One of the challenges of running trails is keeping the trail debris out of my shoes and finding protection for my shins from the deep vegetation that chokes the trails in Louisiana. I will be using Moxie Gear Shin and Ankle Gaiters for protection over the next few months. Read on for my initial thoughts on the Moxie Gear Shin and Ankle Gaiters.
Moxie Gear is an Australian company that was formed out of an adventure racing background of the founders. They have expanded their line to include shin and ankle gaiters, apparel, paddles and lace guards. I will be reviewing their Ankle and Shin Gaiters over the next few months.
Their best-selling product is an Ankle and Shin Gaiter combo. The combo retails for $69 AUD or about $50 U.S. dollars. The Shin Gaiters feature a full length zipper for easy on and off and have a padded front panel and a lycra stretch back panel. They have a tapered fit – narrow at the ankle and wider at the top of the calf and provide full coverage on me above my calf to the bottom of the knee. They come in small, medium, and large and the Shin Gaiters are also in a slim fit in the small and wide fit in the medium and large sizes. There is a size for every type of person. In addition, there 11 different color combinations to allow the user to customize the Shin Gaiters to fit their particular personality.
The Ankle Gaiter is standard style slip on gaiter that the user puts on prior to putting on their shoe. It features a rip stop material on the front and a lycra stretch material on the back panel. There is a carbon infused shoe strap with a quick release buckle for easy placement. The Ankle Gaiter is available in two colors – black and grey.
My initial impressions are positive. I really like the Ankle Gaiter. It stayed in place very well on a few short runs and seems to breathe well. The Shin Gaiter is interesting; I received a standard large size and it fits snugly. I have large calves from long distance running so a wide fit might be better, but to this point they have fit well on a few training runs and don’t seem to prohibit circulation.
I will be using the gaiter combo on my runs and hikes over the next couple of months to see how they perform. I will look at usefulness – are they easy to use, do I find myself wanting to use them? Durability – how well do they stand up to running and hiking abuse here in Louisiana and other southern locales I use them in? Protection – do they keep gunk out of my shoes? Do they protect my shins from rocks, roots and so forth? Do they stop mosquitos and other bugs from biting my legs while running and hiking?
Final Review March 22, 2017
Over the past several months, I have put the Moxie Gear gaiter combo to the test hiking, backpacking and running throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and they have performed well. The ankle gaiter keeps trail debris out of my footwear, and the Shin gaiter has protected my shins from thorns, insects, and various overgrown trail vegetation. I recommend giving this company and gear combo a look for all of your lower leg protection needs.
I used the Ankle and Shin gaiter combo both together and separately. The Ankle gaiter saw more overall use than the Shin Gaiter. I used the Ankle gaiters while hiking and running at the Woodlands Conservancy in Algiers, LA; on a 4 day backpacking trip on the Pinhoti trail in Alabama; and while running a 50k at the Mississippi Trail 50 race in De Soto National Forest. I used the Shin gaiters while running and hiking at the Woodlands Conservancy, mostly due to the overgrown nature of the trails there. Temperatures were mild to hot all winter with the lowest temperature experienced being in the 50’s F up to the high 80’s F. I encountered heavy rains and thunderstorms while backpacking on the Pinhoti,, but most of the time the weather has been dry with only mild wind.
As I mentioned in my initial thoughts, I had three criteria I was looking for, Usefulness, Durability and Protection. Usefulness is where I will begin. I kept the gaiter combo in my truck so that I would have them when I went adventuring. Overall, they are both easy to use. The Ankle gaiters are a sleeve type so they have to go on before my shoes. This takes an extra second of planning, but ensures a great seal that never let any trail debris into my shoes. This is of particular importance to me when I am trail running. I don’t like having to stop to empty my shoes on long races. The strap and buckle on the Ankle gaiter is easy to use as well. I make sure I keep the connection on the inside of my foot so that they are easy to clip and unclip.
The Shin gaiters are easy to use as well, I wrap them around my shins with the zipper also on the inside of the leg and they zip down from the top. They were a little bit tight which made me not want to wear them as often as the Ankle gaiters. However, I generally forgot that they were there once I put them on got running or hiking.
Durability is the second characteristic that I look at, and it has been superb. I have really beat up the Ankle gaiters, and other than some wear on the bottom strap they continue to look brand new. The Pinhoti trail is particularly rocky and the Ankle gaiters shrugged off the rocks and roots of the trail with no problem. The bottom of the gaiter has extra strong fabric that I attribute to their toughness. I anticipate continuing the get many miles out of the gaiter before they will need to be replaced.
The Shin gaiter has also proven to be durable. There is only one small tear in the padded fabric. I am not sure when it occurred other than I know it occurred on a Woodlands Conservancy hike. There are several areas that are particularly thorny and I assume it happened there but I am not 100% sure. Other than that the Shin guards also look like new. The zippers continue to operate smoothly and snag free except for an occasional leg hair.
The third characteristic I use to evaluate gaiters is protection. This is the third area that the Moxie gaiter combo has excelled. The Ankle gaiters protected the tops of my shoes from gnarly trail debris no matter the surface – rocky, muddy, excessive leaves and grass nothing penetrated the seal. During my 50k trail race there majority of the trail was covered with pine straw that notoriously gets in everything. I did not have to stop a single time to remove any debris from my shoes. I also like how the gaiter actually covers the tops of my shoes and lacing. I didn’t have to worry about anything getting into my laces which would require me to stop and retie my shoes.
I liked the protection provided by the padding on the Shin gaiters, it is not too thick, but still enough to protect against thorns and when crawling over downed trees on the trail. The padding was especially useful when I was breaking small branches for firewood while camping at Bayou Segnette in Gretna, Louisiana. The shin gaiters also protected me against whatever overgrowth was on the trail. There are all types of grasses, flowers, and weeds on the Woodlands Conservancy trails and I was never bothered by any of it on my hikes and runs. My only complaint with the Shin gaiters is that the stretch material that makes up the sides and back of the gaiter are not mosquito proof. I watched the little blood suckers land on the fabric and bite me through the gaiter. Maybe a version with insect repellent is needed.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Moxie Gear Ankle and Shin gaiter combination. They have performed well, are durable, and provide good protection.
Thanks to Moxie Gear for providing the gear and to 4alloutdoors.org for allowing me to participate in this review.