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The 8 Best Hiking Gaiters [2024]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

772 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury


32 Published Articles 3112 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Hiking can be a great way to spend time outdoors. There’s always something new to explore, even on trails you’ve visited dozens of times.

However, getting gravel or bits of wood in your hiking shoes can make hiking uncomfortable or even dangerous if it causes you to slip or get a scratch. That’s where hiking gaiters come in. Gaiters help protect you so you can fully enjoy your hikes.

Things To Consider With Hiking Gaiters

Hiking gaiters 1
Gaiters help protect you so you can fully enjoy your hikes. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Keeping safe outside is important, so, you might be eager to purchase a pair of gaiters for your next hike. However, there are some things you should consider first.


Hiking gaiters material
Gaiters can come in a variety of materials, from polyester to thick rubber. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

The first thing you should look at regarding any hiking gaiters you might consider purchasing is the material they’re made of.

Gaiters can come in a variety of materials, from polyester to thick rubber.  It’s important that you have an idea of what material you might prefer before you purchase a pair of gaiters.

Polyester or other cloth will likely be more flexible, but they will also be more prone to wear and tear. Rubber gaiters can be more durable over time. However, if they’re rigid, they can make walking more difficult.

Size and Length

Hiking gaiters size and length
You’ll need to choose between leg or ankle gaiters depending on your requirements. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

You also want to look at the size and length of a pair of gaiters before you buy them.

Typically, gaiters will come in 2 types of lengths:

  • Leg Gaiters: These will protect further up your leg, usually up to around your knee.
  • Ankle Gaiters: These gaiters will protect the area around your ankle.

Bottom Line: Knowing how much of your legs you want to protect will determine the gaiter length you should look for. You also want to look at the sizing and size adjustment options to ensure your gaiters fit securely.

Type of Protection

Hiking gaiters type of protection
Different gaiters are designed to protect wearers from different things. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

You may want to purchase a pair of gaiters for a specific type of protection, so it’s important you’re sure you’re making the right choice.

Different gaiters are designed to protect wearers from different things, and not all gaiters offer equal protection.

If your main reason for purchasing gaiters is to avoid water seeping into your boots, you’ll want to purchase a waterproof pair.

Instead, if you want to avoid being scratched by thorns while trekking through the woods, you’ll want to look for a strong pair of tear-resistant gaiters.

Intended Use

Similar to the different types of protection gaiters offer, gaiters might also be designed for different intended uses. This can impact whether or not they’re suitable for your needs.

Some gaiters are designed to be appropriate for use in the snow, so they’ll have water and ice protection. Other gaiters might be designed for fishing and are made to fit over rubber fishing boots.

Instead, some gaiters might be designed for casual hikers who just want to avoid having pebbles stuck in their shoes. Determine your needs and purchase the gaiters best suited for them.


Hiking gaiters design
Gaiters are available in a range of designs, with some hooking on to your laces. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Though it might seem superficial, a gaiter’s design can have a large impact on how useful it is to you.

While most gaiters follow the same general design, there are a few things that can be tweaked. For example, the way a gaiter fits over your shoes can affect how well it is able to keep smaller bits of debris out.

The design can also change how quickly you’re able to pull your gaiters on. It can also determine how easily and effectively you can adjust your gaiters’ size.

Hot Tip: Make sure your hiking foundation is strong with a choice from our guide to the best hiking boots and shoes for men and women.

The 8 Best Hiking Gaiters

You might feel tempted to just pick the first pair of gaiters you come across. However, there are small differences between them that can make a huge difference.

We want you to pick the right gaiters for your needs, so we’ve weighed the pros and cons to narrow down the best gaiter options on the market.

1. Breathable Leg Gaiters for Men and Women

Extremus Buckwell Leg Gaiters

If you want an all-purpose pair of leg gaiters, this model by Extremus might be a good option for you. These gaiters are meant to be comfortable in all climates and hiking conditions. They’re made of waterproof nylon, so they won’t be stiff or uncomfortable to walk in.

They’re also breathable, so your legs won’t get hot or sweaty from a lack of air circulation. That means you can slip your gaiters on as you head out for your hike and comfortably keep them on until you’ve finished for the day.

They can also be adjusted to fit most men and women, so they’re a great unisex option.

What We Like:

  • Breathable but waterproof

What We Don’t Like:

  • Water can seep in from the bottom if not worn with tall boots

2. Adjustable Leg Gaiter Options for All Sizes

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Pike Trail Leg Gaiters

If you’re worried about being able to change the size of your leg gaiters, then you should consider the option from Pike Trail.

These gaiters are completely adjustable, so you’re pretty much guaranteed they’ll fit no matter how much mass you gain or lose.  All you have to do is change the Velcro tabs to the size you need.

This is also a great option if you hike all year and need to ensure your gaiters fit properly whether you’re hiking in shorts or in snow pants.

These gaiters are also tear-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about them ripping on any thorny brush you come across in the wilderness.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight and flexible

What We Don’t Like:

  • The Velcro could be more durable

3. An All-weather Leg Gaiter Option

Azarxis Leg Hiking Gaiters

If you like having the freedom to go hiking any time of year, the Azarxis leg gaiters might be your best option.

These gaiters were designed with a number of different outdoor activities in mind that take place in all types of weather conditions. From hunting to snowshoeing, the gaiters were made to ensure you’re protected and comfortable on your trek.

