Since I have taken to hiking and backpacking with…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: don't recall
Since I have taken to hiking and backpacking with low-cut hiking shoes, I wanted a way to keep debris from accumulating in the shoes and causing discomfort. I explored various options and this seemed like the best bet. Unfortunately they turned out to have various flaws which caused me to discard and replace them.
- Moderately effective at keeping debris out of shoes
- Not durable
- Uncomfortable (and wore the skin off my ankles)
- Don't repel water
- Allow significant dust entry
For as long as I've hiked, I've experienced the discomfort of sand, pebbles, and twigs getting into the top of my hiking boots and shoes. It was only when planning for an extended trip (30 day through-trip of the John Muir Trail) that I finally caught onto the idea of wearing gaiters. I had used gaiters for snow conditions, but hadn't used them in the summer, but figured it was worth a shot.
How they Work:
There are various styles of gaiters. Some use hook & loop or other fasteners to hold them on. This one uses straps that loop around under the shoe to hold the gaiters in place, and a hook & loop enclosure to fasten the gaiters together at the rear.
This is actually the important part. These gaiters worked OK for keeping debris large debris out of my shoes. However they do allow quite a bit of dust to get in. They're lightweight, so they don't add a significant load. They're also breathable so I don't notice any significant increase in foot temperature. Unfortunately they were also uncomfortable - with scratchy edges that actually rubbed the skin off my ankle in a couple spots.
These gaiters did not stand up well at all. Within 3 days of starting a 20-day hike, holes started appearing in them. I used various means (superglue, thread) to repair them, but the holes continues to spread, and new ones formed. In the end, I gave up on them and replaced them with another brand at a re-supply spot along the way.
If you're looking for lightweight gaiters to keep debris out of your shoes, that are comfortable, and are durable, look elsewhere. The rapid development of holes, combined with the scratchy edges and resulting skin abrasions, make these unsuitable for use. I do not recommend these gaiters based on my experience with them.
The photos below illustrate the gaiters in use on the trail.
Shown here the gaiters have been used for about 3 days. Note the holes forming on the insides.
As shown, the gaiters have been used for about half of the JMT (so about 110 miles). They had been repaired a couple times and are still deteriorating. I discarded them here and bought replacements of a different brand. The holes in the photo look smaller than they did on the trail due to recent repairs.
As shown, these are very low-cut gaiters designed to keep debris out of the shoes.