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 while we did take them out on the trail a couple times, this review is going to be more design-focused and we’ll update once we’ve used them in the winter weather they’re meant for.
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 – 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 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 also harder to cinch tightly around the ankle. However, I do really like the reflective ankle straps, which are the least bulky, easiest to fasten/unfasten, and long enough to wrap and reflect all the way around. They’re probably the most effective of all 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 while it picks up dirt it’s also quieter than a rubber sole and offers better grip on rocks and packed dirt trails. It has good thickness and a good balance of structure and flexibility.
My big gripe with the All Weathers still stands – these boots have raw edges on the insides. I find that pretty unacceptable in a $55 set of boots. It’s better on the Fleece Lined, since the fleece edges cushion the stiffer nylon and suede edges, but I expected the fleece liner to be sewn in reverse so that no raw seams would face the foot. The seam between the cuff and the fleece-lined foot is also substantial, making it a bit harder to get the foot into the boot.
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 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 (not a problem in his smaller sized All Weathers), and one is currently missing at time of writing. (They’re not available in singles, so I’m hoping he lost it in the house before we left for the hike.) However, he hasn’t gotten any blisters during our test period, which is a FIRST – he got blisters with most other boots in shorter distances. This is with no socks, so it’s a big success and makes up for the slight extra annoyance with putting them on. They’re not perfect, but not having to wrangle socks is a big plus.
These boots really aren’t appropriate for California spring, so we stuck to using them mostly on rainy/cool mornings for the 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.
Despite their excessive height, the cuffs aren’t snug enough to actually keep anything out (dirt, pebbles, FOXTAILS), especially on the back legs where they’re stretched open by the hock, so they feel excessive without much advantage. The foxtails actually worked their way into the insides of the cuffs all the way down to the ankle strap. I did try folding them down, but they felt too bulky on Robin’s narrow frame. His previous one-size-down Muttluks had shorter cuffs that I greatly preferred (which did better, but not perfectly, at keeping dust out), but were too small in the foot, especially for the front paws. I’m surprised these boots are so popular for snowy weather with the loose cuff issue, but I’m interested to try them out this winter. From our test results, they seem like they’d be best for cold feet (a big problem for Robin in winter) and salted streets, but not so much for deep snow.
Overall, I love that Robin didn’t get any blisters even without socks (a first!!) but they’re obviously not so good for dusty trails and dry summer vegetation, so I’m interested to see if they’ll do better in snow.
At the moment, these are the only warm boots we’ve tried, aside from the winter-oriented, but uninsulated Hurtta Outbacks. Robin’s little pads do get cold in uninsulated boots, even with socks, so I’m excited to give these a try, and giving them an extra value bump for being unique in our lineup. They’re also well made, well built and sturdy feeling despite my issues with the cuffs.
However, I do really wish they’d turn those raw seams away from the foot. At a $55 price point, they’re approaching Ruffwear and Hurtta prices, and those boots are meticulously designed, molded and shaped to fit the foot. These are worth the $33 Petco price, if you’re OK with the loose cuffs or willing to make modifications.
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 (guessing here!), blister prone dogs, dogs with dew claws
Not ideal for: Warm weather, foxtail type plants, sealing out dust