What Are Running Shoes for Dogs and Do Dogs Really Need Them

If you are an avid runner like me, you know how important running shoes are for us.

And not just any running shoes, mind you. It has to be a perfect fit and comfortable for our soles.

If you're a dog owner, too, you may have brought your pup along on your morning jogs.

But have you thought of getting them running shoes for dogs?

Yep. You read that right.

There are dog shoes specifically meant for running.

Are you now wondering how they differ from the sparkly and silly regular dog boots/shoes?

I've covered a lot of topics in this article, like what running shoes are and how to teach your dog to wear them.

I've also included 5 of the best running shoes for dogs I had my Golden Retriever mix tried.

If you want to jump straight to those, click the link below:


Read on to learn more!

What are Running Shoes for Dogs Infographic

What Are Running Shoes for Dogs?

As the name implies, running shoes for dogs, a.k.a. running booties, are not the same as regular dog shoes intended for short walks.

Regular, “almost decorative” dog booties look more like human shoes, and they are not made to sustain much use from running.

Due to the design of regular dog booties, they could hurt your dog’s paws if they try to run in them for a prolonged period of time.

Needless to say, running shoes for dogs look nothing like running shoes for people.

They're more like protective socks, and they are usually made from durable, weather-resistant materials.

Dog running booties typically come with a hook and loop fastener found at the top.

They are often available in bright, neon colors and have reflective strips to make your dogs more visible when they jog with you.

Do Dogs Need Running Shoes?

I know you're wondering if our dogs really need running shoes. I mean, what are their rough paw pads for, right?

However, New York veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, said that although paw pads are composed of tough keratinized epithelium, they are still susceptible to damage.

“The paw pads on the bottom of dogs' and cats' feet provide traction and act as shock absorbers for the bones, tendons, and ligaments of the limb,” Dr. Barrack says. “Most commonly, they can sustain cuts and abrasions, which can become infected if not properly treated.”

RELATED: How to Treat an Infected Paw on a Dog

Our dogs can get injured and sustain paw damage when they run on different types of surfaces.

And running in winter can be even more dangerous for the pet, especially if there is snow and ice.

Also, our dog's paw pads are not hard enough for asphalt, like horse's hooves, for example. They are rather soft and prone to damage.

“In the summer, it is especially important to use caution if your dog is running on hot rocks or asphalt as the surface can get exceedingly hot and result in blisters,” Dr. Barrack says. “The outer layer of the pad can slough off, leaving a sensitive layer of fresh skin that can take days to weeks to heal properly. It is advisable to use caution with prolonged exercise on these surfaces.”

Long story short… a lot of things can go wrong if your pooch doesn’t have any protection when he’s running.

Dr. Barrack advised, “Although they may look silly, dog boots are a great way to protect dogs from paw damage on hot surfaces or rough terrain.”

Do Dogs Need Running Shoes

Competitive racing is another common reason for getting running shoes for a dog.

Many dog races, including the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race, require wearing protective running booties for all dogs in the race.

And if this popular dog racing competiion specifically requires dog running shoes, it just means that these will not interfere with your canine's ability to run!

The best dog shoes for running will provide protection from injuries like scratches, cuts, and scrapes, as well as from extreme temperatures.

They will keep your dog’s sensitive paw pads and other areas of his feet safe.

When you choose the right running shoes for dogs, you need to ensure that they fit them properly and that they are comfortable.

How to Teach Your Dog to Wear Running Shoes

But my dog doesn't want to wear his shoes. What should I do?

Well, some dogs really have a hard time getting used to new running shoes or even wearing them for the first time.

Your Fido may even outright refuse to come near them in the beginning!

There are ways to get your pup used to wearing shoes and things to consider when shopping for them.

The shoes you choose must be exactly the right size, so measure your dog’s paws properly beforehand.

Measure the width and length of your dog's paws and get the shoes in the appropriate size.

How To Measure A Dog for Boots

Before jogging, properly put the shoes on your dog’s feet for a few minutes daily and let him walk around the house.

Gradually increase the amount of time you leave the shoes on. Once you see that he’s comfortable wearing them inside, start to take short walks first.

Again, increase the time you spend walking until your dog is fully accustomed.

Only then can you start with short runs and increase the running times gradually as well.

Check your dog’s running booties regularly for wear and tear (if possible, after each run).

Look for areas that seem like they are thinning and check for any small holes.

Replace them if you see signs of deterioration.

If you go for a long run with your pooch, take an extra pair of shoes with you if you have to replace them mid-run.

If you pick out the best running shoes for dogs, ideally, they should last you a long time without replacement.

How To Put Boots On A Dog

5 Best Running Shoes for Dogs

Are you still undecided about which running shoes for dogs you would get for Fido?

Well then, here are our top recommendations for you!

There are many options on the market when it comes to dog running shoes, but here are a few of our favorite and tested ones that are designed to be most comfortable and last the longest.


Orange Rubber Dog Boots 4 Packs for Hiking and Running

These rubber boots, conveniently colored neon orange so your dog will always be visible, even in the dark, are perfect for your furry run and hiking buddy.

The rubber can protect your pup's feet from anything that rough terrain can throw at him, like rocks, branches, twigs, etc.

Its stretchable, sock-like material makes it comfortable to wear and guarantees that it won't slip, which is important when running.

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Another thing I like about these boots is they're waterproof, which means our dog's paws can stay comfortably dry even when running in a puddle.

The soles on these booties are made to improve the traction of different surfaces specifically.

