Rocky and Jules Walker own the outdoors shop Further Faster which they opened in 2014 and they say that from the start it was “adventure gear for humans and dogs”.
“People thought we were mad at first,” says Rocky. “But it is just interesting how now other people have jumped on board and are trying to copy us.” The keenness to buy dog tramping gear comes from care over the dogs comfort, which is a modern phenomenon, and growing realisation that despite restrictions on where dogs can go, there are still many places they are allowed in the outdoors with owners. Jules says the dog tramping boots suit certain dogs and terrain. “So when we do high summits with Badger (her labradoodle) and there is going to be scree and lots of ice, we take his boots. If it’s really rough, or he is getting a bit tender on his feet, I’ll whack the boots on his feet.” “It’s protecting his pads,” says Rocky. Chunks of ice can get stuck in the paws between the pads of hairy paws.
Some dogs have tough paws and others have soft paws. Boots are good for dogs taken mountainbiking because constant skidding into corners can quickly wear out pads. Boots can also protect against the heat. Some rocks get very hot and also bitumen in the city can get so hot that boots help stop burns. Some dogs with injured paws have single boots bought for them to wear while they heal. “Footwear sales are growing,” says Rocky, “but the biggest growing sales would be dog packs and clothing.”