Dog Gear

Dog Winter Boots detailed review and comparison

April 8, 2019

We’ve been getting so many questions about dog boots that we finally decided to put together a bunch, test them, and review them in real trail conditions. Please let us know your experience in winter boots! Whiskey has no dewclaws so it was only because of personal messages we were able to record what has and hasn’t’ worked for others. There are alot of other brands we didn’t get to try and we concentrated on some of the higher-end boots. Remember, a rectangle pocket with a velcro at the top is what most sled dogs use (although loads go missing) in the arctic and it’s a real option too!

 SizesCost (4)DescriptionPhoto

Voyagers k9 Apparel
Breed Specific
4 sizes per breed
mid-large breeds
Buy 4
48-50 USDPolartec fleece with mega grip bottom soles, two straps of velcro, specific to snow and ice.

Canine Equipment
Ultimate Trail Boots
1.75-3.25 (back paw smaller)
5 sizes total
buy 4
70 CADAnkle boots with flexible rubber soles and soft upper. One velcro strap over the ankle.

Ruffwear
Polar Trex
1.5-3.25 inches
8 sizes total
buy 2 or 4
100 USDSpecialized winter boots designed for warmth, softshell fabric, Vibram outsole, velcro strap and pullover stretch gaiters. Ankle high but height extended with gaiters

Neo-Paws
Neoprene Regular
Performance Boots
1.25-5 inches
12 sizes total
buy sets of 2
44-68 CADNeoprene boots that are higher up the ankle, super long wrap around velcro strap, thick sole
Hurtta
Outback Boots
1.25-3 inches
5 sizes total
buy sets of 2

60 USDShort ankle boots with light softshell material, flexible rubber soles
Muttluks
All Weather
Leather Sole
.5-5 inches
8 sizes total
buy sets of 4
57 CADSlip on boots with flexible leather sole, one strap at ankle

Backcountry.Paws
Gaiters
20-85lbs
measure at the shoulder
4 sizes
80 USDSpecialized gaiters for dogs. Ripstop fabric that combines a boot with legging that goes up to the thighs.
 Our testUpsidesDownsides

Voyagers k9 Apparel
We’ve had these for a season and taken them on numerous occasions in hip deep dry snow to, packed snowy trails, on longer and shorter hikes. Our friends have also used these.-The only boots made of fleece, good for dry days, or dry (cold) snow, packed snowy trails, or a thin layer of snow. -Simple to put on and off (each boot is the same), boots are much higher than other in the market.
-Boots are easy to wash and dry
-Are also good for indoor use
-Specialized for snow, not mixed terrain (also good for indoors). Snow collects on the fleece when it’s wet (packing snowball) snow, and the top of the boots are not lined, so once they are wet, they will freeze. They will slowly slip down the leg if the velcro is not tight enough, but due to the length that’s alot easier to catch than short boots which will disappear easier.

Canine Equipment
Ultimate Trail Boots
We tried these on a packed 8km snowy packed hike with 350 incline. Our friends have used these as well.-These are the one of the lightest boots with very thin soles so Whiskey can easily feel the ground with her paws.
-She seemed really happy in these and when we tightended the top of the boots we didn’t see much snow entering on a packed trail
-Canine Equipment is the only brand that I know of here that will repair or replace a boot without limitations on their guarantee
-Great customer service
 
The soft shell material is not waterproof and will get wet if it’s not cold enough to keep the snow from melting on the booties. The soles can be a bit slippery on ice
-needs more sizes
-are sold in 4s with assumption that back paw is summer than front (so out of luck if your paws don’t fit their measurements, luckily we did!)

Ruffwear
Polar Trex
We tried these on a packed 5km trail, about 200m incline-These boots are specifically made for winter hiking and have the thickest soles of the ankle high boots that we’ve tried (I’m thinking the soles would last the longest)
-They are the only ones that come with gaiters included.
-Great customer service
-Whiskey’s ankles are so thin that the top of the gaiters were not tight on her and instead of keeping snow out, they let and kept snow inside leading her paws to be really cold and wet.
-She did not seem overly comfortable in these, I’m not sure if it’s the inflexible sole or the shape of the boot
-and we’ve heard of other dogs having blisters on the top of their paws from these boots. We’ve also heard these can be uncomfortable with dewclaws

Neo-Paws
Neoprene Regular
Performance Boots
We tried these on a local walk as well as a 4km 150m incline on packed and loose snow-The only boots made of Neoprene which is a material that keeps it’s warmth even when wet
-These are also the only boots that are recommended for watersports (we have not tried)
-The brand also makes attachable ice cleats and gaiters.
-The velcro strap is super long and lets you adjust the tightness up the leg easily
-Made with dewclaws in mind
-The largest amount of different sizes available that I could find
-comes in regular and orthopedic options
-The boot is overall pretty heavy and thick and might keep a dog too warm in the summer (they have summer options though)
-because the boot is thicker and inflexible, it takes longer for Whiskey to become accustomed to wearing them
-The website is a pain to navigate and badly needs an update
-There is a longer learning curve to putting on these boots than others and takes more due diligence
-Customer service can be a problem
-In terms of the boot covers, there isn’t measurable sizing and the M was too big for Whiskey, the ice cleats made the entire boot too chunky

