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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Ruff Wear Barkn Boots > Test Report by Andrew Buskov

Grip Trex FrontRuff Wear
Bark'n Boots Grip Trex
Ruff Wear's all condition, all season, all terrain boots.
Andrew Buskov

Initial Report: April 21, 2008
Field Report - June 27, 2008

Tester Biographical Information

Pet Biographical Information

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 217 lbs (98 kg)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA
Age:10 Months
Breed:German Shepherd Mix
Height:22 in (56 cm)
Weight:35 lb (15.8 kg)
Girth:24 in (61 cm)
Paw Width:2.25 in (57 mm)
Length:22 in (56 cm)

Backpacking Background:

I started backpacking young, hiking various environments from the green mountains of the Appalachians to the barren desert of Arizona. I enjoy the solitude of deep backcountry and prefer colder weather and snow. I’m moving toward becoming a light weight hiker, but am still safety conscious and want to be as prepared and comfortable as possible. My goal is to get my pack weight between 15 to 20 lbs (6 and 9 kg), but right now I'm hovering around 25 lbs (11 kg). Additional information about the author can be found at

Product Information: View from the top

Item: Ruff Wear Bark'n Boots Grip Trex
Manufacturer: Ruff Wear
Year of Manufacture: 2008
MSRP: $59.95
Weight of One: 1.06 oz (.030 kg)
Weight of All 4:4.30 oz (.122 kg)
Color: Red Currant

Product Overview:

Ruff Wear's Bark'n Boots Grip Trex version is designed with serious hiking dogs in mind. These boots are built just like human shoes; anatomically correct for dogs right down to the way they are sized. No longer is there a "one size fits all" mentality. They are designed to fit around the dogs ankle just below the carpal pad instead of 3 or 4 inches up the dog's leg. The top of the boot is constructed of a breathable mesh material that aids in helping the boot drain when exposed to watery conditions. The mouth of the boot has a gusset that expands making it easier to apply and remove from the foot. The entire closure strap has hook and loop fastening material so that there is no little tabs hanging that can catch onto something to snag, while the bottom is constructed of a Vibram high-grip, high traction  sole that enhances stability and traction.

Initial Impression:

In Box2The Ruff Wear Bark'n Boots Grip Trex arrived at my door complete and without any noticeable damage. Included in the box was one set of 4 boots, a stuffsack, and a hangtag with information about Vibram's history. The outside of the box included documentation regarding the size and color of the enclosed boots, and additional information including manufacturer's address, warranty policy, and a general description of the boots inside.

When I first opened the package I was quite a bit surprised at how well these boots appeared to be constructed. In the past, the only experience I had with any sort of dog boots occurred with the standard "one size fits all, bag-style boot" that slips over the dog's leg and must be duct taped half way up the forearm, or calf, to remain in place. I had only attempted using this older style twice till it became obvious that Sadie didn't' like them and was intent on removing them however possible. This usually included her finding a tree somewhere a bit ahead of me on the trail, hiding behind it, and vigorously chewing at the boot till I got close enough to notice what was going on. The last trip ended in one of her boots being lost in the snow because she eventually chewed her way through the duct tape and the boot slipped off.

Tread, Back, Inside

The Ruff Wear Grip Trex boots are constructed very differently from those other boots though. Instead of  having one long gusseted seam that ran the entire length of the boot, these Grip Trex boots are designed to be fitted to the individual dog's paw size. Just like we might go to a store and try on boots to see which size fits us best, Ruff Wear's Grip Trex boots also have different sizes to fit a variety of dog paws tightly. Ruff Wear goes as far to state how important sizing is on their website and provide detailed instructions on how to properly measure the size of your dog's foot to make sure you get the right size. The boots are sized from XXS to XXL in increments of .25 in (6 mm). The size of the boot is silkscreened onto the inside of the tongue just like it would be in human shoes. Also silkscreened is Ruff Wear's toll free number just in case you happen to lose a boot on a thru trek

