Leg gaiters are super-useful items of kit that every backpacker should have. They’re basically over-trousers that cover your lower legs… stopping water from getting into your boots and soaking your socks and trousers.
Gaiters are a sort of middle ground between waterproof trousers… which stop the rain getting in but let water in at the bottom… and normal over trousers… which don’t keep anything out.
They’re especially useful for walkers and hikers who have to cross rivers or streams because they keep the rest of your gear nice and dry.
Do Gaiters Go Over Waterproof Trousers?
A gaiter is essentially a piece of fabric that goes over your boots. They are intended to stop snow and water from entering your boots.
The word “gaiter” comes from the Dutch “geit” which means goat because these were originally made from goatskin. Gaiter design has evolved significantly since then… with the most common type today being made from Nylon or Polyester fabric… but it is still primarily used for keeping water and debris out of shoes.
Gaiters are waterproof leggings worn to help protect against mud… sand… and snow. Gaiters come in two different styles: low-cut and high-cut. Low-cut gaiters extend only to the ankle… whereas high-cut gaiters extend higher up onto the leg.
How Do You Wear Waterproof Gaiters?
Gaiters are a great piece of kit for walkers and keep your lower legs dry in the rain and snow. Although they look a bit silly they’re not just for fashion-conscious people… as they can be an essential part of your clothing in foul weather.
Contrary to popular belief… they don’t have to be worn over waterproof trousers or walking boots – although that’s what many people do – instead can be attached below them.
When used this way… the job of the gaiters is to keep water out of your socks… which is the main aim. Some people use gaiters with waterproof trousers and a pair of lightweight walking boots – which means there’s no extra weight from wearing gaiters.
Trousers with side zips are best for attaching them to… but you can also clip them onto standard waistbands. The clips themselves should be robust and easy to operate while you’re wearing gloves or mittens. They should also have some kind of locking mechanism to keep them in place when you’re walking on uneven ground.
A good pair will be breathable so that your feet don’t get too hot… but unlike wellies… you’ll want to wear a pair of long socks or some kind of inner lining.
Do Gaiters Stop Water?
Gaiters do help keep water out of your shoes and other materials from entering your shoes. In addition to this… it will keep leaves… sticks… and rocks from getting in your shoes as well. These items can make it uncomfortable to walk if they are inside of your shoe.
Gaiters can be made out of different types of material including neoprene and nylon. This material will help keep debris out while also keeping water out.
When choosing a pair of gaiters you need to pay attention to the design of the gaiter. The gaiter should be able to fit snugly on the shoe and stay in place while you are walking or running around.
Gaiters will play an important role when you are walking in wet conditions or even snow when it starts falling unexpectedly. A lot of people enjoy wearing gaiters while they are snowboarding because it will protect their pants from getting wet
What Is the Purpose of Leg Gaiters?
Leg Gaiters are a great way to protect your legs from the cold… from getting wet in the rain… and from getting covered in mud. They are also very useful for keeping your trousers clean.
Trousers… shorts… skirts… and dresses can all be worn with gaiters but they look particularly good with hiking trousers.
If you have ever hiked in the rain you will know that most of the time it is your lower half that gets wet. The best way to stop this is to prevent water from running down your legs in the first place.
The main function of leg gaiters is to keep debris out of your shoes and boots when walking through fields and woods or when crossing streams and bogs.
They are also useful if you climb mountains or travel in areas where there are a lot of insects or ticks.
They can be used as a dust barrier when riding horses… cycling… or taking part in other outdoor activities.
There’s more to gaiters than just keeping your legs dry though. They can stop biting insects… they help prevent blisters and they stop the laces on your boots from rubbing on your heel.
Leg gaiters can be made from numerous different materials including neoprene… leather… cotton… and synthetic fabrics. Which material you choose will depend on how much protection you need… how much money you want to spend and how warm you need them to be.
Are Gaiters Worth Wearing?
Gaiters are a great piece of gear for hiking. If you’re unfamiliar with them… think of them as just like pants that attach to your shoes and come up over your knees. They’ve got a few advantages over pants alone. For instance… many models have extra protection around the ankle… which can be handy if you’re walking through thick brush or along rocky trails.
And some have extra ventilation in the foot area… so you can wear them without getting overheated on warm days. You can also get waterproof gaiters that will keep your pants dry even if you’re walking through deep puddles or crossing streams.
There are a few downsides to gaiters… as well: they cost more than regular hiking pants… they take longer to put on… and they can make it harder to fit your boots comfortably when you take them off at the end of the day. But if you want extra protection from high bushes and thorny vines while you hike… they’re worth considering.
So are gaiters worth wearing if you’ve got waterproof pants? The short answer is no. Unless your waterproof pants are very thin (and thus prone to tearing) or otherwise not very durable… there’s really no reason to wear gaiters with them.
In summary… when it comes to functionality… there isn’t much difference between waterproof gaiters and ordinary ones. However… there is one thing that makes them better than others – they are made from waterproof fabric instead of breathable ones.
The reason is simple – breathable fabric will let moisture in when you sweat so it will not be helpful if you want to keep your feet dry.
Louise Wilson is an accomplished author, passionate textile historian, and renowned fashion enthusiast with a rich background in the world of apparel.
Graduating with honors in Fashion Design, Louise further expanded her skills and knowledge by completing a master’s degree in Textile History. Her academic pursuits have led her to explore the fashion capitals of the world, including Milan, Paris, and New York, enriching her insights into the global world of fashion.
As an author, Louise’s passion for fashion has found its way into her writings, where she intricately weaves narratives of style, design, and fashion history.