The main cause of
All adventure athletes have experienced dirt, dust, razor-sharp rocks as well as trail debris getting into the shoes during a run. Dirt in athlete's footwear is a main source of blister producing friction. Small razor-sharp rocks are tiny, however very unpleasant. A lot of athletes will simply have to make a stop, take off the footwear, and take them out.
Tiny debris produces less immediate discomfort. On the other hand, dust particles will still cause friction. Luckily, on a short run the friction will not be enough to cause blistering. However, on a very long run, particularly triathlons, even a small amount of friction will cause blisters.
Therefore, it's very important that triathlon athletes keep debris as well as dirt out of their footwear. Top quality running gaiters keep out debris in order to help keep the athlete's feet blister free.
Generally, running gaiters are manufactured out of a stretch fabric. Therefore, they'll fit tightly around the athlete's footwear. Bottoms as well as tops gaiters are very elastic in order to keep out debris and dirt. The elastic on the bottom of the gaiter has to be below the top of the footwear.
There're 2 standard designs for these gaiters in order to keep the bottom of the running gaiter from sliding above the top of the athlete's footwear.
Design No1: A Strap below the Footwear
The athlete puts on the gaiter and shoe. Next he hooks a strap that goes below the footwear to the running gaiter on either side of his shoe. This design calls for no modifications to the footwear. On the other hand, the strap going under the footwear is usually worn out. Wear is particularly possible on rocky terrains, where razor-sharp rocks can and will cut the strap.
Design No2: A Self-Stick Fastener
This design calls for a piece of the hook portion of the self-stick fastener be safely fastened to the back of the footwear. The self-stick fastener secures the gaiter to the back of the footwear. This design is far less subject to wear and tear. On the other hand, athletes basically have to glue the self-stick fastener to the backs of each pair of shoes they have. In case the self-stick fastener doesn't stick to the footwear properly, it has to be glued.
The choice of design is totally up to the individual athlete's choice. However, both designs will keep track dirt out of their footwear.
Any long-distance track athlete who is prone to blisters on triathlon track runs has to have a pair of running gaiters in order to help prevent blisters.