Boots 'n' Snoots: A Review on Boots for Your Dog

November 17, 2017 1 Comment

AUTHOR: KATHERINE TAYLOR TRAILBLAZER

Dog boots might sound silly - until the day your pup gets cut, or you have to cross sharp rocky terrain. But even if your barefoot dog seems fine on regular trails, you might be surprised by a new spring in their step with a set of boots! This was the case with Robin.

We've made it our mission to try all the boots we can get our hands on- we're currently at 9 styles and counting (with two more under testing). Which are the best? Well, it depends what your needs are. Read on for the pros and cons of each one. 

A quick note about sizing: Most boots are sized by paw width, measured with weight on the foot, although a couple brands measure by paw length. Your dog's front and back paws may not be the same size, so make sure to measure both (and if they're different, beware the boots that come in a set of 4). Always keep nails trimmed to avoid toe discomfort.

 

SOCK BOOTS

Simple, flat boots best for sensitive feet, first-time wearers, or as packable backup boots. Best "groundfeel" but lower durability. Some are more or less water-resistant (use with caution in warmer weather).

dogbooties.com: the simple yet effective basic boot

1.5" - 3.5" paw widths • $12 for a set of 4 (sold in singles)
Where they shine:
  • Excellent  “groundfeel” and grip on dry trail.
  • They don't fall off - stretch Velcro closure keeps boot in place.
  • Surprisingly durable - we got 6 months out of our pair before adding suede soles.
  • Strap at top seals out snow, although boots are not at all water-resistant.
Potential pitfalls:
  • No grip on slick floors, so look elsewhere for an indoor solution.
  • Lower durability compared to soled boots.

 

 

 

Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots: indoor or backup boots

1.25" - 4" paw widths • $31.95 - 34.95 for a set of 4
Where they shine:
  • Vinyl sole is grippy and quiet indoors.
  • Unique rubber pads in ankles to distribute pressure.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Oversized and paddle-like for smaller feet.
  • Straps are hard to tighten sufficiently.
  • Low breathability; use with caution indoors and on warmer days.
  • Sole is slippery on snow and rocky trails.

 

 

 

Muttluks All Weather Boots: the classic soft boots

1.5" - 5.25" paw lengths • $55 - $63 MSRP (usually available on sale) for a set of 4
Where they shine:
  • Versatile suede sole has good grip indoors or out.
  • Reflective double-back strap allows for a tight cinch on the ankle.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Blister risk for shorthaired dogs - the insides have exposed seams.
  • Medium breathability; use with caution indoors and on warmer days.
  • The baggy cuffs fill up with snow or dirt.

 

 

 

THREE SEASON TRAIL BOOTS

Structured, soled boots with breathable mesh uppers for maximum airflow in warm weather.

Old Model Ruffwear Summit Trex: easy-on "budget" trail boot

Note: we tried the previous model of Summit Trex (in orange, gray and REI-exclusive green with a leg cuff), which was billed as "water resistant" (and wasn't at all). The new model (in darker green and gray with a front gusset and no cuff) is "weatherproof" and should only be used in cool weather.

1.5" - 3.25" paw widths • $35 on sale for a set of 4 (sold in pairs)
Where they shine:
  • Easy to put on - no fussy straps or gusset.
  • Durable soles - sturdy yet flexible rubber for longer term use on rough ground.
  • Good grip on dry trail and snowy ground.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Stiff sole prevented a secure fit in the ankle.
  • Less breathable than true breathable boots.
  • Blister risk for dogs with dewclaws due to the strap placement.

 

 

Healers Urban Walkers: breathable "entry level" trail boot

1.8" - 3.875" paw widths • $42 - $60 for a set of 4 (sold in pairs)
Where they shine:
  • Ultra lightweight mesh construction with textured lining to keep them in place.
  • Flexible wrap style closure fits all ankles, even the slimmest.
  • Double-layer sole maximizes durability and flexibility and is grippy on indoor floors and paved surfaces.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Difficult to size: online size chart does not match packaging (and real life sizes are somewhere in between).
  • Less grippy than rubber on rocky or dirt trails.

