The Best Gaiters

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a pair of gaiters can be your best friend. Gaiters protect your ankles and calves from scratches, poison ivy, and mosquito bites. They prevent pebbles and other debris from finding their way into your shoes or boots, and they help keep your feet dry and warm if you’re hiking through snow or wet brush. Some gaiters are even made to protect your legs from snakebites.

We looked at dozens of pairs of gaiters to find out which ones are the best. Durability, insulation, and waterproofing are a number of the key features we used to rank the gaiters we found. No matter what type of protection you’re looking for, you’ll find a pair of gaiters on this list that will do the job.

Top pick

You can’t go wrong by choosing Outdoor Research’s classic Crocodile Gaiters for all your outdoor adventures.

Our top pick is the Outdoor Research Women’s Crocodile Gaiters. These classic gaiters have been in production for years, and there’s a good reason for that – they’re comfortable, durable, and tough enough to stand up to any type of weather and terrain. With their 4.8-star rating on Amazon, it’s safe to say that plenty of reviewers are happy with the way these gaiters perform. Outdoor Research also produces a men’s version of these gaiters.

The 5 Top-Rated Gaiters for 2018

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallOutdoor Research Women's Crocodile Gaiters4.8
Runner UpLeg Shield Neoprene Gaiters4.8
Best Budget BuyOUTAD Waterproof Hiking Gaiters4.1
Best Hiking GaitersSalomon Unisex High Trail Reflective Gaiters4.4
Best Boot GaitersFiveJoy Mountain Hiking Boot Gaiters
4.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Outdoor Research Women’s Crocodile Gaiters

Searching for the perfect pair of all-season gaiters? Look no further than the Outdoor Research Women’s Crocodile Gaiters. These long-lasting gaiters are a favorite choice of hikers and campers everywhere, and they’ll serve you equally well whether you’re hiking through underbrush in the summer or wading through snowdrifts in the winter. These women’s gaiters come in sizes small, medium, and large, but if you need a bigger size range, check out the men’s version – they’re identical to the women’s model in terms of features, but are available in sizes up to XX-large.

The number-one thing that makes these gaiters our favorite pick is their durable, practical construction. Made of nylon and Cordura material, the gaiters are waterproof, yet breathable – an essential feature if you’re planning to wear them in warm weather. And with their buckle top, hook-and-loop front closure, and adjustable instep strap, these gaiters will stay put once they’re secured, so you won’t have to stop and adjust them while you’re on the go.

The Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters are tall enough to cover most hikers’ calves up to the knee, and they’re roomy enough to accommodate most types of hiking shoes and boots. While they aren’t the most lightweight pair of gaiters on the market, their coverage makes these gaiters perfect for protecting your legs and ankles if you’re walking through snow or tall brush. Long-distance runners may want to look for a smaller, lighter pair of gaiters, but for everybody else, “Crocs” are a standout choice for all types of outdoor activities.

Outdoor Research Women’s Crocodile Gaiters Key Features:

  • Waterproof and windproof construction
  • Breathable
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Durable BioThane instep strap
  • Hook-and-loop front closure
  • Top buckle holds gaiters in place
  • Durable boot lace hooks
  • Large circumference fits around most types of footwear

Our Runner Up Pick: Leg Shield Neoprene Gaiters

Runner up
Leg Shield Neoprene Gaiters

Protect your shins and calves with the Leg Shield Neoprene Gaiters.

$27.95 USD

Getting a single cut or scratch on your leg might not seem like a big deal, but when you spend a lot of time hiking off-trail, those scratches can add up fast. If you’re looking for gaiters that will protect your legs from injuries while you’re exploring the great outdoors (or just doing yard work), these Leg Shield Neoprene Gaiters fit the bill perfectly.

With their three adjustable Velcro straps, these gaiters are designed to fit comfortably and securely around your calves, keeping scratchy underbrush and thorn bushes away from your skin. They’re easy to put on and take off, and one size fits most adults. The gaiters measure 11.5 inches high.

