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Us pet parents wear thick rubber-soled sneakers on our adventures—it’s easy to forget just how uncomfortable the elements can make the ground we walk on. Though dogs have rough and hardened paw pads to protect them from injury on day-to-day walkabouts, they are not built for the extreme conditions created by scorching sun, slippery terrain, or rugged, backcountry trails. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best dog hiking boots for different environments.
Why Hiking Boots?
The general rule of thumb is that if you can’t walk on a particular surface barefoot, neither can your dog. This goes for hot, cold, and icy conditions across a number of surfaces, including sand, concrete, wood, and rock. Fitting your dog with the right set of dog shoes means you can enjoy your favorite activities together, no matter what time of year it is.
Finding the right pair of dog boots is worth the effort. They not only prevent pad burns during hot weather hiking with your dog, but they can also ensure your pet’s feet are protected from icy roads during freezing temperatures and also stop them from slipping on slick wet surfaces.
Do Dog Boots Stay Put?
In order for dog boots to stand up to the task of protecting your pet’s feet, selecting the correct size and type of shoe is essential. Each manufacturer may follow a different size chart, so properly measuring your pet’s paws according to their instructions is important. Similarly, confirming the boots’ design and materials work best for your particular activity, such as hiking in the desert or walking in areas where painful thistles are prevalent, guarantees your hike won’t be cut short.
The 5 Best Dog Hiking Boots
We’ve trekked with our dogs and scoured through reviews and options to narrow down this list of favorite dog hiking boots, from budget-friendly to snow-worthy.
Best Budget-Friendly Hiking Boots: QUMY Waterproof
These waterproof and slip-resistant boots are ideal for your large-breed dog to wear on your daily walks or during harsh seasonal weather conditions. Each boot sports two reflective velcro straps, which provide support, secure them on your pet’s foot, and also serve as a safety feature for nighttime strolls. Grippy rubber soles provide traction on a number of surfaces, including wet pavement and desert rock, and the largest size (8) is recommended for dogs up to an estimated 88 pounds (exact sizing is determined by your dog’s paw length and width).Find on Amazon
Best Protective Shoes: My Busy Dog Water-Resistant Boots
Many dog shoes are good at protecting your pet’s paws from exposure to hot and cold surfaces, but these rugged dog boots are also great at protecting your dog’s paws and lower legs from coming into contact with painful pine needles, spines, and thistles on the ground. The shoe’s thick rubber sole and sturdy fabric prevent objects from piercing your dog’s tender pads while on a walk or longer hike.Find on Amazon Find on My Busy Dog
Best All-Terrain Pro Dog Hiking Boots: Ruffwear Grip Trex
Ruffwear is an industry-leading maker of dog hiking boots that are worn by working dogs, such as K9 units and service dogs. These animals are often on their feet all day across a variety of terrains and surfaces, including hot asphalt outdoors and slippery linoleum floors in grocery stores. Ruffwear boots provide your dog with ongoing grip and support. In order to best address an individual dog’s shoe needs, these boots are sold in pairs of two and four; though they are on the top end of the price range for dog shoes, owners swear by the high quality and comfort these shoes provide their pets on a daily basis.Find on Amazon
Best Lightweight Boots: Bark Brite All-Weather Neoprene (Verified Review)
Great for dogs large and small who do not care for heavier dog boots, these summer shoes come in four sizes and are just the ticket for park walks and light trail adventures. Made with breathable neoprene, this water- and puncture-resistant set is made out of flexible material, with and a rubber sole that (though not heavy-duty) helps avoid slipping and sliding.
Verified Review: Overall, our tester determined that for simple summer dog shoes for pups who will tolerate wearing boots, Bark Brite Dog Boots are a sound choice, offering better ease of wear and more versatility than rugged or heavy dog boots.Find on Amazon
Best Cold Weather Boots: Expawlorer Waterproof (Verified Review)
Did someone say snow day? Available in eight sizes, these waterproof kicks have a durable tread and construction and will help keep your dog’s paws dry and cozy in snowy, slushy weather. The two velcro straps are reflective and adjustable, and reviewers note that these puppies (get it?) are great at staying put on paws.
Verified Review: Our tester tried size 4 on her medium-sized pit bull mix and found the sizing to be accurate, though the numeric sizing (as opposed to the standard S/M/L system) required extra consideration (she strongly recommends measuring your dog’s paws before ordering). The tread is heavy-duty, designed specifically for snowy or rugged hiking conditions, and will be stiff right out of the box, qualities our tester found enhanced the product’s overall hardiness. As with hiking or snow boots for humans, you’ll want your dog to “break them in”—a few laps around the block every couple of days for a week should be sufficient.Find on Amazon
Now that you’ve found the right pair of dog hiking boots for your next adventure, read on to the links below for more hiking gear and tips.
- 23 Secrets I’ve Learned About Successfully Hiking with Dogs
- The Top 3 Hiking Leashes for Dogs Reviewed
- The Ultimate Dog Hiking Gear Guide
- How to Enjoy Hot Weather Hiking with Dogs
- 10 Tips to Get Your Couch-Potato Dog into Shape for Hiking Season