Review of 4 snake boots over the last 12 years...

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews/Test' started by EGarza04, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. EGarza04

    EGarza04 El Sauz, TX SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    I read that some of you were looking for a review of snake boots, so I will give you my experiences with the 4 different snake boots that I have owned and used.

    To give you a little bit of background, I have been wearing snakeboots whenever I am in the field for the past 12 years in both South Texas and Far West Texas. Both are arid climates and have more than enough venimous snakes to ensure you will eventually find a few a little too close to where you step. I do wear snake boots year-round. Where I live, I wear them not only for the snakes, but also because most of the brush down here has thorns, spines, or prickles and can really tear up the lower parts of your jeans.

    My first set of snake boots was what most probably think of when they think of snake boots, a pair of Chippewas. Here is a link to the model I had. Of all the boots I have ever owned, these were by far the hardest boots to break in, put on, and take off at the end of the day. It took me a month of wearing them every day and finally getting them thouroughly soaked from wading in a pond and wearing them wet all day. After that, they were finally comfortable enough for me to wear all day without having to take them off for a rest. By keeping them well oiled and rubbing beeswax on the seams, I was able to keep them quite waterproof for the life of the boots. The soles lasted for quite a long time, I wore them for around 4 years in South Texas. They did effectivey fight off a South Texas rattler. I had one strike me just above the heel in the lower calf area and there was no penetration of venom into the boot. The leather in the toe, heel, and bridge were very sturdy and were still in decent condition when I threw them away. I had to throw them away because I am bow-legged enough that I break the internals of a boot at the heel and after that they are not worth re-soleing. I have seen some people that have had zippers added to the back of the boot top to make putting them on and taking them off easier. Cost when I got them was around $240.

    The second pair of snake boots I had were a pair of Rocky lace-ups. I wore these boots for a year in South Texas and around 2 years while I lived in Alpine, TX. I don't really remember the model of the boot but it was a mixture of leacher and cordura with glued on soles. Here is a link to a similar, but slightly different pair. As one would expect from a boot that is built like an athletic shoe, these were very comfortable and easy to take on and off. I was able to break them in within a couple of weeks of getting them. I was able to wear them all day with no problem. Because these boots were lace-ups, they were very hot. I would wear these boots and even in the winter (highs were probably in the 60) the lower part of my jeans were still soaked with sweat when I took them off at the end of the day. After about a year of wearing them, the soles began to seperate from the lower part of the boot at the ball of my right foot. I used shoe goo multiple times for that spot and for the heel on the left boot. The Cordura on the toe portion of the boots was noticeably worn after around a year and a half, but I did do a lot of manual labor with them on. I was actually impressed with the longevity of the cordura. These did not stay very waterproof. I had to constantly use silicon spray for them to repel any water. I eventualy gave these boots away because my foot actually grew a little and they bacame too tight. These boots also saved me from a rattler bite. the rattler hit me in the heel of my right boot, and didn't penetrate. Cost when I bought them was around $180

    The third pair of snake boots I wore were the Justin snakeboots that look like a tall cowboy boot. here is a link to these boots. They are solid leather lowers with cordura on the upper leg portions of the boot and trimmed with leather on the tops. These were worn for around 5 years in South Texas. While these were not easy on my feet to break in, I was able to break them in within a couple of weeks. I really had to pour the leather conditioner on them evey day when I took them off. They are about as hot and as hard to take off as the Chippewas, but breath easier than the Rocky lace-ups, so I had less sweat all over my legs and jeans when wearing them. These boots were more comfortable for me than the Chippewas, but only slightly less comfortable than the Rockys. They lasted quite a long time. I wore them for around 5 years only having them resoled twice. The leather was very sturdy and only had a few major cuts or nicks in both of them, but no major cracks or cuts. These stayed fairly waterproof so long as I kept them oiled and applied beeswax to the seams. These were my last boots to get struck by a rattler. The left heel was struck and just like the other 2 boots, there was no penetration. I eventually threw these boots away because of the same reason I threw away the Chippewas, I broke the heels. With these boots, unlike the 2 before pair before, I was able to comfortably put my jeans outside the boot when I wanted to. This was noce because I could wear them anywhere and not look like a just walked out of the brush. I liked these boots so much that when I needed a new pair I went looking for another pair of these exact boots. Price was around $200

