Have you ever experienced some freaking-out moments when you see a snake that crawls over your garden and almost approaches you!?
The truth is snakes happen everywhere on this earth. Fortunately, these long-winded creatures all over America are some of the nicest ones that don’t make them the deadliest killers in the world.
Though snakes don’t hunt humans, they tend to bite instead. And how lovely it is that your daily cowboy boots can basically protect you from small snake bites in the garden.
You may need a different type of specialized hunting boots called snake boots.
So why should cowboy boots and why should snake boots?
In this article, I will rather detail the main differences between cowboy boots and snake boots and hope this will give you enough time and information to make your own precise decision.
Let’s dive in!
|Features||Cowboy boots||Snake boots|
Cowboy boots encompass various variations of their own and we all wear them for doing every little thing on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, snake boots are often not around most of our life. They are meant to send to those who need them the most to save their life from venomous snakes when going down the woods at dawn and dusk.
But that’s not all when it comes to comparing the two.
I will aggregate the most different things between snake boots and traditional cowboy boots to arrive at a reasonable comparison for you.
Cowboy Boots vs Snake Boots in Construction
First, let’s take a look at how these boots are constructed from the inside out.
Now we will start to dig into the structure of each type of boot.
What makes snake boots completely distinguishable from cowboy boots is that they are knee-high up to approximately 18 inches.
Since snakes can lift their bodies to bite between our calves, that’s why snake boots are so tall.
All to ensure that even when a large-sized snake looks like it is targeting your calf with its fangs, you are not going to take any risk.
At that height, the only way to wear snake boots is to leave them over your pants. If you’re hunting or exploring in the rainforests of Africa, you should even add snake-proof gaiters to your snake boots for maximum safety.
In stark contrast, cowboy boots are usually only 6 inches tall (including the modern ankle cowboy boots) to a maximum of 16 inches. The tallest is definitely the Buckaroo that was used as riding boots in the past.
Overall, the average height of cowboy boots is just about mid-calf, which makes them ideal for farmers, ranchers, construction workers, metal workers, heavy drivers or gardeners for office jobs.
This height brings up great flexibility and breathability for the wearers while staying fixed under their pants.
Heel and outsole
This is the biggest difference between cowboy boots and snake boots.
Cowboy boots come in many variations of heels ranging from dressy heels (such as cowboy heels, western heels) to work heels (such as Stockman heels and Roper heels).
The outsole of cowboy boots is also an interesting cultural feature. Most people love to wear traditional sleek leather outsoles as a way of expressing the true taste of boots.
They are quite ventilated and cool in the hot season. Yet, they tend to slip pretty badly in the rain or in the wet winter.
These days, cowboy work boots make more use of the well-treaded rubber outsole to increase the friction on greasy and wet surfaces during work.
Meanwhile, the outsoles and heels of snake boots are applied to the designs of hunting boots.
You can feel this part a bit wider than ones from cowboy boots, with the distinct appearance of deep lugs.
The special tread patterns span the entire surface of the outsole of the boots to optimize traction and grip.
These ensure running, jumping, crawling, and climbing on mossy, wet, dense and thorny vegetation in the forest are at ease and safe by reducing the chance of falls while chasing prey.
Some snake boots also feature heel caps to make them more resistant to the strong bites of snakes from backward.
Cowboy boots opened a huge portal to the laceless work boots era. Therefore, you will never find a lace-up design in any proper cowboy boots.
Snake boots are in a different world. They have a pretty liberal design, which means you can find both snake boots that lace up from top to bottom or a pair of snake boots that don’t come with laces (but with side zippers instead).
Personally, I think laceless snake boots with side zippers are the most convenient. They’re easy to put on and take off, but if the zippers break down in the middle of your hunting while in the jungle, well, it’s better to prepare for the worst cases that may happen.
Usually, snip toes are used for dressing purposes such as office outfits as an alternative to dress shoes to show class and style. Round toes and square toes are used more often in manual work as they provide more comfortable roomy toe boxes for wiggling.
Snake boots’ toes are mainly round shapes. They are often reinforced with steel caps or other lightweight protective caps for maximum toe protection from snake bites.
While traditional cowboy boots often don’t focus on supporting the foot while moving, modern snake boots seriously take care of this.
Cowboy boots are usually provided with a fairly large piece of leather insole with minimum padding. They cause most wearers to experience sore feet at the end of the day.
Snake boots are constructed with optimally cushioned insoles and midsoles to increase shock resistance and promote energy return for the foot when walking up to 10 hours a day while hunting.
Running on a variety of terrains and surfaces from sharp rocks to high hills can seriously fatigue your feet and joints.
Thanks to this feature, the wearer may not feel too much foot pain.
