The Right Boots for Your Adventure

A previous version of this post was published on the Camping With Dogs Blog.

This is our new, complete list of all boots we’ve tried. If we’ve already written a review, it’s linked below – others are coming soon. We also previously did a comparison of 4 pairs of boots, all of which are included in this list.

Note: Some of these boots we purchased ourselves, and others were given to us by a third party or by the brand, in exchange for our thoughts or a review. Regardless of the source, I strive for consistency in my reviews and analysis, and Robin doesn’t factor source into his preferences.

Does your dog need boots? Maybe, or maybe not. I didn’t think Robin did, until I put on the right pair and he turned into a zoomie machine. Some dogs have naturally tough pads (Robin does); some don’t. If you cross a lot of sharp rocky terrain; if your dog’s pads tend to peel after a long hike, even after conditioning, or if your dog seems to get tired earlier than they should on rough trail, give boots a try. And even if none of the above are true, you might want to keep an inexpensive lightweight pair in your pack just in case.

Robin prefers to feel the ground, so there are only a couple pairs on this list that he’s worn happily time after time. But nearly everything here is a viable choice for someone, so read on to see the pros and cons of each style.

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”, lower durability. Some are more or less water-resistant (use with caution in warmer weather).

Pawz_robinventures.jpgPawz: 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.

20160821-DSC_8663-badenpowellDogbooties.com: simple yet effective basic boot (REVIEW):

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.

Ultrapaws_durable_robinventures.jpgUltrapaws Durable: Indoor or backup boots (REVIEW):

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_allweather_robinventures.jpgMuttluks All Weather: The classic soft boots (REVIEW): 

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.

Ruffwear_summittrex_robinventuresOld Model Ruffwear Summit Trex: Easy-on “budget” trail boot (REVIEW)

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.

20171112-KLH_1257-sanrafael.jpgHealers 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.


20170910-KLH_8793-fireRuffwear Grip Trex: Three season durable boots for heavy use (REVIEW):

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. 


Muttluks_fleecelined_robinventures.jpgMuttluks Fleece-Lined: Cozy, packable winter basics (REVIEW):

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.

20161030-dsc_6206-sunshine-drMyBusyDog: Weatherproof boots on a budget (REVIEW):

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.

CanineEquipment_robinventures.jpgCanine 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_outbacks_robinventures.jpgHurtta Outback Boots: Flexible-soled winter boots (REVIEW): 

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 styles at robinventures.net. Here are a few additional recommendations:

  • For small dogs, flexible sock-style boots will be easier to wear than rubber-soled boots.
  • Always avoid waterproof and weatherproof boots in warm weather for safety reasons – dogs need to vent heat through their pads.
  • If your dog is in and out of water, don’t use waterproof boots. Water almost always trickles in from the top, and the waterproof boot doesn’t allow drainage. Soaked feet and pads can soften, chafe, or blister. Look for a fabric or mesh boot.
  • Straps that feed through a loop and fold back over themselves (like the Velcro shoes you wore as a kid) are easier than wrap straps to tighten precisely.
  • 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 go with RC Pet socks since they come in smaller sizes.

Our boots of choice? Dogbooties.com. They’re cheap, the elastic straps keep them on without cutting into the ankle, and we add suede soles to extend their wear time. We use them with doggy socks to help keep them in place. They’re also a great way to introduce boots!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Kari Post says:

    Thank you so much for your honest and detailed reviews. I have actually followed Robin on Instagram for a while but found your WordPress site while looking up dog boots for our pup. We have a 65# energetic boxer/rottie mix with short, smooth hair and a typical all muscle, no body fat boxer build with a deep, wide chest, tiny waist, and short back, so finding “clothes” that fit Winston is really challenging. We also happen to live in New Hampshire so during multi-day cold spells in the winter where the temps never rise above single digits, Winston is pretty miserable being cooped up inside. This review was the most helpful dog boot comparison I’ve found so far, and I really appreciate your attention to whether boots irritate dog’s dewclaws, the blister/chafing potential of exposed seams and rougher fabrics on dogs with super short hair, and boot flexibility, durability, and cost. I’m definitely going to read many of your other reviews and posts. Thank you to both you and Robin for sharing your experiences so dog parents like me can make the best decision for protecting their pups and keeping them active, healthy, and happy.

    Like

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