12 Best Hiking Gaiters

The products listed below are the best hiking gaiters you can find today. Each shoe offers several features to protect your ankles – making them a hiker’s best friend – and many products are waterproof, have a double-layered material with good durability, or provide insulation. No matter what the occasion or hiking trail, you can find the best fit for you. Purchasing the perfect hiking gaiter will be a wonderful investment for your lifestyle.

Top 12 Best Hiking Gaiters

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RAB Kangri GTX Gaiter<br />
RAB Kangri GTX Gaiter

  • Customer Ratings: 5 out of 5
  • Brand: RAB

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Black Diamond Apex GaitersBlack Diamond Apex Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Black Diamond

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Outdoor Research Crocodile GaitersOutdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Outdoor Research

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Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain GaitersOutdoor Research Rocky Mountain Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.6 out of 5
  • Brand: Outdoor Research

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Outdoor Research Verglas GaitersOutdoor Research Verglas Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.6 out of 5
  • Brand: Outdoor Research

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Black Diamond Cirque GaitersBlack Diamond Cirque Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.5 out of 5
  • Brand: Black Diamond

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Pike Trail Leg GaitersPike Trail Leg Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Pike Trail

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Unigear Leg GaitersUnigear Leg Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Unigear

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Salomon TrailSalomon Trail Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.2 out of 5
  • Brand: Salomon

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Kahtoola INSTAgaiter GaitersKahtoola INSTAgaiter Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.2 out of 5
  • Brand: Kahtoola

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Salomon Trail Gaiters HighSalomon Trail Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4.1 out of 5
  • Brand: Salomon

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Outdoor Research Wrapid GaitersOutdoor Research Wrapid Gaiters

  • Customer Ratings: 4 out of 5
  • Brand: Outdoor Research

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1. Salomon Trail

The Salomon Trail Running Gaiters are simple to use by attaching the velcro strap on the front for a tight fit. It’s very convenient to have a strap that can be easily ripped off and slapped back on. That saves you time to prepare and more time to explore. Its strong grasp helps people enjoy running on the trail freely.

The upper area of the strap provides breathability; the lower area of the strap provides a tight rubber grip. The tight grip allows users to prevent debris from entering their shoes. Although the rubber is thicker than other low gaiters, it does not irritate the ankles while running.

The weight of the Salomon’s Trail Running Gaiters is around 1.5 oz, making this gaiter lightweight for portability and durability. The length of the gaiter is about 4.5 in. Overall this product is durable because of the elastic jersey material. On top of that, the elastic jersey is waterproof and keeps users feeling cool. The strap acts as an ankle brace to support users from straining their ankle while hiking.

Sample Customer Review…I just wore these for a four-day backpacking trip which lasted about 50 miles. They held up fine and no dirt or rocks in my trail runners despite being on loose dirt and even sand. I like to hike with my trail runners tied loose and these definitely helped keep debris out and I didn’t experience blisters on the ankles even though I wore low socks.

I was worried the band under the shoe would wear out but it hasn’t done so yet. In addition, the Velcro didn’t lose its property of adherence. I wear size 9.5 women’s and I got a medium. Small didn’t fit my shoe. I’ll probably get an extra bc I’ve been putting lots of miles in w these even before the backpacking trip and I don’t want to be stuck without them.

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2. Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters are popular hiking gaiters, making them highly rated by users on Amazon. These gaiters are waterproof so there’s flexibility in various environments. The height of these gaiters are up to the knee. The weight is around 5.1 oz. The material is GoreTex. These features provide users a durable and water-resistant product to improve the hiking experience.

The GoreTex fabric keeps users very insulated from the rough weather. These gaiters are one of the heavier options in this list due to their hefty build. Despite this con, the pros out way them in many ways.

This gaiter is abrasion-resistant so you don’t have to worry about scratches. It is easy to put on because of its large circumference. The bottom, two-inch-wide instep strap allows for adjustability with different boots. The front has velcro, meaning you can rip and stick the area easily without any trouble.

The Outdoor Research Crocodile can prevent debris from entering so that’s a bonus! In addition, make sure you wear them with the right footwear to properly prevent debris. It is recommended to wear only heavy-duty mountain boots because of that. These high gaiters are made to survive the cold and toughest terrain because of their durability, comfort, waterproofing, breathability, and insulation.

