What Are Walking Gaiters and Ankle Gaiters?
Walking gaiters, also known as ankle gaiters, boot gaiters or hiking gaiters, are used to help keep your lower legs and feet dry and comfortable when trekking. They are used when walking in the rain or through wetlands, streams or particularly muddy or soggy conditions. They work by covering your ankle where the top of your shoe or boot is exposed and reaching up the calf. This stops rain, water or bits of debris falling down from the top of your shoe, which might make your feet wet or uncomfortable.
What Is The Purpose Of Gaiters?
The purpose of walking gaiters is to keep your feet and legs dry and comfortable in wet or unstable conditions. You could wear them for a few reasons, such as:
- Stopping rain or other water from getting into your hiking boots or walking shoes
- Keeping small stones and pebbles out of your footwear
- Offering a level of insulation when walking in deep snow
- Helping protect your legs from the abrasion of rocks or thorns and from insect bites
- Keeping your trousers clean when walking through muddy puddles
Are Gaiters Waterproof?
As their main purpose is to keep your feet and lower legs dry, waterproof gaiters are pretty much standard!
Waterproof gaiters are usually made from synthetic material that is both highly waterproof and extremely breathable. This way, they offer the ability to keep water out without causing too much perspiration from the inside. Many of our waterproof gaiters use GORE-TEX fabric to ensure the best level of protection and comfort.
How Do I Choose A Gaiter?
There are a few different options available when it comes to choosing your hiking gaiters. The most important is the style, which ranges from ankle height to full calf height. Here is some more information on which style gaiter to choose:
- Ankle height - ankle gaiters come up to just above your ankle. They are cooler than other types of boot gaiters, and are often worn by trail runners, though are good for weekend hikes during damp weather.
- Full calf height - these style of hiking gaiters come all the way up your calf and end just below the knee. For this reason, they will make your legs and feet slightly warmer than ankle gaiters, but offer a higher level of protection. They are best if you know you will be facing more extreme conditions such as heavy rain, wetlands or snow.
- Mid calf height - some walking gaiters sit somewhere between ankle and full calf height. This offers a good midway point of keeping rain and debris out, while keeping you a little cooler.
Once you have decided what style gaiter you would like, check the sizing to be sure you have the best fit. Hiking gaiters usually come in size 1, 2 or 3, which each fit a range of UK shoe sizes and heights. There is room for adjusting the fit to the width of your calf, so you should be able to find a pair suitable for you.
How Do You Use Boot Gaiters?
Using your boot gaiters for the first time may feel a bit fiddly. However, once you have experienced a little trial and error, you should get a feel for exactly how your gaiters need to fit. Here is a brief guide on how to use your gaiters:
- Firstly, make sure you put them on with the front velcro, popper or zip fastening facing forward and the instep/stirrup buckle on the outside of your leg.
- Do up the velcro, popper or zip fastening at the front of your leg.
- Next, pull the gaiter down so that it overlaps your shoe, and loop the instep/stirrup strap under your shoe and fasten it on the other side.
- Then, at the top of your gaiter, adjust the top pull cord so it lightly grips your leg enough to stop it falling down
- Finally, on the front of your gaiter at the bottom, you should see the lace hook. Attach this as far down as you can to your laces
Do You wear gaiters over or under trousers?
Whether you wear your gaiters over or under your trousers often comes down to personal preference. If your trousers aren’t water resistant, they are usually worn over the top. If you are wearing waterproof trousers or outer trousers, they are often worn underneath. If you do wear them underneath your trousers, make sure you have a baselayer on to prevent any chafing.
How Tight Should Gaiters Be?
Walking gaiters should be tight enough to prevent them slipping down, but not uncomfortably tight. If they are restricting movement, digging in or restricting circulation they probably need loosening up a little.