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While dogs are usually happy and healthy in their bare paws, there are some conditions where boots can offer much needed protection and insulation, particularly in winter. Dogs may have fur, but they're still subject to frostbite and hypothermia, just like humans.
Ice can easily accumulate in the hair between your dog's toes, putting them at greater risk for injuries like cracked paws and bleeding. In city environments, dogs are at additional risk from salt and deicers that snow can adhere to their feet, which are at risk of ingesting when licking their feet after a cold walk. The American Veterinary Medical Association urges pet owners to check their dog's feet frequently when out in winter weather, and to wash their paws after returning.
Dog boots can go a long way in protecting your dog from these risks. They can also be useful in protecting your dog from injuries if the two of you are especially outdoorsy or go on frequent runs together. Finding the right boots for your dog will involve a combination of proper fit, ease of use, and the activities you have planned together. Testing out a pair in advance of rigorous activity is especially important, so as to avoid a bad fit.
These are the best dog boots for your pet's next adventure.
Best Overall: QUMY Waterproof Shoes for Dogs with Reflective Strips
Main Material: Rubber and velcro | Size(s): 7 sizes available | Machine Washable: No
Secure fit with adjustable strap
Tough, anti-slip rubber sole
Available in a range of sizes and colors
Reflective strips for night walks
More affordable than most options
Not for walking in deep water or sand
Material can get heavy when wet
Available in six colors (including leopard print), these boots have a wide split seam opening that make them easy to slip on and off. They're secured with two velcro straps for a snug fit. Both straps are reflective on the outside, making these booties highly visible at night. As the name suggests, the QUMY Dog Boots Waterproof Shoes will keep your dog's paws dry and have rugged, anti-slip soles for trail walking and winter conditions.
Fit is particularly important when choosing dog boots, since a loose foot can result in chafing. QUMY Dog Boots come in seven different sizes, plus the product page includes details on how to measure your dog's paws for the right fit.
Best Budget: Protex PawZ Rubber Dog Boots
Main Material: Rubber | Size(s): 7 sizes available: tiny to X-large | Machine Washable: No
Available in fun colors
Multiple sizes available
Not meant for snow
Some dogs won’t tolerate them
Can squeak while walking
If you're not sure whether dog boots fit into you and your dog's routines and activities, then PawZ Rubber Dog Boots are a great way to test them out. Available in packs of 12, PawZ Rubber Dog Boots are almost more like socks, fitting over your dog's paw with a stretchy rubber collar that holds them on.
While excellent at keeping your dog's feet dry, they're not very insulated. The PawZ boots also don't have grip soles. Instead, they are made from a uniform rubber that's thin enough for your dog's paw to grip normally in most situations. Still, if you are looking for boots for either warmth or intensive hiking, then you'll likely want to look elsewhere. They're more suitable for anyone who wants something easy to slip on their dog's paws before mucking about it in puddles.
Best Splurge: Rifruf Caesar 1S
Main Material: Rubber and mesh | Size(s): 8 Sizes available | Machine Washable (y/n): Yes
Made of human-grade sneaker materials
Can buy sets with bigger front paws
Design protects dewclaw
Breathable and protective
Large range of sizes available
Not available at many stores
The Caesar 1S combines high-top sneaker styling with premium breathable materials. They even fit like human sneakers, with a gusset-tongue and padded collar, which is locked down with a hook-and-loop fastener.
Unlike many other dog boots, however, the Rifruf Caesar 1S is less suitable for winter wear, since the upper is made from breathable mesh. But while they may not be very insulating, the Caesar 1S has a rubber midsole and grippy rubber outsole for long walks and rough ground conditions.
The Caesar 1S is all about the right fit, with eight available sizes (Rifruf provides a fit guide for different dog breeds), and even the ability to buy different sizes for your dog's front and back paws.
Best for Snow: Muttluks Original Fleece-Lined Dog Boots
Main Material: Nylon, leather | Size(s): 8 sizes: itty bitty - X-large | Machine Washable: Yes
Multiple colors available
Fleece-lined for extra warmth
Comfortable, stretchy cuff
Protective, flexible leather soles
Adjustable strap with reflective material
Some dogs can take boots off
Not the best for slippery terrain
Combining waterproof, treated nylon with a fleece lining, Muttluks dog boots will keep your dog's feet both warm and dry. Unlike dog boots that use a rubber sole for grip, the Muttluks Fleece-Lined boots opt for a leather sole, which flexes along with your dog's paws for a more "barefoot" experience. A reflective hook-and-loop strap cinches them tight at the top.
