Gaiters are a must have for any walker, the simple design keeps the gap between your walking boots and legs dry. Hiking through muddy terrain can have you kicking up dirt and debris that can get caught in your boots and muddy your legs or trousers. So, to help you select the best Gaiters for walking, we have put this guide together, complete with the relevant Gaiter reviews for you to look at and consider. Take a look and see if you find something that is perfect for you.
How to Choose a Pair of Gaiters
There are a few different types of Gaiters, all designed to do slightly different jobs, so finding the right pair first time around could become a bit of a minefield.
Ankle Gaiters are the most common type of Gaiter. This type of Gaiter simply covers the area between your walking boot and trouser. This type of Gaiter will protect the crucial gap between your boot and trouser from becoming full of debris. This type of Gaiter is brilliant for the casual walker or trekker. They provide you with just enough coverage to keep your lower leg clean and dry, and still helping to protect your shoes or walking boot from excess wet and mud.
The Full-length Gaiter is a more classically designed Gaiter. These Gaiters protect your entire lower leg from water and debris. This choice is for serious hikers and explorers. If you want to wade through mud and water whilst still keeping your lower leg dry and protected. Alongside these are Expedition Gaiters. Whilst they have a similar design to the full-length Gaiter, these are designed for higher-level mountaineering. They are generally more waterproof and ready for walkers ready to delve into higher altitudes. This type of Gaiter is generally more breathable too, meaning you can wear them for longer periods of time.
The most specialised type of Gaiter is the snow, Gaiter. These are similar to Ankle gaiters, but their main purpose is to keep snow from infiltrating your walking boot when trekking in icy conditions. This type of Gaiter is brilliant for walking through snow as well as snowboarding and skiing. When shopping for this kind of product, it is always worth remembering that many ski pants have these built into them.
Things to Consider
Whilst shopping for the perfect pair of Gaiters it’s important not only to think about the function of Gaiter and what you need it for, but also the different styles that some Gaiters have. Most Gaiters are made from synthetic fabrics, making them more breathable and easier to keep clean. Many Gaiters have different fastenings, but the most effective fastening is a waterproof zip.
Many Gaiters also have a Velcro fastening over the zip to keep debris from clogging the fastenings. This is particularly important to think about if you are planning to trek through particularly muddy debris that could potentially clog the zip fastening. All Gaiters have a stirrup strap, which fastens the Gaiter underneath your foot. These straps are often made from Nylon or Rubber materials.
This strap is particularly important, as it is the main thing that keeps your boot covered and clean from mud and debris. It’s also important to look at whether your Gaiter has a lace hook. Whilst these are not always a necessity, they can provide and an extra way to keep your gaiter doing the job it is designed for.
Gaiters Vs. Wellies
Whilst Gaiters are becoming an ever more popular choice for walkers Wellington Boots are still a popular choice for some, but what is the difference between them?
Wellie Boots still provide the same protection that Gaiters will give you. Wellies are often made from either rubber or plastic materials. Whilst they may be conceived as the more fashionable choice for some there are some downsides to this choice.
Whilst they are easy and quick to get on, and off of your feet, they do not provide much air flow, meaning that on long walks you may be subject to heavy sweating, leading to discomfort and in worst cases blisters and rubbing. Wellie boots are also heavier than Gaiters, and they are not suitable for long distance walking, so if you intend to hike long distance then maybe Wellies are not for you.
Whilst Gaiters may be slightly more laborious to put on, the great thing about them is you can couple them with almost any walking boot or shoe, meaning that they have a longer lifespan than the average pair of Wellie Boots. Gaiters are designed for an active lifestyle; they have been designed for outdoor adventurers and whilst there may not have the style factor that Wellies have, they will give you the same amount of protection and provide you with more comfort over long periods of time.
Looking after your Gaiters
As with any piece of outdoor equipment, Gaiters need looking after too, and the great thing about them is it is a simple process. The first and foremost thing to do is to check your Gaiters often. Every time you put them on you should look them over and make sure they have no defects that would stop them performing their job. After particularly muddy walks you should always wipe over your fastenings to stop them getting clogged with dirt and stopping them from working.
Brushing off dried mud is the quickest way to keep your Gaiters from becoming broken or ruined, and for a good clean you can simply use warm water and a nail brush or sponge to clean off and ground in dirt and grime. Keeping your Gaiters waterproof is key, and you can do this in the same way you would keep a tent waterproof. Buying a simple reproofing spray and periodically spraying your Gaiters will keep them waterproof for longer.
Hopefully, at least one pair of Gaiters listed here has piqued your interest and appealed to you in some way or another. They are some of the best and most comfortable shoes for walking, and so are worth every penny spent on them. Out of all the ones here, it’s not easy to choose which is the best, but the Trekmates Cairngorm Gaiters are definitely at the top of our list for a comfortable and lightweight shoe.
What did you think of our Gaiter selection? Are there any models that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so let us know in the comments below.