By Jonathan Olivier
It’s hot, damp and the woods are lush with underfoot greenery – a perfect scenario for a surprise encounter with a snake.
Bites – some fatal, but most often not – can and do happen in the United States every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, it’s “estimated that 7,000-8,000 people per year receive venomous bites” with “about [five] of those” resulting in death. Medical care within short drives and anti-venin usually available at a moment’s notice decrease odds of a fatal bite from even the nastiest snakes out there.
With figures like that, I was never one to rush to purchase a pair of snake boots; though my reluctance mostly had to do with the bulky, lace-up snake boots prevalent on the market that weren’t always fully waterproof.
I’ve always opted for the run-of-the-mill rubber boots when it’s still hot out, due to lightweight construction and waterproofness, and instead used caution when tromping through tall grass or deep water.
That changed when I got an up-close look at Lacrosse’s Alpha Mudlite Snakeboot, which is a rubber boot marketed as not only snake-proof, but waterproof; I was instantly sold.
My first outing using my fresh kicks was a scouting trip in the Atchafalaya Basin just before deer season opened. It was hot and I had some serious ground to cover while checking presumptive tree stand locations.
When I first slipped them on, they felt great. As I would expect from Lacrosse, the boots contour well to my foot (they run a size small) and offer a stable platform for balance. Then I started walking—from the first hundred yards walking through the woods, I already noticed a few issues.
Safe, but Stiff
While the boots are made of rubber, they aren’t as flexible as what I was expecting. The thick exterior, which undoubtedly works to give snake-proof qualities, is rigid and kept slapping the back of my calves while walking and made it hard to step over obstacles or even bend at some angles. The boots are a bit heavy, also.
But those are just a few luxuries I was willing to give up for added safety and security, especially when hunting alone. I wasn’t ready to give up on the boots just yet.
I decided to look past the weight and rigidness given my new found braveness, stepping where I normally would have bypassed for a clearer, possibly safer route. No patch of grass appeared too ominous, nor any jumble of logs triggered heightened caution; my only worry was banana spiders dangling between seemingly every tree branch I walked past.
I trudged through briar patches to test durability, stepped in sludge-like mud to test traction, and submerged the boots up to their rim with swampy water.
The results were impressive: no leaks, great traction and a comfortable fit.
Room to Breathe
Perhaps my favorite feature of the boots is the “Aircirc” interior design, which helps to circulate air while walking. The construction works to keep your feet less muggy, and I really did feel a difference compared to traditional rubber boots.
I ended up walking more than two miles, putting the boots through scenarios a typical hunter might encounter on a hunt in Louisiana – well, except one small, perhaps important feature.
Alas, I didn’t encounter any snakes on my outing, nor did I want to, honestly. Plus I had no intention of testing the boot’s snake-proof ability. The box says snake-proof, and I’ll take their word for it.