Product Review: Ultimate Direction FK Gaiters

Tim Mosbacher is a staple in the Missoula running community. He is currently trying to run a marathon in every state and will be hiking the Montana portion of the CDT this summer. As a RErun Ambassador, and because he’s spending a lot of time on his feet, we asked him to test the new Ultimate Direction FK Gaiters and share his thoughts. You can follow more of Tim’s adventures here.

I am planning a 1000-mile backpacking trip this summer, and Forrest from Runners Edge said gaiters are a must for this long trip.  Since that initial conversation, most of the thru-hikers I have conversed with have backed up Forrest’s statement.  One slight problem is that I have never worn gaiters running or hiking, only cross country skiing. 

My experience with cross country gaiters has been positive but sweaty.  Since they go up the leg so high, my lower legs tend to sweat – a lot.  I had feelings of trepidation upon getting the Ultimate Direction FK gaiters for that reason.  Boy, was I wrong.  I have worn the gaiters on quite a few runs and rarely am aware that I have them on.  I have worn them with different heights of socks (low crew and quarter), and with both heights I have no feeling of sweatiness even in 75+ degree runs on the beach.  Even with shoes not built for gaiters (no gaiter lace hook at the end of the laces), the FK lace hooks worked great with all of my shoes.

As with all gaiters, it takes some practice and some initial setup time.  The FK gaiter comes with a replaceable hypalon strap that slips below the shoes so the gaiter does not move up and down.  If it wears out, the replaceable strap retails for only $2 (mine have no visible wear after all of my test runs).  The strap is adjustable, but it is a little bit of a struggle make it secure.  I needed to adjust the strap to its lowest setting to fit my shoes. 

 The top is velcroed together and stayed secure during all my runs.  There is no debris coming through the front or back of these gaiters.  I did on one run, due to operator error, not affix the Velcro together evenly and had Velcro chaffing, which can dig a nice hole in your skin in no time.  Once I attached the sides correctly, it was no longer an issue.

If you are a person who routinely kicks their ankles or calves while trail running (leading to materials sifting down into your shoes), the Ultimate Direction FK gaiter would be a great purchase.  Head down to Runners Edge and tell them Tim sent you.