Best Dog Boots For Hiking, Winter and Hot Pavements (That Stay On!)

These boots can protect your pup's paws from ice, snow, hot pavements and more

Dog boots aren't just for show - they can protect paws, provide traction on slippery floors and even reduce digging. It can be hard to find boots that stay on your dog's feet though! In this article, Richard Cross takes you through some of the best dog boots that stay on.

TheDogClinic.com Guide to the Best Dog Boots

If you’re new to the world of dog boots, you might be asking whether dogs really need footwear?

Surprisingly (for many people), the answer is yes – at least in some cases.

There’s no doubt that dog booties look cute, but they are much more than just a fun accessory (just like backpacks or sweaters). Boots can protect your dog’s paws from harsh weather, salt on roads and hot asphalt. In some areas, extreme weather can make boots almost essential if you want to take your dog outside during certain months of the year.

Finding the right pair of dog boots isn’t always easy though. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best dog booties that stay on. These boots are made for different purposes, so make sure you read the reviews, but each provides excellent value for money.

Why Buy Dog Boots?

If you mention dog boots to the average person, the response is likely to be rolled eyes or even laughter. To be honest, I might have reacted the same way a few years ago!

The truth is there are a variety of reasons to buy dog boots – and not just to make your canine friend look pretty. Some of the most important include:

  • Paw protection. Dogs paws are tough, but they weren’t designed for some of the challenges of modern living. Salted roads, for example, can often tear paw pads. Even natural dangers, such as brambles and sharp rocks, can damage an unprotected paw. The best dog boots provide comfortable protection from these dangers.
  • Temperature Control. Hot pavements can be very uncomfortable for a dog, so boots can provide protection and prevent burns. At the other end of the temperature spectrum, boots offer insulation from snow and cold (you may want to consider an additional raincoat for wet conditions if your dog has short hair or often gets cold).
  • Digging Deterrent. It’s more difficult for dogs to dig in a pair of boots. While this may not be a long-term solution to digging, it can at least deter your pet.
  • Floor Protection. If you have expensive hardwood floors, a pair of soft shoes or boots can protect the surface from sharp claws.
  • Increased Grip. Some dogs are less stable than others – especially on slippery surfaces. You can buy boots that provide extra traction to make your dog feel more confident on certain floors.
  • Allergies. Some dogs have allergies to certain types of grass or other substances found on the ground. This can lead to sores and pain. A high-quality dog boot can keep your dog’s paw pads away from potential allergens.

Just like humans, the right boots depend on what your pet needs them for. The best dog boots for winter weather, for example, may be different for ones to deter digging.

What to Look for in Dog Boots?

Buying dog boots that are comfortable, fit your dog and don’t fall off can be surprisingly difficult - especially if you’ve never bought them before. Here are some of the most important considerations.

Sizing a Dog Boot

It’s vital to get a boot that fits your dog, otherwise it will be uncomfortable and may not provide proper protection. Here’s one of the easiest ways to measure your dog’s paws:

  1. Start with your dog standing, as it’s important to measure when there’s weight on the paws.
  2. Put your dog’s paw on a piece of blank paper.
  3. Mark the paper at the front of the foot (including the toenail, but trim it first).
  4. Then mark at the back of the paw and measure the distance to get the length of the paw.
  5. Repeat for the left and right sides of the paw.
  6. Measure the distance between these two marks to get a measurement for the width.

Once you know the size of your dog’s paws, the next step is to match it with the right boots. Unfortunately, dog boot manufacturers each have their own sizing methods – there’s no standard measurement. Most boots have a sizing chart though, so you can quickly see which to buy.

Keep in mind that if your dog has dew claws you’ll need to find a boot that doesn’t catch on them.

