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Gaiters aren't working for me.
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Gaiters aren't working for me. on 06/01/2013 16:43:23 MDT Print View

I do a lot of hiking around grasslands and oak savannas. During the summer you get all kinds of prickly little stickers and grass quivers that will embed into the lining of your shoes and torment your feet. Keeping your shoes sealed off is VERY important. Sometimes I'm walking through chest high grass and I have debris raining down all over my legs.

I wear very low cut vivobarefoot neo trail shoes. I can't get gaiters to stay on well enough. They end up sliding up above the shoe and stuff gets in. It's especially bad if I have to shove my way though some bushes. I'm constantly adjusting them.

Does anyone else have this problem? Are there gaiters out there that work better with minimalist shoes? The stretchy cuffs just slide up and over.

I'm considering sewing some socks out of thick fabric that the grass stickers can't penetrate. I would get stuff in my shoes but it wouldn't bother me at all. I was thinking making them from denim because nylon would be too slippery and wouldn't absorb my sweat.
It seems like an excessive solution but it's the only solution I can think of.

The other option would be to get the bellville high top minimalist boots and wear pants. Heavier but they would solve the problem. Or get some vivobarefoot gobis (above the ankle) but they have pretty bad traction.
I would much rather wear low cut shoes and I prefer to wear shorts.

Does anyone have input on this? All of these grass stickers are so miserable that I can't step off a trail.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
which on 06/01/2013 16:50:05 MDT Print View

What gaiters have you tried and know not to work?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: which on 06/01/2013 16:58:23 MDT Print View

I've used the REI desert gaiters and the Salamon S-lab gaiters.
The desert gaiters worked much better, but I still had them slide up at times.
The S-Labs were constantly sliding up and the fabric is way too thin for grasslands anyways. Grass quivers would poke through easily.

I've wanted to try the dirty girl gaiters but I have concerns about the velcro getting pulled apart when walking through brush and debris sticking to the velcro. They look like they have really thin fabric as well.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: which on 06/01/2013 17:12:04 MDT Print View

You might try the MH Scree gaiter, which has up to three points of attachment at the bottom and a wider opening to go lower over a low cut shoe. Or the MLD eVent shortie gaiters for a similar bell-shaped bottom with tougher fabric. I have the MH screes and have been pleased. They go down low and stay put and have a top tight seal. The fabric is tightly woven but maybe not as heavy you're looking for.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: which on 06/01/2013 17:22:41 MDT Print View

Thank you for the input. Those MH ones look promising. I'll buy them from a place that accepts returns and see if they work.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: which on 06/01/2013 17:54:00 MDT Print View

i have spent a bit of time wearing gaiters (too heavy to be discussed here) and not had any velcro issues over a long periods of time.

the issue in brush is that of the seams getting torn and worn away as the brush erodes them. to counter this, i apply mcnett to all the exposed seams, and that seams to keep the fraying at bay.

when young, i had terrible allergies, and that along with such stickers you describe in the coastal ranges of california, much limited my off-road walking.
the only gaiters i had were ex-military ones, and like yours, they worked not at all well with low shoes.

were it me. i'd go with taller boots, longer pants, tall gaiters, and then not worry about ticks ever again.

most tall gaiters seem to be over-heavy for what they do. also over-warm, and over-not-breathable.
you may need to sew yer own.


Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Gaiters aren't working for me. on 06/01/2013 20:26:13 MDT Print View

That's exactly why I bought the REI desert gaiters. They keep the junk out of my socks and shoes. They use the old-school velcro front entry, under-the-arch ties, and shoelace front hook. I have size 12 feet and they work fine for me.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: gaiters on 06/01/2013 20:32:52 MDT Print View

Get better gaiters with non stretch under foot straps, and size up so you can get them lower.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Stretch gaiters on 06/01/2013 22:02:44 MDT Print View

Look at Dirty Girl Gaiters for stretch gaiters in WILD prints. They may stay on your shoes better.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Get Dirty And Sticky on 06/02/2013 03:40:53 MDT Print View

I have some Merrel Road Glove shoes, which are pretty low cut, and Dirty Girls gaiters which attack to a bit of velcro you stick to the back of the shoe. They work, but I kind of wish I'd put the velcro half an inch lower.

If your shoes don't have a suitable flat area for attaching the adhesive velcro, you need to use glue. There's a web page called "dirty and sticky" about how to do it.

I don't see why you couldn't add a couple of extra bits of velcro at the sides, to lock them down, if you're OK with sewing vecro to the gaiters.