Also, you can expect the insole of your snake boots to have great deodorizing or anti-odor capabilities as spending weeks to months in the woods without changing clothes can make your feet smell freakishly fishy.
2. Material & Colors
Up to 90% of cowboy boots are made of full-grain leather. Perhaps the remaining 10% is to use other variations of leather such as faux, nubuck or suede to make warm and soft boots.
It’s almost impossible to see a pair of cowboy boots that are made with fabrics in the vamp and upper. Sometimes the trim or embroidery on the shaft can be made using knitted materials, but this is not so common.
Speaking of colors, cowboy boots can be seen as the most sparkly chameleon in the footwear world from basic colors like tan, dark brown or black to olive greens and sun red with metallic finishes.
Snake boots are a different story. Their uppers can be made from full-grain leather but that’s not all, though.
To provide the best protection from snake bites, the construction of snake boots will also be added with durable synthetic materials such as Cordura, high-density nylon, composite, fiberglass and so on.
This design also enhances a great level of waterproofness when you, unfortunately, catch a big rain in the woods or soak your boots under the water in a stream.
Besides, there are some more linings underneath the upper that help strengthen this protective barrier.
Thanks to that, snakes barely can sink their fangs into half the thickness of snake boots.
The color of snake boots is usually camouflage, tan or black. But the typical and most used color is camouflage or something close to that.
This helps to disguise your legs in bushes where snakes might mistake it for a plant rather than human legs.
Honestly, I haven’t recorded any information on when snake boots were invented. Therefore, I think they are a product of modern society and human needs in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Their design is quite a bit liberal and doesn’t seem to follow a fixed formula beyond their knee height and great ability to resist snake bites.
Meanwhile, cowboy boots represent a typical American footwear culture. They have become popular and been loved from the late years of the 18th and early 19th centuries until now.
As clear as day, snake boots are definitely heavier than cowboy boots.
This comes from the fact that snake boots are nearly twice as tall as cowboy boots.
Although their uppers use only one piece or partial full-grain leather, the thick construction with many linings still adds a couple of ounces to the weight significantly.
Snake boots with steel toe caps can even weigh up to 6 lbs.
Overall, bearing this weight to save your life from an unexpected snake bite is completely worth the trade-off.
Another pair of mid-calf cowboy work boots with steel toes is just as weighty as a regular pair of snake boots (without steel toes) – 4 lbs.
But that’s why they make themselves a popular option for almost every American as daily footwear.
5. Identifying characteristics
Cowboy boots certainly don’t have an unrestrained design like snake boots.
They must be accompanied by a deep V-cut (or Scallop) located in the center of the upper boot shaft. The Stockman boots variant usually has a deeper Scallop than the others.
In addition, toe and heel designs are also an important identifying feature of cowboy boots. Snip toes and cowboy heels are essential for classic cowboy boots.
Today, when cowboy boots are improved to provide comfort when working manually, round toes, Roper toes, square toes along with Roper heels, Stockman heels and western heels are born to create comfort for the wearer.
It’s worth mentioning the exotic leather vamps of cowboy boots as an identifying characteristic as well.
They can be crafted from unique and excellent natural embossed hides such as caiman, alligators, ostrich, snake, or finer-grained real leather like sharkskin, goat or elephant.
They look so eye-catching and I personally see it as a sign of high class and status since it’s true that they can cost you an arm and a leg.
Besides, the western-inspired/artful decorations on the shaft are also noticeable and seen as a part of cowboy boot culture.
Snake boots have distinctive identifying features such as a knee-high shaft and exceptional resistance to snake bites (which you probably wouldn’t know if no one told you).
You may get confused between snake boots and hunting boots as they look kind of the same to each other.
The only difference between them is probably their superior resistance to snake bites compared to others.
Cowboy Boots vs Snake Boots in Experience
There are huge contrasts in perception and sensation when experiencing both cowboy boots and snake boots.
This comes from their opposing structure, which I’ve mentioned earlier.
Below are more specific comparisons.
If I admit that snake boots provide better comfort than cowboy boots just because they are equipped with a maximum foot support system along with flatter rubber outsoles, it is probably not entirely true.
The above features help your feet not get tired after continuously chasing prey in the forest all day long. But the feeling of heat and breathlessness inside the boots is not a pleasant thing at all.
If you’ve ever worn waterproof knee-high snake boots and ran in 40 degrees Celsius in the woods for five hours, you probably understand what I’m talking about.
In contrast, traditional cowboy boots have less foot-support construction but rather possess better ventilation and cooling capacity in the hot season.
Their leather outsole is also more breathable than those made from the dense rubber of snake boots. So, you don’t often encounter super sweaty feet while wearing cowboy boots in normal conditions.
