Welcome to our list of the five best gaiters for hiking.
There’s nothing more disruptive to a fulfilling day out amongst nature than being unprepared, and the most horrendous thing that will happen to ruin a wonderful hike, way up there with death, injury, and getting hopelessly lost, is moisture seeping into our boots and saturating our socks.
So, in this article, we’ll be discussing what makes gaiters good, but more importantly than that, what makes them good for you.
We’ve even composed an in-depth buyer’s guide and a brief FAQ section to give you the best chance possible to find exactly what you need to keep those toasty socks warm and dry as the moment they come out the dryer.
OUR TOP PICK
These gaiters are some of the toughest-wearing currently on the market and are particularly well suited to rough and wet terrains.
Made from three layers of Gore-Tex fabric that repels liquid water without stopping the passage of water vapor, these awesome gaiters aren’t just incredibly strong, but breathable as well.
The ankle section is reinforced with another 2 layers of Cordura fabric, a material with a long history of use in the military due to its unmatched durability. This layered lower section makes these gaiters as strong and tear-resistant as possible, built to handle extended crampon use.
The cam buckles at the knee are easily adjustable, and the instep strap is a triple bar-tacked BioThane webbing with a protective coating to maximize their durability.
Their double-stitched velcro front closure straps make them fast and easy to get on, and reinforced boot hooks keep them firmly in place, so you don’t have to worry about adjustments in the middle of a hike.
If you want a dauntless stride, even through challenging terrain and weather, these are gaiters for you.
- Triple-layered Gore-Tex construction offers strength and breathability
- Cordura reinforced inner leg and boot are abrasion resistant
- BioThane instep strap
- Velcro entry makes them easy to put on
- Reinforced boot lace hooks hold everything in place
- Easily adjustable buckle
- A little bit on the heavy side
These gaiters are also made out of the same triple layered Gore-Tex material as our top pick meaning they’re going to be just as strong and breathable.
The welded double-layer 600d abrasion guard is a high-density polyester used to make some of the best motorcycle gear, so you know it’s more than capable of handling crampons.
The hook and loop front closure means they’ll be held firmly in place at all times, but they’ll be slightly trickier to get on and off than the Crocodiles.
The high-density neoprene-coated nylon instep strap is strong enough to handle any scrapes or snags, and the adjustable nickel buckle makes it incredibly easy to fit them to any boot size.
Coming in at 230 grams for a size medium, these are some of the lightest intensive journey gaiters on the market.
The Black Diamonds will handle the most rigorous of hiking expeditions. Come storm or snow, you can walk tall knowing your socks are safe.
- Lightweight considering their applications
- Hook and loop front closure keeps everything in place
- Neoprene coated nylon in-step won’t tear under pressure
- 600d abrasion guard is incredibly durable
- Triple-layer Gore-Tex material is strong and breathable
- Not quite as easy to put on and take off
Our next pick is an incredibly affordable, highly rated alternative to the top of the line products out there on the market, perfect for those who like a mild adventure.
While these Unigear gaiters aren’t made from Gore-Tex, they’re high-quality polyester construction still has the same, albeit slightly diminished, qualities. It resists liquid water but allows for the passage of vapor.
The bottom portion is reinforced with the exact same 600d material as the Black Diamonds, so you know these things are going to be hard as nails.
The top of these gaiters is secured with a metal ribbon buckle, and the TPU in-step strap is easily adjusted with a metal side buckle. These are easy to use and comfortable as can be.
So, for roughly 1/8th of the price, you’re still getting a great product made from a lot of the same materials as the high-end stuff. Where these don’t quite match up, though, is the lack of extra layering in the upper portion of the leg.
These are perfect for those who want a quality product that works but don’t want to waste money on gaiters that are for applications beyond their abilities or desires.
- Very affordable
- Highly rated
- Strong TPU in-step strap
- Same 600d reinforcement as our second pick
- Easily adjusted to fit leg and boot
- High-quality Polyester isn’t quite as strong or breathable as Gore-Tex
- Not as layered upper leg
- Not as tear-resistant in places that aren’t reinforced
We know some of you won’t want to hike in bad weather, and that you might be after something a little more light and oriented towards keeping debris out of your shoes rather than a deluge, so we’ve found some really great light trail-use gaiters for you.
These gaiters are for those who want to be open to the weather. They’re designed to be tucked away in your pack and quickly popped on if you feel the trail is getting a bit rocky and loose-packed.
The in-step straps are made from a bomb-proof material, so you know they’ll be highly resistant to any force exerted on them during a hike.
The bottom halves of these gaiters are made from a durable, tear-resistant mesh layering, while the top halves are made with lightweight padding to protect your ankle bone from any scratches and knocks.
They’re attached with velcro fasteners making them quick and easy to put on on the go.
The Trail Gaiters are perfect for trail running, walking through shallow snow, walking on and beside roads, and dry weather hikes.
