Gaiters are one of the most overlooked protective items for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of your equipment is, without gaiters you’re going to have snow, dirt, scree, and debris in your boots in no time. Gaiters wrap around your leg and the top of your boot to provide a protective layer. You can find lightweight gaiters for trail running, midweight gaiters for trekking, and full-leg gaiters for tough weather conditions. Here are the best gaiters on the market.
The Best Gaiter
These low gaiters from Outdoor Research are some of the most lightweight and comfortable gaiters on the market. They aren’t full leg-length gaiters, which makes them perfect for warm and hot weather hiking. They are suitable for wearing with cross-country ski boots, but they won’t add much warmth. Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters will keep any debris out of your hiking shoes whether you’re wearing pants or shorts. They’re made from 100% 420D nylon, which means they’re the perfect mixture of breathable, durable, and water-resistant.
One of the best things about these gaiters is how soft the fabric is. From the product images, it looks like they would be crinkly, but they are quiet enough for hunting. It’s important to take time to measure your leg before you buy a pair of gaiters, otherwise, the top might not hug your leg and they could fall. We also like the Hypalon Instep Strap – it’s nice to see a proper leather strap on a pair of modern gaiters.
Hypalon Instep Strap
8 inches high
- BrandOutdoor Research
- Weight 1 pound
Most gaiters are designed for hiking or mountaineering. However, Salomon Low Trail Gaiters are just as useful for runners. If you want to exercise in the great outdoors, instead of getting stuck on a treadmill, you’re going to get some debris in your shoes. These gaiters are small and lightweight enough to not weigh you down and still keep stuff out of your trainers. They’re made from 100% polyester but they have enough elasticity so you can pull them around your trainer. There’s also a strap for underneath your trainer, to keep the gaiter in place, even under heavy stress.
We love these gaiters because they’re lightweight, but they’re still durable enough to take a heavy beating. Some customers have used them on serious endurance events like the Tough Mudder. Another feature that sets these gaiters apart is the fact that they come in 3 different colors – black, bright red, and alpha yellow. That means you can find the perfect color to go with your running trainers. Some customers have complained that the sizes run a bit too large, so it might be worth buying a size smaller than you normally would.
Available in 3 colors
If you’re looking for a pair of bomb-proof gaiters look no further. The Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters are well-known as some of the most durable and high-performing gaiters available. They are designed for walking in deep snow, which is why they’re waterproof and reach up to below the knees. You could wear them for hiking in warmer weather, but you’re probably going to end up with really sweaty legs.
The upper leg is made from 70D nylon, which is treated to make it wind-resistant and waterproof. However, on the inner leg and boot, they’ve opted for 1000D Cordura instead. That’s because it’s more resistant to tears and abrasions. They have a large circumference around the bottom of the gaiter, so they can accommodate mountaineering boots. Plus, you can adjust the tightness of the top of the gaiter to ensure they hug your legs perfectly. The color options aren’t that impressive but at least get a choice of red or black. If you’re looking for something heavy-duty, these are the best gaiters for hiking in adverse weather conditions. Feel free to also use them with your Gore-tex boots.
Waterproof and windproof
Available in 2 colors
- BrandOutdoor Research
- Weight11.2 ounces
If you’re looking for a cheaper full leg option, these leg gaiters from Unigear. Unigear Leg Gaiters are less than $20, so they’re a lot cheaper than a lot of premium hiking gear, but they still perform pretty well. They aren’t as suited to winter walking in winter boots as the Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters, but they are still tested to temperatures of -35ºC. In spite of that, they are breathable enough to be worn in warm weather.
They’ve used a mixture of fabrics to make these gaiters – 600D Oxford fabric and 300D polyester. This makes them both water-resistant and resistant to tears and punctures. One of our favorite things about these gaiters is that they come in 5 colors – black, gray, blue, army green, dark blue. Not many gaiter manufacturers provide them in this sort of color range, so it’s a big plus. They also come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, if you’re not satisfied with these gaiters for any reason, you can just send them back and you’ll get a refund or replacement.
600D Oxford fabric
Waterproof and windproof
Available in 5 colors
Next up, we’ve got another pair of gaiters designed for trail running. They’re made by Outdoor Research, which is one of the leading brands in this space. The advantage of these gaiters over the Salomon Trail Gaiters we featured earlier, is the size. Outdoor Research Overdrive Wrap Gaiters reach higher up your leg, which keeps more of the gravel, rocks, and other debris out of your shoes. When you’re trail running, you still need a lot of movement in your ankle. Fortunately, the mixture of Cordura and lycra makes them very stretchy. Whether you are wearing socks or not, they feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.
These gaiters do provide some protection from water and precipitation, but they’re not what you’d call waterproof. They’re also pretty versatile thanks to the adjustability. They can stretch enough to wear hiking pants underneath, although we’d assume most people will be wearing these with shorts. If you’re looking for the perfect trail-running gaiters, these are hard to beat. They’re lightweight, breathable, stretchy, and you’ll hardly notice them when you’re running around. If you are also looking for summer hiking gear, check out our guide to the best hiking sandals.