Hurtta
Outback Boots
We’ve had these for several years and have used these on loads of trails in both snowy and rocky conditions-With modification on how you deal with the strap, these can be great boots
-flexible sole, Whiskey feels comfortable in these and feeling the ground

-top concern is the velcro strap does not stay on unless you tuck it up and underneath itself
-the loop part of the velcro at the back of the boot sewing is coming undone over time and the bottom of the boot where it meets the sole also is having holes
-needs more sizes

Muttluks
All Weather
Leather Sole
We’ve had these boots the longest since Whiskey was 1 years old and have tried these in the city as well as snowy trails. Our friends also have the same.-if you modify the strap, the can be great boots
-easy to fit, all paws are the same
-the leather sole has more grip than most boots we found
-can be modified to be waterproof with was
-very multi purpose (we use with an injured paw on sidewalks and great to slip one in your first aid kit for hiking because one bootie will cover any injured paw)
-not waterproof unless you modify
-straps are assuming an ankle that is alot bigger than Whiskeys’
-tends to slide off (we have to be careful not to lose one)
-velcro tends to get undone and boot can flip around with an energetic running dog
-snow goes inside the top of the boot and collects there, so not recommended with deeper snow
-not dewclaw friendly

Backcountry.Paws
Gaiters
We’ve tried these on two longer hikes in both packed and very deep and loose snow (Whiskey deep snow).Losing a boot is not a problem anymore! On packed snow basically guranteed paws will not get wet or cold. Works really well paired with a jacket for a full winter suit. Whiskey seemed really happy in these. The boots didn’t restrict at all and are thin enough she can fee the ground well.  
-In very deep snow, we had snow piling into the back legs and no way to get the snow out, outside of taking off the gaiters (we finished the hike with just front gaiters on)
-Difficult to put on, legs would be alot looser on skinny dogs
-Very specialized, only good for snowy trails
 Ease of useTerrainRecommendations

Voyagers k9 Apparel
These can be tough to estimate size and can be a bit difficult to get the paw all the way inside (especially if your front paws are larger). We’ve had readers tell us dewclaws can be an issue. The velcro straps do not have cinch closure.Good for packed trails and cold snowy conditions. Also good for indoors. Would not recomend for rocks or summer use. I would use these on shorter packed snowy trails and inside the house 

Canine Equipment
Ultimate Trail Boots
These are one of the easiest to put on and tighten. Very wide opening for paws to slip into.
Cinch closure is quick to tighten.
Good for most uses including packed snowy trails, rocky terrain, summer trails, but not mud/swimming. I would use these in most outdoorconditions 

Ruffwear
Polar Trex
These are harder to get into, the gusset isn’t as large as others and can be more difficult with a gaiter in the way. Cinch closure is quick to tighten. Reported problems with dewclaws. Good for cold conditions, snow conditions, but could be too warm for summer I would use these in packed snowy trails, or mix of snow/rocky trails. 

Neo-Paws
Neoprene Regular
Performance Boots
These took us a couple tries to learn how to put on properly. Neoprene is a more difficult material to hold down and tighten a strap over. Flip the boot inside out to help place the paw and gather the strap tightly over itself around the ankle before working your way up. You must layer the boot properly and takes some practice. -good for most conditions including swimming, but not hot conditions when a dog can overheat-I would use these in colder conditions on trails that were not technical 
Hurtta
Outback Boots
These boots are easy to slip on but are difficult to wrap the strap in a way that doesn’t detach itself over time. We’ve learned that we need to wrap the strap very tightly over itself and tuck the end into the strap as far as we can in order for the boot to stay put. If you wrap like in the photo, it will come off. -good for most conditions and terrain I would use these in most outdoor conditions 

Muttluks
All Weather
Leather Sole
These are really easy to put on, but the strap is hard to tighten enough to keep the boot on over time. -Good for shorter walks while not playing or running too hard.
I would use these on shorter trails, on pavement and inside the house 

Backcountry.Paws
Gaiters
These are pretty involved to put on and involve several straps on top of the dog. You’ll need to size properly at home first before attempting to put on in a car while your dog has decided it really wants to run out the door onto the trail! Make sure you strap those ankles tightly and get all straps tight enough to keep on but loose enough that they don’t rub. At least you’re almost guaranteed never to loose a boot! -good for snowy conditions (but not super deep snow) I would use these in all snowy conditions except for super deep snow 

So in conclusion if you asked me which I would recommend I would say it really depends on what your lifestyle is like, and what dog you have. Firstly, what boots actually fit your dog? What is your budget? Then, I would highly recommend you see if you can go try on boots at any local dog store and see what your dog tolerates. My suggestion to get a dog used to boots is to bring lots of treats and keep them moving and doing tricks, running and basically forgetting about the boots. Try them over short periods of time with lots of praise, fun, treats, and in an exciting location. Most of these boots are fine for packed trails, but when you get to deeper snow, then pay attention to the top of the boots and see if you think snow could get in and collect. Each dog’s ankles fit differently, check to see the top of the boot, if you think rubbing might be an issue, and of course keep an eye on dewclaws if you have them. See if you need a boot for all occasions, or can pick a specialized boot. We are going to keep updating this chart as we work with all these boots for the next winters coming, please help us!

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