Just as our collapsible bowls have come a long way over the course of Ruff Wear’s 16 years, our Bark’n Boots™, which originally debuted prior to 1999, have also come a long way.
Designing a boot that would protect and stay on a dog’s very narrow, straight and delicate paw was no easy task, and it required years of research and development in order to produce today’s version of the Bark’n Boot™ Grip Trex™—one of Ruff Wear’s top-selling selling products!
Testing began with retail feedback on our original 3D Bark’n Boot™. After receiving a tremendous amount of feedback on our original boots, Ruff Wear focused on creating a new design (Bark’n Boot™ Grip Trex™) that would better meet customer’s needs.
Fit testing began with the first Grip Trex™ sample 5 years ago. The first obstacle to overcome was the revolutionary process of building a last for the boots, similar to how human shoes are made. Building this last took several iterations, as we wanted the boot to be comfortable, stay on, and fit the varying shapes of a dog’s paw.
Once the last was approved and a first sample was made, wide ranges of dogs in each size were fit tested to ensure a quality fit. This sometimes meant as many as 7 dogs in the office at one time being measured!
After the mold of the boot was tested for quality, we determined which materials we would use that would reflect the same level of quality as the fit. The Vibram sole was an integral part of this. We tested several types of Vibram® rubber to get the most durable, sticky and non-marking sole they offered.
After the boot mold and sole were chosen, testing of the other boot components began. Durability, functionality, and comfort were evaluated by Ruff Wear employees (who are by nature active in the outdoors), as well as an extensive database of product testers.
Over the course of several years, we have gained access to hundreds of eager outdoorspeople and their dogs who are willing to put our products to the test in the pre-production stages; for example, the Canine Conservation group, whose working dogs tested the boots for miles in freezing temperatures and harsh, snowy terrain while working on a scat detection project in Alberta, Canada.
We too, test our products. Founder Patrick Kruse personally tested each boot in snow, harsh rock, and dirt trails in and around Bend, OR. The synthetic pigskin grip cuff and hook and loop cinch strap kept the boots on for miles of various types of terrain.
Through the help of our product testers and local working-dog ambassadors, our Grip Trex™ boots were tested on all sorts of terrain, conditions, surfaces, and breeds prior to their release. We believe our boots are the best all-weather, all-condition boots on the market, and are constantly looking for ways to improve the function, fit and sizing so all dogs can enjoy paw-protected, canine free-roaming.