First Look at Irish Setter Rugged Terrain Snake Boots – Bearing Arms

First Look at Irish Setter Rugged Terrain Snake Boots – Bearing Arms

Depending on where you’re going to be traversing terrain in different regions, being sufficiently shod could be something to consider when picking out boots. Snakes are an issue for some folks in the U.S. and there are protective options out there to mitigate bad outcomes from encounters with these slithery critters. A few months ago my friends over at Irish Setter released some snake boots, which they’ve added to their Rugged Terrain line. Here’s a first look at them after I slipped my little meatloaves into them a couple of times.

I do need to make a confession…I’ve become a fan of Irish Setter. This is the third set of boots that I’ve been sent for testing and evaluation, and so far I’ve been wowed with what I’ve been presented with. I will note, these specific snake boots aren’t at the top of my list of favorite footwear, nor will I be finding a ton of use for them for my personal applications, but that does not mean they’re not great.

The Rugged Terrain snake boots are constructed with the same quality workmanship that Irish Setter put into the other two sets of footwear I’ve sampled; The Elk Tracker XD’s and Irish Setter 50’s. The Rugged Terrain snake boots are made of “polyurethane impregnated waterproof leather and fabric panels [that] create[s] a durable upper featuring UltraDry™ waterproofing.”

Naturally, since these are “snake boots,” they “help prevent puncture from fangs and brush.” These 17” monsters are knee-high.

This is not an ultra-inclusive review of the Rugged Terrain snake boots. Rather, this is a first glimpse of them and my opinion after wearing them a handful of times.

While New Jersey does have its fair share of snakes (and not just in the state capitol building), I’m not spending a lot of time in areas where I’d personally need a set of boots like this. That said, I did have a positive experience with them. I will be wearing them in snake country though, when I find myself there.

The 17” lace-up boots took a little work for me to weasel my feet into. While I might not have full-on hobbit feet, I’m not exactly getting requests for foot pics either. We’re talking wide, high arched, puppies. To get into the boots, I did have to loosen the laces quite a bit and yard on the boots until my metatarsal and heel broke into the boot, setting my foot. Once in, there were no issues.

I did have to tighten up the laces a bit and work the slack out of them. I’ve never worn knee-high boots, so that was a new experience for me. I am used to 11” slip on Pecos, made by Red Wing, the parent company of Irish Setter, but that’s about as high as I’ve had boots go for me.

Since I’m more of a beefier person, getting my pants into the boot was too much of a challenge to deal with at the time. What can I say, I’ve got big calves. I also have the thighs of a speed skater, but I digress. 

To not monkey around with finding the perfect pants to go with these boots, I just wore shorts with them during my evaluations. I’m sure my hiking pants would have been just fine, but when I took to the outdoors to test these bad boys, it was in the middle of a heatwave.

The first few times I wore the boots, I just wore them around the house. They were not offensive nor were they anything to make me swap them out for my crocs for use as indoor slippers. After a few indoor walkabouts, I went out into the great unknown.

The middle of a heatwave in June in New Jersey was probably not the best time to put these boots to task, but I couldn’t wait until autumn before penning my review. So, after lacing up and dogging the boots down fairly tight (but not too tight), I headed to a local trail I frequent.

I set off with a half gallon of water and a pile of hopes and dreams. Okay, that latter part, not so much. I was on a mission though.

I was on moderate terrain; nothing too crazy or overly pitched. I did not get to bound from rock to rock, but the boots are sufficiently light eough to allow for that. Even though these were jacked up to my knees, after getting the Rugged Terrain snake boots on, I wasn’t feeling any real discomfort. They felt pretty good to be honest.

At about the 2-mile mark, I did start to get a little pain in one of my sets of toes. This isn’t something new to me. As noted previously, I have particular feet, and they do need to get used to new footwear and in this case, it did seem like the boots did need to be broken in. Unlike my experiences with other Irish Setter footwear, where I felt there was no need for break-in, the Rugged Terrain snake boots could afford being abused a bit. They are designed to be stout, so this comes as no shock to me.

Not long after the discomfort started in my toes, it pretty much went away for another mile or so. The discomfort returned again for a short period, but then was no longer an issue.

I did a little over five miles that day and felt good. My feet were not sore or jacked up or anything. My calves were maybe a bit more sweaty than usual and did feel some relief when I popped out of the boots. 

I will note that I generally wear high-quality wool blend socks for such activities. That day I actually took out the big guns and wore blended alpaca wool boot socks. If you haven’t experienced alpaca wool socks, may I suggest you try them just once.

Overall, my first impression of the Irish Setter Rugged Terrain snake boots is rather high. Do I need to spend some more time with them? Sure, but after flitting about the house a few days in them while being the domestic giant I am when I’m home, and taking off for a five-mile hike, I have no real complaints.

You can learn more about the Rugged Terrain snake boots over at the Irish Setter webpage. If you’d like to catch the booth side walkthrough of new products I received at the Irish Setter booth at the GAOS you can check that out HERE or in the embed below.


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