Snakeskin accessories have been at the forefront of the extravagant side of the luxury market since the 1960s. Snakeskin cowboy boots are no exception.
I once saw a former VIP of mine wearing a pair of cowboy boots made from Indian albino snakeskin. I can only “wow” with admiration and envy because I know that there are probably not more than 10 pairs of cowboy boots like that all over the world.
They are truly a symbol of top class, power, and fascination—the apex of the rich.
This type of fancy footwear can actually cost more than an arm and a leg. This doesn’t just come from the rarity of the snakeskin.
It also catches your attention and fascination, especially the rich, with its natural gloss, sleek feel, marvelous motifs, and most interesting, the magnificent scale grain.
However, snakeskin is not an easy material. From the leather perspective, this is a relatively less durable and easily damaged material.
In addition, over time, the snakeskin’s scales tend to point outward, making the protection and cleaning more difficult.
The good news is that regular care for the material can go a long way towards prolonging the life and mystical beauty of snakeskin cowboy boots.
Whether you read this article to find out how to take care of your real snakeskin cowboy boots or just for fun, here is all you need to know about the whole process.
Let’s check it out!
Read more: How To Care For Exotic Cowboy Boots?
A Guide to Taking Care of Snakeskin Cowboy Boots
Snakeskin belongs to the category of one of the most exotic leathers, being fragile and short-lived.
This is due to the fact that snakeskin is usually very thin, much thinner than other exotic leathers.
You can see the extravagant, shiny and smooth surface of the snakeskin when it is alive, but the snakeskin after treatment will not look that same way. When you touch the material, you can literally feel the roughness along the shape of the scales.
Snakeskin cowboy boots become even more vulnerable as you may unconsciously abuse your footwear on the go more heavily than the way you treat snakeskin handbags or snakeskin jewelry.
It’s obvious that this type of snakeskin accessory needs more attention for protection and storage.
Besides, you might see snakeskin vamps, snakeskin pulling straps, or snakeskin boots’ shafts instead of 100% snakeskin cowboy boots.
Regardless of the design, here’s how to take care of your snakeskin cowboy boots step by step to help prolong the life of the material dramatically.
Step 1: Cleaning
When it comes to prolonging the exotic snakeskin’s life, cleaning is paramount.
Glossy-covered snakeskin cowboy boots
You can see some snakeskin cowboy boots come with a super industrial glossy finish. You may or may not confuse this with faux snakeskin, but these designs are easy to clean.
You are essentially cleaning the surface of the industrial glossy coating since it acts as a shield to keep dust and dirt from touching the snakeskin.
They also have good resistance to liquid-based stains. In this case, you can easily apply normal cleaning methods with just a soft, damp cloth without special cleaners since the hard stains are unable to cling to the boot’s surface and stay there forever.
However, these materials will not last long since the glossy finish can wear down over time and directly affect the structure and natural beauty of the snakeskin underneath.
Natural finished snakeskin cowboy boots
Besides, the most precious snakeskin cowboy boots should be designed with designs that retain the natural finish.
From the leather perspective, the more natural the finish of the material, the more durable the boots turn out to be during use. These materials have a roughness along the shape of the snakeskin’s scales.
But it’s way more picky. So you need to pay a lot of attention to some of the following things while cleaning the material:
- Never use normal soap, washing detergent, or saddle soap to clean snakeskin cowboy boots. This is because snakeskin is naturally highly water-resistant. The use of soap may require a lot of water to completely clean it afterward. This will cause the material structure to dry and crack. As a result, the scales will emerge unexpectedly.
- If the snakeskin surface has raised visible scales or part of the scale has peeled off, simply use a soft cloth with slight dampness to completely remove dirt from the surface of the material.
- If the snakeskin still retains its shine and smoothness on the surface, you can use a very soft brush to remove all the dirt deep under the scales.
- One last important thing: you need to move the soft cloth or the soft brush in the same direction as the scale (never vice versa). Otherwise, the scales will fall out unexpectedly and there will be no way to repair them. Keep in mind that the snakeskin’s scale gain shape is the most valuable asset of snakeskin cowboy boots.
You should leave the boots to dry naturally after the cleaning process.
Step 2: Conditioning
The next step is to moisturize or hydrate the snakeskin cowboy boots after you have thoroughly cleaned the dirt.
Snakeskin cowboy boots with a natural finish need to be moisturized every three to four months in order not to cause the scales to point outward quickly.
The structure of snakeskin is usually very thin, fragile and often unable to store moisture and oil as well as cow or crocodile skin. Periodic moisturizing will help maintain the plump, sheen and healthy look of the surface.
Otherwise, you may find the scales flattened, deformed, wrinkled, cracked, or worse, some lower part of the scale may be peeling off. This may not affect the natural beauty of snakeskin cowboy boots, but they will store dirt deeper and are more difficult to clean.
You need some form of very special conditioner to hydrate your snakeskin thoroughly. Keep in mind that these conditioners should come with a lower fat content in their composition.
This is due to the thinness of the snakeskin, which is not likely to absorb and retain heavy fat ingredients very well, leaving some unsightly residue with excessive oils all over the material’s surface after application.
Therefore, mink oils, neatsfoot or any animal-sourced oils for normal leather are not considered suitable due to their extra natural fat content when it comes to hydrating snakeskin cowboy boots.
Letting the over-dried snake skin absorb too much fat at the same time can cause the scales to flatten and become incredibly sticky.
