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Outdoor Research Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter Review

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter Review

The Outdoor Research Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter is a mid-height (10″) softshell gaiter that can be used with trail runners, mids, or hiking boots. While it is similarly named a Thru-Gaiter, it’s completely different and inferior in terms of construction, durability, and breathability from the ActiveIce Thru-Gaiters that Outdoor Research sold previously.

Specs at a Glance

  • Materials: Nylon, spandex, and stretch woven ripstop
  • Heel strap: Hypalon (synthetic rubber)
  • Height: 10″
  • Weight: 2.2 oz/pr
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Sizing: S, M, L, XL based on shoe size

The Ferrosi Thru Gaiter is designed to keep debris out of your shoes, mids, or boots while providing some water resistance. They are best worn with footwear that has a distinct instep arch between the forefoot and heel to accommodate a hypalon (synthetic rubber) strap that runs under your shoe. The gaiter is a softshell and spandex sleeve that must be put on before you put on your shoes. They also have an adjustable elastic strap at the top to tighten them over your calf and a single hook to loop over your laces to prevent them from riding up your leg.

The gaiters have a single front hook to attach to your laces and keep the gaiter from rising.
The gaiters have a single front hook to attach to your laces and keep the gaiter from rising.

Ferrosi Fabric

People seem to love the Ferrosi Fabric, which is made with nylon, spandex, and stretch woven ripstop, in terms of its stretch and breathability. While it’s fine in cooler weather, it’s just too hot to use above 70 degrees and will make your feet and calves sweat copiously. Sweaty feet and damp socks are often precursors to blisters. I got blisters when using these Ferrosi thru-gaiters for spring hiking, which was a bit of a shock because I never get blisters otherwise.

DWR Coating

The Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter also has some sort of DWR coating on the exterior which makes them hard to treat with Permethrin Spray, which beads up and rolls off instead of soaking in. You’d think that DWR coating would make them water-resistant, but they readily soak up morning dew if you walk through wet grass. I’m not sure I completely understand why, but that’s been my experience using them.

The Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter has an adjustable elastic strap to prevent them from falling down. It doesn’t work very well.
The Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter has an adjustable elastic strap to prevent them from falling down. It doesn’t work very well.

Elastic Top Strap

The top of the Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter has an elastic strap that can be tightened around your calf to prevent them from falling down during use. The pressure of the cord is quite uncomfortable, however. The cord also relaxes over the course of several hours and the gaiters bunch up and fall down anyway.

The position of elastic strap also makes the gaiters handed, so you have to put the gaiter with the left-hand strap on the left leg and the gaiter with the right-hand facing strap on the right leg if you want to avoid having the cords’ slack rub against your opposite leg.

Hypalon Strap Achor Failure

But the biggest issue with the Ferrosi Thru-Gaiters is that the elastic hypalon strap anchors tear out quickly rendering the gaiter useless. My test pair didn’t even last for one hike. I’m not alone either. Other customers have left similar reviews on the OR website.

Let me explain. The hypalon strap has hooks at the ends that attach to elastic loops that hang down the lefthand and right-hand side of each gaiter. The hooks come undone periodically, but it’s easy to rehook them to the elastic loops without taking the gaiters off.

The instep strap hooks onto elastic loops along the gaiter’s sides.
The instep strap hooks onto elastic loops along the gaiter’s sides.

The problem lies in the way the elastic cords are anchored to the gaiter. There are 4 short lengths of elastic cord sewn to the hem of the right and left sides of the gaiter, creating four points of potential failure. This is a change from the design of the ActiveIce Thru-hiking Gaiter where the elastic cord runs around the entire circumference of the lower hem.

The difference is akin to sweat pants that have a drawstring anchored in two points on either side of the zipper (and frequently tear out) vs ones where the drawstring runs around the entire circumference of the pants (and last forever).


Don’t buy the OR Ferrosi Thru-Gaiter. They’re too hot to wear in warm weather. They’re not designed in a durable way and are likely to fail quickly. I’m really disappointed with this product and feel like OR let me down on this one. Instead, I can highly recommend the OR ActiveIce Thru-hiking Gaiters because they get all the things right that the Ferrosi Thru-gaiters get wrong. See my OR ActiveIce Thru-Gaiter Review for more information.

Disclosure: OR provided the author with these gaiters for an honest review.

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  1. Would the activeice gaiters work well to prevent the ultra raptors from soaking up morning dew when hiking through grass?

  2. Love the ActiveIce gaiters which you originally turned me onto. Just picked up more at Amazon. Too bad they have stopped making it.

  3. Received an award from Trail Runner Magazine. Mine failed exactly like yours. Thanks for having to morals to publish a negative review. One of many things that makes this site a treasure.

  4. I really like the Montbell Short Spats you reviewed many years ago (semi-short original review but no longer available). I’m on my second pair, my first pair lasted 4 years with some sewing required for occasional tears. I think those are a good alternative to these, shorter length and stretchy softshell material that breathes well in the summer.

  5. what do you think about the OR Ferrosi Hybrid Gaiters, which combines the ActiveIce and Ferosi?

    • I haven’t tried them. I do however object to the fact the OR includes the words “Ferrosi” or “Helium” in all their product names, rending them effectively meaningless. I have no idea what to think…

  6. So disappointed that I can’t seem to find the old version anywhere anymore. It’s really too bad they stopped making them! Thanks for this comparison.

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