    My fourth pair of snake boots was obviously not the same as my third pair. As I stated earler, when I went looking for another pair of boots to replace my Justins, I went looking with the idea of getting the exact same boot. I very reluctantly tried on the new (as of 2013) model of Justin snake boot. Link to boot here. The sales woman convinced me even though I did not like them because they have a wide square toe. Well I ended up leaving the store with them even though I didn't like the way they looked and here is why. First, the fit reminded me of a regular cowboy boot, which I already wear every day (I only have 1 pair of athletic shoes and I've worn them less than a dozen times in the past 3 years) and due to the square toe, there was plenty of toe room. I was sold on these boots as soon as I got them on my feet. These boots like the others, are a mixture of leather and cordura. They have full leather lowers and a mix of leather and cordura for the uppers. They have a zipper on the inside leg portion of the boot that allows the boot to open an extra 3 inches at the top and around an inch at the bottom of the boot top. The boot top has a flap of material under the zipper that folds inwards when zipped up and stretches out when unzipped. This makes putting them on and taking them off quite easy. The leather on these boots does not seem as sturdy as the leather on either the Chippewas or the original Justin snake boots. They seem thinner and more prone to deep scratches and cuts. I have been wearing these for around a year and they have served me well so far. No snakes have tested them yet, but we will see how they do in the coing years. Below is a photo of what they look like after a year of heavy use. Cost was $170.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  2. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    E, Thanks, that is a great help. I have been wearing the Rocky's made by Bass Pro w laces and zipper for a year. These are the most comfortable boot I have worn and easy to take on an off. Waterproof, uninsulated, not snake tested by me $129. I just went to get a backup pair and they only make runs of then 1 time a year if that and she told me to wait till the fall. I guess if I can't get them again I will get the Rocky made for Rocky and close to $200 as comfort in the name of the game for me.

    I have been looking at the Justin's you talk about as we have 0(zero) places here to buy western boots and all mine are gone now, just hard to buy and fit online. I don't like a square toe either, reminds me of the drugstore cowboys and ropers brand boots. BUT if buying another pair for protection and comfort which would you get? Before I moved to FL from TX I always just wore like a Nacoma high top boot and always felt protected especially wearing my jeans out over them, what do you think?

    I also have a pair of the slip on Bass Pro heavy like a rubber boot made for snakes. These are STIFF and unbending, I wore 2 socks in them, have tried insoles, everything. I am sure they are snake proof but the most uncomfortable boot ever and slip on the heel. $119, do not buy.
     
  3. EGarza04

    EGarza04 El Sauz, TX SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    Frank, So far I would still get the old Justin snake boots. they were quite comfortable for me after I broke them in, they lasted a long time, and they kept me from getting bit.

    That opinion may change as the new Justin snake boots I wear have only seen 1 deer season. I have been wearing them regularly, but only time will tell how they stand up to heavy use. I am really not sure how well the leather on the toe will do if it is struck either. I really hope I don't find out the hard way.
     
  4. rgilbert

    rgilbert LSB Active Member LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    Good write up from a man who works in snake country. Thanks
     
  5. Ident Marking

    Ident Marking Rockwall, Texas Vendor

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    If it were me I'd move!!! LOL

    -hd
     
  6. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    After looking at the pic of your new ones, square toe, I am not sure the leather is going to hold up, I will look the original Justin ones you had.
     
  7. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog LSB Active Member SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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  8. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog LSB Active Member SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    Frank, in your life time you will not put the wear on them he does in a year
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  9. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog LSB Active Member SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    and neither will I
     
  10. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    That is true, E has to put more miles on them in a year than I would in 5-10, just don't like the square toe
     
  11. EGarza04

    EGarza04 El Sauz, TX SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    I think you are right. That's why I'll probably go with the older Justin snake boots next time.
    Ya know every time I move I move to a place with a smaller population. This last move puts me 5 miles from a town with less than a few hundred people in it. I'm kinda afraid to move again!
     
  12. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Pretty soon you will be by yourself and no town, can't afford to move!

    I am betting w my high arch I will not be able to use the Justin, wish I could try them w free shipping to return also damn $259...hmmm I am telling you the Rocky's I have are the best I ever had but I am betting your use would wear them out too quickly.
     
  13. EGarza04

    EGarza04 El Sauz, TX SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    Yup they make a bunch of models now but I still can't get over remembering all the blisters and torn ankles from wearing my first Chippewas. I'm sure they are probably better made now and I know lots of people that wear therm but I just can't bring myself to buying another pair. Funny thing too cause for those of you that don't know, Chippewa is owned by Justin boots.
     
  14. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Really, did not know that, the Chippewa chaps and leggings are the lightest and most expensive in the industry, really great products.
     
  15. hdfireman

    hdfireman Blackstone Arms SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    Do you think the Rocky type/brand would be good for just hunting and not every day use?
     
  16. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Rocky's I have are by & FAR the best most comfortable boot ever on my foot, if they have the laces and zipper. 1 year, little wear, waterproof and use 2-3 times a week. I can put my jeans in or out of the boot, they are not insulated but during the winter I ear a heavy winter sock and they were fine. I would think the real Rocky and not like the ones made for Bass pro like I have are even better quality. That is about all I can tell you.
     
  17. hdfireman

    hdfireman Blackstone Arms SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    Sounds like the info I need Frank! Thank ya sir.
     
  18. hdfireman

    hdfireman Blackstone Arms SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    Frank, They run big/small, wide/narrow and like boots or athletic shoes?
     
  19. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I wear a 9-9.5W and in these wearing my thick socks the 9.5 is a perfect fit. The are much cooler w the zipper down do I wear them like that or 1/4-1/2 zipped when I can see where I am walking and driving, easy to drive with too. I almost never undo the laces once I have them fit for me and the zipper seems good to go.
     
  20. hdfireman

    hdfireman Blackstone Arms SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    Many thanks!!
     

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