Designed for trail running
- BrandOutdoor Research
- Weight1 pound
These full-leg gaiters from Tunity are the cheapest gaiters on this list. At just over $10, you can’t expect better value than this. But, are they any good? Well, the quality and performance can’t be compared to the premium gaiters from Outdoor Research, but they work just fine. In the Amazon review section, one customer told of how they used these gaiters to climb Kilimanjaro. That shows that they’re capable of standing up to some pretty extreme weather conditions. Tunity Leg Gaiters have been tested to temperatures as low as -35ºC and have excellent waterproofing. And, they have a TPU strap to avoid them freezing up in winter.
They are made from 600D Oxford fabric, which also makes them pretty resistant to tears and abrasion. But, one of our favorite features is the small pack that they come with. You can fold up your gaiters up and pack them away if the conditions change. If you’re looking for a cheap and reliable option, these are the only choice. They don’t have the same quality feel and durability as a more expensive pair, but we found them impressive. Plus, the gaiters come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Perfect for winter hiking.
600D Oxford fabric
30-day money-back guarantee
The low-profile Rab Latok Alpine Gaiter is one of the best on the market. It’s frequently chosen by mountaineers, cross-country skiers, and hikers because it performs just as well as thicker gaiters, but it doesn’t feel as chunky on your leg. It’s also one of the easiest gaiters to adjust – it has a drawcord adjustment at the top, instead of the normal velcro, which means you can pull them much tighter around the top of your legs. Plus, they have a polymer strip that keeps everything tight at the back.
Another reason these gaiters are so popular is the material technology. They are largely made out of eVent fabric, which has amazing breathability. You can use these gaiters in both extreme cold and hot environments so they are very versatile. If you need gaiters to wear in winter and summer, these are the ones for you. We also like the way they are shaped – they get wider at the bottom and stretch over the hiking or ski boot. The only downside is that they’re not particularly durable – you could easily rip them if you’re not careful. For more great apparel for cold winter days, check out our guide to the best down jackets.
eVent, Watergate, and Robic nylon
Drawstring closure at the top
Available in 2 colors
- Weight9.4 ounces
Black Diamond makes equipment for climbing, skiing, trekking, and other mountain sports. And, they’re one of the biggest names in the industry. So, when we came across these Black Diamond Talus Gaiters, we knew they would deserve a place in this Buying Guide. From the product picture, it’s quite hard to decipher what they are designed for – but we can safely tell you that they’re designed to fit over the top of a high ankle hiking boot. Some customers on Amazon have bought them for trail running and had some success, but this is a hiking gaiter.
The old school design makes them super easy to put on and take off. You can keep them off until you need the extra protection, then simply pull them over your boot. The breathable softshell that makes up half of the gaiter provides enough cooling for hot weather walks and the waterproofing makes them suitable for more adverse weather conditions. To be honest, these are some of the best gaiters for hiking in fair weather, anything more serious and you should move up to a full leg gaiter. You can combine them with some of the best waterproof boots from our list.
Removable heel strap
- BrandBlack Diamond
- Weight3 pounds
One of the problems we’ve found with most gaiters is the lack of color and style options. Generally, they just come in black and, if you’re lucky, you might have a choice of another dark color. The Aamoa Snake Gaiters come in a convincing camouflage pattern, similar to the design on a hunting blind. That means, when paired with the right coat and pants, you can sneak through the forest unnoticed. If you’re using them with hunting boots, it’s also important that they can move silently with you – the last thing you’d want is a crinkly material that could give your position away.
Whilst it does say snake in the name, these gaiters are not snake-rated and there’s nothing to suggest they could protect you against a snake bite. However, the Oxford cloth and 120T polyester lining make them both waterproof and breathable. Admittedly, they’re not as breathable as some of the more expensive gaiters – like the Outdoor Research Crocodiles – but they do the trick. They’re easy to get on and off and have a drawcord closure at the top, so you can pull them tight. In short, if you need gaiters for use in the woods, these are the best.
120T polyester lining
The last product on our list is the RAB Scree Gaiter. As you can probably tell from the product picture, it’s a trail-running gaiter that has a low-profile and lightweight design. The main thing we love about this product is the simplicity in its design. It has elastic gripper material around the ankle to keep it in place on a run. There’s a small, easy-to-attach hook that grips your lace. And, the elastic underfoot bungee is a drawstring design, so there’s no fiddly hook and loop attachment to mess with. You just slip them on and start running. On top of that, because it’s a RAB gaiter, they’ve used a high-quality material (highly breathable Matrix DWS®) which makes it feel like you’re barely wearing anything around your ankle.
Elastic gripper ankle
Elastic underfoot bungee