Sample Customer Review…These work awesome at keeping snow/mud off the tops of your boots and bottoms of your pants. I’ve been on many hikes already where I would’ve been filthy/wet if I hadn’t been wearing them. They stay around my calves just fine and don’t feel too tight or constricting. I did have a small amount of moisture on my pants under them last time out, but that was after 10 miles of mud, ice, and puddles and it wasn’t an amount that had me worried.

The only issue I have with them and it’s most likely that my choice of boots, is that I can feel the strap underneath my soles when I’m walking. It does cause a little foot fatigue, but I’m certain that if I had a boot with a higher arch in the tread this would be a non-issue, and it’s definitely not anything that’s going to stop me from using these gaiters, they rock! I’m using Merrill’s with the Vibram soles. Can’t remember the model off the top of my head.

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3. Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters

The Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters are up to the knee for their length, about 7.3 oz as a pair, and made out of Cordura. These tall gaiters come in women’s and men’s models. The Verglas gaiters are machine washable, provide a sleek finish for a better fit, boot lace hooks for an adjustable fit with various boots, and snagging reduction. If you plan to take any backpacking trips where you might encounter snow and rain, you might want to think about grabbing one of these gaiters. 

The Verglas gaiters are a flexible fit because of its ripstop nylon, providing an easy breathable experience. Around the lower portion of the gaiters, there is Cordura nylon. The Cordura nylon is meant to resist snow and rain. While these gaiters are waterproof to some extent, they will resist  splashes, rain or a light snow for at least 2 to 3 hours outside.

Sadly, the Verglas gaiters do not have insulation to keep users warm during their hiking experience. On the bright side, the Condura material is very durable, making the gaiters to put in and to take off! For mountaineering trips, it is best to find a more durable option such as Outdoor Research’s Crocodile Gaiters. 

The tops of the Verglas gaiters have a buckle to tighten around your calves, surprisingly this attachment stays resilient for hours during hikes. At the front, there are lace hooks on each gaiter for easy attachment to hiking boots. The underfoot straps are easily replaceable, creating the opportunity to prolong the usage of the gaiter. The Verglas gaiters on the front have a thick hook-and-loop strip so it can be quite a bit difficult to match.

Sample Customer Review…I bought these to do snowshoeing with. You never know when you’ll want to get off the hardpack, so when you do, it’s nice to know your boots won’t get snow in them. I went snowshoeing once without gaiters and that was not very fun. These kept all the junk out and held up nicely. If I’m nervous about anything, it would be how long the bottom strap will last.

After using them over about fifteen miles, though, I’ve seen no change in their condition–still looking great. Sizing-wise, I bought a medium pair and thought they sized up nicely. I wear a 9.5 shoe, but as others will say, that doesn’t help you much when it comes to the sizing guide. Others will tell you how tall they are and their weight (5’9″ 150lbs) but what this thing really needs for a sizing chart is a calf measurement. My calf measures 15″ around where the gaiters fasten at the top.

If my calf were bigger, there would be room to adjust the gaiters out to accommodate maybe another inch at most due to the fact that the Velcro-style closure running the length of the back of the gaiter is only that wide. That said, if I were any smaller, this size wouldn’t work. Keep that in mind if you are not sure of what size to get.

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4. Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Gaiters

The Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters are inexpensive and durable. The height of these low gaiters is about mid-calf. The weight is around 4.8 oz as a pair. The waterproofing is only water-resistant. This low gaiter provides a snug-fit elastic top and bottom for your shoes. It also has an adjustable strap at the bottom for fitting purposes.

This option is recommended for dry climates and day hiking because the protective layer prevents dust, twigs, rocks, bugs, and twigs from entering. These gaiters are also much loved by ultralight backpackers and casual hikers. 

The Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters are made from 420-denier nylon packcloth, which means they’re breathable but not waterproof. Despite their durability, these are not mountaineering gaiters. It does not provide enough protection against the rough terrain due to the sharp crampons.

There’s also limited calf protection because of the height and material. Despite the cons, these gaiters are easy-to-wear and sturdy for their lightweight. The gaiters can stand against wear and tear, making them long-lasting. The hook-and-loop tabs held strong and the hooks on the front of the gaiters remained attached for hours without feeling loose.