 

 

 

Ruffwear Grip Trex: three season durable boots for heavy use

1.5" - 3.25" paw widths • $74.95 for a set of 4 (sold in pairs)
Where they shine:
  • Durable, structured upper with reflectors is designed to go the distance.
  • Medium-stiffness Vibram soles are tough and grippy.
  • Double-back strap allows for a secure cinch on the ankle.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Gusset overlap creates pressure points on smaller ankles.
  • Stiff soles can be slippery for small dogs.
  • Blister risk for dewclaws due to the strap placement.

 

 

 

WINTER BOOTS

Waterproof/weatherproof boots for wet and snowy weather. Not suitable for warmer weather use - dogs' feet need to breathe to avoid overheating.

Pawz: cheap, compact, and waterproof

1" - 5" paw lengths • $16.99 for a pack of 12
Where they shine:
  • Super packable for your first aid kit.
  • Great for protecting injured paws, or for salt or dirty slush.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Without adjustment straps, the ankles either fit or don't.
  • They’re disposable. We've put a couple miles on a set without any visible damage, but they're not made for regular use.

 

 

 

Muttluks Fleece-Lined: cozy, packable winter basics

1.5" - 5.25" paw lengths • $33.59 - 39.59 on sale for a set of 4
Where they shine:
  • The only "insulated" boots we've tried, with a cozy, chafe-free fleece lining
  • Flat, lightweight and easy to pack
  • Reflective double-back strap allows for a tight cinch on the ankle.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Baggy cuffs fill up with snow.

 

 

 

MyBusyDog: weatherproof boots on a budget

1.5" - 3.25" paw widths • $35.99 for a set of 4
Where they shine:
  • Easy to put on with large front gusset.
  • Secure fasteners: double reflective straps cinch tightly and can be adjusted to avoid dew claws.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Cool weather only - waterproof boots are dangerous for hot weather.
  • Soles too stiff for small dogs.
  • Tendency to flip upside down during high activity.

 

 

 

Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Boots: super flexible cold weather boot

1.75" - 3.5" front paw widths (1.5” - 3” back paw) • $59.99 for a set of 4 (check for sales)
Where they shine:
  • Unusual sizing: sold in a set of 4 with slight size difference between front and back boots.
  • Waterproof boot is actually waterproof.
  • Superior flexibility of sole and upper compared to all but the sock style boots.
  • Two-part closure with inner wrap and outer double-back strap for a secure fit on larger ankles.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Double closure design doesn't cinch tight enough for small ankles.
  • Tendency to flip upside down during high activity.

 

 

 

 

Hurtta Outback Boots: flexible-soled winter boots

1.25" - 3" paw widths • $60 for a set of 4 (sold in pairs)
Where they shine:
  • Flexible, grippy soles
  • Small rubber-soled boots: the only 1.25" rubber soled boots we've seen available.
  • Strap right at top to seal out snow.
  • Soft fleecy lining for cold weather.
Potential pitfalls:
  • Wrap strap is fussy to fasten.
  • Waterproof only up to Velcro ankle slit.

 

Still not sure? Read full reviews of most of these boots at robinventures.net. Here are a few additional recommendations:

  • For small paws, flexible sock-style boots are comfortable than rubber-soled boots.
  • Always avoid waterproof and weatherproof boots in warm weather for safety reasons.
  • If your dog is in and out of water, choose breathable boots since waterproof boots don’t allow drainage. Soaked feet and pads can soften, chafe, or blister.
  • Most boots fit better with socks. Ruffwear makes durable socks for larger feet, but make sure they fit snugly (don't just rely on the size chart) or they can cause chafing. We like RC Pet socks for small feet.




1 Response

Justin
Justin

December 14, 2017

I have had good success with boots from www.mtnridge.com which I did not see listed here. Affordable and sold in singles so you can get different sizes.

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