No matter how waterproof your shoes or hiking boots are, they can't keep water from coming in the top of your boots. That is why boot gaiters are a must have item for hiking, snowshoeing or any outdoor activity. A good pair of gaiters is just as helpful in the summer as they are in deep snow because they will keep dirt, pebbles, debris and moisture out of your boots and keep you moving on the hiking trail.
I like to use gaiters when I'm hiking in the snow. They are a light weight and easy to use option when I find myself crossing a snowfield or walking through wet brush. Instead of putting on a heavier pair of waterproof pants, I can just slip on my waterproof boot gaiters to keep my feet and ankles dry. They are light and packable enough to slip right into a backpack and it only take a few seconds to put them on.
How to Choose a Pair of Gaiters
The best pairs of boot gaiters will have an instep strap, a boot lace hook and a hook and loop closure. These features will help secure the gaiter in place and keep moisture out of your boots, shoes, or trailer runners. Consider a gaiter made with a waterproof fabric such as Gore-Tex. Also, consider the strength of the instep strap. Some instep straps are made of leather or nylon, the stronger the better. From my own experience, the instep is always the first thing to wear out from regular use.
Beyond a waterproof fabric and a well constructed instep strap, you'll want to consider the size. Most gaiters come in a Small, Medium and Large. The size refers to your boot size. For example, the Outdoor Research Cascadia Gore-Tex PacLite Gaiters available at Sierra Trading Post fit the following sizes.
Small = Men's Shoe Size 4-7 and Women's Size 5-8
Medium = Men's 6-9 and Women's 7-10
Large = Men's 8-11 and Women's 9-12
X-Large = Men's 10-13 and Women's 11-14
For tips on how to put on a pair of hiking gaiters, watch the following video.
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Boot Gaiters: A Great Tool for the Hiking Trail
By Andy Hawbaker
February 15, 2013
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