They’re made of breathable oxford cloth that will help keep your legs cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

You might be worried about the durability of a cloth gaiter option. However, that worry is unwarranted. They’re tear-resistant, so you can have some peace of mind that your gaiters will last a while.

What We Like:

  • Highly versatile

What We Don’t Like:

  • The size adjuster can come loose.

4. Leg Gaiters for Any Occasion


Even if you’re not much of a hiker, if you spend any time working or having fun outside, you might want to consider the Sharkmouth gaiters.

These gaiters are definitely good for hiking as they keep out debris and water while still being flexible, thanks to their polyester and nylon material. However, landscapers and fishermen also love these gaiters because of the extra protection they offer.

If you find yourself being practically eaten alive by mosquitoes, you can slip these on and have a fun day outside without worries. If you have to work in the mud but rubber boots are too stiff, these gaiters are a good option for that as well.

What We Like:

  • Nice and compact

What We Don’t Like:

  • Less useful if not worn with waterproof shoes

5. Easy-to-Wear Ankle Gaiters

ALTRA Trail Gaiter

If you’re looking for gaiters to keep your ankles protected for runs on wood trails, the Altra trail ankle gaiters are for you.

These gaiters fit low on your leg, so you don’t have to worry about them falling down as you run. They’re also made out of a spandex blend, so they’re able to stretch over your shoes and still fit snug around your ankle.

They might be small, but they will still keep rocks and burrs from getting into your shoes and causing you discomfort on hikes or runs.

In fact, they were designed with all-terrain joggers and runners in mind. So they’re not only protective and lightweight, but they’re also flexible and breathable as well.

What We Like:

  • Easy to put on

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not adjustable

6. An Ankle Gaiter To Fit Any Boots

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Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters

If you want gaiters that fit in the middle-ground between low ankle models and full leg covers, this pair from Outdoor Research might be an option worth considering.

These gaiters are a lightweight but durable nylon material that will help keep your ankles and feet dry and protected in most weather conditions.

They’re also adjustable, so they can fit around most boot and shoe sizes for both men and women, making them a great unisex option.

Though they’re shorter than full-leg gaiters, this model will still keep most hikers protected and will allow water protection if your hike involves wading through shallow pools or streams. They’re also rip-resistant, so they should be able to stand up to wear and tear.

What We Like:

  • Fully adjustable

What We Don’t Like:

  • No warranty in case of tearing

Hot Tip: Check out our guides to the best waterproof socks and waterproof shoes for men and women.

7. An Ankle Gaiter Option That Is Quick To Put On

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Salomon Trail Gaiters

If you want gaiters that you can simply slip on quickly when you need them, Salomon’s trail gaiters are a good option for you.

These gaiters are made of a poly-elastane blend and have an easy loop and Velcro closure, so you can get them on in no time. They’re a flexible, breathable, and lightweight option, so you can keep them on for your entire hike as well if you don’t want to spend time putting them on while on your walk.

Unlike some other gaiter options, these are also a good option to wear at night. The brand logo is reflective, so you’ll be easily seen by flashlights or headlights.

What We Like:

  • Snug fit

What We Don’t Like:

  • Won’t work with shoes with a small heel

8. Ankle Gaiters for Group Hikes

Waterproof Low Ankle Gaiters for Hiking

If you’re on the lookout for gaiters for yourself and a hiking partner, these low gaiters from URSONNESS are a great value option. These gaiters come in a pack of 2, so you can easily stock up for group hikes or just have a spare pair of your own.

They’re also adjustable around the leg and around your shoe, so you can make sure they fit snugly no matter what size you are or what shoes you wear. They offer a wide amount of protection from water and other types of debris, despite the fact they sit low on your leg.

That means you can wear them for activities ranging from a casual walk in the woods to more intense hiking and rock climbing.

What We Like:

  • Money-back guarantee

What We Don’t Like:

  • Some debris may come in through gaps in the bottom

Final Thoughts

You might like hiking through snowy mountains or enjoy wilderness walks that take you through streams or involve wading in rivers. Gaiters should help make going on hikes a pleasant and safe experience. However, if you choose the wrong pair for your type of hiking, it can have the opposite effect.

We hope that our list has helped you determine what sort of gaiters you need so that you can purchase the right pair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need hiking gaiters?

Gaiters aren’t a required piece of hiking equipment. However, they do help keep rocks, twigs, and other debris out of your hiking shoes. This can add comfort to your hike and protect you from potential injuries. If your hiking boots manage to do this on their own, gaiters aren’t necessary.

What are hiking gaiters for?

Gaiters are a form of protective hiking gear. They are meant to be worn over your shoes to keep out unwanted debris. They can also protect your lower extremities from bug or snake bites and from scratches and other abrasions. The level of protection will depend on the gaiter type.

How waterproof are gaiters?

Different gaiters offer different levels of waterproof protection. Some gaiters are completely waterproof and will keep your legs dry, while others may only be water-resistant. You should look at the gaiter’s material and how it’s intended to fit over your shoes to determine how much water protection you can expect.

What’s the difference between leg and ankle gaiters?

As far as their intended use, there is no fundamental difference between leg and ankle gaiters. The main difference is solely their size and how much space they’re intended to protect. Leg gaiters will usually protect from one’s shoe to around their knee. Ankle gaiters will protect around the ankle.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.


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