Sample Customer Review…So far, they are exactly what I needed. I am 6’2″ and wear size 12 hiking shoes (not boots) and I have been plagued by stickers, thorns, and brush getting on my socks and into my shoes when hiking off-trail. I was literally plucking debris from my socks in the Petrified Forest when I saw I had a phone signal and ordered them immediately. Because of my size, I was tempted to order large.

But so many reviewers recommended S/M that I ordered the smaller size. They are perfectly fitted for keeping debris out of my shoes and off my socks. I am a little concerned about how the strap that goes under the shoe will last because most of my hiking currently is on rough and rocky surfaces. So far they look good. At this point, I am very happy with my purchase.

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5. Black Diamond Apex Gaiters

The Black Diamond Apex is durable and lightweight at a reasonable price. A high-quality product that provides users the best hiking experience. These gaiters weigh about 8.9 oz and have a height of 15 inches. It is recommended to use these for ice climbing or snowsports.

The lower material of the gaiter has ripstop nylon; the upper material of the gaiter has three-layer Gore-Tex nylon. The Gore-Tex nylon provides a waterproof and breathable experience for users. On top of that, there is a double-layer 600d abrasion guard to protect users from debris.

The ripstop nylon provides resistance against tearing, water absorption, and accumulation of ice. It also does not have any buckles because of its engineered fit for mountaineering boots and tele boots. The welded abrasion guard protects users against crampons and the edges of their skis. In addition, the velcro of this strap allows putting it on quickly and easily for users. The front hook helps secure the gaiters in place; the adjustable heel strap offers a long-lasting tightening on the trail.

Sample Customer Review…Black Diamond Apex Gators are high quality and comfortable. I am a U.S. Men’s 10 medium width hiking boots and I purchased these gators in a size Large. I recommend U.S. Men’s 11 and up to definitely go to XL. I feel they run snug and tight. I could not wear these over hard plastic boots if I wanted to if so I would have to go to the larger size. I feel they run small.

I think your excellent I would like to see the firm rubber strap be fully detachable on both sides so you can replace it when it gets damaged or dry rotted. For anyone reviewing these gators or Black Diamond gloves please mention your foot size and width as well as your hand size, because no one ever seems to do that and that makes a huge difference regarding proper fitment. I feel Black Diamond’s size chart is way off on this item.

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6. Salomon Trail Gaiters

The Salomon Trail Gaiter High is comfortable, over-the-ankle for avid runners and hikers. It has protective pads that prevent ankle bones from harmful trail hazards. The outsole straps benefit users to secure the gaiters on their feet. The reflective logos help users become visible in the dark to other people. The intended usage for these is hiking and trail running environments.

The overall height is over-the-ankle. The upper and lower material consists of elastic jerseys. The weight is about 2.8 oz. The sizing is based on U.S. men’s shoe sizes. The practicality of these gaiters makes them easy to use! Users can take advantage of the hook-and-loop closure system for easy on/off over your shoes.

For a fair warning, they are not waterproof. They are not recommended for extreme conditions because of the lack of durability. They are unisex, and the sizing options are small, medium, and large. The issue with the Salomon Trail Gaiter is that they do not provide the same protection as the Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters. These gaiters are not meant for heavy mountaineering and rough terrain. It is recommended to find other options for stronger protection and durability. If you are not an avid hiker, these are great for beginners who have interest in hiking! Make your experience the best with these gaiters!

Sample Customer Reviews…I have been backpacking for several decades, but recently changed over to backpacking in trail-runners, due to required gear being much lighter than ever before. These gaiters work perfectly with my New Balance trail runners. I have tried the gaiters that use the sticky Velcro, but those never lasted through a single trip.

These on the other hand have lasted the entire season thus far and show very little signs of wear. I do not use them on asphalt or cement. These work really well for keeping dirt, sand, even grass seeds out of the shoes. Until snow, I don’t plan on going backpacking without these, for the foreseeable future. For me, these work really, really well!

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7. Outdoor Research Wrapid Gaiters

The Outdoor Research Wrapid Gaiters weighs about 4.8 oz, has a height of 8.5 inches. It is made out of mostly nylon, polyester, and spandex blend. The Wrapid gaiters provide flexibility for tennis shoes and hiking boots because of the light-weight and durable potential. Although it’s not waterproof, it provides some resistance from light puddles of water. The sizes for males and females come in with small, medium, large, and extra-large. They are machine washable for the convenience of cleaning them with your hands.

