One after another, they carry us on our journeys. They keep us upright and separate us from the hot sand, harsh snow and sharp earth. They take a beating for us and without them; we wouldn’t be able to trek on easily. Our feet are a crucial and often overlooked body part that requires care and protection. Have you ever walked bare foot across sharp rocks? Or accidently put your foot in the snow when changing into your ski boots? Totally the worst right? So why would we put our dogs through the same discomfort? Having well fitting hiking boots for our feet is crucial for any trekker and our dog’s paws are no different. I often wonder how to best protect Atlas’s paws from the elements and recently I was lucky enough to be given some XL Hurtta Outback Boots from Hurtta North America to test out on the trail for a period of about 2 months.
Dog boots are designed to protect your dog from the elements. If your anything like me, you may be wondering how these perform in snowy conditions. (That’s the kind of weather we deal with here in Alberta for 8 months of the year.) I’m happy to say, that these boots are built to withstand most of the negative effects of winter. They are lined with a simple “micro fleece” type of material which helps to seal in warmth. They are made of the same water resistant “Houndtex” laminated material that is also used in the Hurtta Extreme Warmer and Slush Combat Suit, and it seems to help repel water from melting snow (they are not 100% waterproof however). The boots feature a strap that you can use to shut out snow from entering the top of the boots which helps to keep the inside from getting wet. They certainly do a good job of sealing out the outside world. These boots feature a flexible sole that give traction and protection from difficult terrain. We tested these on ice and Atlas was able to walk with more confidence and reduced him from going into what I like to call “Bambi Slides” (where all his legs go in a different direction due to the loss of traction). Additionally these boots can also be used to protect a paw that is healing from an injury. They appear to be comfortable and not obtrusive Atlas’s paws while he runs down the trail.
I have tried many Hurtta products now and they all seem to have one thing in common. They are all made with careful attention to detail and are made from extremely high quality materials and created with a close eye. The quality of the stitching on these boots is excellent. The velcro and straps are reinforced with extra stitching and the rubber sole is connected seamlessly. Atlas has tested these boots out on several hikes around town and up into the Alberta Rocky Mountains. He has run around in deep snow, medium snow, ice, grass, across tree trunks, and on giant boulders. He has tackled gravel, mud, dirt, fallen leaves, mush, sidewalk and sharp rocky mountain terrain with these booties on and they have held up beautifully! There is virtually no wear on these yet and I am incredibly impressed. The quality of these boots has outshined all other brands that I have tried and I can see them going strong for many treks in our future.
When considering purchasing booties the most important thing to think about is the fit. Having a proper fit can make or break a product. Boots can be made of the highest quality materials, with the utmost of care but if they won’t stay on, or cause discomfort they will be useless. Hurtta tackles these concerns with offering 5 different sizes to choose from. Did you know that your dog’s front paws can be different sizes from their back paws? Hurtta realized this challenge and offers their boots by the pair so that you can hopefully get a closer fit. One thing to mention about the sizing is that there are significant jumps between some of the sizes, these may leave some paw sizes guessing whether to size up or down. I find Atlas’s XL to be a tad big on him but he still gets a pretty comfortable walk with them and they seem to stay on well.
The boots are designed with size flexibility in mind. The boots are designed to “open up” with velcro to allow your dogs paw to slide inside rather than to be put on like a sock. The Velcro is on a slant which allows these boots to work with dogs that have skinny ankles and wide paws like Atlas or wider ankled dogs. The strap can wrap around in a few different spots in order to accommodate dew claws. Atlas has dew claws and they are not irritated by where the straps sit on these boots. I have to wrap the Velcro strap quite snug to get them to stay on properly which causes the strap to have some extra fabric. This can be tucked into the wrapped around strap and does not come loose when walking. Additionally you will need to pay close attention when putting the boots on as they are either left or right footed. When opening up the boot, there is an “Left Paw” or “Right Paw” designation printed on the inside so you can know which is which.
The Outback Boots are only available one colour but it is in a nice granite grey that pairs well with the Extreme Warmer Jacket. These boots feature 3M reflectors which make your pup easier to spot at dusk. This is always an appreciated safety feature and is one that many other Hurtta products have as well. The boots do not have any obnoxiously noticeable logos on them but they do have a simple logo on the strap (which is hidden if tucked in) and a logo on the bottom.
These boots have come along on many of our journeys so far and I’m excited to have found a boot that works so well in winter and actually stays on when we go hiking. I would be happy to recommend these to others what are looking for a medium soled boot that can hold up on multiple terrains. This boots will continue to be an important part of our gear collection on our future adventures.
These boots would work best for: paws that fit into the sizing guidelines, winter conditions, wet conditions, difficult or rugged terrain
These boots may not be ideal for: paws that fall outside of the size chart guidelines, dogs that live in extremely hot climates that get hot feet easily (due to the fleece lining)