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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Ruff Wear Barkn Boots > Test Report by Chuck Carnes

Bark'n Boots Grip Trex
Initial Report: April 26, 2008
Field Report: July 22, 2008
Long Term Report: September 5, 2008

Name: Chuck Carnes

Age: 38
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft. 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
E-mail address: ctcarnes1(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Greenville, South Carolina USA

Name: Samson
Breed: Labrador Retriever / Springer Spaniel
Age: 7 months
Gender: Male
Weight: 55 lb (25 kg)
Foot Measurement (at widest point): 3 in (7 cm)

I love the outdoors – I’ve spent time camping in the outdoors since I was born, and have been actively hiking and backpacking since then. I consider myself a lightweight hiker, usually carrying 20 – 30 pounds (11-13 kg) for hikes up to a week in length. I hike at an easy pace, averaging 2 mph (3 kph). I am a one-man tent camper for now. I like to carry a single trekking pole when I hike to help relieve stress to my legs and knees. I like to get out on the trail as often as I can.

Ruff Wear

Model: Bark'n Boots Grip Trex
Size: Large
Color: Red
Year of manufacture: 2008
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 2 oz (57 g) (per boot)
MSRP: $99.95 USD 

 I N I T I A L    R E P O R T
 April 26, 2008
Paw Close-up

The Ruff Wear Bark'n Boots are essentially trail running shoes for dogs. They have a Vibram (TM) sole and mesh uppers. The boots are held onto the dogs foot with a wrap around hook and loop fastener. The upper mesh material allows air to get to the dogs paw and to allow water to extract fairly easily to keep down on sweating and causing irritation to the dogs pads and skin. There is an expansion area on the top for growth and the perfect fit. The sides and the toe area have rubber material for protection of the sides and toes of the dog on rough terrain. The Vibram (TM) sole has a 'cross' pattern in the lugs to give the dog that extra grip on slick surfaces.


The Ruff Wear Bark'n Boots arrived in a shoe box much like human shoes come in. It came with two pair (four shoes) and a bag to keep the shoes in when not in use. I was very impressed with the boots as they have most, if not all, of the same features as a human trail running shoe. Ruff Wear seems to have put a lot of thought into designing the boots and have taken much consideration in the dogs paw anatomy and the terrain that the dog would encounter.

I placed the boots on Samson the moment I opened the box. It was actually comical to see him 'prancing' around wondering what those things were on his feet. After I got him outside and running a bit, they didn't seem to bother him. Only when he is sitting or just standing his attention is drawn to the boots. They seem a little big on him but over the next four months I am sure he will grow into them as that is when he will do most of his growing. I think they will work great once we get out into the wilderness where he can truly try them out.

That's Good:
- Mesh uppers
- Vibram (TM) soles
- Expansion for growth and custom fit
- Lightweight

That's Bad:
- None so far

F I E L D    R E P O R T
 July 22, 2008

Samson has finally come accustomed to the Ruff Wear Bark'n Boots. It has taken me several times to take him on several walks to get him used to them. I have mainly walked him around our house and in our neighborhood. The temperatures have been usually around 75 F - 95 F (23 C - 35 C) during the evening when we walk. The terrain has been mostly sidewalk and well kept grounds in the park. Because of the extreme heat we have been having, I have not taken him on any extended trips on hiking trails. The park we go to has a few walking path trails but nothing that we typically encounter when we go on longer hiking trips. The heat and humidity has been way to high to risk any complications from this extreme weather. Mid-day temperatures have been 95 F - 105 F (35 C - 40 C) on most days with none or very little rain.

Although Samson has grown in the past 2 months his feet have not gotten much bigger. The boots still fit well on his feet but there have been times when he would trot and one or two of the boots would come off. His foot does not flare out much at the ends except when all of his weight is on his feet. So when walking or running, the foot narrows up when off the ground which in turn sometimes slings the boot off the foot. I usually tighten the strap snug to the leg but I don't want to over tighten it.
I thought that maybe I may have chosen the wrong size but I think now that in the next couple of months that they will fit him perfectly.  

The boots have not shown much sign of wear and Samson seems to enjoy running in them. When he stops to rest he still sniffs them out to try and figure out what they are. I don't know if they make his feet feel any better but I do know when we walk on hot asphalt, he doesn't prance around as if the ground is hot. The shoes have stayed fairly clean so I have not had to wash them yet. I expect washing them will come this fall when we have rainy days and we go out afterwards.

We will be coming into our Fall season in a few weeks and it will be much cooler and safer to go on longer hikes in the woods. But for now, we will continue to test them on hard, rough surfaces such as the city life.

L O N G   T E R M    R E P O R T
 September 5, 2008

The past month has cooled off some, at least enough for Samson and I to get in some time with the Bark'n Boots. Our first trip was to Table Rock where we did a quick out and back. The length was about 2.5 miles (4 k) on decent terrain with the temperature around 87 F (30 C). The boots never seemed to bother him. I kept up a good pace so that his mind would not be focused on the boots. He seemed to feel confident where he stepped, even over logs, stumps and rocks. They stayed on his feet the whole time and I really think it gave him more confidence about walking just about anywhere he wanted to go.

We took another trip to Jones gap where we did a short 1.8 mile (2.9 k) loop that had two creek crossings. The temperature that day was a steamy 92 F (33 C) with about 90% humidity. I kept this one short because of the heat and made sure we hit the creek a few times to cool off. Again, he did not seem bothered by the boots. I thought that the heat and humidity would cause the boot to irritate the paw pads or his skin but that never seemed to be the case.

We got to the creek crossing and he had a ball splashing through it. I had to chase two of the boots down the creek since both of the them came off with him romping around in the water. It happened to be his front paws that the boots came loose from. I am not sure what made them come off but it was probably that his coat is smooth at his feet and the water maybe getting into the boot caused it to slip off. I placed them back on his feet, toweled him off  and continued on up the trail. The boots picked up a lot of debris like dirt, pine needles and just typical forest duff. I kept an eye on his feet to make sure none of it got into the boots to cause any problems. The second creek crossing was about ankle deep and he didn't seem to enjoy it as much as the first. It did however rinse off the boots but it also got them wet again to pick up more forest debris.

Final Summary:
I am very pleased with the Bark'n Boots. It is a great way for the K-9 to enjoy the outdoors as much as it's owner. It gives the dog confidence and protection from the elements of the forest floor or whatever the condition may be.The material seems very sturdy and the soles of the shoes have not shown any wear on them. Hopefully he will continue to grow into them as he still has a little bit of room for that. Samson will continue to wear the boots even if we are just cruising through town or out in the outdoors.

This concludes this test series
Thank you Ruff Wear and for this opportunity.

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Read more gear reviews by Chuck Carnes

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