Muttluks Original Fleece-Lined Dog boots are machine washable, though the leather soles will need re-treating after washes.
Best for Hiking: Ruffwear Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots
Main Material: Polyester & Vibram rubber | Size(s): Eight sizes available | Machine Washable: Yes
Soles have great traction for hiking
Durable and long-lasting
Available in multiple, fun colors
Made for extreme weather and environments
Sold in sets of two or four
Only available in three colors
Sold in sets of two
Ruffwear Grip Trex Outdoor Dog Boots feature the same Vibram rubber outsoles commonly found on hiking boots for humans. With their gripping lug design, these dog boots are suitable for rugged trails and varied terrain. The upper is made from a breathable polyester mesh, which is woven tightly enough to keep out trail debris. Similar to the Rifruf's featured elsewhere on this roundup, Ruffwear uses a gusset design to create wide opening, with the shoe cinched close around the narrowest part of your dog's leg with a hook-and-loop fastener. They also have reflective trim for night-time visibility.
Ruffwear dog boots are sold in pairs of two, so you can size them to your dog's front and back paws. They're also machine washable. Use cold water, a gentle cycle, and mild detergent, then allow the boots to air dry.
Best for Large Dogs: Canada Pooch Soft Shield Boots
Main Material: Polyester and Spandex with rubberized grip sole | Size(s): Six sizes available | Machine Washable: Yes, wash inside out on gentle cycle
Wide range of sizes
Soft boots for extra comfort
Multiple colors available
Protects against snow and mud
Two ways to secure on foot
Not fully waterproof in heavy rain
Need to hang to dry
Only available in four colors
While every dog boot we recommend comes in multiple sizes suitable for most dog breeds, the Canada Pooch Soft Shield Boots have a tall profile and fitting features that make them especially easy to use with large dogs. Designed with an extra wide opening, the Soft Shield boots are easy to put on, then seal with two separate closures. The first is your standard hook-and-loop strap with reflective tape, which is cinched above the paw. The second is a separate draw-string toggle closure, which you use to cinch the top of the boot higher up on your dog's leg. The polyester shell also includes 15 percent Spandex for an easier, stretchier fit.
The Canada Pooch Soft Shield Boots combine a polyester lining with a water-resistant shell for cold and wet weather wear. They're also machine washable: turn inside out and use a gentle, cold-water cycle, then hang to dry.
Best for Small Dogs: Qumy Dog Shoes for Small Dogs
Main Material: Polyester with rubber sole | Size(s): Five sizes available | Machine Washable: No
For warm and cold weather
Reflective for nighttime walks
Designed for little dogs only
Only one color available
Not machine washable
The Qumy Dog Shoes for Small Dogs have a narrow gradation of differences between each of its five sizes, so you can precisely fit them to your dog. Sizes are designed to accommodate even the tiniest dogs, with the smallest size suitable for pups under 6 pounds. The largest size will fit medium-sized dogs like beagles and French bulldogs.
The Qumy Small Dogs boots use two separate closure methods, with a fully zip-up front to easily slip the boots on. Like most other boots we recommend, they also include a reflective hook-and-loop closure strap that's used to cinch them tight above your dog's paw.
Water resistant and insulated, with a rubber grip sole, the Qumy Dog Shoes for Small Dogs will ensure that even your puppies are winter ready.
Best for Rain: EXPAWLORER Waterproof Dog Boots Reflective Non Slip Pet Booties for Medium Large Dogs Black 4 Pcs
Main Material: Polyester | Size(s): Eight sizes available | Machine Washable: No
More affordably priced than most boots
Designed for regular wear outdoors
Only available in black
Complicated to figure out sizing
Can cause some dewclaw chafing
No reflective strip
These boots combine a waterproof upper with a broad and notably grippy rubber sole, making them well-suited for slick and rainy days. If your dog is always slipping on tile or polished wood floors then the extra grip even makes them a good pick for indoor use. The EXPAWLORER (that is quite a pun) boots have a wide slit at the top for easily slipping on your dog's paws, combined with the standard hook-and-loop strap closure.
While some dog boots are appropriate for specific conditions, our favorite, the QUMY Dog Boots Waterproof Shoes (view at Amazon), have the right combination of features for wet and winter wear, plus they're available in a range of colors. If you're looking for dog boots specifically for snowy days and winter weather, then consider the Muttlucks Original Fleece-Lined Dog Boots (view at Amazon).