Other Considerations

  • Purpose. Some dog boots are thin and designed to provide basic protection. Others are waterproof for walking in rain or snow. The toughest are made to protect paws on potentially sharp surfaces. The right option for your dog depends on where he’s going to be wearing the boots.
  • Material. There are a variety of different types of dog booties. The right option depends on what you need it for. Plastic boots are great for water protection, but often fall off easily. Leather boots are thick enough to provide great protection, but they can be difficult to put on and may become slippery when wet. Nylon doesn’t provide as much protection, but stops your dog’s paws getting wet, while polar fleece is great for colder temperatures (although it can quickly get wet). Rubber is also a common material for the soles of dog shoes.
  • Durability. Dog hiking boots need to withstand plenty of abuse – especially if your dog runs on sharp rocks or abrasive surfaces. For this reason, look for a boot that’s designed to last. Dog boot reviews from buyers are often the best way to judge long-term durability.
  • Traction. Many dog boots for winter or snow come with a patterned sole. These provide extra traction, which is especially important for slippery surfaces or older dogs.
  • Disposable or Long Lasting. Most dog booties are made to last, but some are designed to be disposable. These boots are usually made from rubber and come in multi-packs. If you’re looking for a cheap boot for occasional use, a disposable option could be a good choice. They aren’t as durable or protective as proper boots though.

The First Steps

Most dogs find boots a strange concept – at least to start with. It’s normal for a dog to try and shake off the boots, prance around the room and generally act strangely.

This behaviour usually stops as the dog gets used to wearing boots. You can speed up the process by playing with your dog to take his attention away from the boots. Any activity that your dog enjoys, including eating treats, can be a great way to get him used to footwear. The goal is to create a positive association between the boots and "good things."

It can take some time for the boots to be fully “worn in” though. So don’t take your pup on a long walk straight away. Instead, gradually increase the time he wears them until they have fully worn in.

If your dog really hates his boots, you might want to try putting them on just his front paws to start with. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog on his leash the first few times you walk with the boots on. This makes it easier to find a stray boot if it wasn’t tightened properly or just didn’t fit.

On a side note, dogs sweat from their paw pads in hot weather. This helps to keep them cool. If your pup is wearing boots when it’s hot, make sure you regularly take them off for periods to make sure he doesn’t overheat.

6 Best Dog Boots That Stay On

Once you know what you need from a dog boot, the next step is choosing one that’s comfortable and stays on. Listed below are my six top recommendations. I’ve also included mini dog boot reviews to help you make the right choice for your pet.

The Grip Tex is one of the best dog booties for hiking

1. Ruffwear Grip-Trex All-Terrain Paw Wear

One of the best dog boots for hiking, running or walking is the Ruffwear Grip-Trex. It’s a durable boot that’s designed to stay on your dog’s feet, while providing protection in a variety of environments.

What makes this boot stand out from others though? In my opinion, the quality of materials and construction is the biggest advantage of the Ruffwear.

The outsole of the boot is made with Vibram rubber. This provides flexibility, so your dog doesn’t feel uncomfortable running, and plenty of grip. The upper is made with a breathable mesh, which helps keep your dog’s paws cool even in warm weather.

There are eight sizes available, so it’s suitable for a dog or puppy with paws of length 1.5” up to 3.5”. While the opening is wide, to make it easy to put your dog’s feet in, there’s a closure system to provide a snug fit. According to buyers, the shoes often run large, so you might want to get a slightly smaller size – although I always recommend following the manufacturer sizing charts (at least for your first attempt). If the shoes don’t fit, you can always send them back and try a different option.

The downside to the Ruffwear is that it’s the most expensive dog boot on this list. If you want to provide comfortable protection for your dog’s paws while hiking, however, I think it’s the best on the market. The durability also means the boots will last a long time.

Quick Summary: One of the best dog shoes is the Ruffwear Grip-Trex - especially for hiking. These boots are expensive, but are far more durable than many cheaper options. They are also comfortable and unlikely to come off.

  • Colors Available: Blue, Black, Red
  • Material: Vibram Rubber Sole & Breathable Mesh Upper
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Velcro strap provides good security
  • Excellent traction from the Vibram sole
  • Highly durable
  • Expensive
The QUMY is a cheaper alternative

2. QUMY Waterproof Dog Boots

If the Ruffwear is too expensive, an alternative is the QUMY Waterproof Dog Boot. It’s not as durable as the Ruffwear Grip-Trex, but provides excellent grip and comfort considering the low price.

