Either at home or on vacation, dog boots can make your dog more comfortable on walks and hikes. Perhaps rocky trails are taking a toll, or gravel roads are too much for sensitive paws. Unforgiving plants like cacti, goat heads, and sand burrs can quickly ruin your day. And the weather presents its own challenges with snow and hot pavement!

As dog lovers, we all suffer when we see that tender paw lift, knowing our pups are hurting. Whether it’s related to terrain, weather, or protection from the local flora, dog boots can make the adventure more enjoyable.

Cool Whip the dog hiking a pet-friendly trail in blue dog boots

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To help you decide which is the best dog boot for your dog, Hercules and Cool Whip helped test five different options. We hope our research allow you to find the paw-fect protection.

Getting the Perfect Fit

Keep in mind that appropriate sizing is essential piece for selecting the right dog boots—too big and they will fall off, too small and they will be uncomfortable. Once you’ve chosen the style of dog boot that best suits for your adventures, you’ll need to measure your dog’s paws so you know which size to select.

Steps to Measure Your Dogs Paws

  1. Put a piece of paper on the floor and place one front paw on the paper.
  2. Lift the opposite front paw so all the weight falls onto the standing foot and it fully expands.
  3. Trace around your dog’s paw, remove the paper, and measure the widest part of the outline.
  4. Follow the same steps with one back paw because sometimes the front and back paws are different sizes.

Sizing Challenges

Hercules has 3-inch-wide front paws and a 2.5-inch-wide back paws. For us, the companies that sell boots in sets of 2 or as singles help to accommodate the difference in his paw sizes and keep him comfortable on the trail.

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Buster the German Shepherd Dog in his wheelchair wearing purple dog boots

Best Dog Boots

Alcott Adventure Boots – $35 for set of 4

The “thrill sniffer” tagline molded into the tread of these boots is a perfect description. Alcott’s Adventure Boots for dogs stayed on Hercules as he followed his nose scrambling across anything in his path!

The front gusset built into the boot makes them easy to slide on paws and adjust placement. And the tread is pliable but firm so your dog won’t feel any of the sharp rocks or rough surfaces along the way. Plus, there is plenty of reflective material on the straps to keep an eye on your pup in the dark.

Favorite Feature: The double straps combined with the flexible material on top made these the easiest boots to secure. Every dog is different, and Herc has fairly skinny legs considering how wide his front paws are. With this boot, I was still able to tighten the tops enough so they stayed securely in place.

Room for Improvement: Alcott’s boots only come in a set of four, so you’ll need to purchase two sets if your dog needs different sizes for his front and back paws.

Hurtta Outback Dog Boots – $30 for set of 2

Flexibility goes a long way for comfort and fit, and the Hurtta Outback Dog Boots nailed it! The entire boot flexes with your dog’s paws, and stands up to any tough terrain you cross.

The inside tag makes it easy to tell which boot goes on which paw, and also provides a place to write your phone number in case a boot gets lost.

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Favorite Feature: The way these boots open down the front makes them the easiest to put on—so helpful with Herc’s big meaty paws!

Room for Improvement: The single strap can be tricky to wrap in a way that keeps the boot secure while leaving enough hook-and-loop material uncovered to stick to.

Kurgo Step-N-Strobe Dog Boots – $60 for set of 4, or $18 for a single

If you like after-dark excursions, the Kurgo’s Step-N-Strobe Dog Boots should be your top pick. Red and green LED lights along both sides of the sole flash with each step, plus there is plenty of reflective material to keep your dog seen and safe.

These were great for our walks in the dark, and also performed well on the trail. The tops cinch up with a velcro strap and an adjustable elastic cord, keeping the boots in place.

Favorite Feature: These were the tallest boots in the group and that feature made a world of difference in securing them to Cool Whip’s paws. They had plenty of height to get up and over those pesky dewclaws!

Room for Improvement: Herc has thick paws, and these boots didn’t accommodate him, even though they were the correct width.

Pawz Waterproof Dog Boots – $14-18 for set of 12

Sometimes simplicity is best and, in that case, Pawz dog boots have you covered. The rubber material for these boots is waterproof and durable so you can trust it to cover an injured pad, cross hot pavement, or protect sensitive paws during a walk.

They’re also small and lightweight, so you can toss them in a bag as you head out for the day or on vacation. Cool Whip normally does some “high stepping” with other dog boots for the first minute or two, no matter how often she’s worn them – but she barely seemed to notice these once they were on. They’re just an extra layer of protective skin.

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Favorite Feature: Easy to bring anywhere and each pack comes with 12 boots so you can leave an extra set in the car, in a purse, or even in your pocket.

Room for Improvement: Not as durable for rough or rocky terrain.

Ruffwear Grip TREX – $75 for set of 4 or $38 for set of 2

Serious adventure ahead? Ruffwear’s Grip TREX dog boots can take it on! They’re solid and grippy for any surface your dog needs to cross.

Some of the rocks Herc chooses to scramble get a little slippery because they’re so smooth, but his footing doesn’t miss a beat in these boots. He’s like a little mountain goat, but with tiny ear nubs instead of horns.

The boot tops are low, which could be a plus or minus depending where they land with your dog’s dewclaw, but Ruffwear also sells dog boot liners to add padding (or insulation in the cold).

Favorite Feature: The Ruffwear treads deserve the accolades here—they’re the best in the group.

Room for Improvement: The top is a bit bulky for the single strap to form a 100% secure fit.

No matter what type of paw protection your dog needs, there’s a dog boot out there to do the job. Leave us a comment if your dog has tried any of these boots, or if there is a different style you’d recommend.

Happy adventuring!

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  • Please help me. My bison/ poodle weighs 14 lbs. my sister knit her some booties/leggings ands loves them, problem is the foot wears out because they are wool. Is there anything out there possibly in leather that is soft soled and I could attached them to the knitted leggings?

    • Hi Jan! Thanks for your note. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen anything like you’re describing. I wish I could be more helpful. I hope you find something that works well for your girl.