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Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 04:25:53 MDT Print View

So after several years of telling myself that taking off my shoes and shaking out pebbles, dirt, pine needles, and twigs was no big deal, I finally broke down and ordered a pair of gaiters after a pine needle managed to turn into an annoying splinter over a month ago. I settled on a pair of MLD Superlight gaiters, and they arrived last week just in time for a section hike this weekend.

Overall I really like the gaiters and how they preformed. They kept my feet free of debris, plus as an added bonus slightly dryer and warmer. And 60g total for the pair is not bad, especially considering how much weight I save using barefoot shoes.

Yet something I didn't think about and that is an issue is that I wear barefoot shoes (Merrell Trail Gloves). After just one trip of around 35km total, the elastic string that goes under the shoe (and meant to be in the gap of the heel) got shredded.

Anyone else have this problem? Not sure what to do. My friend that came with me on the hike said I could attach Velcro to both my shoes and the gaiters, but this seems like it's a bit much. I was thinking I could just attach thinner string and replace it often, but that's kind of annoying and a bit wasteful too (not that string weighs that much, but still). Then I thought maybe I could try and find a really tough and flat piece of fabric, maybe leather, to tie on my gaiters.

Thoughts? Tips?

EDIT: Fixed total weight of gaiters (without bottom straps).

Edited by PrimeZombie on 03/17/2014 04:34:28 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 04:51:19 MDT Print View

I have a pair of Dirty Girl gaiters which do as your friend suggests and uses a piece of velcro on the heel instead of a string/strap under the foot. I haven't tried using them with my Trail Gloves but as long as you can get the velcro attached to the shoe it should work great. I've found Shoe Goo works ok for gluing the velcro on, the self adhesive stuff didn't hold up long for me, especially through water crossings.
The velcro only needs to be about an inch long so it shouldn't add much weight to your footwear system :)


Troy Childs
(tchilds) - F
diy on 03/17/2014 06:27:23 MDT Print View

I attached velcro to the sides of my barefoot shoes and made gators out of an old swimsuit from goodwill.

Works pretty good cost me $5 and 30 minutes.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 09:12:14 MDT Print View

Run the string through a piece of vinyl tubing or similar. Do a Google search and you can find gaiters that are manufactured this way.

Gerald L
(Mtngeronimo) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 19:44:15 MDT Print View


Edited by Mtngeronimo on 03/17/2014 19:48:07 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 19:47:00 MDT Print View

Why not just use a thin piece of strong wire - should hold up well, I'd think, without being too thick to be bothersome.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 23:02:05 MDT Print View

These NB110's breath really good, semi waterproof like em. I use these in all but hot sunny conditions! mt110w

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/17/2014 23:42:33 MDT Print View

The solution to this is some kind of direct to heal attachment, like velcro. Velcro isn't very good though because it can collect debris, get detached easily when hiking through brush or stepping in snow, and in some cases the velcro attached to the shoe can get ripped off without you noticing.

A more secure attachment is something I would like to see.
Something sticking off the back of the shoe and a small loop to slide over the thing sticking of the back of shoe would be the best. I guess you could drill a screw through the back of your shoe and sew a loop on your gaiters. There was a guy on the forum who did this but you need a non minimal shoe with a substantial sole to do it. Even if you stepped through brush it wouldn't pop off like velcro.

This is definitely something I've struggled with.

You could always sew gaiters directly into the shoes (roger caffin mentioned this).

5 fingers shoes seal perfectly around the ankles. In the summer around here we get grasslands with dense little grass quivers and stickers that will flood your shoes and torment you. The only shoes I wear in California grasslands during the summer are my leather vibram 5 fingers.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Minimalist/barefoot shoes and gaiters on 03/18/2014 06:54:46 MDT Print View

Here is a Recent Thread on the subject.

Clean shoes and McNett's SeamGrip will assure a long lasting velcro attachment.

And this is Altra's Lone Peak solution to fuzz collection and velcro protection -


Edited by greg23 on 03/18/2014 10:51:27 MDT.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Thanks all on 03/19/2014 01:25:13 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for tips and info. Had no idea about the other thread. Somewhere Anna is shaking her head at my shameful lack of searching BPL (sorry!).

What I am going to try first is the most simple possible solution, which is to simply remove the bottom strap and use the gaiters without them. These gaiters have elastic around the bottom, so maybe having no bottom strap will work (or at least work good enough).

If that doesn't work, I have some flat nylon webbing straps that is pretty tough that I will try and attach.

I am not crazy about the Velcro solutions, as it will get dirty and be tricky to attach to my shoes in the first place. I often go stomping ankle (and sometimes knee) deep in bogs/mud, so it would only be a matter of time before the Velcro fibers get jammed up with crud.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Solutions. on 03/19/2014 09:02:07 MDT Print View

If you're banging around knee-deep in mud, you're gonna lose the gaiter with no strap at all.

I see two solutions:

1. Use barefoot shoes like the Vibram KSO or the New Balance reccomended above with an integrated gaiter. These won't need cleaning out, you save weight, and the string problem is done.

2. Use a pair of "barefoot" shoes that have a slight rise so that there's empty space in the midsection. A few different Inov-8 shoes have room in the middle. That way, the string won't touch the ground at all.

Ash Nat
Simblissity? on 03/19/2014 11:59:39 MDT Print View

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet. I have no experience with these (will be buying a pair shortly), but they seem like a good option for you. They are not waterproof, and you shoes will need to have laces for these to work.

Simblissity Levagaiter

They are unavailable for purchase till March 24th, apparently.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Simblissity? on 03/19/2014 12:19:55 MDT Print View

I've tried the levegaiters with minimalist shoes and was not a fan. Also used the Mt hardwear gaiters. Favorites are definitely Dirty Girls with minimalist shoes.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Alternative to Velcro on 03/19/2014 12:27:38 MDT Print View

Instead of gluing velcro to the heel of the shoe, what about gluing on a small snap, like the ones in a Thermarest Snap Kit? Then you can sew a matching (male/female) snap onto the back of the gaiter -- it stays in place, and no strap necessary.

(Edited a typo)

Edited by Wildtowner on 03/19/2014 13:16:28 MDT.