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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?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

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?

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Forested, hardwood and pine.. Some things to scratch me, such as thorns and poison ivy in VA and pine branches in NY's Adirondacks. – Peter DeWeese Jan 24 '12 at 23:14
I've never needed gaiters for anything like that. Are long pants not enough protection for you? – Timothy Strimple Jan 24 '12 at 23:16
For much of the year, yes. Pants in 105° is a no go. :-) I've also been pretty scratched up even with boots off trail, so I figure it would only be worse with 5-fingers. – Peter DeWeese Jan 25 '12 at 2:31

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