It doesn't have to be this way.
I just replaced the struts on the back of my shopping trolley, bush basher 2002 Mazda 323 SP20 hatch. This is used as a run about, but also to drive 500M return down the paddock to the dam to start the pump, or 1Km return to the river to start that pump. It gets a hard life.
The valves had come loose in the struts, & were clattering around. It didn't worry me, but did worry my lady. I bought everything I might need & did the job one night. I now have a new set of antiroll bar drop links, & dust boots on the shelf. The drop links & the strut boots were as new, & even looked it when washed free of dust & grime.
Surely if Mazda in Japan can make dust boots that are in good condition after 18 years, & 170,000 kilometres, some of that driving around rough paddocks, we can find some that would fit our struts.
The dust covers are not really necessary, only needed because of some silly roadworthy law. In the 60s I offered exchange reconditioned struts for Ford, mainly Cortina in Oz, & Triumph 2000 & its descendants. None of these had dust covers, & most had unworn shafts at 100,000 miles when reconditioned.