Should I buy gaiters?
The short answer is yes – if you need them. Scree, trail debris and in particular snow, all have a habit of finding their way into even the best mountain boots or shoes. If you want to stop this happening, then gaiters are the solution. They ramp up the weather protection of your footwear and cover that pesky gap between the top of your boots and your leg.
What types of Gaiters are there and what do you need?
The same as just about any piece of equipment, the best way to approach buying gaiters is to consider carefully what you intend to use them for.
The main types of gaiters:
Hiking gaiters offer extra protection for everything from short day hikes to multi-day alpine trekking trips. They are made of either lightweight water-repellent fabrics for protection against trail debris and light rain, or fully waterproof laminates for full-bore protection in rain and snow.
- Speed Hiking/Approach/Trail Running
These lightweight, compact gaiters fit over the ankle to keep debris out of your shoes on mountain trails. They are typically not waterproof.
Mountaineering gaiters are typically made of a heavy-duty 3-layer waterproof, breathable laminated fabric with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish. They offer protection against severe rain and snow and add a certain amount of extra insulation. In addition to mountaineering, these gaiters are also ideal for ice climbing, ski-touring and snowshoeing.
Are there different sizes of gaiters?
Gaiters come in different heights and different sizes.
- Gaiter height
For speed hiking and summer trekking, shorter gaiters protect your footwear against rocks, grit and light rain while on mild-weather excursions and still allow a certain amount of breathability. If you’re heading off trail or above the snowline, you’ll want a higher gaiter with greater coverage.
- Gaiter sizing
Getting the right size is important. If your gaiters don’t fit well, they might let rain, snow or grit into your footwear. In winter this can also become a safety issue, as they are more likely to snag on your skis or crampons. To avoid this, we recommend choosing a gaiter with a narrow, streamlined design. Most gaiter styles come in sizes that correspond to boot/shoe sizes.
Do gaiters keep boots and feet dry?
Yes, but it will naturally depend on the severity of the conditions and the type of fabric they are made of. Gaiters made from a high-quality technical waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric will obviously keep your feet drier than water-repellent outdoor fabrics.