Gaiters are a simple but highly effective way to stop water, snow, and debris from getting into your hiking boots or trail shoes. In the reviews below, you will discover the 10 best gaiters that deliver the best experience on the trails.
Finding the perfect gaiters for hiking involves making sure their height, material, and style suit the conditions you will be hiking in. Our buying guide has got you covered with the most important features to pay attention to so you can choose a pair of gaiters that will serve you well on the trails.
Full-length gaiters are very helpful in wet, muddy or snowy conditions. But if you're wearing running shoes or hiking shoes in dry conditions, you might be able to get by with a pair of mini gaiters, also called ankle gaiters or shorties. These cover from the top of your shoe to the top of your ankle, which is usually enough to keep dust, dirt and gravel out.
A few gaiters are "one size fits most," but many come in different sizes. Choose a size that fits comfortably over your pants legs and boot uppers, with no gapping or bunching that might let mud, snow or dirt get in.
Do you find yourself tripping and stumbling over the underfoot strap/buckle of your gaiters? You might have them on the wrong feet. It's easier to adjust the gaiters if the buckle is on the inside of your foot, but it's easier to walk if the buckle is on the outside.
How To Choose A Pair Of Hiking Gaiters – Buying Guide
Hiking and backpacking gaiters are usually made out of nylon, as it’s lightweight yet tough and durable enough for the trails. Some manufacturers also use oxford cloth or polyester. All these materials are good as long as they have a heavy denier rating for abrasion resistance. On top of this, some gaiters have a spandex component that lends them a stretchy quality.
You have high, medium, and low gaiters to choose from when it comes to height. How tall or short the gaiters you go for should be according to conditions you will be hiking in. Ankle gaiters are great for trail running and hiking when the conditions aren’t too bad. Mid-calf gaiters are ideal for more serious conditions. Finally, high gaiters come up to just under your knee and are designed for hiking in the roughest of conditions where you will be walking through snow.
As with any hiking gear, your gaiters should be lightweight so they don’t weigh you down on the trails. Backpacking and trekking gaiters should be especially lightweight. A knee-high pair of gaiters for winter should also be lightweight gaiters to ensure comfort on the trails.
Gaiters should be easy to put on and off, adjust for a snug yet comfortable fit, and they should stay put as you like. To ensure this is the case, most gaiters feature Velcro, hook and loop closures, instep straps, and lace hooks. If you prefer, you can also get gaiters that close via a zipper.
As you hike through the trails, some parts of your gaiters including the ankles and instep straps will be subjected to a lot of abuse. These parts should be made especially rugged to withstand rough beatings and ensure the gaiters will serve you well for a long time. Reinforcement is especially important if you will be wearing crampons.
While style is certainly not a top priority when choosing a hiking gaiter, it doesn’t hurt to get gaiters that complement your outfit on the trails. As long as you ensure the gaiters suit the conditions you will be hiking in, work well at keeping out snow and debris and resisting abrasion, and are easy to use, feel free to choose the style of gaiters you like most.
Different types of gaiters include ankle gaiters, snow gaiters, and technical expedition gaiters. The type of gaiters you choose should match the type of hiking you will be doing.
Ankle Gaiter’s suit trekking on trails where the weather and terrain are fair. Snow gaiters are ideal if you’ll be hiking through snow. Lastly, expedition gaiters can handle the most extreme of conditions as they are designed for mountaineering in alpine conditions.
Gaiters not only act as a physical barrier to debris but they can also be effective in protecting you against sharp objects and animals too. However, some gaiters are only designed to keep out debris while others are made to be impervious to water, snow, and bug bites. To get the right pair of gaiters, have in mind the kinds of elements you want protection from.
From debris, brush, rocks, to snow, your trail gaiters will be exposed to all kinds of abrasive elements while on the trails. For this reason, gaiters should be constructed with a heavy-denier ripstop fabric that can withstand abrasion. On top of this, the ankle area and instep straps should be reinforced. Strong buckles and reinforced hooks can be the difference between your gaiters breaking or staying strong when under pressure.
Simply put, all gaiters should have a good level of water resistance To provide you with the protection you need. They should create a tight seal and the fabric they are made of should be water-resistant or feature a water repellent treatment or coating. If you will be hiking in extremely wet conditions and tromping through deep snow, only waterproof gaiters will do.
Even though the best gaiters for hiking are designed to be waterproof, they should also be lightweight and breathable to keep sweat built-up at bay.
If they are not breathable, they could well keep moisture trapped inside your boot. The gaiters are there to make your lower leg more comfortable d breathability is an important aspect of that.
The fit of your gaiters plays a role in how protective and comfortable they are. Gaiters should be tight to your leg and your shoe but not too tight that they become an annoyance. Although most gaiters allow you to adjust the fit, it’s still crucial to pick the right size based on your calf circumference and shoe size. Once you receive it, try it on and ensure it doesn’t rub and cause discomfort.
Q: What Are Gaiters And What Are The Benefits Of Using Them?
Gaiters are fabric guards designed to be worn over your hiking shoes or boots and wrapped around your legs to stop sand, dirt, rocks, snow, and debris from getting into the inside of your boots or trail runners. Besides protecting your feet and extending the lifespan of your boots, gaiters ensure a comfortable trekking or hiking experience.
Q: How Do I Clean My Gaiters?
Because of the stain and dirt resistant materials gaiters are made of, cleanup is very simple. Simply use a damp cloth with mild soap to get rid of the dirt. For a thorough cleanup, you can brush off stubborn dirt using warm water and a sponge or brush and hang the pair to dry. It's best to avoid machine washing and heat drying gaiters, as the heat can ruin the water resistant treatments.
Q: Are Gaiters Waterproof?
Not all gaiters are 100% waterproof. Most gaiters are only water resistant or water repellent. This means they can protect you from light rain showers and splashes. However, they can't withstand submersion or protect you from heavy and deep snow. If you will be hiking in extremely wet and snowy conditions, make sure the gaiters you choose are waterproof.
Q: Why Do Hikers Wear Gaiters?
Hikers wear gaiters to protect their ankles from brush, sticks, and rough terrain and prevent moisture, snow, dirt, and debris from getting into their shoes or boots. This ensures a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience.
Q: Are Gaiters Necessary?
Yes, gaiters are essential to keep dirt, sand, mud, water, snow, and debris out of your hiking boots or trail running shoes. Even when you've invested in the best footwear for your activities, the open-top can still let in undesirable elements. The point of gaiters is to cover the opening of your boots or shoes.
Q: Do Gaiters Keep Your Feet Dry?
Most gaiters will keep out dew and light rain but will not keep your feet dry if you step into a puddle or stream. Waterproof gaiters keep can feet dry in wet and snowy conditions, as they are impervious to water and snow.
Globo Surf Overview
The best gaiters for hiking are a crucial addition to your hiking set up. With a pair of backpacking gaiters wrapped around your hiking boots and pants, you won’t have to worry about stopping to clear out any debris from your shoes and you won’t be getting your feet wet. Hopefully, our reviews have given you all the information you need to choose the best backpacking gaiters for your needs.