These gaiters do provide some protection from the weather – they’re windproof and water-resistant – but be aware that they don’t fully cover the shoe and ankle area. They aren’t meant to keep water and debris out of your shoes, and they’re better suited for use with hiking shoes than tall boots. If you want to keep your feet and legs dry in mucky areas, or if you’re looking for a gaiter that will prevent pebbles from getting into your shoes, you’ll probably want to find a pair with a strap that fastens underneath your shoe or boot instead.

Leg Shield Neoprene Gaiters Key Features:

  • Fits calf sizes from 11.5″ to 18″
  • Three adjustable Velcro straps for a customized fit
  • Neoprene lining
  • Nylon exterior
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Durable zigzag stitching
  • Hand washable

Best Budget Pick: OUTAD Waterproof Hiking Gaiters

Budget pick
OUTAD Waterproof Hiking Gaiters

Keep your legs and feet dry with these budget-friendly hiking gaiters.

If you’re on a budget, or if you haven’t used gaiters before and want to give them a try, these OUTAD Waterproof Hiking Gaiters are an all-around great pick. Made of coated nylon, they’re lightweight and breathable – ideal for summertime hikes. They’re also snow-proof, although they are not lined with fleece for extra warmth.

The top drawstring of these gaiters adjusts for a secure fit. The bottom strap fastens around your shoe or boot with Velcro, not a buckle, which is a plus if you’re concerned about plastic fastenings that might break. Reviewers have noted that these gaiters run small, so you may want to buy one size up from what you think you need, especially if you’re planning to wear these gaiters over bulky boots.

OUTAD Waterproof Hiking Gaiters Key Features:

  • Waterproof coated nylon exterior
  • Top drawstring
  • Adjustable bottom strap with hook-and-loop fastening
  • Metal hook attaches to shoelaces
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Available in sizes S through XL
  • Available in blue, green, light gray, and dark gray

Best Hiking Gaiters: Salomon Unisex High Trail Reflective Gaiters

Best hiking gaiters

These lightweight gaiters are ideal for all-day hikes.

When you head out for a long hike, you don’t want to be bogged down by anything unnecessary. These Salomon Unisex High Trail Reflective Gaiters are made to keep annoying debris out of your shoes without weighing you down or making your legs overheat. They even provide some ankle support.

These gaiters, unlike many of the others on this list, cover only the ankle area and the top of the shoe. Knee-high gaiters can get warm, even if they’re breathable, so this scaled-back pair is perfect for staying cool and comfortable when you’re hiking or running. They’re easy to put on – just slip the elastic strap under your shoe, wrap the gaiter around your ankle, and Velcro it in place. The three size options fit men’s shoe sizes from 4.5 to 12, and the jersey fabric of these gaiters is stretchy, so getting a comfortable fit is simple.

Salomon Unisex High Trail Reflective Gaiters Key Features:

  • Fits men’s shoe sizes from 4.5 to 12
  • Simple one-piece construction
  • Hook-and-loop fastening
  • Stretchy, breathable fabric
  • Made for use with shoes, not boots
  • Provides some ankle reinforcement
  • Red-and-black color scheme
  • Reflective logo for increased visibility

Best Boot Gaiters: FiveJoy Mountain Hiking Boot Gaiters

Best boot gaiters
FiveJoy Mountain Hiking Boot Gaiters

These tall boot gaiters are compatible with any type of footwear.

$45.00 USD

These FiveJoy Mountain Hiking Boot Gaiters will keep your pants dry and your legs protected in all seasons and all types of weather. Coated with polyurethane to keep moisture out, these gaiters are suitable for hiking, walking through snow, and doing yard work.