Dirty Girls do say that for ultra minimalist shoes you may have to go down a size to get it snug on the shoe, and custom order a larger ankle to have it still fit round your leg. As I recall, the custom option is not terribly expensive.

I'm pretty sure the Dirty Girls will do what you want, but you may have to play around a little first.

Edited by Morte66 on 06/02/2013 03:48:45 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Dirty girls on 06/02/2013 05:39:50 MDT Print View

May be the ticket. If you are concerned about Velcro coming off your shoe then epoxy the shoe part of the Velcro onto a clean shoe. I wore them on the PCT in 2011 through some pretty brutal conditions. The one area that they are insufficient is deep snow or postholing. But they weren't intended for those conditions.

Joshua B
(leukos) - F

Locale: Chicagoland
Simblissity on 06/02/2013 07:33:26 MDT Print View

Also check out the Simblissity gaitors. Skurka uses this one as well. Lots of adjustment options and I don't have to take off my shoes to put them on or off.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Dirty girls on 06/02/2013 11:58:26 MDT Print View

My issue with the Dirty Girls would be the gaiters getting pulled off from the velcro if I walked through brush. And walking through grasslands I think the velcro could get clogged with grass pieces. The stickers and grass quivers can penetrate the stretchy fabric.

But I do want to try out Dirty Girl gaiters. Everyone seems to love them.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Dirty Girls on 06/02/2013 12:07:54 MDT Print View

I've purchased 4 pair and love all of them. They stay in place for me and I haven't had any problems with the velcro strip on the back of my shoes. That includes slogging through mud.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Gaiters aren't working for me. on 06/02/2013 13:03:55 MDT Print View

On the DG gaitors, just a thought. How low did you put the back Velcro on? Before you give up try it as low as possible on the back. On the other hand, sounds like you might not have as much to work with with minimalist footwear. This is what you get for wanting your feet to get closer to nature - nature gets closer to your feet. :p

Edit: Just took a look at your shoes online as I didn't recognize them. Wow. Pretty much worst case scenario! I'm thinking you need to DIY two Velcro patches on the sides of the shoe and matching ones on the dirty girls. Hopefully more velcro equals less stress on back. If you are lazy super glue on both ends will do - otherwise start sewing. Super easy and will allow you to continue to have loud SUL gaiters. Its gonna be embarrassing if your gaiters weigh almost as much as your shoes.

Edited by millonas on 06/02/2013 13:16:34 MDT.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Gaiters aren't working for me. on 06/02/2013 13:17:52 MDT Print View

I wear both the Vivo Neos and more frequently the Breathos. And have used both the MH scree, dirty girl, and Simblissity gaitors. The low cut and flat sole make gaiters with a underfoot strap impractical. The dirty girls use regular velcro and I find it works perfectly well. These are my default gaiters. The MH gaiters use a fancier and tougher velcro-like attachment system that also works well. The fabric on the dirty girls is soft and thin. it would not do much to stop a thorn. The MH fabric is a little thicker and tougher (and so they are also heavier), but they still are not going to stop a tough thorn.

I tried the Simblissity gaiters and found they did not work at all for minimalist shoes. Used them once and sold them.

And yes, you need to size down the gaiters when using with minimalist shoes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: which on 06/02/2013 16:09:12 MDT Print View

Hi Justin

Known problem. You have three choices:

Sew the gaiter to the shoe (yes, some do this)
Use a strap under the shoe (essential for snow use)
Use a hook at the front onto the laces and velcro at the back.

The DirtyGirl style of gaiters works very well.


Matthew Reese
(Bradktn) - M
montbell gaiters on 06/02/2013 19:00:04 MDT Print View

I've had pretty good luck with the Montbell gaiters; both the newer style with the plastic tube around the shock cord and the older ones. They don't ride up on my Salomons.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gaiters aren't working for me. on 06/20/2013 15:34:03 MDT Print View

I just tried some dirty girl gaiters and they fit perfect. I don't know why I was avoiding them.
I might layer some nylon gaiters over them if I'm dealing with thorns and brush.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Gaiters aren't working for me. on 06/20/2013 21:04:02 MDT Print View

I did the 10 day adventure race Primal Quest Utah.

Everyone was wearing shoes that breathed and were dumping sand loads and getting blisters like crazy.

I had the Montbell Stretch Gaiters on over a water resistant shoe.
I did not get a single grain of sand in my shoes after being on my feet for the first 50 miles of the race.
Gaiters with a bottom strap work great. It's just hard to get them to last very long.