Low-cut Gaiters for Trail Shoes

11:55 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I mentioned this in another thread, but that kinda hijacked that thread, so I'll start a new one here.

I'm interested in some low-cut gaiters to use with heavy hiking SHOES.  


Most of the gaiters I've seen seem to go well up the calf.  It seems one that just covers the top of the shoe would be sufficient, yet?  Or do you-all use taller ones to protect the legs from branches or other low-lying brush?

Also, most of them use a strap that goes under the arch of the sole to hold the gaiter in place.  I'm afraid that strap wouldn't last long on rocky trails, especially on these shoes with their very minimal arch in the sole.  Do you use some hand-crafted wire?  How do you set it up to be easy to put on and take off?

I've seen "Dirty Girl" but am not a fan of the bright (aka "wild") colors and patterns.  A simple "black" will be just fine, thankyouverymuch :).

I did run across "LevaGaiter" (http://www.simblissity.net/levagaiter.htm) which seem about right (and apparently are endorsed by Andrew Skurka) but their order page indicates the person selling them has stopped due to personal circumstances.

The goal is simply to keep debris (and perhaps snow if crossing any remaining snow fields) out of the shoes.

Any other thoughts on this?

12:18 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I can tell ya from personal experience that the straps on OR gaiters can take a hammering. At the same time I have been utilizing mine with footwear that have a cut in the instep portion of the sole because I use gaiters all the time.

I was going to suggest the Dirty Girl gaiter. These eliminate the instep strap and replaces it with a hook & loop tab on the back of the footwear.

Maybe give them a jingle and see if they can just make ya a pair out of a flat, neutral color(ie black.)

My gut is telling me that they have had this request before.

Doesn't hurt to ask.

12:24 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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integral designs used to make short eVent gaiters.  they don't go much above your ankle.  it looks like they have dropped large sections of their product line, but a few website still seem to have them (for around 30 bucks).  very simple - one piece, elastic shock cord underfoot.  i agree with you, trail shoes tend to be hard on the cord under your arch, unlike heavier boots that have a true heel. 

12:34 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Oh, I just checked and Dirty Girl does have black ones.  I didn't scroll down far enough before.  Now I'm just looking for more detail about exactly how they attach (do I need to glue a hook & loop fastener to my shoes)?

Any experience with how well the tops stay up? and the bottoms stay in place?

Their site seems to be mostly about the colors & patterns "to accessorize" and not so much on the technical aspects.

12:41 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Here is a video I found that should cover some of your questions. I am on the mobile so I can only provide the link:


1:02 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Cool, thanks Rick.

1:19 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Haha, I guess it won't matter whether I start with black or flamboyantly-patterned gaiters :)  


1:37 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Lol, what the gentleman in the video didn't disclose was the fact that he was also using them to filter coffee... :p

1:50 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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haha :)

7:23 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I made my own gaiters, once I realized how much the Dirty Girls would cost to ship to Canada (customs, tax...) and I couldn't find short, light ones for under $50. I have high black Goretex ones, but they're not for summer. I just wanted to keep the spruce needles out of my shoes. Find a cheap poly-blend stretchy t-shirt. Women's will be best, the sleeves are likely to have a taper, rather than being a straight square, but find a sleeve big enough to pull on like a sock. Go to a dollar store's sewing section for elastic, fabric glue and a pair of suspender clips. Make a tiny cut in the sleeve hem and thread the elastic through, glue into a loop. Measure off to the toe of your shoe, cut off the t-shirt with enough left to lap, leaving a tab at the toe. Thread this through the suspender clip. I went around with another piece of elastic at the bottom of the gaiter and used fabric glue to make the hem (quicker and more durable than my sewing!), being careful not to glue the elastic itself.  I could have added eyelets or more suspender clips to make an under strap, but a few dabs of rubbery glue on the bottom edge seem to be enough to hold it down on the heel. Probably didn't even need that bottom elastic. Light, comfy, five dollars!

7:28 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmm, you lost me at "sewing section" :D.

But, thanks, this is one approach to consider!

7:39 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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You might look at the old army surplus canvas gaiters.  They are cut about high as a high top boot.  They are funky, but do the job, and breathe.  As for rock wear on the stirrup chinch strap: if the gaiter has eyelets for the strap, simply carry a spare length of nylon or bungee cord, and replace as necessary.


11:45 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I use the REI brand Desert Gaiter.


The photo makes them look kinda dumb, but, in fact, they work very well.

7:13 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.  The REI ones look like they might be ok ... maybe a little taller than I need, but I guess that's OK.  And as Ed suggested, I just need to carry a supply of spare cord with me (220 miles worth) :) or maybe I can rig something up with metal wire.  Attaching the wire would be easy, but I'm not sure about removing/putting on each day...

And I was thinking "black", but I guess in reality it doesn't matter, they'll be black soon enough anyway...

10:06 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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OR's Flex Tex or Ultra Trails might be worth a looksy. I can confirm that the straps on OR gaiters can take a pounding. My salamanders have hundreds of miles on them and there is a ton of sandstone here.

The straps are still in great shape.

Flex Tex: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/outdoor-research/flex-tex-gaiters/

Ultra Trails(instep strap optional:) https://www.trailspace.com/gear/outdoor-research/ultra-tail-gaiter/

10:15 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Rick.  Those look like they'd work fine.  

