MyBusyDog Waterproof Dog Boots

We’re Trail Testers for @DogsThatHike!¬†We get a box of dog gear quarterly to test and review, and these MyBusyDog boots were one of the items in our first box. We put the green, size 1.8″ boots to the test. A similar version of this review (same info, slightly different organization) is available on¬†dogsthathike.com.

Price: $35.99

Sizing and colors: 1.5″, 1.8″, 2″, 2.25″, 2.4″, 2.65″, 3″, 3.25″ (very similar to Ruffwear boot sizes) in orange, green, black and red, sold in sets of 4

Boots might sound¬†like unnecessary¬†dog gear¬†– after all, wolves go¬†barefoot, right? Well, we’ve found that in certain situations (sharp gravel, fire ants, barnacles, hot pavement), it’s a¬†choice between boots and hurt feet, so we went hunting¬†for the perfect pad protection. We’ve tried five brands so far (rubber-soled¬†Ruffwear Summit Trex¬†and¬†Hurtta Outbacks, flat-style¬†Ultrapaws Durable,¬†Muttluks All-Weather¬†and our favorites, Dogbooties.com)¬†from $12 to $60, so we were excited when DogsThatHike offered us the chance to test out¬†these mid-priced¬†sturdy¬†boots from MyBusyDog.

Up front, I liked that they came in bright colors like red, orange and green, but didn’t like that they came in a set of four – all of the other brands we’ve tried except for Muttluks offer sets of two or singles. Even if all your dog’s feet are the same size, you may eventually lose a boot and need a replacement.

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Boots give Robin’s feet wings.

Design: 4/5

For a trail boot priced around 50% of the similar Ruffwear and Hurtta options, the MyBusyDog boots¬†are¬†extremely¬†well made. They feature¬†vinyl toe caps and¬†side-of-foot stabilizers,¬†durable construction and sturdy stitching. The soles on these are¬†the thickest of all the soled boots we’ve tried (which isn’t my preference, but definitely adds longevity); Hurtta Outbacks are quite soft and Ruffwear¬†Summit Trex are somewhere in the middle. The uppers are flexible, made of a smooth fabric with a slightly fleecy lining that’s¬†similar to the Outbacks. These were the first boots we tried with a front gusset¬†(Ruffwear’s breathable¬†Grip Trex have¬†one too) and while it¬†makes the boots faster to put on, they are also fussier to adjust and on Robin’s already skinny ankles, there’s quite a bit of extra fabric bulk.

These boots feature an upper wraparound reflective strap and a lower webbing one (right at Robin’s dew claw level) that doubles back to easily cinch down the boot. The straps are super effective – the¬†hook-and-loop stays put and Robin didn’t kick any of them off, ever – a first for molded-style boots.¬†However, I wish the top strap were the double-back one to avoid tightening over the dew claw, or that the straps had a bit of elastic for give, like our everyday¬†boots (DogBooties). I really like that both straps have reflectors (even if you’re not out at night, they can make a dropped boot easier to find) and the top strap is long enough to wrap around the back of the foot as well.

These boots make a ton of sense for winter, since they¬†have a strap right at the top to seal out snow on the trail, and they’ll protect paws from salts on the road. They’re also perfect for rainy day walks when you just don’t want to towel off dirty paws, and I¬†could see using them to protect working and service dogs from chemicals or oily surfaces. However, for summer trail use, especially in our warm¬†climate, they’re not a smart¬†choice.

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Robin does NOT lie down – very strange behavior for him.

Fit: 3/5

A good fit is ALWAYS important in boots, but I’d argue it’s extra important for small feet, since the wiggle room is a significant percentage of the¬†foot width. Properly fitted, Robin would¬†be a 1.5″ (or less) in the back and a 1.8″ in front. Because MyBusyDog doesn’t do custom¬†sets, we went with four in 1.8″.¬†The flexible uppers and super-sticky straps made it possible to cinch down the boots for a snug fit (we use socks for cushioning), and he never threw any of the four, even though¬†the¬†clownish back boots look clumsy.

Robin turns into a crazy dog with boots on, and these were no exception – each time I put them on, he started tearing around like his feet had wings. However, he quickly started to become irritated with the boots in a way that we haven’t¬†seen with the other rubber-soled boots we’ve tried – he would run ahead, stop, and lie down until I passed him. He knows not to tear off boots with his teeth, but for a dog that never lies down before we’ve gone seven or eight miles, it’s very out-of-character. The moment I took the boots off, he went crazy licking his feet, which makes me suspect that he finds them very uncomfortable. While moving, though, the boots didn’t get in his way – despite the size issue, I never saw him slip or trip.

20161002-DSC_3611-whitingwoods.jpg
Robin “fixes” his feet after 1st time boot removal

Function: 4/5

I was pleasantly surprised that the boots stay on 100%, despite iffy sizing on the back feet- a first for rubber-soled boots. Granted, we recently found our holy grail sock solution, which¬†helps keep boots in place. During our first trip, the boots slowly worked themselves down but on our subsequent trials, I got them on tightly enough that they stayed put (though Robin found them uncomfortably tight).¬†These have softer ankles than the Summit Trex, more similar to the Hurtta Outbacks, which allows for a snug fit, and the straps don’t budge. We did have problems with the boots flipping during zoomies (see the post’s header image – both of Robin’s left boots are upside down) which would cause the socks to work off inside the boot.

The soles on these are quite stiff, so¬†they won’t mold to the ground as well for grip. I prefer softer, less clumsy soles but these do have good tread and I didn’t see him slip ¬†more than he does barefoot (he’s on the clumsy side). The stiff soles do¬†make it hard to tell where the toes are when putting on the boots, so I put them on with weight in the foot¬†to make sure the toes have space.

Terrain specific:

Snow: We won’t have snow here for a couple more months, but these boots should do¬†quite¬†well in snow when properly fitted – they don’t come off, and the top strap would seal out snow. This is probably their best application since¬†they’re warm from the fleece lining and the waterproofing. It’s hard to say how grip would be on ice,¬†since the soles are very stiff, but these would be good for walking on wet, salty sidewalks since the waterproof design will seal out the chemicals.

Street: Though great for winter streets because of the salt and chemicals. I’d caution against using these¬†for hot sidewalks – while hot, sweaty¬†feet are better than burned pads, ventilated boots would be much more comfortable on a hot day. If you do use these in summer, watch carefully for signs of overheating and remove as soon as possible.

Indoors: The rugged soles are definitely designed for outside, but they could be used inside as well to help older dogs or for grip on slick hardwoods.

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Robin spots his stick as he’s tearing down the trail

Build quality: 5/5

Because Robin wasn’t a big fan, we didn’t put a lot of miles on these, but they have a very durable construction, on¬†par with the¬†also-weatherproof¬†Hurtta Outbacks boots we tried. The fabrics are¬†tough¬†and the soles wrap up over the sides to help protect the uppers. I really feel like the cheesy logo (and the four-pack) is the only thing holding them back from being high-end- they’re definitely rugged and made to last through many miles.

Overall: 4/5

The MyBusyDog boots surpassed my expectations for design and build quality, but because of their waterproof construction, I can’t recommend them for three-season¬†hiking. I do think their strap design makes them a great snow boot option, and the waterproofness is a good feature for rainy day walks and working dogs on oily or chemical-covered surfaces. Make sure your dog’s feet are all close to the same size before choosing these.

Best for: Cool season, four same-sized paws, working dogs, service dogs, snow boots, low-impact activity

Not ideal for: Hot weather, high-impact activity (not breathable), dogs with different sized front and back feet, stream crossings.

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