Ruffwear Ambassador Maria Schultz and her dog Riley tested our new Grip Trex boots on the granite trails of Acadia National Park. For 2016, we’ve updated our Grip Trex boots with a lighter weight, more flexible construction that provides added comfort and an even more secure fit to the paw. See what Maria has to say below, and look for the new Grip Trex (in new colors, too!) beginning February 1st. Thanks, Maria and Riley, for testing the Grip Trex and providing your feedback!

Riley and his Grip Trex:

I originally got a pair of Ruffwear Grip Trex boots for Kona because she has very delicate pads on her feet. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve come back from a hike with Kona limping and bloody because she stepped on something sharp.

I never thought Riley needed shoes because his pads are much tougher than Kona’s. He’s maybe only twice in eight years torn a pad. However, last year after some pretty lengthy hikes in Acadia National Park, where the trails wind along on sharp granite, Riley was left limping. I figured we had pushed him too far and that his hips were sore. But upon further inspection, I discovered Riley’s front pads were completely raw. I felt terrible. It looked so painful.

So before this year’s return trip to Acadia, I decided Riley needed his own Grip Trex.

Riley pictured with owner John Schultz in Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by Maria Schultz.

Since I got the shoes just a few days before we left, I didn’t get a chance to adequately break them in. Turns out, I didn’t need to.

The first hike of our trip was a warm-up around Jordan Pond, with a short detour up to Bubble Rock. As usual, Kona blasted up the ridge while Riley was slower, keeping pace with me. As we got closer to the top, the terrain changed to sheer granite – time to gear up.

As I put the Grip Trex on Riley, he looked confused, holding up his paws in protest. After getting all four on, he pranced around kicking out each foot like he was trying to knock them off.

But then something surprising happened.

Riley never looses the trail. Hiking along the Schiff trail in Acadia National Park.

Riley’s inner mountain goat was unleashed; he gave in and started walking, trotting, then running, yes, running. Suddenly he was racing around on the rock with Kona! Twice I had to hold him back as he tried to scale up some steep technical scrambles unassisted.

The Grip Trex had suddenly given him extra confidence. But I like to think it was comfort. I can only assume that as Riley is aging his joints and feet are becoming more sensitive. And like most of us, as we age we become more aware of getting injured. Having some extra padding and protection on his paws clearly made Riley more comfortable.

He ran down the half-mile rock scramble to the lake trail with Kona. As I got to the bottom, I saw both dogs were swimming in the lake. “Great,” I thought, “he’s going to lose one of those new shoes!” But, nope, all four stayed on!

Riley pictured with owner Maria Schultz in Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by John Schultz.
Riley pictured with owner Maria Schultz in Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by John Schultz.
Riley pictured with owner Maria Schultz in Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by John Schultz.

Throughout the rest of our trip, including a 6-mile hike up to Dorr Mountain, Riley wore his Grip Trex. Each time we put them on, we watched his confidence soar. It was really awesome to see our 8-year-old dog happy and comfortable on the trails with us. Thanks, Ruffwear!


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