Kahtoola is well-known for their winter traction devices, but they also have a comprehensive lineup of gaiters for outdoor endurance sports. The INSTAgaiter Low is the lightest and lowest profile gaiter in the company’s lineup, designed to be durable and breathable for multi-season trail running adventures. We tested the INSTAgaiter Low through a variety of elements including sandy, dusty trails and damp conditions, and combined them with a variety of shoe models.
In our testing, the INSTAgaiter provided very effective overall protection. The stretch-woven material easily deflects small rocks and trail debris, while blocking sand, debris and water. A drawcord, despite some fit issues, keeps objects from entering the top of the gaiter, and an instep strap keeps the gaiter body tight around the shoe. We were pleased, on a particularly hot run, that the INSTAgaiter was surprisingly breathable given its water-resistant material.
By design, the INSTAgaiter Low comes up to the top of the ankle and creates a seal around the top of the shoe with an elastic drawcord, while their longer model, the INSTAgaiter Mid, tops out halfway up the shin. We found the cord to be uncomfortable over longer runs when the seal was too tight, especially when ankle level socks were worn, but this was alleviated somewhat with thicker socks. The drawcord also lacks a convenient area to stash the length, causing some bouncing when running unless we tucked them into our shoelaces. The INSTAgaiter also incorporates an adjustable instep strap that runs underneath the shoe to anchor the gaiter. This pliable polyurethane strap is rounded to fit the undersoles of most shoes, however when tested with low profile outsoles, the strap was felt through the bottom of the shoe. This was more pronounced on hard-packed trails or scrambles. When paired with heartier outsoles, the strap was not an issue.
Material construction has proven to be strong and durable. After high mileage through rocky terrain and low-lying brush, our pair looks to be in great condition. The instep strap does show some light wear, however, it is removable and replacements are sold in pairs on the Kahtoola website for $4.95. We suspect that the area of greatest concern with continued miles, dust and exposure to sweat and water will be the zipper. It is the most difficult area to protect, but we didn’t seen any evidence of this throughout our testing.
The Kahtoola INSTAgaiter is the trail running and hiking companion to the company’s existing footwear products geared more towards snow and ice. Made from stretch-woven fabric and a well-placed zipper, the INSTAgaiter is easy to put on any shoe with laces. Coming in at only 2 ounces for the Low and 2.6oz for the Mid, these light, but durable gaiters are an excellent addition to any gear closet.
- INSTAgaiter Low $39.95
Features and Specs:
- Adjustable TPU instep strap
- Water resistant stretch-woven nylon/polyester blend with DWR finish
- Asymmetrical zipper
- Elastic drawcord with toggle lock
- Sizes: unisex S/M or L/XL
- Weight (per pair): 1.7 oz/50 g (S/M), 2.0 oz/55 g (L/XL)
- Height: 5 in/12.7 cm
- Four color options
- Tote sack included
The Kahtoola INSTAgaiter is available at www.kahtoola.com.