Gaiters are pretty straight forward. They are an accessory that attaches to footwear to keep grit and grime from spilling in around where they are most vulnerable, the ankle. Trail running obviously introduces scenarios where debris is prone to get into your shoes and cause irritation so we have decided to do a whole series on gaiters. While the concept of gaiters is fairly simple, companies are spending a little extra time thinking about ways to differentiate. Because of that we’ll be taking a look at some of the various trail running gaiter designs. Here we will be covering designs from Inov-8.
The Inov-8 Debrisoc 38 (or Debrisock depending on what section of the Inov-8 site you are looking at) is an all-in-one solution. One part sock, one part gaiter all wrapped up in a single package. The Debrisoc starts off with a mid-weight Merino wool that makes up most of the sock portion except the top of the foot, but more on that later. This thickness of wool starts just behind the toes on top then wraps its way around back to just about ankle height. This mid-weight construction adds some padding and protection without going overboard or causing excessive heat. Speaking of heat, to help with venting there is a very thin Coolmax panel on top of the foot to get rid of heat and promote faster drying.
The gaiter portion is sewn on at the ankle cuff. It also uses Merino wool though it is a slightly tighter weave than the sock itself. There are three sections on the gaiter where extra fabric is used to reinforce stress points. One is at the front of the gaiter where a metal hook is sewn on for securing to your laces and the other two are the anchor points on opposing sides that will hold the tension band under the outsole. The anchor points are both a U-shaped hook and loop mechanisms where the tension band is attached. Lastly, you’ll find a bit of rubberized “paint” resembling Inov-8’s cushioning (arrow) system on the inside of the gaiter’s heel. This adds just a bit of grippiness to help keep the heel section from creeping up.
Oh, and that 38 in the name, it lines up with Inov-8’s naming convention of “What it is” + “Weight in Grams.” For those using the Imperial system, that’s 1.34 ounces.
How It Attaches
You can pull the Debrisoc on either foot as they are not right or left specific then put your shoes on. Pull the edges of the gaiter over your ankle. Think of it like putting an umbrella down. Next, attach the hook on the front of the gaiter down to one of bottom-most laces. The more laces you cover the less area for junk to get into. Now, pull the back section down over the heel of the shoe. Next, we get to the meat of this gaiter. If not already, loop the tension band into one side of the anchor. Run the band underneath the shoe then connect it to the other anchor. Lastly, check that the band is resting between lugs or in a recessed section of the outsole to keep wear and tear down. Now go run.
Inov-8 has created an intriguing offering for those looking to use a gaiter with all the fuss. One item to pack and put on is nice when your trying to remember everything else with the pre-race jitters kicking in. You get a quality trail running sock and gaiter combined into a single unit. The downside, as is the case with all multifunction items, when one thing fails they both do, so be prepared with backup.
Call for Comments
If you’ve used the Inov-8 Debrisoc 38, what did you think? If not, what do you think of the design? Got any questions? Fire away.