What are the best gaiters for hiking? It depends on the conditions you hike in. High gaiters are used in winter to keep your socks dry while low gaiters are used in warm weather to keep debris out of your boots and hiking shoes.
High gaiters are used for snowshoeing and winter hiking to prevent your legs and socks from getting wet. These are usually made with a breathable fabric like Gore-tex and are sized large so they’ll fit around insulated hiking boots. The have a strap that runs underneath them and often have a front hook that attaches to your shoelaces or a gaiter ring on top of your boot’s toe box. The best high gaiters close in front of your boots with a strip of velcro, since zippers tend to break more frequently.
The best high gaiters are Outdoor Research Crocodiles. Guaranteed for life (Outdoor Research will replace them if they fall apart), they’re bomber tough and used by all serious winter hikers and mountaineers.
Other popular high gaiters include:
- Outdoor Research Verglass Gaiters
- Rab Latok Alpine Gaiters
- Mountain Hardware Nut Shell High Gaiters
- Black Diamond FrontPoint GTX Gaiters
Low gaiters are designed to keep sticks, pebbles, and small debris from getting into your shoes, to protect from thorns, or against disease carrying ticks. While most lost gaiters can be used with boots or shoes, most are used by hikers using trail runners or low hiking shoes instead of boots.
The most popular low gaiters are made by a small company called Dirty Girl Gaiters, which specializes in colorfully designed gaiters. Made popular by the running community, they’re also very popular with hikers. They attach to your shoes with a velcro strip that must be glued to your shoe and a hooks that attach to your laces. I’ve had problems with the velcro coming off myself, but YMMV.
Other popular low gaiters include:
- Outdoor Research BugOut (Insect Repellent) Gaiters
- Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters
- Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiters
What gaiters do you use?
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