The attachment of the boots and the Wrapid gaiters is easy. It pulls over the shoes and boots securely with the double, pivoting boot hooks. The silicone at the heel provides anti-slip for the user as they travel on the snow trails. The strap itself has a plastic coating, and the material latches tightly. The velcro is hardly noticeable and does not impede the movement of the ankle when climbing and walking. These gaiters will not provide the same protection as the high gaiters. It is best that you don’t use these gaiters for mountaineering or for heavier wet conditions.

Sample Customer Review…I live in Alaska and use these for daily winter hiking with my lightweight ankle height hikers. I sometimes find myself up to my knees, well over the height of the gaiters, and they perform well. At least well enough for these daily shorter hikes. They keep the snow out almost entirely when snow is over their height because they have a snug fit. The little bit that occasionally gets past is of little consequence when I get to go home for the night. I would not recommend them for multi-day winter outings.

The gaiters fit snug even with lightweight hiking boots, although I should say I have a EEE foot with an extremely high instep. Others might find the fit looser. My guess is they would work well with trail runners as well. In my case, I like my boots to be a little loose as I have frostbitten my toes in the past. Tight boots leave my feet cold in the winter. These gaiters snug up the top of my boots enough to keep my heels from lifting while leaving the rest of the boot loose (lacing strategies can do it as well but not as comfortably).

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8. Pike Trail Leg Gaiters

Pike Trail’s leg gaiters are waterproof, lightweight, and comfortable for any outdoor activity. If you’re up for a satisfying hiking experience, the leg gaiters are waterproof and tear-resistant for rough terrain and mountaineering. The anti-tear material is durable polyester so debris will not get into your shoes.

The gaiters are also equipped with nylon, creating a breathable feeling for your ankles. They are constructed from polyester that repels 100% of water. At 15 inches tall, they’ll provide effective protection that reaches to the knee for most hikers.

These gaiters are tear-resistant so it provides the best protection from the elements of the weather. They also are double insulated for the inner and outer layers with reinforced polyester towards the bottom. At the top of the leg gaiters, there is the help of a sturdy instep strap and metal snaps that keep them tightly secured. The Pike Trail’s leg gaiters have a high-quality design, 100% waterproof, and adjustable enough to work with almost any leg/boot.

Sample Customer Review…I am using these gaiters for a specific purpose to keep my lower legs dry when I pressure wash my pavers. These work perfectly for that. I wear them with my garden boots that have no laces and a small heel.

As these gaiters do not need to be anchored at the bottom by laces (like others I have seen) and I can put the buckle strap by the heel of the boot so it does not really touch the ground (and therefore won’t be worn through as readily by walking on it) I feel they should last me quite a while. I wear sweat pants and so far the gaiters have not slid down. Solidly constructed for my purposes and fit just fine on my short cankle-like legs.

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9. Kahtoola INSTAgaiter Gaiters

These Kahtoola INSTAgaiter low are similar to Salomon’s running and high gaiters, showing effectively the low-profile simplicity with high-grade protection and durability of alpine gaiters. The Kahtoola gaiters are made from stretch-woven nylon that is waterproof and has a compact size for portability. The adjustable strap is made for strength and durability with a rounded shape and design, allowing a better adjustment for the user. 

The asymmetrical zipper provides increased comfort when the user’s ankle flexes. The zipper folds down at the top and then locks to prevent unzipping. The flap right behind the zipper provides moisture protection. It also has an elasticized draw cord that can toggle lock. This way it can prevent elements from the outside from getting into the user’s shoe.

The Kahtoola gaiters are mainly used for trail running and hiking. The conditions for these gaiters are mainly dry or damp climates. This allows you to have a comfortable experience on uneven terrain because of the flexible fit.  

Kahtoola’s gaiters are essentially the best of both worlds, providing the gap for lightweight and heavy-duty hiking. As an added bonus, it comes with a tote bag to carry essentials during your hiking experience. The issue is that they are not meant for mountain climbing or rough terrain. The durability and protection are limited to only lighter hiking and less rigorous outskirts.

Sample Customer Reviews…I tried both sizes, and I definitely needed the L/XL for my women’s size 8 light hiking boots. The S/M would have worked for trail runners but were too low to go over the top of the boot. The bigger size worked great to keep dirt and dust out of my boots and the adjustable ankle elastic did not rub or feel tight. I actually forgot they were on and drove home with them!