These gaiters are made of stiff, heavy-duty nylon material. They open in front and fasten with a 1″-wide hook-and-loop closure, so you won’t have to fight with these gaiters to pull them on over your pants. The adjustable instep strap fastens with a sturdy metal buckle and can withstand temperatures as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Attach the metal boot lace hook, tighten the top strap around your upper calf to keep debris out of the gaiters, and you’re ready to go.

These gaiters are unisex and available only in black. Choose from sizes M, L, and XL. Some reviewers recommend buying a size bigger than you think you need if you’re planning to layer these gaiters over thick pants in cold weather.

FiveJoy Mountain Hiking Boot Gaiters Key Features:

  • Sizes M through XL available
  • Polyurethane-coated nylon material repels water and snow
  • Wide front hook-and-loop closure
  • Adjustable top strap
  • Adjustable instep strap with buckle closure
  • Breathable
  • Folds up small for easy carrying

Who Should Buy Gaiters

Gaiters are a smart investment for anybody who spends a lot of time hiking, backpacking, or working outside. A good pair of gaiters will keep your feet and legs dry, warm, and comfortable during most outdoor activities. There aren’t many things more annoying than accidentally stepping in a puddle and then having to go about your day with damp socks and pant legs, and gaiters are designed to help prevent this. They’re also useful for sealing off the tops of your boots or shoes so snow and other debris can’t get inside. If you live in an area where you frequently have to walk through deep snow, the right pair of gaiters can convert any waterproof footwear into tall snow boots.

If you live in a humid, buggy climate, you may also want to use gaiters to protect your lower legs from bites. Spray bug repellent on your gaiters to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests. You can even look for gaiters that are specially designed to protect you from snakebites – a must if you frequently go trekking in areas where venomous snakes can be found.

Top pick

You can’t go wrong by choosing Outdoor Research’s classic Crocodile Gaiters for all your outdoor adventures.

Important Features to Consider

Gaiters should keep foreign objects out of your shoes, repel water, and stay in place without needing to be adjusted constantly. Here are a few important features you should look for as you select a pair of gaiters.

  • Fit. Too-tight gaiters are uncomfortable and prone to coming unfastened, while too-big gaiters may not keep water and debris out of your shoes effectively. Make sure that you measure your legs and look at sizing charts before you decide which gaiters to buy. Also, consider what kind of pants you’re going to be wearing with your gaiters. You may need to buy a bigger size if you’re planning on layering your gaiters over thick winter pants.
  • Height. Tall boot gaiters are useful for walking through deep snow and protecting your shins from scratchy underbrush. However, they can also get hot to wear for long periods of time. Smaller, lighter gaiters may be a better choice if staying cool is a priority for you.
  • Fastenings. Hook-and-loop fastenings make it easy to put on and take off a pair of gaiters, but this type of closure might wear out more quickly than buckle fastenings. However, buckles — especially plastic buckles — are often more prone to breaking. Both types of fastenings can work well, so this factor really comes down to personal preference.
  • Material. What time of year are you planning to use your gaiters most? Some gaiters are made specifically for use in cold, snowy weather. These are often lined with fleece or another warm material. Other gaiters are made to be cool and breathable in the summer.
  • Weight. Heavier gaiters will afford you extra protection against scrapes and bug bites, but they can also weigh you down. If you’re a hiker or a runner, you may want to look for gaiters designed to be lightweight.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are gaiters and how do they work?

Gaiters are fabric sleeves that are worn over the ankles and calves. Most gaiters come down over the tops of your shoes or boots. They typically have a buckle or a strap that fastens under your footwear, preventing them from riding up on your legs, as well as adjustable straps that fasten around your ankles or calves.

Gaiters can serve a variety of purposes. Some people wear waterproof gaiters to keep their socks and pant legs dry in wet outdoor conditions. Others use gaiters to prevent cuts and scratches, keep pebbles out of shoes, and ward off insect bites.

Are gaiters waterproof?

