We’re Trail Testers for @dogsthathike! We get a quarterly box of goodies to test out, and we report back with what’s great and what isn’t. We received these cozy fleece-lined Muttluks right after the weather started to heat up in Southern California, so we wrote an original review based on our limited experience, then tested them in a real Minnesota winter (-10°F to 20°F) to see how they perform in snow. We’ve got one test left – wet, heavy California snow.
Price: $55 CAD on Muttluks.com, but they also appear to be available at Petco for $33.
Sizing and colors: Itty Bitty (1 – 1.5″ paw length) – XXL (4.75 – 5.25″ paw length) in black, blue, green, orange, purple, pink and red. Available in set of 4 only. Colors other than black might be hard to find in USA.
Long-time readers will remember that we reviewed the All-Weather Muttluks as part of our Boot Comparison Review about a year ago. They were the first set of boots we tried and I wasn’t impressed at the time – Robin got blisters (now we know that he gets blisters with most boots) and the raw edges inside were not what I was expecting at that price point. Dogs That Hike had us try the fleece-lined Muttluks this time around because the fleece lining makes for softer raw seams inside.
The Fleece Lined Originals are just like the All Weathers (suede sole, nylon upper, thicker nylon toe cap, and loose, stretchy leg cuff), but with the addition of a thin fleece liner. The lining makes them stiffer overall than the All Weathers (closer to a molded boot like Ruffwear Summit Trex or Hurtta Outbacks) and a little harder to cinch tightly around the ankle. However, I do really like the flat, reflective ankle straps, which are less bulky and more durable than Ruffwear, smoother and easier to tighten than Hurtta or Dogbooties.com, and stay stuck as well or better than any of the boots we’ve tried (with the caveat that I really, really love the stretch Velcro of Dogbooties.com, which keeps the boots on without fail).
The suede sole is much more durable than it sounds, and it’s quieter than rubber and has slightly better grip on dry and rocky trails (though due to the stiffness, the fleece-lined boots have less ground feel than the All-Weather. The cuff is tall and helps keep out shallow snow and a certain amount of dust, but it’s not snug enough to actually act as a gaiter – I wish there was a second velcro cinch at the top for this purpose.
My big gripe with the All Weathers still stands – these boots have raw edges on the insides. I find that pretty disappointing in a $55 set of boots, especially since on the fleece version, the liner could be sewn in reverse with the seams facing away from the foot. However, the raw edges on the Fleece Lined are softer and didn’t give Robin any blisters, unlike our experience with the All Weathers.
Muttluks sizing is different from all other boots we’ve tried – they’re sized based on paw LENGTH rather than paw WIDTH. I find this a little odd, since Robin’s front and back paws differ in width by half an inch and he’s worn two different sizes in all other boots, but all feet have the same length measurement (2.25″). That puts him right on the line between XXS and XS Muttluks (we ended up with XXS). There is a bit of wiggle room with soft boots compared to rubber soled boots, and despite the ridiculously tall cuffs especially on the back feet, they aren’t terribly large for him.
The slightly oversized back boots, plus the bulkier ankle, led to Robin throwing a boot each time we used them on summer trails (a problem we didn’t have with his smaller sized All Weathers). In the winter testing, Robin was so unenthused by the temperature, snow and gear that he refused to move faster than a slow plod, and therefore all boots stayed firmly in place.
The silver lining of these boots – no socks required. The fleece lining is mobile enough that we didn’t need additional socks to prevent blisters, and these are the only boots where that’s been the case. The fleece is unfortunately too hot for summer use, but for winter, if these work for your circumstance, you can completely eliminate the sock step and the risk of cotton socks getting wet and cold.
These boots really aren’t appropriate for California spring, so we stuck to using them mostly on rainy/cool mornings for the warm weather test period. They didn’t seem too hot for that type of weather, but on warmer days Robin would frequently lie down in protest until the boots were removed. We just got the chance to try them in snowy Minnesota and Wisconsin, in dry below-zero powder as well.
Despite their excessive height, the tall cuffs aren’t snug enough to actually keep anything out (dirt, snow, pebbles, and foxtails), especially on the back legs where they’re stretched open by the hock. Walking across a windswept snowy landscape, Robin’s boots didn’t take in much snow, but in powder the cuffs immediately filled up. However, snow didn’t filter past the cinch straps. We’ve got one test remaining – wet California snow, which has soaked through all boots we’ve tried to date.
Overall, I love that Robin didn’t get any blisters even without socks (a first!!) but if these boots fill up with dust and foxtails in the dry season, are too insulated for hot days, and don’t handle powder well during winter, I’m not really sure what they are for. We’ll give them another try in wet snow, which is less likely to filter into the cuffs, and maybe tear off the cuffs to see if they are better without.
If you need boots for sidewalk, shallow snow, or groomed trail use, where there’s not much risk of snow filtering in over the tops, these might be a valid winter boot option since the fleece lining strikes a nice balance between bulk and insulation. But their lack of versatility is a problem at this price point.
As the first set of boots that haven’t given Robin any blisters, even without socks, I’m feeling positive about these despite the one-season use and the loose cuffs. With solid build quality I think they’re worth a try for sensitive feet, cold weather and dogs new to wearing boots. I wish the fleece liner resolved the interior raw edges, but it did help cushion Robin’s feet against blisters. Can’t wait to see if these keep his cold little pads warm on winter trail hikes.
Best for: Cold weather, shallow snow, ice and salted streets, blister prone dogs, dogs with dew claws
Not ideal for: Warm weather, foxtail type plants, sealing out dust, deep snow