wrapping it All Up
It was no easy task narrowing down all the products on the market into one best-of list. But hey, someone had to do it. The best snake boots for men and women alike need only to focus on two things to be successful: protection and comfort, and our candidates were certainly up to the task.
For my dollar, it doesn’t get any better than Ariat CONQUEST. I like a well-made boot that looks cool, and this one has them both.
Anyone not wanting to shell out the extra cash should go with the Guide Gear PURSUIT II. It’s a great entry level boot that provides professional level protection and high comfort without breaking the bank.
What To Do If You Get Bitten By A Snake
While snake boots offer protection for the areas most commonly bitten by snakes, they cannot protect against all attacks.
The Mayo Clinic offers this advice for anyone who has been bit by a venomous snake:
- Call 911 right away, especially if there are signs of discoloration or swelling. Many first responders carry antivenomous drugs and will be able to help.
- Remain calm and move beyond the snake’s striking distance.
- Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.
- Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.
- Clean the wound, but don’t flush it with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.
They also offer the list of actions restricted after a snake bite:
- Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice.
- Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.
- Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed your body’s absorption of venom.
- Don’t try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I Even Need Snake Boots?
A: Well, I suppose that depends on whether or not you are going to be in the vicinity of any snakes!
The US has over 20 varieties of poisonous snake, and many of them have neighboring habitats to humans. If you are unsure about the snakes that might be in your area, contact your local wildlife department for more information.
Even if there aren’t a lot of snakes in your area, a good pair of snake boots provides protection against other threats like mud, water, and rocks, while also disrupting your outline with effective camouflage patterns.
Q: What’s the Difference Between Snake Boots and Snake Gaiters?
A: Unlike snake boots, snake gaiters are not really a piece of footwear, but rather items that you strap around your lower leg that offer the same bite protection as boots but without the full buildout.
The benefit of gaiters is that you can take them off and put them back on easily and quickly. This can be helpful for anyone who doesn’t want to have to wear knee-high boots all day.
Q: Are there even venomous snakes in the United States?
A: Yes! In fact there are over 20 different lethally poisonous snakes in the United States.
While fatalities from snake bites do occur, they are becoming more and rarer in the face of cell phones and ever progressing medical technologies and procedures.
Still, it is important to stay protected against snakebites, which even if not fatal can lead to severe pain and possible limb amputation.
Q: Do They Make Snake Boots for Ladies?
A: Until recently there were not a whole lot of options on the market for a woman looking for a good pair of snake boots. Fortunately that’s all changed. Today all the top producers offer boots specifically fitted for women that offer the same high degree of bite protection as the men’s varieties.
Q: Are Snake Boots Waterproof?
A: While many varieties of snake boot are fully waterproof, not all of them are, and it can be difficult to tell by just looking at them. Be sure to check the product specifications before purchasing.
Q: Are the Insoles Removable?
A: Removable insoles is a feature that only some boots offer with their base product, so be sure to look at the specifications before you buy.
Even if the boots don’t come with removable insoles, it is always possible to add your own pair of hunting insoles for extra comfort, odor control, and moisture wicking.
Q: Which Type of Toe Profile is More Comfortable?
A: That depends a lot on the shape of your feet. In general, square toed varieties offer a bit more room than their rounded counterparts, but are built for more narrow feet. Round toe construction is more common with wider boots and tend to be more comfortable if you have big feet.