Most gaiters are waterproof or water-resistant enough to keep your clothing and feet dry in rainy or snowy weather. (Some are mostly meant for keeping objects out of your shoes, though, so be sure to read each pair’s list of features carefully before you buy.) However, gaiters aren’t meant for wading in deep water. Even the best-fitting gaiters can’t create enough of a seal with your footwear to keep water out completely. If you’re looking for completely waterproof footwear, fishing boots or waders are a better option than gaiters.

What are gaiters for running?

Running gaiters, as the name implies, are made for runners. They are lightweight and small, typically covering just the ankle and upper shoe area. Their purpose is to prevent gravel and other small objects from getting into your shoes during a run. Some running gaiters are water-resistant, while others are not.

What are gaiters on snowboard pants?

Almost all snowboard pants come with built-in gaiters to keep snow out. These gaiters most often consist of a snug elastic band that goes over your snow boots and hooks that attach to your boot laces to keep the gaiters in place. If your snowboard pants already have built-in gaiters, you don’t need to buy a separate pair.

Other Gaiters We Reviewed

Top pick

You can’t go wrong by choosing Outdoor Research’s classic Crocodile Gaiters for all your outdoor adventures.

We looked at 20 other pairs of gaiters. Even though these didn’t make our 5 best gaiters list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your hiking or camping trips. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Hiking Gaiters

Black Crystal Women’s Hiking Gaiters

Black Crystal Women's Hiking Gaiters

These all-weather hiking gaiters are made for durability with their aluminum buckles and professional-grade TPU instep straps. A men’s version is also available.

Key Features:

  • Waterproof nylon material
  • 15mm DURAFLEX aluminum buckles
  • Metal bootlace hook
  • Velcro front opening
  • Tough TPU instep strap

Cost: $21

Mil-Tec Flecktarn Waterproof Gaiters

Mil-Tec Flecktarn Waterproof Gaiters

With elastic bands at the top, middle, and bottom, these gaiters can stretch to fit most adults with no fuss. The instep bands are made of steel and leather for extra durability.

Key Features:

  • One size fits most
  • Unisex
  • Front zipper with Velcro storm flap
  • Elastic bands at top, middle, and bottom of gaiters
  • Rip-stop material
  • Steel and leather instep straps
  • Camouflage print

Cost: $22

Moon Lence Waterproof Leg Gaiters

Moon Lence Waterproof Leg Gaiters

Cold, wet weather is no match for these tall hiking gaiters. They’re waterproof on the outside and lined with warm polyester fleece on the inside.

Key Features:

  • One size fits most
  • Unisex
  • 16″ high from top to bottom
  • Adjustable elastic bands at top, middle, and bottom of gaiters
  • Front Velcro closure
  • Adjustable instep strap with Velcro fastening
  • Machine washable
  • Carrying bag included

Cost: $14

Moxie Gear Ankle Gaiters

Moxie Gear Ankle Gaiters

These ultra-lightweight gaiters are a great pick for long-distance hikers and runners. They wrap around your ankles and lower calves to keep unwanted objects out of your shoes.

Key Features:

  • Available in small, medium, and large sizes
  • Adjustable instep straps with quick-release buckles
  • Waterproof
  • Shoelace clip included
  • Tear-resistant material
  • Two replacement instep straps included

Cost: $36

Outdoor Research Men’s Rocky Mountain High Gaiters

Outdoor Research Men's Rocky Mountain High Gaiters

Take on the Rocky Mountains (or any other mountains!) with these all-season, all-terrain gaiters. They’re made of lightweight, water-resistant nylon and available in four sizes. The manufacturer also makes a women’s version.

Key Features:

  • Available in sizes S through XL
  • Adjustable top strap
  • Hook-and-loop front closure
  • Hypalon instep strap with metal buckle
  • Sturdy boot lace hook
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof

Cost: $29 to $99

Outdoor Research Women’s Verglas Gaiters

Outdoor Research Women's Verglas Gaiters

The Verglas Gaiters from Outdoor Research are a lighter, pared-back version of our top pick, the Crocodile Gaiters made by the same manufacturer. If you’re looking for gaiters that perform well without weighing you down, these may be perfect for you. You can find the men’s version here.