Stuff SackDo to the typical German Shepherd breed size being between 22 - 26 in (56 - 66 cm) in height, her paw size of roughly 2.25 in (57 mm) in width puts her in a size XS. I was real worried when I sized her thinking that she should surely fit into a larger size. In fact, I ended up sizing her on 5 different occasions to make sure I was doing it right. Sure enough, her paw size is XS, and the Grip Trex boots fit "like a glove". The gusset on the front / top side of the boot made it real easy for me to put the boot on and off. The cinch strap is made of tough strap material with reflective ribbon sewn on. The back side of the strap is covered completely with hook and loop material. Because of this, there is no hanging pull that is found on other boots. This made it that much harder for Sadie to grab at it with her teeth and loosen up the boot till it falls off.

I must say  that with the little bit of testing we did, in house only, she didn't really bite at the boots as much as I thought she would. Sure there was a bit of "puppy prancing" around till we started running around and playing more and her attention was no longer focused on the way her feet were feeling. Being as how Sadie is primarily an outside dog due to our daughter's mild allergies, the only rooms that she's allowed to be in while inside are the kitchen and utility room. She has become used to the linoleum and faux wood flooring in those areas, and learned that there is likely to be a bit of sliding when she runs. I  could tell it was taking her a bit of adjusting when we were running around due to the way the boots gripped the floor. It only took a few minutes before she realized that she now had a whole lot more traction than without the boots though.

I'd like to thank and Ruff Wear for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to test the Bark'n Boots Grip Trex.

Field Report - June 27, 2008

Sadie with Grip TrexField Locations:

During this testing period I was only able to use the Ruff Wear Grip Trex on two occasions. Both of these occasions were day trips to the Pennyrile State Resort Park area of the Pennyrile State Forrest, a 14,000 a (5600 ha) section of forest that has roughly 23 mi (37 km) of trails.  The elevation for the area is between 400 -700 ft (122 - 213 m). Both hikes were on the Lake trail loop that is roughly 2 miles in length. Temperatures for these trips hovered around 75 F (24 C) and there was no precipitation on either trip. 


I was very wary about taking these into the woods. They're such nice boots, I was really scared that Sadie would lose one as she did with her previous boots. I decided that taking shorter trips to start would help me to better keep an eye on Sadie, allow her to get used to the boots and break them in without the strain and stress of a long haul. I know I don't like buying a new pair of shoes then taking them out my first time on a marathon hike, I can only assume that the same is true of dog boots.

Grip Trex CloseupThese boots fit Sadie's feet real well throughout the whole hike. I believe this was largely in part to the way these are fitted to her feet as opposed to a one size fits all boot. Not only did they keep from falling off, but I didn't once find her boot wrapped around her foot like I did with other boots she's worn. The hook and loop attachment held these boots well enough that I didn't need to try duct taping them to her feet. It was a bit nerving to keep my eyes on her more actively to make sure we didn't lose one, but it was also nice to know that if one did turn up lost I wouldn't need to purchase a complete set of four as Ruff Wear sells single boots just for this reason.

The elastic top did well to keep out rocks and sticks allowing only a bit of fine dirt to enter into the boot area. This fine dirt didn't appear to be enough to irritate Sadie in the least. The boots also didn't catch long grass, twigs, or stickers as we were walking.  This is a definite plus as previous boots were covered with grass and sticker bush heads all over them.

I was surprised at the lack of interest that Sadie seems to pay toward these boots. She hasn't been biting or gnawing at them at all during our trips. It's almost as if she doesn't know that they are there.  I also have not had the need to wash these yet, but will probably do this prior to the next report just so I can include it. So far though, these boots have not held any stains, but they haven't been completely covered in mud yet either. Maybe throughout the upcoming testing period we'll get an opportunity to go walking where more rain has fallen as it's been rather dry this summer in our usual walking areas.

This concludes the Field Report phase of this report. Be sure to check back in roughly two months for information from the Long Term Report phase.

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