Like the Ruffwear, the QUMY has a rugged rubber sole. This is designed to provide traction, which can help dogs that often feel unstable, while protecting paws from sharp objects and boiling pavements. The shoes are also waterproof, so they are great for snow or winter walks.

The top of the QUMY has a Velcro strap. This secures the shoes around your pet’s ankle and reduces the chance of the boots falling off. They can also be hand washed and are available in five different sizes.

A downside to the QUMY is that they aren’t as breathable as other options on this list. This means you’ll need to take them off more regularly in warm weather. They also aren’t as durable as better-quality boots and won't stop water coming in the top.

Even so, the QUMY Waterproof Dog Boot is a versatile option that’s available for a great price. Whether you need to provide extra grip on slippery surfaces, protect hardwood flooring or just give your dog’s paws extra protection, they are a comfortable boot.

Quick Summary: The QUMY is one of the best dog snow boots, as they are waterproof and provide excellent grip via the rugged sole (although in deep snow water will come in over the top of the shoe). They might not be quite as durable as the Ruffwear, but are considerably cheaper.

  • Colors Available: Black
  • Material: Rubber Sole and Water Resistant Upper
  • Price Range: $
  • Waterproof design
  • Rugged sole that's suitable for almost any environment
  • Great price
  • Not as durable as more expensive options
  • Not as breathable as the Ruffwear
The Ultra Paws provides traction and has Velcro straps

3. Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boot

One of my favourite dog boots for hardwood floors is the Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boot. They are a comfy boot that comes with simple enclosures to ensure they stay on – plus they provide plenty of grip for older dogs.

A key feature of any dog boot is the ability to stay on when running through snow, mud and other tough environments. The Ultra Paws do a great job of this – as the easy-to-close Velcro enclosures provide a snug fit. If you've had dog boots that fell off in the past, the Ultra Paws will probably do a better job.

They are built with a flexible sole with grooves for traction. This is fantastic for providing grip for older dogs, which is why the Ultra Paws is a good option if your pet has trouble on slippery floors.

The Ultra Paws aren’t just for inside though. They are durable enough to provide protection from hot pavements or sharp objects. The boots are also available in a variety of sizes, so you can almost certainly find one that’s suitable for your pet.

One thing to note about the Ultra Paws is that they are water-resistant but not waterproof. If you’re going to be taking your dog on long walks in the winter, then a waterproof boot may be a better option.

For rugged terrain, slippery hardwood floors or protecting your dog’s feet, however, they are a great choice. Just make sure you take them off regularly to allow your dog’s feet to cool if using them in hot conditions, as they aren’t as breathable as the Ruffwear.

Quick Summary: The Ultra Paws is one of the best boots for dogs - especially for providing traction and stability to older dogs. They aren't fully waterproof, but can still protect against snow and sharp objects. I also think they are amongst the best boots for hot pavements.

  • Colors Available: Black, Red
  • Material: Rubber Sole and Foam Comfort Pads
  • Price Range: $$
  • Simple to put on and rarely fall off
  • Excellent grip for older dogs
  • Variety of sizes available
  • Not fully waterproof
The Canine Equipment boots are made for hiking

4. Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail 

Another excellent dog boot for hiking is the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail. This boot is designed to protect your dog’s feet on any terrain, including rocks and pavements.

The Ultimate Trail is made from a combination of water resistant upper and rubber soles. The fabric upper is breathable and water resistant, although it’s probably not the best choice in very wet weather or snow. The rubber soles provide good traction to help dogs that struggle on slippery surfaces.

One of the features I like about the Canine Equipment is that the back and front boots have slightly different sizing. This provides a snugger fit to make it less likely for the boots to fall off. There’s also a cinch closing system to keep the boots firmly attached without cutting off blood supply.

They are relatively durable – although they aren’t as high-quality as the Ruffwear Grip-Trex. This means they are great for medium-length walks or if you stick to dirt, but for active dogs that run long distances on sharp rocks they may not be tough enough.

Despite this drawback, the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail dog boots are one of my top recommendations. There are a number of reports of the sizing running large though, so keep this mind when buying.

Quick Summary: The Ultimate Trail provide great value - especially if you're looking for a boot for short/medium hikes or all-round protection. The boots aren't durable enough for the most active dogs on tough surfaces though.