Besides, your legs will have to carry a relatively weighty load from a pair of snake boots to run across in the forest. At least, cowboy boots are just half the weight of snake boots.
Snake boots definitely have the upper hand in this regard over cowboy boots.
Simply put, they are born to provide maximum safety and protection to the wearer in the harshest environments when hunting.
There is no fear worse than being bitten by a snake in the woods and not being treated in time. You may even lose your life.
With snake boots’ comprehensive safety features, you can also wear them as a pair of heavy work boots to work around hot metal surfaces, on the job site or on industrial greasy surfaces.
Their dense rubber outsoles with deep lugs have excellent anti-slip, puncture and impact resistance. You often have fewer chances to fall down or easily get injuries in the middle of your running.
If snake boots are included with reinforced- heels and toes, there’s no need to worry about the safety of your entire legs and feet for possible accidents during work.
Cowboy boots are also basically resistant to common snake bites due to their heavy full-grain leather construction as mentioned at the beginning (keep in mind that nubuck, suede and faux are out of the radar).
However, their leather outsoles are super slippery on wet surfaces or ice. For winter, you may want to consider a pair of rubber outsole cowboy boots to avoid any embarrassing falls in the middle of the road.
I will give cowboy boots 1 point in terms of this criteria.
A pair of full-grain cowboy boots can last for more than 10 years with proper use and regular maintenance. This expiration is rare in any typical snake boot. This can be explained based on the physical construction, materials and abuse level of the wearer on each type.
Since full-grain leather can keep its integrity and usability for up to 500 years, there is no doubt that real leather cowboy boots can last more than 10 years.
Meanwhile, snake boots are made of a handful of full-grain leather (or no leather) and mostly synthetic fabrics. They can withstand environmental and external impacts for a while but are often unable to withstand external abrasion or puncture.
Secondly, the wearers tend to be tough on snake boots. They give excessive abuse on the boots unconsciously.
Hunters can even submerge the footwear underwater and mud then drag them in the rough dust for weeks or months.
That also reduces the lifespan and durability of this boot line significantly.
I will give cowboy boots a point because of their convenience and versatility.
You can wear cowboy boots in any activity of life either to work, outing or even walking down the aisle.
Meanwhile, snake boots are usually put on your feet when either hunting or nurturing tons of snakes in a snake farm.
The footwear is a sort of specialized line of work boots and is only used for certain purposes in an attempt to provide perfect protection over venomous snake bites.
People like hunters, hikers or jungle workers are the main users of this boot line.
Snake boots are made for absolute flexibility, no wonder why. This is a must-have function for the boots.
You may question why a pair of 5 lb snake boots can still bring more agility and flexibility to the wearer than a pair of 2 lb cowboy boots.
This comes from the structure of snake boots.
They are equipped with a midsole and insole system that boosts up energy return so that the wearer can run across the jungle with comfort.
In addition, boots attach great importance to configuring ankle support and heel support features during mountain passes.
This minimizes problems such as twisted legs, tight joints or heel pains while hunting.
Most snake boots are also water-resistant from the outside. Thus, they allow the wearer to move through rain and water with a peaceful mind.
Meanwhile, cowboy boots with Stockman heels and rubber outsoles are also reasonable for fast movement. Yet, leather outsoles are a real nightmare when walking in wet conditions.
Besides, cowboy boot construction is way stiffer than snake boots, contributing to restricting the level of agility of wearers while running.
This is one of the most expected features of snake boots ever.
Let’s be honest, hunters are not only gathering around the mainland, some may work under the water or beside lakes, streams or rivers.
The chances of encountering water moccasin snakes – one of the most American venomous snake breeds – is pretty high when you wade through a swamp or creek. The excellent waterproofness of snake boots ensures your feet stay 100% protected from these deadly creatures.
This comes from the rigid gluing construction of the boots that will close all ways that let water successfully flood in.
Meanwhile, heavy leather cowboy boots are naturally water-resistant (but not very waterproof). You can still get wet feet when soaking the boots in heavy rains.
Furthermore, the leather tends to be prone to mold marks, water marks or stain marks when exposed directly to water for a long time.
You may need serious treatment later on to retain their shape and look the best.
Wrapping it up
Whether to go with cowboy boots or snake boots, you may have an answer of your own when you are reading these lines.
If you need professional footwear that protects your feet from venomous snakes with long sharp fangs (like the Grand cobra), snake boots are always the number one choice.
Otherwise, if you only need relative protection from small snakes in your garden, cowboy boots work just fine for you.
Howdy y’all! I’m Grace, a Western style enthusiast with over 5 years of experience. From cowboy boots to western gear, I’m passionate about all things Western and dedicated to helping you find the perfect style to suit your taste. Join me and my fiancé Jay Gatz as we explore the rich history and timeless appeal of Western fashion together!