This boot comparison was done in partnership with Backcountry K9. They provided Ruffwear Summit Trex, Hurtta Outbacks, and Ultrapaws Durable for us to test and compare, and we also tried out a set of Muttluks All Weather back in the summer. At the end of the test, we gave away all but our favorite pair. If you missed the boots test introduction and comparison table, check it out here.
Robin’s Hurtta Outbacks are size Small (1.25″) and Medium (2″) in gray.
Sizing and colors: 1.25″, 2″, 2.25″, 2.5″, 3″, in gray
Of the four boot models we tested, these and Ruffwear Summit Trex are really the ones designed for heavy trail use: durable rubber soles will hold up to the miles much better than plastic and leather soles. However, the Outbacks are also great for winter, since they have a thick, fleece-lined upper and straps to seal out snow. These came very close to edging out Ruffwear as our favorites, although the uppers are a little heavy for summer hiking.
Looks-wise, these are my favorite of the bunch. The Outbacks have a great design, with supple soles and a thick upper. Their split ankle and wraparound ankle straps also make them the most complex. The molded shape is most similar to the Ruffwear Summit Trex, but they’re a warmer, thicker boot with a lining and extra reflectivity. These boots have left paw/right paw designations, so a little more attention is needed when putting them on. The Outbacks are the lightest of the three boots from Backcountry K9 at 17g for the 1.25″ size (the Summit Trex in size 1.5″ are 22g and the Ultrapaws in size 1.25″ are 20g).
The split ankle makes the boots easy to get on, and the wrap style means there are no extra folds of fabric under the ankle strap. The splits are held closed by their own hook and loop fasteners, and are secure as long as the boot is the right size. The Outbacks’ ankle straps are wrap-style instead of cinch-style: on the three other boot models, the ankle strap threads through a ring and doubles back, securing to itself with a hook and loop closure. On the Outbacks, the straps wrap around the ankle and secure in the back. This makes them harder to tighten and less secure, since there’s less surface area keeping them in place. However, one benefit of the wrap-style is that they can be wrapped higher to seal out snow or lower to avoid a dewclaw, depending on the dog’s anatomy.
These were the only boots of the four with a fuzzy lining: it’s a very thin fleece, almost like a microsuede. The interiors are soft and smooth except for the edge of the split-ankle closures, which could use a fabric shield to protect the foot. The Outbacks have the best night visibility, with reflective wraparound piping and reflective toe caps.
Unfortunately, while the back boots were a great fit, the front boots were just too big and clumsy for Robin. His front feet measure 1.75″, and Hurtta’s closest boot is 2″ (size Medium). While on, they worked great, but it was hard to get them tight enough and the wraparound straps struggled with the extra ankle bulk. To keep them on, I had to pull the straps very tight, which caused bad dewclaw blisters. I’d love to see Hurtta add a 1.75″ size to bridge that huge 0.75″ gap between the Small and Medium.
The back boots worked so well that I considered keeping them and using Summit Trex on the front, but in the end the simplicity of Ruffwear’s cinch straps won out, especially since the too-long Outback straps had to be tucked in. Robin has never thrown a back Hurtta boot, so these are very secure when they’re the right size.
Trail: Aside from the fit issue in our case, these boots are great for the trail, with good grip and durability. Though they have less sole texture than Summit Trex, they performed about the same due to their greater flexibility. The fleecy lining makes these a cooler-weather boot, so consider Summit Trex for hot weather. Dogs sweat through their pads, (you’ll notice that the pads are damp when you remove boots in warm weather), and sealing in that moisture can cause them to overheat.
Snow: These boots are perfect for snow, especially for mixed terrain: grip for slippery spots, durability for trails, and wrappable uppers to seal out deep snow. Just make sure to get them fastened well, because the split cuffs and wraparound straps are harder to fasten with cold fingers! They’re weatherproof and lightly insulated; Robin’s feet were 100% dry when I took them off. If grip isn’t necessary, the Ultrapaws are more economical and do as good a job of sealing out snow.
Street: The Outbacks are great on pavement, and are less cloppy than the Summit Trex. The durable soles hold up well to hard ground, and they’ll provide good grip if the sidewalk is slick.
Indoors: All of the boots in this review will work well indoors, but these are among the grippiest. The flexible soles are less cloppy than Summit Trex, but louder than Ultrapaws.
Build quality: 5/5
The Outbacks are very well built. The stitching is tight and thorough and the straps are well reinforced. All of the materials are thick, sturdy and well finished without being bulky. They saw a little less wear than the Summit Trex, but they look almost new. As with the Ruffwear boots, the only signs of wear are on the straps and the hook and loop fasteners on the front boots, where they touch the ground as they work themselves off. I suspect that these soles won’t last quite as long as the Summit Trex since they are softer and more flexible, but so far there’s no noticeable wear.
These boots are a fantastic, durable option for winter and trail use. If they came in the right size for Robin’s front feet, I’d have had a very hard time choosing between these and the Summit Trex, since they’re both very well designed and sturdy. I’d love to see Hurtta release a 1.75″ size and redesign their ankle straps for better security, but I love the thin, flexible soles and the overall look.
Best for: Winter, trail use, indoor use
Not ideal for: Hot weather