Let it not be said that I hang about when I discover some new form of kit that excites me! After Clare at Seeing Clarely tipped me about the Dirty Girl Gaiters, I of course had to have a look at them. I soon found the UK stockists, UltraMarathonRunningStore, and was immediately smitten with the colours and patterns – this is not boring walking gear!
However they didn’t just look pretty, they also seemed immensely practical, especially to someone with the trail name Pebbles due to the amount of stones, sand and debris she (I) can collect in her (my) shoes over a day’s walk. Not just for girls, but for the guys too, these come in sizes XS to XXL to fit and cover any size shoe or boot, and the stroke of genius is that they don’t have a strap under the sole of the shoe! Instead they are fastened at the front by a hook that slips over the bottom lace and at the back by self-adhesive velcro that you stick to the back of your shoe. Then just attach the velcro from inside the gaiter and hey presto, you are protected from sand, stones, snow, rain and various debris without having to fiddle with zips or straps. Simply pull the incredibly lightweight gaiter onto your ankle before you put on your shoe, then pull it down and fasten and you’re good to go.
In fact, the only difficult part of the whole getting a pair of Dirty Girl gaiters is to decide on which pattern to get. After enjoying browsing for (quite) some time I decided on the Pretty Kitty ones and put the order in before I could take advantage of the quantity discount. I got the dispatch notice the same evening and the gaiters arrived the next day. (I later got the pink GI Janes too. And quite possibly the Bonk.)
The gaiters are very very light and come with what seems like a long strip of sticky-back velcro so you can easily prepare several pairs of shoes and/or keep some with you in case a piece comes loose (which happened in the wet Galician weather once, and required superglue). The material is durable and feels soft, the seams look sturdy and straight – as they should, when according to the inside label they are ‘made by goddesses’! – and the fit is spot on and nice and snug. Nothing is going to get in from the top here, guaranteed.
I sometimes just pull the gaiter over the back of the shoe, and that seems to work well too. Also they really don’t stretch very far up your leg, so they are perfect for covering my short socks, protecting them from fine Galician dust and making them easier to clean. There is still lots of leg left to tan.
Have a look at the website yourself – which is your favourite pattern?