However:  Maybe I'm hallucinating, lol, but I could have sworn there was a kind of gaiter that's more like a "collar".  So instead of going 6 - 8" or more up the shin, the gaiter would just cover the top of the shoe.  Most of what I've seen seems to be tailored towards tall boots.  There must be something that's designed to work with a trail SHOE.

Hmmm ...

10:18 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I believe the Ultra is more geared towards low cut and running footwear(I could be mistaken though.)

10:21 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmm, the photo makes it look really tall.  Not a show stopper I guess, but not what I had in mind.  I guess "that" doesn't exist though.  Maybe I need to follow Islandess' advice and make my own (or enlist a sewing-friendly friend to help :).

10:32 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I personally think the Dirty Girls might just be the way to go for ya. No instep strap to worry about, and they are fairly lightweight. Should do fine with keeping the trail crud ouf of your shoes.

11:58 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah, I'm leaning that way.  The only part I don't care for is having to glue the velcro to my shoe.  I'm toying with the idea of trying to just hook the back onto the pull-loop on the back of the shoe instead... but that's kinda floppy so it might not hold it tightly enough.

12:03 a.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I had REI lows in Nepal and loved them. Gave them away but will replace them. The undershoe straps showed no wear.

12:09 a.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Gifto, were you walking on rocky trails there?  Sorry this is dumb but I don't' know what the trails are like where you were :).

In the sierra I'll be walking on some dirt, but also lots of rocks.  And my new shoes have very little arch for the strap.. they're pretty flat so the strap would get lots of abuse.

12:08 p.m. on June 25, 2012 (EDT)
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This one looks like another candidate, and without needing to glue something to my shoes like with the Dirty Girls.https://www.trailspace.com/gear/ems/endo-scrambler-gaiters/.  I'd just need to do something to account for the under-strap, either lots of extra cord or wire ... or something.

3:30 p.m. on June 25, 2012 (EDT)
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3:39 p.m. on June 25, 2012 (EDT)
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I'll check that out, thanks.  I did order the EMS ones but can always return 'em if I don't like them or see something I like better.

1:45 a.m. on June 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Ah Ha!  I found what I originally envisioned:


I saw them at REI today, but they didn't have the right size for me.  And they aren't listed on their website, so they must be discontinuing them.

The typical taller ones seem like overkill for summer trail debris.  These seem similar (in height) Dirtygirls, but the material seems heavier - and they don't require the glue-on patch on the shoe.

Anyone here used this style gaiter and have any reason why they're not a good idea for trail shoes? 

8:21 a.m. on June 27, 2012 (EDT)
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I really LIKE those....and the price ain't too bad either!

9:07 a.m. on June 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Those are pretty cool but I am kinda wondering how thick the instep strap is. From the photo it looks kinda thin.

Hard to tell by the photo though.

This would especially concern me being the sole on the 2.0 is flat as you stated. This will cause the straps to take a pounding.

So if they do abrade and separate from the footwear then what? Punch 2 holes in them and run 550 through them?

If it tears it looks as though they will be toast.


12:14 p.m. on June 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah, the strap on any of them worries me.  I'll probably see about some (metal) wire to replace cord so I don't have to hassle with it.

The s-lab gaiters aren't' reviewed on TS, but I saw a few comments elsewhere that indicate they don't stay tight enough to keep out debris.

I'll see how the EMS ones are when they arrive tomorrow before I do anything else.  

3:18 p.m. on July 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Here's an update on this matter.  The EMS gaiters I ordered (https://www.trailspace.com/gear/ems/endo-scrambler-gaiters/) turned out to be way too big.  I'm kinda lanky with thin ankles, in spite of my shoes being a fairly large size.  The gaiters only came in one size, and when I wrapped it around my ankle to where the velcro was supposed to hold them together, they were all loose and floppy - not useful.  So I've returned them.

Next I tried Dirtygirl.  Since my Vasque shoes tend to run small (I needed a larger size than I'd usually take), and since they didn't seem to fit the profile of the "trail runners" typically targeted by Dirtygirls, I wrote to them asking for details about sizing.  They wrote back the next day with some great info, and asked for my ankle circumference - the implication being that they would then confirm the fit.

Well, a couple days went by because I got sidetracked on other things, and then I sent them my ankle measurement plus a photo of my shoe with detailed measurement markings.  I hadn't heard anything by the next day so I sent a reminder.  They wrote back that day saying "they couldn't guarantee a fit, but if I bought them & they didn't fit, I could return them unused".  This was puzzling since they had explicitly requested my ankle size.  Then they went on to say "your shoes are too dirty for the Velcro to stick", implying that I was too dumb to realize that I'd need to clean the shoes before applying velcro.

All in all, a frustrating experience ... and I wasted nearly a week in the process.  Mind you, I'm not badmouthing them.  Apparently their gaiters are great if you have standard sized feet & ankles.   I just wish they'd given me that final answer first rather than implying that with my ankle measurement they could advise me on the fit (time wasted).

So now I'm scrambling to find gaiters locally since I don't have time to order & return more products.

I did confirm on my trip last week that gaiters will be highly desirable, if not essential, with these low shoes.

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