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Product Reviews

Hiker Boots for Dogs

It wasn't that long ago that the pickings for boots for dogs was... well, slim's a nice way to put it. Anorexic is another. And the few styles that did exist didn't stay well on the dog's foot. Or they came only in crazy colors like aubergine - and have you ever tried to find a matching coat for dogs in aubergine? Come on, folks. It was high time the industry started providing us with cuter designs, more practical colors, and styles that would actually stay on your pet's foot.

The folks at Barkslope are just as excited as we are by the new breadth of selection in the world of doggy boots, and sent along one of their best sellers for us to test out: Hiker Boots for Dogs in a brilliant red.

Now red - that's a power color that the world's most diva-darlin' pug can get into. She has several coats in that color, in fact, making it a perfect match for the princess. Red's just also a smart color for winter, period; it's bright enough to be seen during the day (every extra bit of visibility helps when it comes to motorists), it's dark enough that dirt doesn't show up immediately, and it's light enough that salt stains aren't immediately evident.

Plus, it looks awesome. But we digress.

The boots were deliciously lightweight. That's always a consideration for smaller dogs, since nobody wants their pet to feel like a great honking Clydesdale trying to lift their feet with every step. The black nylon lining was relatively thin, which works both ways: they won't be very warm in the ultra-frigid cold temps, but they're light enough to wear into the spring.

Features: the material is a soft ultrasuede, the sole is a generous but light black rubber. The tongue, too, is black and, as with most dog boots, is sewn to the boot on one side. We particularly liked the large zipper tab, which was much easier to grab and pull than other boots we've tried in the past. The long velcro strip winds around the boot, and is not quite as wide as other models, but this was actually nice. The flexibility of the fabric and the light weight meant they were very easy to do up and keep on the foot.

Fit was dead-on - which leads us to believe that the industry is finally settling into a more-or-less standard when it comes to sizing. (Miracle of all miracles.) Merry took a size 3 in these boots, as she does in all but one of the five other brands she owns.

These Hiker Boots are also available in a wonderfully neutral tan color and a black that we're just salivating over.

Most important: how did they walk? The princess found no problems in our strolls - she pranced along just like she didn't have anything on her toes. The boots make a cute light clipclop sound on hard surfaces like marble or wood, which is dead cute. And we found no rub spots or hotspots on her feet after fifteen minutes of walking.

In all, we were thrilled with these boots. They aren't quite as warm as other boots on the market, but then Merry doesn't spend a huge number of hours outside in the winter anyway. Boots, for her, mainly serve as a way to protect against salt, antifreeze, and other nasties that cities, residents and business owners throw out on their walks to prevent ice from building up. (Can we mention how annoying it is that people have stopped shovelling and simply use chemicals to remove ice and snow?)

Many thanks to the folks at Barkslope for sharing these boots with us! If you're looking for a great all-purpose boot, this is definitely one style you'll be pleased with.

You can find out more about Barkslope from their web site at www.barkslope.com.

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