Key Features:

  • Available in sizes S, M, and L
  • Lightweight, durable nylon and Cordura material
  • Adjustable buckle top closure
  • Hook-and-loop front closure
  • Hypalon instep strap with metal buckle
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Easy to pack and carry

Cost: $42 to $127

Salomon Low Trail Gaiters

Salomon Low Trail Gaiters

These gaiters are so light and small that you might forget you’re wearing them. Perfect for runners, the gaiters fit securely around your ankles with a single Velcro closure. They’re best for use with low-cut running or hiking shoes.

Key Features:

  • Three sizes fit men’s shoe sizes from 4.5 to 12
  • Stretchy fabric for a comfortable fit
  • Velcro closure
  • Ankle padding
  • Non-adjustable instep strap
  • Reflective logo
  • Available in black, black with green trim, and red

Cost: $20 to $84

Boot Gaiters

Edge Technical High Leg Gaiters

Edge Technical High Leg Gaiters

These unisex gaiters are a budget-friendly choice for all your outdoor needs. Amazon reviewers say they’re great for hunting, hiking, and mountain climbing in all kinds of weather conditions.

Key Features:

  • Available in sizes XS and S
  • Waterproof and tear-proof nylon material
  • Adjustable top strap with buckle
  • Hook-and-loop front closure
  • Instep strap with buckle
  • Metal boot lace hook
  • Compatible with almost any type of shoe or boot

Cost: $10

Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters

Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiters

Unlike most other boot gaiters, these have a front zipper closure that’s been treated to repel water. They’re also machine-washable, and their protective coating will stay intact for as many as 50 washes. Many reviewers note that these gaiters run small in the calves, but they’re available in sizes XS through XL, so you’ll most likely be able to find a pair that fits.

Key Features:

  • Available in sizes XS through XL
  • Front zipper closure
  • Water-repellent
  • Adjustable top strap with slide buckle
  • Adjustable instep strap with metal buckle
  • Metal hook attaches securely to boot laces
  • Machine washable for up to 50 washes

Cost: $50

Threshold Back Country Gaiters

Threshold Back Country Gaiters

Measuring 18″ tall, these gaiters give you extra protection from the elements when it’s rainy or snowy out.

Key Features:

  • Fits boot sizes 6 to 9
  • Coated material is water-resistant
  • Breathable
  • Elastic instep strap
  • Rust-proof boot lace hook
  • Adjustable top drawstring

Cost: $24

Unigear Waterproof Snow Boot Gaiters

Unigear Waterproof Snow Boot Gaiters

Thin, light, and foldable, these gaiters are just as easy to pack and carry as they are to wear all day. Reviewers note that these gaiters work well in the snow.

Key Features:

  • Sizes S through XL available
  • Polyester and oxford material
  • Tear and puncture resistant
  • Waterproof
  • Resists temperatures as cold as -31 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Durable TPU instep strap with plastic buckle
  • Front Velcro closure
  • Adjustable top band with plastic buckle
  • Available in blue, green, and black

Cost: $11 to $13

Snake Gaiters

Crackshot Snake Guardz Socks

Crackshot Snake Guardz Socks

These gaiters let air circulate next to your legs, keeping you cool while protecting you. With luck, you won’t have to put these gaiters to the test, but reviewers on Amazon say that they do indeed work to prevent snakebites. They come in four different colors.

Key Features:

  • Available in sizes S through XXXL
  • Available in khaki, orange, green, and camouflage print
  • Lightweight
  • Water-repellent
  • Designed to promote air circulation

Cost: $60 to $77

Foreverlast Snake Guard Shields

Foreverlast Snake Guard Shields

Snake fangs, thorns, sharp rocks — nothing gets past these gaiters. With their camouflage print, they’re ideal for hunting. They can be worn alone or over boots.

