What Are Gaiters and Is It A Must-Have Item For Hikers? Let’s Find Out!

what are gaiters

Discovering the world has never been an outdated trend for people all around the world, especially the youngsters. Nowadays, there are various types of traveling and outdoor activities to satisfy the high demand of young generations in discovering and learning about the vast outside world such as go trekking or backpacking.

If you are a first - time trekker and searching for something that meet all requirements when trekking on terrains with full of obstacles, gaiters are highly suitable for you.

If the question what are gaiters comes up to your mind immediately after I mentioned it, don’t be worried as you are not the only one who doesn’t know about gaiters. Take a look at my article, and I’ll clear you all queries on what are gaiters and how to use it.

What are gaiters?

Gaiters are quite unfamiliar to the majority of people, but they are something that mountaineers can’t live without. It isn’t sharp – tongue when saying that gaiters are true saviors of hikers which provide comfortable journey without pain sufferest.

Gaiters are coverings worn over the lower pants leg and the shoe which are used as protective equipment for trekkers and hikers.

Originally, they were made of leather, but nowadays, they are usually made of plasticized synthetic cloth including polyester. They were created in the 19th century and used for horse riding; hence, they are also called as riding gaiters.

What are gaiters used for?

Gaiters are produced to deliver additional protection and isolation for your foot when walking in extreme weather conditions such as wet and slippery hiking terrains or heavy snow.

Plus, they give you a strong sense of comfort as your feet are warm – kept and dry. Gaiters play an important role in your adventure journey as they help you to have a safe and challenging adventure rather than suffering pain.

You could use them all year round as they are extremely handy no matter the season. They are not only used in wet conditions but also used in rocky terrain to keep sand and rock from getting into your boots. In short, they protect you from debris, snow, weather, and water.

Types of gaiters

types of gaiters

Depend on the height of gaiters; they are divided into 3 main types: over-the ankle, mid-calf and knee gaiters. Normally, travelers make use of tall gaiters for the sake of safety and convenience when walking through heavy snow or heading off the trail. And short gaiters are mostly used for thru-hiking and trail running.

- Over-the-ankle gaiters (about 6 inches): They are specially designed for summertime hiking for the purpose of keeping pebble and grit out of your boots.

- Mid-calf gaiters (8 to 12 inches): They are highly recommended when traveling in normal conditions and they can be worn in all seasons.

- Knee gaiters (15 to 18 inches): They win numerous people’s hearts as they are saviors for travelers who are struggling with rugged conditions including hiking in bad weather. In addition, they maintain warmth and protect your foot against injuries.

Gaiter features

gaiter features

A common pair of gaiters features 6 parts: an adjustable strap, a waterproof zipper, a breathable pocket, a shoes hook, hook & loop and a durable buckle.

- Waterproof: To meet the requirement of being active in all kinds of terrains and conditions, gaiters are usually made of water-resistant and breathable materials. From my own experience, apart from size and design, the waterproof material will be the second factor that I pay attention to.

- Lace hooks: They are added to attach your boot laces for the sake of safety and security.

- Adjust straps: They protect the lower edge of the gaiters. While basic gaiters usually come with simple lace straps, high – quality gaiters go along with leather or synthetic straps for the sake of durability.

- Entry system: Gaiters are normally secured and opened by strips of hook and loop fastener.

- Coated nylon: Basic gaiters are very lightweight as they are made of polyurethane-coated nylon

- Abrasion-resistant fabric: Several gaiters provide rugged abrasion – resistant nylon to suffer the abrasion of rocks and ice.

- Top closures: Gaiters are tightened with elasticized and toggles drawcords.

- Breathable pocket: Gaiters are usually equipped breathable pocket to comfort your foot and protect it from sweating and nasty smell.

- Waterproof zipper: Several types of gaiters are equipped zipper to adjust the gaiter size and your foot.

How to use gaiters

Step 1: Choose the appropriate length gaiters for the environmental condition and activity you tend to use them in.

Step 2: Choose the right size and eye-catching design gaiters as they come into various sizes and designs in the current market.

Step 3: The gaiters should be close-fitting around the curve of your boots and not too loose around your calf.

Step 4: Tighten the drawcord around the calf area to keep them from gliding down.

Step 5: Remember to bring along extra cord in anticipation of worn-out strap.

Should you use gaiters or not?

what are gaiters

Despite the undeniable and clear benefits of gaiters, using gaiters or not remains controversial. Before, I used to have a crack at a huge number of trekking shoes, but I don’t really appreciate and totally like them as they have some drawbacks.

But when I was shopping online, and the gaiters advertisement came up to me, and I’m kind of curious and clicked to the product link. After reading several dissenting reviews, I decided to run the risk of buying a pair of gaiters.

And you know what? I immediately became a dedicated gaiter wearer after using it a couple of times going trekking.

They are completely awesome and possessing highly beneficial features. They are super lightweight, easy to pack, easy to use and quite cheap compared to similar products in the market. What makes them outstanding is that I wasn’t aware of how many thorns, sand, weeds, sticks, rocks and other annoyances when I wore it.

Unlike other trekking shoes which make your foot sweat and smell bad, gaiters are breathable and not stuffy. With all being said, I think it’s fair when saying it is the most worth trying product for outdoor activities lovers.


On the whole, gaiters are must-have items for wanderlusts as it is convenient, providing high and comprehensive protection. Buying a pair of gaiters is such a smart investment, and I’m pretty sure that you will never regret as its outstanding benefits and various usages compared to other sandals.

Hopefully, after reading my article, you could partly understand gaiter definition and their usages in certain situations. I bet that you could answer the question what are gaiters fluently and correctly. Thank you for spending your specious time to taking a glance at my article.

Please click the like button if you found my article easy-to-understand and constructive. Don’t forget to comment on your own experience when making use of gaiters to share with other readers.


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