One thing to remember, though, when buying this running dog for shoes is to size up. The sizes run small, especially for large dogs, so better get your measuring tape to know which will actually fit your pooch.


2 RUFFWEAR Grip Trex Paw Wear for Dogs

From one of my favorite dog supply brands, these Grip Trex dog booties are also on the expensive side, but the price is more than justified.

The quality of these running dog shoes is high, especially when it comes to providing traction on any kind of terrain.

The shoes are also extremely flexible and breathable because they are made from tightly woven air mash, which also does a great job of keeping debris and dirt out.

Ruffwear, Grip Trex Dog Boots, Outdoor Booties...
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Your dog’s feet will be protected from any kind of extreme conditions.

He will also look good in these booties because they have an innovative and modern design, which is much more aesthetically pleasing than any other brand.

These RUFFWEAR running shoes for dogs also come with an intuitive closure system based on the hook-and-loop cinch.

These shoes come in many different sizes to allow you to find the perfect fit for your pooch.


3 Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots

The most popular choice among dog owners on a budget, these Ultra Paws flexible dog booties are great for running.

And not only that, but they're also good for senior dogs or dogs with hip problems who struggle with slippery surfaces because they provide excellent traction.

Their skid-resistant soles make them perfect for wet surfaces and winter conditions.

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The materials might be slightly lower in quality than the Ruffwear brand, but they typically last even with regular jogging.

These shoes have a wide split seam opening, which makes them easy to put on.

Also, once you put them on, they are likely to stay on, thanks to secure Velcro straps.

These booties come in many different sizes, suitable for all breeds.


4 Petbobi Waterproof  Dog Shoes

The Petbobi dog shoes are the cheapest brand available and are still good for running.

These dog booties are made of relatively durable, water-resistant material.

They are great at keeping debris out and the feet protected on hot surfaces.

Due to their soft design, your dog is likely to feel more comfortable in these as long as you find the right size.

The soles on these Petbobi shoes will prevent your dog from slipping on wet surfaces.

They are also flexible and waterproof and can provide traction when you go for a run with your pooch.

These running shoes for dogs can also protect their feet from moisture but are still great for keeping their feet cool in dry and hot weather.

The good thing about the cheaper material is that you're unlikely to have much trouble putting these dog booties on, unlike with sturdier options.

These shows also come with a split seam opening on top and can be fastened firmly in place by 2 reflective and highly adjustable Velcro straps.



Dog Boots Paw Protector for Hot Pavements

I would suggest these running dog shoes for your dog if you're on a budget.

They are effective for what they're intended for and actually have a better-looking design than other running boots.

These ones come in sizes S to XL, but make sure to measure your dog's paws first to avoid a hassle.

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Just like with others, your Fido will be safe from damage to his paws in these shoes, but the materials don't appear to be as sturdy and are more likely to wear out sooner.

They are waterproof and wear-resistant, though, which means that they should last for a while anyway.

They are fixed by nylon buckles and are easy to put on and take off your pup's paws.


FAQs about Running Shoes for Dogs

Should dogs wear shoes when running?

Dogs can benefit from wearing shoes when running on hot surfaces such as asphalt or sand, as this can prevent burns and blisters on their paw pads.

They may also need shoes when running on rough or rocky terrain to protect their feet from cuts and abrasions.

Shoes that have good traction can help dogs run safely on slippery surfaces such as wet grass or ice.

But on soft and comfortable surfaces such as grass or dirt, shoes are unnecessary and can even be uncomfortable for the dog.

Is it OK to run with your dog?


Running with your dog can be a great way to bond and get exercise together, as long as your dog is healthy and physically able to handle the activity.

It's important to start slow and gradually build up the intensity and distance of your runs to avoid overexertion or injury.

Additionally, you should always ensure your dog is properly hydrated and has access to water during and after the run.

What is the best surface for a dog run?

The best surface for a dog run is one that is safe and comfortable.

Grass and dirt are generally good options, as they provide a soft and natural surface for your dog to run on.

However, if you have a high-energy dog or a dog that likes to dig, you may want to consider installing a more durable surface such as pea gravel or artificial turf.

It's important to avoid hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt, as these can be tough on your dog's joints and paw pads.

How long can I jog with my dog?

Well, this depends on several factors, including your dog's breed, age, and fitness level, as well as the weather conditions and terrain you'll be running on.

Generally, it's recommended to start with short runs of 10-15 minutes and gradually increase the time and intensity over several weeks.

As a general guideline, most healthy dogs can handle 30-60 minutes of running per day, but it's important to pay attention to your dog's body language and behavior to avoid overexertion or injury.

Should dog wear socks with shoes?

Socks can provide additional comfort and protection for your dog's paws when wearing shoes, especially if the shoes are made of a rough or abrasive material.

They can also help to keep the shoes in place and prevent them from rubbing or slipping off.

But if the shoes fit well and are made of a soft and comfortable material, socks may not be necessary. They can even make your dog's feet too hot.

It's important to monitor your dog's behavior and comfort level when trying out shoes and socks to ensure they are happy and safe.

Running Shoes for Dogs: Before You Go…

Now that we know that running shoes for dogs are necessary, especially on hard surfaces and harsh weather, would you consider buying one for your dog?

If you're interested in reading more about dog shoes and running with your pooch, then check out our recommended articles below!

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What Are Running Shoes for Dogs and Do Dogs Really Need Them - The Guide

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James has been a certified veterinary technician for the last 8 years in Birmingham, UK. After working with many dogs, he's changed his focus to writing, building businesses and researching subjects on canines and products created for dogs.