  • Colors Available: Black
  • Material: Rubber Sole and Breathable/Water Resistant Upper
  • Price Range: $$
  • Different sizes for front and back
  • Great value
  • Breathable upper
  • Probably won't withstand an active dog running on abrasive, rocky surfaces
The Pet Labs are water resistant

5. Pet Labs Water Resistant Dog Shoes

The Pet Labs Water Resistant Dog Shoe is another excellent “all-rounder” that can protect your dog’s paws in almost any environment. They are much cheaper than the Ruffwear, but are still comfortable, water resistant and relatively durable.

The shoes are built with rubber soles, to provide extra grip on slippery surfaces. They also have Velcro straps, with additional reflective material for extra safety in the dark.

One of the great things about the Pet Labs is that they don’t fall off easily. The double Velcro strap provides a snug fit, so your dog can go hiking through mud or snow without pulling off the boot. They are also easy to put on, which can’t be said for many dog boots!

There’s nothing particularly unique or special about the Pet Labs dog boots – but they provide good protection for a reasonable price. There are also eight sizes available, so there’s almost certainly an option that suits your dog’s paw size.

Quick Summary: The Pet Labs are an excellent option if you want a low-budget boot that doesn't fall off. They are also easy to put on and have a flexible design.

  • Colors Available: Black, Red
  • Material: Rubber Sole and Waterproof Upper
  • Price Range: $$
  • Eight sizes from small to extra large
  • Flexible for greater comfort
  • Reflective Velcro straps
  • Not as durable as more expensive options
The MuttLuks are an All Weather dog shoe

6. Muttluks All Weather Leather Sole & Toe

The final boot on this list is also one of the most unique. The Muttluks All Weather Sole & Toe isn’t cheap, but it’s built with a durable leather sole to provide a flexible fit that’s suitable for water, ice and salt. There are also nine sizes – ranging from “Itty Bitty” to XX-Large, so it’s suitable as both a small and large dog boot.

One of the biggest differences between the Muttluks and other dog boots is the leather sole. This is more flexible than rubber, plus it’s more breathable for better temperature regulation. The downside is that it isn’t as rugged, although the Muttluks still provides decent protection.

The top of the shoe is made from two sections. The toe section is made from either leather or Cordura, depending on the size you buy, which offers greater protection for your dog’s toes. The top section is made from a waterproof and breathable fabric to allow your dog’s paws to cool.

Securing the Muttluks is easy, with a combination of Velcro strap and self-tightening system. The cuff is also stretchable to allow for a comfortable fit.

So, when should you buy the Muttluks instead of the other boots on this list? The durability means they are excellent for protecting paws on harsh hiking trails – especially in dry weather. They are also comfortable for your dog and easy to put on. This means they could be a good choice for walking and hiking.

There are some drawbacks though. While they are water resistant, so are suitable for snow, they probably aren’t the best choice if your dog likes to go swimming. Additionally, I don’t recommend leather-sole shoes for hardwood floors, as they become dangerously slippery once wet.

Quick Summary: The Muttluks have a leather sole which is more breathable than rubber. They are also highly durable and provide a comfortable-yet-secure fit. They are expensive, however, and can be slippery on wet flooring.

  • Colors Available: Black, Yellow
  • Material: Leather Sole and Waterproof Upper
  • Price Range: $$
  • Breathable leather sole
  • Protective leather/Cordura toe section
  • Highly durable
  • Slippery on wet hardwood surfaces

Summary

The best dog boots are much more than a fashion accessory. They can provide protection from cold, wet, snow, salt and hot pavements, while also providing extra grip and comfort for your pet.

My top recommendation for a dog boot is the excellent Ruffwear Grip-Trex. It’s not cheap, but is one of the most durable boots on the market. It’s also great at staying on your dog’s feet, which isn’t the case with many cheaper options. If you’re looking for a budget alternative, the QUMY Waterproof Dog Boots are worth considering.

Do you have any questions about choosing the best dog boots for your pet? Or have you tried a boot and would like to let me know what you thought of it? Please use the comments form!