I hike quite a bit in Vibram Fivefinger Kimodo Sports. Like the KSO, they are covered and don't have a problem with rocks getting in. I strongly prefer them to boots for marked trails, and would like to find ways of using them for some moderate trail-less backcountry hiking. How can I protect myself from scratches? Will gaiters work, or wear out underfoot without the sole gap provided by boots?
When wearing my Vibrams, I tend to travel much more carefully than when wearing my trail runners, so I find that I need less protection than I would in more traditional footwear. I would say it depends a lot on the areas you'll be in. What do you mean by off trail? Forested areas, chaparral, flat land?