Gear Guy

How can I protect my boots from my skis?

I have Scarpa T1 boots and have noticed that my ski edges are going to massacre my boots if I don't protect them. A solution I have heard of is to wear "supergaiters" with either Kevlar or other sturdy material on the instep to protect the inside of the boots. Unfortunately Black Diond (she on them) no longer makes a supergaiter and the Outdoor Research X-Gaiter is overkill in that it is expensive and so insulated that it will cook my feet. Any advise? Bill Hirshberg New York, New York

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T1s are pretty rugged —- you really would have to whack on them with the ski edges to do much real damage. But I see the point, and it’s true that the ski edges will do at least some damage to your boots. So some sort of boot/foot protection probably makes sense. I wouldn’t dismiss the Outdoor Research X-Gaiter. It’s true that this down-to-the-sole-edge over-gaiter is insulated, but keep in mind that the insulation can be taken out, leaving just a single-layer gaiter that has very sturdy Cordura fabric along the most vulnerable part of the boot, the area from the ankle down. So insulation shouldn’t be an issue, but price might, as they are $90. For a little less, you might also look at Climb High’s Alpine gaiter, which uses less-expensive Sympatex for waterproofing (the OR gaiter uses Gore-Tex) but still has Cordura along the lower portion. A bit less dough—$79.

Otherwise, just buy cheaper gaiters as sort of sacrificial footwear. OR’s Flex-Tex Low gaiter ($33) is a pretty versatile, low-cut gaiter that is made of a pretty tough blend of Lycra, nylon, and Cordura, so should last a season or more. OR’s venerable Crocodile ($55) might be another good choice — they’re tough enough to withstand crampons, so probably can take some ski bashing.

Beyond that, I smell a marketing opportunity. Get yourself some Kevlar fabric, rip apart a pair of ready-made gaiters to see what the pattern looks like, and go to work! Or, figure out a way to laminate a chunk of Kevlar to the scuff-prone part of the boot.

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