Maintenance and Cleaning Tips for Snake Boots
Snake boots are a great investment for your safety when out in the wild. Around 8,000 people in the US get bitten by snakes every year and it’s important to protect yourself.
Snake boots can last a long time, and they can last even longer with the proper care. Since you’re wearing them in mud, grass, sand, puddles, and who knows what else, snake boots especially can get really dirty.
Protect your investment by reading this article about how to maintain and clean your snake boots.
Maintenance will depend on what kind of snake boot you own. We’ll walk you through how to take care of your boots based on material and general maintenance.
Snake boots are generally made up of either a mixture of or one of the following materials on the exterior of the boot:
For example, if you have something like the Danner Sharptail Snake Boot, your boot will be a mixture of leather and a textile, in this case, nylon.
We’ll also cover how to maintain boot liners, zippers, soles, and laces.
*Always use caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning or maintaining your boots.
Prepping your boots for the outdoors
Maintaining your boots starts from the moment you take them out of the box. A good step towards maintaining the quality of your boots is to apply a water repellent to any leather parts of the boot.
Water repellent products are also called:
- Water guard
- Water shield
There are a wide variety of water repellent products that will also protect fabric, and sometimes products work for both leather and fabric, and suede, and any number of other materials.
Water repellent products will help maintain the quality of your boots because they create a seal on the material of the shoe that makes it harder for water and mud to rest on the material, avoiding staining or water damage, which can also dry out the boot (particularly if the boot is leather).
These products should be applied to your snake boots frequently, about once every five wears, and at least every time they are cleaned.
How often do I need to clean my boots?
This is up to you, but if you want to maintain the quality of your boots, you probably want to find a nice middle ground of not cleaning too often and not cleaning too little.
Cleaning your boots too often may deteriorate the fabric and therefore, quality of the boot. For example, if you take out the insoles of your boots and wash them after every use, your boots will never smell but the fibers in your insoles may start to come apart.
You’ll know when your boots need to be cleaned. Don’t wait until they smell terrible or are so covered in mud and gunk that they’re heavy and difficult to walk in. When they start to smell or when mud starts to stick to the sides, it’s time to clean your snake boots.
What do I need to clean my boots?
- Soft shoe brush (or 2)
- Leather cleaner
- Water repellant/proofing cream or spray
- Dish soap
- Microfiber cloth
- Warm water
A shoe brush comes in handy when cleaning shoes, especially if your shoes become covered in mud. If you know your boots will be getting really dirty, we recommend buying 2 shoe brushes: 1 for taking off the mud and 1 for brushing the actual boot.
Heavy duty shoe brushes with metal bristles are available, but we recommend a softer brush to avoid damaging the shoe.
How to clean your snake boots
If your boots are very dirty, spray them down with a hose, then use one of your shoe brushes to clean off the remaining dirt and let them air dry before moving on to the next steps. *Only take this step if your boots are extremely dirty: it takes a long time for wet boots to dry, and the water exposure may damage the fabric of the boot.
Cleaning the shoe laces
- Remove your shoe laces, soak in a bowl with warm water and dish soap.
- Using your hands or rubber gloves, gently scrub the shoe laces. Air dry.
Cleaning the exterior material
- Go over the leather parts of your boots with one of your shoe brushes to remove any excess dirt.
- Wet a microfiber cloth and gently scrub the exterior fabric of the boot.
- Wipe down the rubber sole with a wet microfiber cloth.
- Apply leather cleaner to any leather parts of the boot.
- Spray or apply water repellant/proofing product to the leather parts of the boot, and to any other fabrics the product is suitable for.
Cleaning the interior of your boots will depend on whether or not your boots have removable insoles or liners.
*If you do have removable insoles or liners, ensure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to cleaning them.
Cleaning removable insoles or liners
- Soak them in warm, soapy water, and gently scrub with your hands or a very soft brush.
- Alternatively, put them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle.
Always air dry your insoles or liners, as putting them in the dryer may shrink them.
Cleaning insoles or liners that are not removable
- Use a microfiber cloth dipped in warm water with dish soap to gently scrub the inside of your shoe.
- Use another microfiber cloth, this time just soaked in warm water, to remove any remaining soap from inside the shoe.
Avoid having to clean the inside of your snake boots altogether
- Always wear clean socks in your boots
- When not in use, keep dryer sheets in the boots to remove odor
- Try to keep the inside of the boot as dry as possible
Other snake boot maintenance
If the sole of your snake boot starts to come off, use a product like Shoe Goo to glue it back on, or, better yet, take it to a shoe repair shop. If the boots are under warranty, consider contacting the manufacturer about the damage.
Zippers are known for becoming stuck or breaking. If this happens to the zippers of your snake boots, take them to get repaired, unless the boots are still under warranty. If they are, let the manufacturer of the boot know: they may be defective.
Protect your investment
Maintaining and cleaning your snake boots is easy, especially when you keep up with it and don’t wait for them to become completely filthy before washing them.
If you take steps to maintain and clean your snake boots, their quality can last for many years.