Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Product Review: Ruffwear Grip Trex

Ruffwear Grip Trex are serious dog boots for serious dog activities. They are made with Vibram soles, just like human shoes.

Brisbane's 2009 Grip Trex
These are definitely Brisbane's favorite boots. The Grip Trex stay on remarkably well on all sorts of adventures, and they really do provide extra traction. Whether we're crossing a stream on slippery rocks or just running around the yard, the grip Trex stay exactly where they're supposed to stay. The only activity that has defeated the Grip Trex is the crazy ball-chasing sessions that destroy Brisbane's carpal pads. These boots don't go up high enough to protect that part of his leg, and they don't stay on when he's tearing up the turf to get the ball.

One of my absolute favorite things about Ruffwear is that they sell individual dog boots. I am hesitant to shell out $60+ for a set of dog shoes when I think we might leave one behind on the trail. I've gone as far as painting my phone number on every one of Brisbane's shoes in case some kind soul finds one on the sidewalk someday. The option to replace that one missing shoe is fabulous.

Armored feetsies!
Brisbane hates wearing anything that remotely resembles 'clothing', including padded harnesses and, of course, shoes. The Grip Trex are the shoes he finds least unpleasant. He'll usually walk in them instead of pretending that his legs don't work.

Briz has more sets of shoes than my husband. This is largely due to the fact that Brisbane has extra-sensitive feetsies. (Also, dogs go barefoot most of the time so Briz shoes tend to last longer than husband shoes.) Six years ago, Brisbane suffered a black widow spider bite on the bottom of one paw, which may have resulted in nerve damage. He is also a huge drama queen, so it can be difficult to tell how much discomfort he is actually feeling when walking on gravel or woodchips.

In addition to the spider bite, poor Brisbane is also extremely prone to foot injuries, from snapped-off nails to cuts from broken glass. Boots are a great way to protect an injured paw. When Briz has a hurt paw I usually make him wear two boots for balance.

I bought Brisbane's Grip Trex back in 2009, and five years later the design has changed. Were I too lose a boot now I would probably have to buy two and have different boots for his front and back feet.

Pros: Durable, tough, and at least were very well designed back in 2009. Stay put on the dog's feet and stay on during hikes. The option to purchase a single boot is genius and means I don't have to invest in an entire new set to just to replace one that is lost or damaged. Goes on with a single velcro strap. Brisbane seems to find them the most comfortable of all his shoes.

Cons: Design has changed so I can no longer get a matching replacement boot for my set. New design has many complaints and poor reviews saying the boot is now shorter and does not stay on as well, or irritates the front dewclaws. They don't come in not-really-a-dog chihuahua size.

Bottom Line: These stay on, and they bother my dog less than other boots. Even with the design change, I would not hesitate the replace these or purchase Grip Trex for another dog.

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