When you’re running on terrain that encompasses sand, rock, and dust, a good gaiter can make or break your race. At the Moab 240, I had the opportunity to use Kahtoola’s INSTAgaiters for the first time. I was not disappointed by the results (or the lack of results) of this simple-to-use product. Here is my Kahtoola INSTAgaiters product review.
I’m going to break this review down into four categories: style, functionality, durability, and last words.
The name itself is a nice roll off the tongue. The only disappointment for me is that it took me a week to figure out what INSTAgaiter was a play on. That’s because I never said the words out loud. The INSTAgaiters come in four different colors. My personal favorites are green and blue, but all the colors are great. Just like the product itself, the design takes a simple approach and succeeds.
These gaiters are ultralight low gaiters. While these gaiters may not offer the same protection as one of Kahtoola’s high gaiters might, they are built to offer better mobility. Depending on how technical the terrain is, choosing the right kind of shoe matters as well. The INSTAgaiters are easy to put on and easy to take off. There’s a hook on the front to put on your shoe, a drawstring to tighten the gaiter, latches meant to go at the bottom of the shoe, and a zipper to bring it all together. It’s a simplistic and fuss-free design.
During the Moab 240, even in my most tired state, I never had any issues putting on the INSTAgaiter on my Merrell MTL Long Sky 2s. I have a larger-than-usual shoe size, which has caused issues in the past with gaiter fits. This was not the case with the size large INSTAgaiter. Now we come to the most important part of the Kahtoola INSTAgaiters product review, and that’s durability.
I’m pleased to say the minimalist approach this gaiter takes in style and functionality has not taken away from its durability. I’ve moved this gaiter around, adjusted the drawstring many times, and stretched the fabric to ensure a comfortable fit around my feet. I never got the feeling that the fabric was going to tear. These are among the sturdiest and lightest gaiters I have used, including thru-hiking and ultrarunning. Admittedly, I had my concerns going into this race using a lighter gaiter, but I wanted mobility over extra protection. Ultimately, I ended up getting quality protection and mobility.
In the 100-odd miles, I had to use this gaiter at Moab, I must have gotten one tiny pebble in my shoe. Honestly, I’ll take those odds every day of the week. One thing to be careful about is keeping the drawstring a bit loose. At the start, I tightened the string a bit too hard and ended up causing some soreness around my Achilles tendon. Keep the strings slightly loose to avoid that issue.
In conclusion, I’m super happy with my Kahtoola INSTAgaiters. They will be my first choice for trail ultras, whether that be a 50 KM or a 200-mile race. The style isn’t flashy but it’s got a simple charm, the gaiters are easy to use, and I didn’t feel like much durability was sacrificed in keeping the design minimalist. I’m definitely instigating you to get the INSTAgaiters.