Key Features:

  • Covers the entire calf and shin area
  • Instep flap protects the top of your shoe or boot
  • Two buckles for an adjustable fit
  • Camouflage print

Cost: $32

Razer Gaiters Snake Gaiters

Razer Gaiters Snake Gaiters

At 13 ounces each, these snake gaiters are light enough for all-day wear. The polycarbonate shield panels inside the nylon casing have been lab tested for puncture resistance. These gaiters are adjustable and fit calves 13″ to 20″ around.

Key Features:

  • One size fits most
  • Lab tested for puncture resistance
  • Polycarbonate shields
  • Nylon exterior
  • Each gaiter weighs 13 oz.
  • Instep flaps protect the tops of your feet
  • Available in black and tan
  • Carrying bag included

Cost: $60

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters

These gaiters are made from a combination of polyester and ballistic fiber, which makes them flexible and lightweight (only 6 ounces each!). Unlike most other snake gaiters, these are foldable, so you can stash them in your backpack easily. The manufacturer tests these gaiters with live rattlesnakes, so you can be sure they’re effective.

Key Features:

  • Sizes husky and regular available
  • Flexible enough to fold
  • Lightweight (6 ounces per gaiter)
  • Zipper closure
  • Adjustable top drawstring
  • Protective instep flap
  • Available in khaki, sage green, and camo print

Cost: $150 to $174

Snow Gaiters

AKEfit Outdoor Waterproof Snow Gaiters

AKEfit Outdoor Waterproof Snow Gaiters

With their snug top elastic band and stretchy instep cord, these mid-calf gaiters are made to seal out snow and rain. Choose from black-and-gray or yellow-and-gray versions.

Key Features:

  • One size fits most
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Highly adjustable
  • Elastic top band
  • Elastic instep cord
  • Tear-resistant

Cost: $13

Black Diamond Apex Gaiters

Black Diamond Apex Gaiters

These heavy-duty snow gaiters are made with hardshell Gore-Tex uppers to keep you warm and dry on the ski slopes or anywhere else.

Key Features:

  • Sizes S through XL available
  • Gore-Tex exterior for warmth and breathability
  • Hook-and-loop front closure
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Top slide-release buckle
  • Neoprene-coated instep strap

Cost: $75 to $90

Black Diamond FrontPoint Gaiters

Black Diamond FrontPoint Gaiters

Reviewers love the quality and durability of these gaiters. Made of Gore-Tex and nylon, they’re rugged yet lightweight — perfect for winter hiking and ice climbing.

Key Features:

  • Sizes S through XL available
  • Gore-Tex upper half
  • Scratch-resistant nylon lower half
  • Calf-high
  • Adjustable top elastic band
  • Neoprene-coated instep strap

Cost: $70 to $135

Kangkai Waterproof Leg Gaiters

Kangkai Waterproof Leg Gaiters

Waterproof and breathable, these lightweight gaiters keep the wind off your legs when it’s cold out. The side zippers are protected by Velcro flaps. An extra elastic band in the middle of the gaiters keeps them securely in place around your calves.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable top drawstring
  • Adjustable instep strap with hook-and-loop fastening
  • Middle elastic band for a close, comfortable fit
  • Metal shoelace hook
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Available in black and red

Cost: $16

Oumers Snow Leg Gaiters

Oumers Snow Leg Gaiters

These fleece-lined gaiters are adjustable at the top and bottom. One size fits most, although some reviewers note that the gaiters may not work for people with large calves. These gaiters are available in black and camouflage.

Key Features:

  • 17″ tall
  • One size fits most
  • Unisex
  • Zipper closure with Velcro flap and top snap
  • Instep straps with plastic slide adjusters
  • Lined with fleece for warmth
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Choose from camouflage or black

Cost: $12

Products You May Be Interested In: