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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    • Hi Kathy! Any of the rubber soled boots will protect against sand burrs. The primary concern will be figuring out which boots will fit your dog best. Kristen provided some great descriptions of how each of the boots worked with her dogs to help you make your decision. Good luck!

  • I’ve got a different need for dog boots… We have a dinghy and we love taking our big dog boating. He’s got big feet and long front nails, even after being cut. We’ve been using pawz boots, which are pretty good, but his nails puncture through them and we’re worried of punctures to the upholstery and scratches on the rubber floaters. So, we need something to protect the boat! Any ideas?

    • Great question, Steph! You mentioned that you boy has big paws. Perhaps the Hurtta boots would work best since they open down the front making them easy to put on. I hope you find the perfect fit for your boating pup!

  • Suzi has to have a boot for allergies if grasses weeds pretty much all outside allergies. If she doesn’t have a boot protection she eats the bottom of her feet off especially between her toes….vet says a must…but the ones I have gotton even wrapped up to ankle she seems to chew or get them off…therefore no outside running etc. Shes a very hyper pit bull runner and now can do nothing…help..I dont have a clue at this point

    • Hi Nancy! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling to keep boots on your girl so she can have fun. In your situation, I’d start by making sure the boots are as comfortable as possible. Our dog barely noticed he was wearing the PAWZ boots, and they really helped with his allergies.

      Once you’re sure she’s comfortable, slowly start building a positive association for your dog between the boots and fun/good things. You might try putting one boot on her in the house (where you can closely supervise) and giving her a stuffed toy, chew, or something else she loves. If she starts to bite at the boot, take it off and remove the “prize.” It might take a few attempts, but she’ll likely catch on that leaving the boot alone means she gets to keep her prize. Work with her slowly until she’s wearing all four boots and not biting them. Then start taking her outside for short walks on leash. It might be a bit of a process, but hopefully you’ll desensitizer her to the boots.

      If you find your efforts aren’t working, see if you can find a positive-reinforcement trainer in your area to help you. Good luck!

  • Tried the Ruffwear. The material around the top of the boot is too rigid for dogs feet. After use by a Husky and a Border Collie Mix for a week each, I found these boots to cause significant chaffing/sore spots on the top of the foot, and hotspots on the dew claw. They velcro closure causes a rigid hard spot to develop on the top of the foot where the fabric overlaps.Furthermore, the boots are too short for active dogs, causing dirt to collect into the underside of the boot resulting in more uncomfortable chafing on the paws.The dogs eventually became uncomfortable and limped with the boots on.It’s obvious that these boots were not tested by gopetfriendly.com or by Ruffwear. I’ll have to make a better pair of boots myself.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience, Artie. I’m sorry to hear that the Ruffwear boots didn’t work well for your dogs, and I’m envious that you have the skills to make dog boots for your dogs! If you do try another brand of commercially available dog boots that work better for you, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks again, and waggin’ trails!

  • All your reviews use large dogs for the tests. Do these same tests apply to a smaller breed? I have a Norwich Terrier (13 lbs) that hikes miles with us, but often comes home with sore feet, sap between his toes, or potential for slicing his pads due to scrambling on granite rocks. What brand is best for smaller feet, or does the same criteria apply? Thank you, Betsy

    • Hi Betsy! You make an excellent point – we don’t have a small dog to test these things on. But I do think the same criteria would apply. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

    • Hi Jackie! That’s a great question. For those extreme conditions one of the heavier-duty boots, like Ruffwear and Kurgo, will give the most protection. Good luck!

  • I live in Washington, all the back roads are a rough gravel and are tearing up my dogs front pads.I bought some booties from Mountain Ridge, a dog mushers web site. We’re supposed to be good for summer training on gravel roads. First time we went for a run he tore them both. He runs like the wind . 3.5 miles every other day and ten on the weekend. This is at his pace , not mine, I am in my Subaru.I need something sturdy to protect his pads. I am currently trying to get his feet to heal up. Thankyou

    • Hi Eric! It sounds like your boy has some energy to burn. For this kind of heavy-duty use, I’d look at the Ruffwear products. They’re made for adventure dogs and should hold up better than the others. I hope that helps, and that your pup is feeling better soon!

  • My lab slips and slides on our hardwood floors and has hurt 2 legs. What’s the best bootie for her. I’ll take them off at night.

    • Hi Patti! I’m so sorry to hear that your girl is struggling. All of the boots have rubber bottoms, so they should all provide better traction than she’s getting now. Also, when Buster was having trouble with his hind legs, we made sure to keep his nails short and trimmed the fur on his paws. The fur was slippery, and when it covered his pads he slipped more. That might be something for you to try as well. Wishing you all the best!

    • I would not use the ones that look like balloons I tried these and in my opinion they are way too tight they made my German shorthaired pointers feet swell after only a couple of hours

      • I’m sorry to hear that, Doug! We always used the PAWZ booties with our German Shepherd and ever had a problem, though I would always stretch the opening out a few times before putting a new set on him. Is it possible your pup needs a larger size? Thanks for your note, and best wishes to you.

    • Hi Susan! I would think any of these boots, other than the PAWZ booties, should provide protection from goatheads. Those things are terrible and I hope you find something that helps!