Skip to main content

Field Tested: Danner Vital Snake Boots

“Better Safe Than Sorry” at Its Best

Field Tested: Danner Vital Snake Boots

The year, and thus Pennsylvania’s deer season, was winding down, and the whole Orange Army seemed to be out on maneuvers. I had passed vehicle after vehicle on my way down the game-land road that morning, so when I finally came to a seemingly overlooked stretch of woods, I threw my car in park, grabbed my gear and headed over the side of the ridge to make my play wherever I could. (I moved to the state after the season opened and hadn’t been able to scout beforehand.) Why had everyone left this spot alone? I wondered.

The answer soon became clear. Had it not been the dead of winter, I wouldn’t have dared to venture across that jumbled pile of rocks — it ended up being some of the snakiest-looking territory I’ve ever seen. Timber rattlers are fairly common in Pennsylvania, especially where I was hunting, so if it hadn’t been too cold for them to be out and about, I’m sure I would have come across at least one.

The day ended without me taking a deer, but I did glean a bit of wisdom: If I intended to hunt that area again, I needed snake boots. Good snake boots!

Southern Serpents

Fast forward to May 2019, when I was invited on a writers’ hunt for axis deer and other exotics in Texas. I’ve hunted for axis deer before in the same general area (outside San Antonio) without any sign of snakes, so I didn’t think anything of hunting there again without snake boots. However, several friends and coworkers urged me to reconsider. Knowing I’d be scouting/hunting in that same rocky area of Pennsylvania later in the year, and having been impressed by the regular version of Danner’s Vital boots at the 2019 Archery Trade Association Show, I ultimately decided to go with a pair of the snake boot variants of the Vital.


Once I arrived at the lodge, it quickly became clear that snake boots were, indeed, necessary. The staff cautioned us against walking to and from our cabins at night without a headlamp, as rattlers were known to crawl onto the sidewalks to soak up the leftover heat of the day. Even shooting on the outfitter’s 3-D archery range was disconcerting, what with the multi-colored rocks, sticks and vegetation along the way looking like so many reptiles. Throw in the time we spent in brushed-in ground blinds all across that West Texas property, and I was glad to be as shielded as possible.


I’m thankful that I wore snake boots on that hunt even though I never ran into a snake, as one of the writers in our group did spot a good-sized rattler slithering along beneath his treestand. It was also a comfort to be protected while blood-trailing my axis buck through the thick Texas brush.

Sole Searching

So, what is it about Vital Snake Boots that make them such a good choice? The answer starts at the ground level: Vital Snake Boots feature multi-directional lugs on the outsoles for great traction on a variety of terrains, as well as Danner’s Plyolite midsole for comfort and shock absorption. These Vitals were designed for when snakes are most active, so a waterproof lining and a Danner Dry liner (Style #41531) are also included for when conditions are hot and wet.

The drawback to snake boots is that to thoroughly test them, you need to actually get bit by a snake. In that respect, I didn’t fully vet my Vitals, but Danner did the “legwork” for me beforehand — instead of having a human wear each boot, an unbiased, third-party lab facility filled the Vitals with an inflated latex balloon, which would easily be punctured if a snake managed to get its fangs through the Vitals’ “360 Snake Guard.” This non-woven material between the liner and exterior, along with strategically placed leather and rubber, keeps a snake from sinking its teeth into a hunter from shin to toe.

With all of that protection incorporated into each boot, I thought my 17-inch-tall Vitals would be a burden when hiking longer distances. I was pleasantly surprised; I could have just as easily been wearing the eight-inch-tall Vitals for how I felt, as the snake boots are only slightly heavier than their siblings — 66 ounces a pair versus 47 ounces a pair, respectively.




Danner Vital Snake Boots are available in medium and wide widths in sizes 7-16, as well as in brown (Style #41530) or Mossy Oak Break-Up Country (Style #41531). I’m a 13 wide, so finding boots that fit me well is often a chore. My Vitals arrived with true-to-fit sizing, thanks in large part to Danner’s DT4 last. This provides the boots with an athletic fit, tighter heel pocket and wider toe box — features I need when hiking through rattler country. Simply put, Vital Snake Boots are “better safe than sorry” at its best! MSRP: $190-$200

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

ATA 2021 NeDuring this video from the Archery Trade Association's New Product Premiere showcase, Bowhunter's TV Mike Carney visited with Evan Williams, pro staff manager for Hoyt Archery, to learn about the new RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum and Ventum 33 bows.w Product - Hoyt

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

Crossbow Review: TenPoint Havoc RS440 XERO

The all-new 2021 offering will certainly be one of the most accurate long-range crossbows ever built.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques. Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two How-To

Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two

Bill Winke

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques.

From new binoculars and rangefinders to a fresh batch of trail cameras, there's no shortage of product to help bowhunters out this year.New Optics and Scouting Gear for 2021 ATA Show

New Optics and Scouting Gear for 2021

Jace Bauserman - January 15, 2021

From new binoculars and rangefinders to a fresh batch of trail cameras, there's no shortage of...

From portability and comfort to stealth and shooting opportunities, today's tree saddles are hard to beat.Why You Should Try Tree Saddle Hunting Treestands & Blinds

Why You Should Try Tree Saddle Hunting

Andy May

From portability and comfort to stealth and shooting opportunities, today's tree saddles are...

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species2020 State of the Whitetail Report Whitetail

2020 State of the Whitetail Report

Jason Snavely - June 29, 2020

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species

See More Trending Articles

More Apparel

With an affordable price tag, this new line of hunting apparel offers excellent value throughout the entire season.Field Tested: Thiessens V1 Whitetail System Apparel

Field Tested: Thiessens V1 Whitetail System

Christian Berg - February 18, 2020

With an affordable price tag, this new line of hunting apparel offers excellent value...

Check out some of the most buzzworthy new products for ladies from the 2019 ATA Show! Best New Women's Bowhunting Gear for 2019 ATA Show

Best New Women's Bowhunting Gear for 2019

Emily Kantner - January 11, 2019

Check out some of the most buzzworthy new products for ladies from the 2019 ATA Show!

We put the classic pattern to the test in the turkey woods.Field Tested: Mossy Oak Bottomland Checks Every Box Apparel

Field Tested: Mossy Oak Bottomland Checks Every Box

Drew Pellman - May 10, 2019

We put the classic pattern to the test in the turkey woods.

For all the lady bowhunters out there, you'll want to check out the Sitka Gear Women's Big Game Clothing Line that's designed specifically for your comfort.Gear Review: Sitka Gear Women's Big Game Clothing Line Apparel

Gear Review: Sitka Gear Women's Big Game Clothing Line

Emily Kantner - December 07, 2017

For all the lady bowhunters out there, you'll want to check out the Sitka Gear Women's Big...

See More Apparel

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Bowhunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now