I bought these to use while running chainsaw as I got sick of splinters/sawdust filling up my shoes. Have been used very rough for about 3 weeks now. I’m extremely impressed with how tough these gaiters are. 12-hr days cutting and dragging trees and they stay put. After using them the first week I already decided I would buy another pair when these eventually failed. But they just keep on “keeping on”!

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10. Black Diamond Cirque Gaiters

The Black Diamond Cirque Gaiters are useful for hiking areas with a lot of snow, mud, and rocks. They protect users from getting scraps on their ankles because of the double layer material, 600D synthetic nylon. The waterproof BD Dry membrane is the layer that defends against snow, mud, and moisture. The nylon cord heel strap is conveniently prepared for easy replacing and removing. It is not as heavy-duty as the Outdoor Research Crocodile but it provides all-around support for hiking purposes.

The Cirque gaiters are lightweight and portable for long periods of hiking. If you need a bit of protection during the summer, you can find these to be your best friend. The weight of the gaiters is 5.8 oz with the height size being up to the knee. For an all-purpose mid-height gaiter, the Cirque is the most ideal for any serious backpacker or hiker. The cons about these is that it’s not going to protect users from heavy tripping as well as the Outdoor Research Crocodile. It does not provide insulation if users decide on using them for a long winter hike.

Sample Customer Review…I like these a lot. I’ve used them for about 35 miles so far. They are comfortable to wear (you get used to having a strap around your calf) and do the job intended. I totally understand the difficulty some people can have tying their own straps but it’s key to a good fit. I got mine set up well with the cord provided and have been very happy with them. I haven’t used them in the summer yet, but they seem excellent for Fall-Winter-Spring use.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a low gaiter that is sturdy and well-designed then definitely consider these.

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11. Unigear Leg Gaiters

The Unigear leg gaiter is known for its signature trait of being completely waterproof as well as its tough exterior. The rugged design and build quality allow for the gaiters to be worn in harsh conditions and still be comfortable for the user to wear. Its greatest advantage can be seen in wet weather conditions because of its waterproof materials. It comes with an adjustable buckle strap to tighten any loose ends for activities like backpacking and ice climbing.

The polyester and other fabrics also don’t weigh the gaiters down too much as they only weigh a combined 7oz, which is relatively light considering the performance of the gaiters. It’s also very important to know that these heavy-grade materials need to be hand-washed instead of being cleaned in washing machines for the best possible longevity. Overall these are some of the best gaiters you can find for outdoor hiking activities in heavy rain or wet climate in general. 

Sample Customer Review…These gaiters are easy to put on and they fit me well. I’m over 6′ 4″ so I ordered the largest size offered. They provide coverage up to my knees with circumferential room to spare, even over my insulated pants. The Velcro is wide and sturdy and the stitching appears solid. The top strap holds well. The first use was on a 2-mile hike on a frozen lake in about 10″ of snow.

They stayed connected and protected my lower pant legs from moisture. No snow got into my ankle-high hiking boots. They also provide a layer of warmth by holding the heat in and are a great wind barrier. I sometimes have to traverse deep snow during work. I no longer have to haul my snow boots with me. These fold up flat and fit easily in my seat pouch or door panel.

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Best Hiking Gaiters: Final Review

The Black Diamond Cirque Gaiters are useful for hiking areas with a lot of snow, mud, and rocks. They protect users from getting scraps on their ankles because of the double layer material, 600D synthetic nylon. The waterproof BD Dry membrane is the layer that defends against snow, mud, and moisture. The nylon cord heel strap is conveniently prepared for easy replacing and removing. It is not as heavy-duty as the Outdoor Research Crocodile but it provides all-around support for hiking purposes.

The Cirque gaiters are lightweight and portable for long periods of hiking. If you need a bit of protection during the summer, you can find these to be your best friend. The weight of the gaiters is 5.8 oz with the height size being up to the knee. For an all-purpose mid-height gaiter, the Cirque is the most ideal for any serious backpacker or hiker. The cons about these is that it’s not going to protect users from heavy tripping as well as the Outdoor Research Crocodile. It does not provide insulation if users decide on using them for a long winter hike.

Conclusion

Hopefully this buying guide has helped you decide which hiking gaiter fits your lifestyle the best. Each shoe has their own unique features and are beneficial for avid hikers but only you know which are the best hiking gaiters and which are not. Happy Hiking!

Written by Tammy Mui

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