- Bomb-proof in-step strap
- Ankle padding
- Easy to put on
- Tear-resistant lower half
- Not as many applications as other picks
- May require longer socks to prevent rubbing
Our last pair of gaiters are another affordable yet quality option. They’re made almost entirely out of 600d Oxford cloth, meaning the whole leg should be extremely durable and resistant against abrasion and penetration from things like cactus needles or sharp rocks.
It’s good they chose a solid material that can breathe as the main component, but we think it’s a little underwhelming as it shows there hasn’t been as much research and thought put into the textiles. That said, these are priced more than fairly, so we can’t really complain.
With velcro entry straps and a simple drawstring at the knee, these are the easiest full-leg gaiters to get on and off on our list, and they’re lightweight too, meaning you can get around fast as you’d like.
The TPU in-step strap is durable and easily adjusted with a side-mounted buckle, and the metal hook-loop attaches firmly to your bootlace to keep everything exactly where it needs to be.
If you often go on wet hikes but you don’t want to fork out for the top of line adventure gaiters, then these will be great for you.
- Made from weatherproof, tear-resistant 600d material
- TPU in-step strap is durable and easily adjustable
- Easy access design for quick dressing
- Metal hook-loop keeps everything secure
- Easy to clean
- All one material
- Some complained that though the strap was a strong material, the stitching wasn’t great quality
Best Hiking Gaiters Buying Guide
Although we think we’ve provided you with a pretty diverse selection of quality gaiters at different price points, we know you’ll probably want to get out there and do some of your own research, so here’s a little help before you go out on your own.
Types of Gaiter
Let’s go over the differences between types of gaiters. There are four main categories to choose from. At least one of these should suit your needs.
Ankle Gaiters - Ankle gaiters are the smallest option, designed to cover that vulnerable gap between the end of the trouser leg and the lip of the shoe. They offer slightly less protection against debris and moisture than full-leg gaiters.
These are perfect for summer hiking through moderately challenging terrain. As long as you don’t step in any bottomless puddles, your feet will remain dry and cozy in their shoes.
Full-Leg Gaiters - The bottom halves of full-length gaiters are exactly the same as ankle gaiters. Full-length gaiters simply run further up towards the knee. The higher protective cover stops debris and moisture from tumbling and seeping down beneath the gaiter and eventually into your shoe.
These are the most popular type of gaiter for hikers as they allow you to take on a slightly more challenging landscape with comfort
Expedition Gaiters - These kinds of gaiters are for the most treacherous adventures. They’re designed for high altitude performance and are made of incredibly breathable materials to make wearing them for long expeditions comfortable.
The best materials for gaiters are those that seem to be in contradiction with themselves. You want them to be lightweight, yet durable and resilient. You want them to be strong and protective yet breathable.
You’ll likely come across a bunch of patented, modern materials you’ve never heard of when shopping for gaiters. The best thing to do is to research each material you come across. It won’t take long and it should provide you with a pretty clear idea of what’s good and what’s to be avoided.
Gore-Tex is fantastic because it’s tough and weatherproof but allows the passage of vapor.
EVent fabrics are another great material that we didn’t mention in our lists. It’s far more breathable than Gore-Tex and doesn’t require a polyurethane coat. This means it’s slightly better for the environment and also dries much faster than other materials.
The 600d military use fabric is an amazing substance for reinforcing the areas that will get the most wear so keep an eye out for that.
Try and find out if a product has layered materials as these are gaiters that are likely to be more effective in extreme conditions.
The perfect gaiters would weigh nothing at all, but until the technology catches up to that, you’re going to have to take on a little extra for the convenience they provide.
Check the weights of any you might be interested in purchasing. The lighter the better. Although, some top of the line products designed to handle the most challenging terrains may stack on a little weight to ensure maximum durability.
Sizing can be a little tricky when it comes to gaiters. It’s best to have a look at customer reports about what size worked best for them. If you have exceptionally chunky shoes like mountaineering boots, it’s generally best to go a size bigger for your gaiters.
A good fit will be fairly snug around your boot, with no noticeable gaps that might let moisture or debris in. You should also have a pretty snug and comfortable feel around your leg.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do gaiters prevent ticks?
Gaiters do tend to stop most ticks, but it’s always advisable to give yourself a thorough check over after every outing.
What is a gaiter trap on shoes?
A gaiter trap is for attaching a gaiter to your shoe. This will stop the gaiter from shifting around and becoming uncomfortable or requiring attention during an expedition.
Gaiters will normally come with a mechanism for attaching firmly to your footwear.
Into the Wild
There we go then… five of the best gaiters for various styles of hiking.
As long as you have a clear idea of what kind of environments and weather you plan on using your gaiters, it should be a pretty simple process deciding on the pair that are right for you.
Now you can get out into the great outdoors with feet as eager as your heart.