However, conditioners with adequate amounts of animal-source oil in their structure are still acceptable as long as they are directed to work for reptile skin.
Some conditioners with synthetic fat with great effects such as moisturizing, surface protection, and resistance to mold or mildew growth are highly recommended. However, you will probably have to apply these products more often on snakeskin cowboy boots each year.
What you need to prepare for this phrase
- 1 soft sponge (or soft cloth)
- 1 bottle of conditioner
- Boot trees
You need to soak one corner of the sponge in a small amount of conditioner. Then apply the duo directly to the cowboy boots’ snakeskin areas. Keep in mind to move in the direction of the scales (no way out is better).
You shouldn’t start the process with just a one-time condition. It’s better to divide the process into many small times to treat the different snakeskin positions on cowboy boots.
Besides, it’s best to apply conditioner to the surface of the material only once.
After the process is finished, you need to use the boot tree to naturally dry the snakeskin cowboy boots.
Try to limit the use of dry boots as much as possible, as they will cause this reptile’s skin to dry out and crack quickly. The boot tree is also useful for keeping the cowboy boots in perfect shape, as they used to be right out of the box.
Step 3: Polishing
Some ask me if snakeskin cowboy boots can be as polished and leave a good result as crocodile cowboy boots since they are all reptile skin.
The answer is emphatically NO, because the structures of these two materials bear no resemblance. Snakeskin is much thinner and more vulnerable than crocodile skin.
In addition, a certain roughness on the surface of the material also makes polishing them more difficult to achieve a super glossy finish.
However, you can still polish the snakeskin cowboy boots, but please keep in mind that the result will be out with just a medium (or lower) sheen.
Only snakeskin with a complete scale (without partially peeling) is a suitable object for polishing methods.
Besides, you should also be more picky when it comes to searching for a specialized polish product for reptile skin.
These products should have a low consistency (more of a milk-like liquid or light creamy texture instead of a thick, fatty, colored, and sturdy structure), be soft, and also quickly penetrate the skin while leaving a great wet on the surface.
If you intend to polish your snakeskin cowboy boots, you only need to put on a very small amount of conditioner in step 2.
Polishing will also send off some more sufficient moisturization for the snakeskin while providing better resistance to water and liquid-based stains from the outside.
What you need to prepare:
- 1 soft sponge
- Professional polish (no color to not unexpectedly re-color the skin)
- Boot trees
Now, you need to take a small amount of polish and dab it onto the sponge, then apply it directly to any areas of snakeskin cowboy boots where you want them to shine (such as the vamps, toes, or shaft).
You should do the process once only. Repeated rubbing against the surface may harm the scales in one way or another.
Always remember to move your sponge in the direction of the scales.
Finally, put the cowboy boots on the boot tree to leave them dry for a few hours.
Your fancy, fresh snakeskin cowboy boots are all ready for tomorrow’s use.
How to protect or store snakeskin cowboy boots?
Learning how to store and protect snakeskin cowboy boots properly can save you lots of bucks one way or another, trust me!
I don’t know how frequently you will wear these bank-account-squeezing snakeskin cowboy boots, but if you don’t use them too often or use them as a showcase in your closet, you need to store the boots somewhere dry.
It’s better to place the boots about 50 inches (or more) off the ground. This means moisture from the ground won’t affect the texture of the snakeskin’s natural finish.
Besides, distancing the boots from the ground also reduces the risk of insects or mold entering the material and inside of cowboy boots.
Storing the boots indoors also needs attention to the temperature of the room. It’s better to keep the temperature range between 21 degrees Celsius (or 69.8 degrees F) and lower. This allows the snakeskin to breathe freely.
You also do not need to wrap snakeskin boots in any material, such as plastic. Otherwise, the snakeskin may become too dry or crack on the scales. No surprise, it will cause subsequent damage to the material.
Always moisturize or hydrate your snakeskin cowboy boots every 4 months, even with no frequent usage. If you live in a place where the sun burns year-round, this period should be shortened.
You also need to absolutely avoid spilling alcohol, solutions, detergents, and heavy chemicals directly into your snakeskin cowboy boots. This can immediately deform the scales.
Snakeskin is incredibly sensitive and prone to damage if you expose it to direct sunlight, strong UV light, wet water, or burning sand from the outside. This is because the flake’s ultrathin structure of snakeskin is not able to resist this abuse from the environment.
Worse, snake scales will lift up and look unsightly, shrink badly, or turn yellow (as if it is burning). At this stage, you have almost no way to get them back to how they were before.
So you must keep your snakeskin cowboy boots away from direct sunlight and water in one way or another, either by wrapping them with plastic when walking through snow, wet grounds, or simply staying in the shade every time you are out.
Before you leave…
It sounds pretty lengthy when it comes to taking care of snakeskin cowboy boots. But it’s worth it, after all. Trust me. Since snakeskin is sort of a fragile and short-lived material, it requires more attention, love, and care than any other material with a few years to go.
All you need to do is to store them properly while providing some adequate moisturization every 3–4 months.
I hope you enjoy our article.
Howdy y’all, and welcome to From The Guest Room, your ultimate guide to all things Western! I’m Jay Gatz, a lifelong cowboy boot enthusiast with over 5 years of experience in the Western style world. I’m excited to share my knowledge with you and help you discover the perfect cowboy boots and western gear to elevate your style. Let’s explore the rich history and timeless appeal of Western fashion together!