The Safest Winter Boots For Dog Walking On Ice & Snow
Northeasterners love their dogs as much as the rest of the country, but few regions present conditions as dangerous for winter dog walkers. Every pooch-walk here requires a sure-step to brave considerable obstacles just to ensure a daily dose of exercise for our four-legged friends. And, because most dogs are undeterred by ice and cold air, those of us at the other end of the leash are faced with the slippery task of holding on and staying up on our feet!
To help you avoid Bambi-legging your way across icy sidewalks all winter, Danform’s fit-testers set out to find the best boots for dog walking. These options grip ice, stomp snow and replace frostbite-potential with renewed vigor for the outdoors. Because selecting the best winter snow boots requires true winter conditions, we took advantage of some recent Arctic weather here in Vermont to put some of our favorite models to the test!
Diehard dog walkers know that a well honed quiver conquers two distinct elements: cold and ice. We'll begin with insulated boots that tame frosty toes when it's frigid - if you're looking for studded boots for icy days, skip down here!
OUR SAFE DOG WALKING BOOT FAVORITES
BAFFIN SNOGOOSE - CLASSIC WINTER WARMTH AND GRIP
With the thermometer topping out at 1°F in Vermont, it’s the perfect opportunity to test out the Baffin "Snogoose" for sub-zero dog walking! Obviously, Danform is stocked with options when it comes to selecting a boot fit for pounding the pavement with an energetic puppy. Despite some exciting newcomers to the Extreme Cold Boot category, Baffin continues to lead the charge by every description and remains the best brand of extreme cold winter boot. The Snogoose is an ideal candidate, and is comparable to any Baffin -40°F boots, such as the Baffin "Chloe," Baffin "Crossfire," or Baffin "Wolf."
The Baffin “Icefield” is a reigning favorite in the -148°F category, but on a day with full sun and low wind, we opted to test how the lighter-weight -40°F Snogoose matches up to our frigid Burlington winter weather.
With Baffin’s laced up, our brave dog walker set out into the cold day wearing long underwear, glove liners, mittens, a fleece cap topped with a wool hat and an 800-fill down jacket. In other words, plenty of protection from head to toe—a key first step in setting your boots up to keep you warm.
Mackie, our favorite Bernese pup, wasn’t intimidated by the icy ground and neither was the Baffin Snogoose. Though it wasn’t slick all over, there were icy patches that might have been trouble for a lesser tread.
- The Snogoose is easy to walk in.
- Aim for a slightly roomy to promote plenty of air circulation.
- You don’t want the Snogoose to fit like a dress shoe; a little bit of heel lift is fine given that it will also mean you have space for the air inside the boot to move freely and keep your toes warm.
- This isn’t a boot meant for scaling the side of a mountain, but rather a casual hour-long dog walk that doesn’t require high action agility.
Maintaining a brisk winter pace, our outing lasted 35 minutes—Mackie is a busy puppy so we weren’t stopping to smell the evergreens. Despite her eagerness to explore, at no time during the walk did traction or cold feet become an issue. If you keep company with an older (slower) dog, or a scent-happy hound, you might find a warmer model necessary, but for typical coldest-day-of-the-winter dog walking, the Baffin -40°F Boot Collection delivers a perfect balance of fit, warmth and safety—warm enough to keep you comfortable, light enough to keep you moving.
Pictured left to right, the -40°F model and the bulkier -148° model
The Baffin -40°F boots are warmer than most boots, perfect for active use in temperatures between -20°F to 40°F. They hold up to sedentary use as well depending on the length of time outside. One of Danform’s resident experts spends many days watching her children ski race and reports that the Snogoose keeps her feet warm for 4 hours plus down to 20°F. (When it get below 20°F and you won't be moving around, opt for the Baffin Polar Series!)
BAFFIN ICEFIELD - AS WARM AS IT GETS
With temperatures hovering just below the 0°F mark for a second day, we were off and running...er, “walking!” This time our dog walker donned the Baffin Icefield, a tried and true model from Baffin’s -148°F Polar Series, comparable to any Baffin -148° F boots such as the Baffin "Impact," or Baffin "Apex." With the memory of our -40°F Snogoose fresh, as well as back-to-back days of identical weather, it was a perfect opportunity to compare how boots in the different temperature ratings performed.
The first fifteen minutes of walking were comparable: comfortable and warm. Midway through the route, it was clear that despite the brisk air, the Baffin Icefield was just more boot than necessary for an active walk with the pooch. Our dog walker couldn’t wait to get home, not because of the cold, but because her feet were getting too warm!
Moral of this story?
- The Baffin Polar Series (-148°F rated) is the warmest boot you can buy
- It's intended for long, cold days that involve sedentary activity, such as Ice Fishing, Snowmobiling or Winter Camping
- Don’t choose the -148°F series simply because “your feet are always cold!”
- More often than not, the Baffin -40°F boots, or any of the options in Danform's Recommended Winter Boots, are much warmer than your current footwear and will be all-the-boot you need for active cold weather days
When the temperature is below 0°F, some dog walkers with a lower tolerance for cold pull out the big guns, the Baffin -148°F series, but don't confuse them with a run of the mill everyday winter boot. We like to say, "if these boots don't keep you warm, nothing will!"ULU CROW - SOFT AND STABLE
Another Danform favorite, also in the same warmth range as the Baffin Snogoose, is a shearling boot from ULU. The ULU “Crow” strikes that fine winter balance of keeping your toes toasty while taking the dog out or running a quick errand on cold days, while still remaining functional enough to be an everyday winter boot mainstay—and did we mention stylish too? The ULU fit is one of the best, making it a natural partner for outings with your pooch.
Fun fit tip from our Danform Dog Team: Wear your ULUs barefoot. Even on frosty days, leave your socks at home and let the shearling's natural insulation shine.
HIGH TRACTION DOG WALKING BOOTS FOR ICY CONDITIONS
Whether you are walking the dog on icy sidewalks, or just trying to stay on your feet, Danform recommends Icebug for the most Reliable Traction Grip all winter long. Icebug makes studded winter boots with built-in carbide studs on the outsole, for what they call "BUGrip" soles, which grip icy sidewalks and steep banks like snow tires for your feet! The Icebug studded Bugrip models ensure you will not only be able to walk on ice safely but stay on your feet when being pulled behind a full-grown Bernese, grateful to be frolicking in the outdoors.
While Icebug provides the most pound for pound traction available for icy surfaces, they are not an ideal option for surfaces not fully iced or snow-covered, and we do not recommend for indoor use. What these boots lack in versatility, they make up for in unparalleled performance when it counts. Icebug boots are a smart investment for daily Vermont dog walkers. A durable boot, these studded soles will last for years. Factoring in safety and cost per wear, the return on your investment is a win-win.
WHEN YOU FINALLY FIND THOSE PERFECT WINTER BOOTS
When you find those perfect boots for dog walking, you'll be a happy camper. And, as much as we like to think we're calling the shots in our household, we all know an exercised doggie makes for a happier house all around.
Browse Danform's entire collection: Best Boots for Dog Walking!