What to Look For
The right fit is the most important part of finding the right dog boots for your pooch. If they're too tight, then your dog will be uncomfortable and their behavior constricted. But a pair of boots that are too loose are not only at risk of slipping off, but will also make for clumsier walking, since your dog won't be able to feel the ground as well.
Sizing dogs for the right boots is best done using a piece of paper. Get your dog to stand on the paper, then press down on the top of their paw, so it spreads similarly to how it would when walking or running. Then mark out the length (from longest toenail to heel) and the widest width.
You're now ready to compare your dog's paw measurements to the boot sizing charts available from most brands. Make sure to select the size that is the closest to your measurements without any dimension being smaller. Make sure also to measure both a front and back paw on your dog, since some breeds have different sizes. Some dog boots are sold in pairs rather than sets of four, allowing you to buy two different sets and get the right fit for all four paws.
Different conditions call for different types of grip. While a leather or thin rubber sole may give your dog an experience most similar to how they would behave without boots, there are some conditions where it'd be preferable to enhance their grip with additional traction. If you plan on taking your dog hiking, then look for the kind of lug design you'd see on human hiking boots. Additional considerations include whether or not the rubber sole wraps over the front of the bootie, providing a cap to protect your dog's paws from big rocks.
Most dog boots use a hook-and-loop (commonly known as Velcro) strap closure, which cinches the boot closed at the narrowest point of their leg. But secondary features can make fitting more or less easy and more or less secure. Wide slit closures may be simple to slip on, but can also make boots easier for your dog to scrape off. Secondary features like elastic cuffs, drawstring cords, or zippers may take up a little extra time, but will add to a secure fit.
Nylon or nylon mesh uppers are generally more suitable for warm weather, while polyester, including polyester fleece linings, are more winter-ready. Material is one area where materials you value in human shoes also hold true for dog boots.
When do dogs need boots?
Dogs may benefit from wearing boots in very hot or cold and snowy weather. In the heat of summer, asphalt can become so hot that it may burn your dog's paws. During the winter months, salt and ice melting products can irritate your pet's paw pads. In addition, dogs with furry feet may experience a buildup of ice and snow in between the toes. Another occasion when dogs need boots is in the event of a cut to your dog's paw. A boot can help to protect the wound during the healing process.
How do I keep dog boots from falling off?
The easiest way to keep dog boots from falling off is to start with boots that fit well. Dog boots that are too large can easily come loose and fall off. For dogs with particularly slender paws and legs, it may be helpful to choose dog boots with a Velcro strap to enhance the fit. Keep in mind that you never want to over-tighten dog boots or choose a size that is too small at the risk of cutting off circulation to your pet's paws. Another option is to use sock liners for dog boots, or even infant socks. These can help to improve the fit of dog boots, while also reducing friction points.
How do I measure my dog for boots?
The most popular method of measuring a dog's paw size for boots is to have your pet place a paw on a blank piece of paper. Be sure that your dog is putting weight on the leg so that the paw pad is fully spread, similar to when your dog is walking. Then, use a pencil to mark the bottom of the paw pad, the top of the paw (at the tip of the longest toe nail) and each side of the paw. Next, use a tape measure or ruler to find the dimensions of the paw from top-to-bottom and side to side. Tip: Before measuring, be sure to trim your dog's nails to the proper length.
How do I put on dog boots?
Most pet parents will tell you that it's easiest to put dog boots on while your dog is standing up. Take one paw and insert it into a fully opened boot. You may need to place a finger at the back of the boot to keep it open and to allow the paw to slide in. Once the boot is on, rest the paw back on the floor, checking that the paw pad is resting on the sole of the boot. Then, secure the boot using its closure system. Repeat for the remaining paws.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
The Spruce Pets uses up-to-date research to make product recommendations you can trust. Our writers are animal lovers and pet owners. We rely on experts in the veterinary and animal care industry to provide reliable information.
When choosing the best dog boots, we considered styles that were best in all kinds of weather and comfortably fit a dog’s paws. We considered size and height and left out any that hurt a dog’s dewclaw. Steven Rowe has a rescue beagle of his own that really, really doesn’t like walking in the cold snow without boots—so he made sure that all the boots on this list would be the same kinds he’d buy for his pup.