The little things make all of the difference in our everyday life with our dogs. There are the big adventures, but what about the daily grind? Dogs live in the moment. They treasure every moment with us. So why is getting outside so challenging day in, day out? Convenience and weather are big factors. This year I discovered that the right footwear can make all of the difference.
The Pacific Northwest is one of the wettest places in the world. We may get a lot of rain, but we are so used to the weather being mild, that we tend to dress casually year-round, often to our detriment! I wear shorts and flip-flops all year and do not own an umbrella. Does that mean I like getting wet? No! When I heard about a new company boasting completely waterproof sneakers, I was skeptical, but also very intrigued. I asked the company, VESSI, if I could try a pair in exchange for a no-strings attached field test. My simple test turned into a love affair. Please note I do not receive any commission of VESSI sales — I am simply a dog trainer and “challenging breed” advocate who cares about people finding it easier to get outside with their dogs more often. So here it is: my wildly positive dog gear review, about an item that technically isn’t for dogs!
Slushy Winter Crash Course
I got my VESSI waterproof sneakers in January. It was snowing at the time. In the PNW we don’t get the dry powdery snow that winter dreams are made of, we get relentless slush. The snow here is messier and wetter than our famous rain! It is slippery, slushy and wet as all get out. I could not believe how well my VESSI performed in our slush-snow. This year the PNW had several snowstorms. Miles was absolutely surprised and thrilled that I took him out every single day for longer walks in the snow. Miles acted like it was a gift that I wanted to practice fun tricks in the snow!
This winter I was able to do my typical summer “flip-flop routine” (aka throw on something casual and go hiking and run errands in the same outing) and Miles and I both stayed comfortable and dry. Miles’ jacket is the Extreme Warmer by Hurtta in size 35.
Hail! Growing up in Oregon we had hail storms so bad that school would be cancelled! It is slippery and causes more splashing than raindrops do. VESSI shoes held up so well to hail, that it wasn’t even a consideration when deciding whether or not to walk to the public market on a stormy Sunday afternoon.
The Messy Beach & SAND
Miles and I love the beach. We go and watch the sunset whenever possible. This year I’ve been going for more impromptu after-work beach excursions because I don’t have to de-sand my feet anymore. It is so freeing to be able to spend time with Miles outside and not worry about extracting tons of sand from my shoes when I get home. Even living in paradise it is easy to get stuck in the grind and not enjoy the scenery often enough. Really the ones that suffer the most from this are our dogs.
Waterproof Shoes & Hot Weather
A lot of people have asked me if waterproof sneakers are hot or muggy when it is warm out. My VESSI shoes are breathable, silky and comfy with no socks even in warm weather. This year I am wearing my VESSIs when I would normally wear flip-flops and I’ve been tripping a lot less. Plus let’s not even mention how I used to drive wearing flip flops a lot, with a stick-shift car…
Spring Birding Trip
Every spring since my parents moved out East, I have made it a tradition to visit them during the famous Bird Festival at Point Pelee (see all my posts about it here). People from all around the world travel out to attend this hiker’s dream! This is a 3-week period where hundreds of colorful, rare and lyrical song birds arrive in North America after their winter holidays. I love photographing the birds (this year’s bird photos here), but most of all, relish the excuse of a vacation to spend hours outside with Miles in nature.
This year seems to have gone down in birder history as the flooded year! This year, most of the serious birders spent the long warm days wearing bulky and stuffy rain boots. I wore my normal spring clothing and my stylish VESSI shoes. At first, I was disregarded despite my big camera and lens… There was NO way, I am sure they thought, that this silly woman with sneakers would be getting around the wet and technical trails! After a few days of comparing bird spottings with some fellow nerds, the other birders started asking what sorcery was going on with my stylish, minimal, clean and DRY shoes!
It is the little things that truly make a difference in our lives with our dogs.
As a dog trainer, I believe that the littlest changes are the ones that really add up and make lasting changes in people’s lives with their dogs. One of the biggest struggles all dog owners face is finding the energy and time to get outside everyday with our dogs, rain or shine. So often all-weather gear isn’t comfortable or easy. Even for a person like me that is as outdoors-obsessed and as dog-centric as I am, getting out is something I tend to avoid if outfitting is inconvenient or fussy. Yep, I am a PNW cliché: lazy clothing or nothing! Having shoes that are comfy and easy for any weather has made a huge difference for me. For all dog people, I cannot thank VESSI enough for magically creating a breathable, comfortable, truly waterproof sneaker.
- VESSI in USA // VESSI in Canada
- I wear a women’s size 9 in VESSI. They don’t come in half sizes, so if you are between sizes, I recommend sizing up. I did and I am very happy.
- VESSI is a brand-new small company and there are often waits for their shoes because they keep selling out.
- Discount code MILESANDEMMA for 10% off! (I do not receive a commission)