10 Best Trail Running Gaiters Reviewed

If you’re a regular off-road runner, you may want to learn more about the best trail running gaiters. These can quickly become a solid part of your running arsenal and once you find the right ones, you won’t hit your favorite trails without them.

Those of us that run off-road, on rocky terrain, or our favorite trails will encounter elements that can make our runs less enjoyable and deter us from returning. The best trail running gaiters prevent blisters from forming and help you avoid sore or cut up legs.

When we hit the great outdoors, we run with the elements, and if we want to get out there again you may want to invest in the best trail gaiters.

Standout Picks

Salomon Low
These low gaiters ride low on the ankle, and hence provide little disruption while being very comfortable. They don’t ride up on the ankle and they don’t often need much re-adjustment. They secure with Velcro, which ensures a tight fit and a sturdy product, and they’re very good for keeping sand, stones, and water out of your shoes. Like much of Salomon’s gear, they work well and they’re a good addition to your arsenal of running equipment. If you’re looking for something simple and reliable, these are a great option.
Amazon Link
Salomon High
Another great product from Salomon. Make sure not to mistake it with Salomon Low Trail Gaiters; these are available in three sizes. They also give you excellent protection for your ankle bones, they're water-resistant and will let you run on any terrain you want to. They're also extremely breathable!
Outdoor Research Wrapid
These gaiters are comfortable and provide optimal protection. They are made of Nylon, Polyester, and Spandex, and are high enough to prevent any debris from entering your trail running shoes.
Amazon Link
Altra Trail
These consist of 82% Nylon and 18% Spandex. They have a low profile design and are perfect for the most challenging runs. There are no straps so you can easily take off your shoes without taking off the gaiters. There are two sizes available. They have an over-the-ankle design to keep all the debris out of your shoes.
Outdoor Research Ultra Trail
These are some great gaiters by Outdoor Research. They come in other colors besides black and are really durable and built to last. If you need protection from the terrain you run in, take a further look at these awesome gaiters.
Amazon Link
Outdoor Research Stamina
These were created for real race lovers. Very lightweight, they're made of Polyester and Elastyne. They were designed for real hard-working athletes and competitors. They keep all mud, sand and other debris out of your shoes. They also have lace hooks.
Rab Latok Alpine
We previously had some Salomon gaiters here on our list, but we found the Rab Latok Alpine gaiters to replace them with. These are great for technical terrain and a great addition if you hit the trails often.
Amazon Link
Inov-8 Debris 32
These Inov-8 gaiters are excellent at keeping out stones, dirt, and debris, and are more waterproof than your average gaiters. Their clever water repellent treatment ensures that you stay dry in all but the very worst conditions. They are also very thick, which is great when you want to stay warm in cold conditions, but can mean that they leave your feet slightly too warm in hotter conditions. These gaiters come with one major flaw – the rubber cord which attaches them to the shoe is not very durable at all, and often snaps after very little use.
Amazon Link
Gore-X
If you are looking for a stylish pair of gaiters, then these are not it. However, if you want effectiveness, durability, and something that will make you visible then the Gore-X gaiters certainly deliver.
Amazon Link
Rab Scree
These gaiters do all of the basic things well, but they don’t offer much in terms of waterproofing. They are a very light set of gaiters and provide very good breathability and flexibility to keep you cool, but at the expense of comfort. The tops of the gaiters are somewhat uncomfortable for some wearers as they can squeeze the ankles. They look fine and they are pretty easy to put on and take off, but if you happen to have slightly larger ankles, these might not be the best option for you.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

The main reason running gaiters were created in the first place was to help you stay comfortable while you are on your runs. They are designs to keep our sand, rocks, and debris so your feet stay comfortable while you are out running your favorite trails or outdoor course! The goal of running gaiters is to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable run from start to finish each and every time.

Whether you are an experienced trail runner or you’re just getting started, trail running gaiters will become your new best friend. To help you make your selection, we have compiled a brief list of considerations to take into account. This type of specialized trail running equipment should not be selected randomly as they are each designed for specific uses. Before you head out to the great outdoors, let’s make sure that you are matched with just the right ones to suit your needs.

Many gaiters are made using synthetic materials. They might have a DWR ( durable water repellent) finish on the outside, with a breathable membrane inside, or have just the water repelling finish.

High gaiters offer a more protected feel for your lower leg. You will be better off with a high gaiter if you plan on running off trail or on a trail with lots of obstacles. Some gaiters will only provide a minimal profile.

Low cut running gaiters fit around your ankle. They are ideal in offering protection against dirt and pebbles, which might slip in as you run. They are perfect for running on a day when there is the possibility of it raining. They provide ample protection to the feet from the dirt and grime that are associated with trail runs and lowland rambling.

Gaiters used to be made using rubber, as this was the most effective at repelling water at the time. But with the numerous advancements in sporting fabrics and synthetics, running gaiters are now manufactured in a vast variety of manmade fabrics. These fabrics are based around artificial/synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and Cardura. Running gaiters can now offer high levels of water repellency and great breathability while remaining lightweight.

The most common fabrics are eVent and Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is created with waterproof but breathable pores that keep moisture out while also letting moisture from inside your shoe escape. Perfect for gaiters that are likely to be used in a very moist climate and/or your feet sweat a lot. Typically all gaiters are efficiently designed to be weather resistant and offer protection while also having abrasion resistance.

Durability

Running gaiters need to be made tough and durable so they can hold up to those wooded trails and rough terrain. Most are made from tough stretchy materials that resist tears and punctures. So long as you use them properly and take care of them most running gaiters will last you a year or more so they are a great option for protecting your feet from debris!

All gaiters have some amount of abrasion resistance, providing a high degree of durability and protecting your gaiters from wear and tear. For instance, Inov-8’s Debris gaiter is known to have the lowest degree of resistance to abrasion, because the material used is softer and with sock-like features.

Here we also looked attachment points.This determines the gaiters compatibility with trail shoes. Most running gaiters have a strap which fits the outsole of the shoes. However, we have gaiters that are strapless. These types of gaiters will connect to the shoe in a variety of ways, using either fastening loops or hooks. For these types, you will need to get a shoe that is compatible to that particular type. It’s good to note that not every gaiter will fit into just any running shoe. It’s advised that before you buy a running gaiter you check its compatibility with your running shoes.

Protection

When it comes to protecting your feet from debris like rocks and dirt and sticks there are few pieces of running gear that will work as well as running gaiters! Because of their wrap-around design they will protect your feet and make great additions to any runner’s gear. If you want to protect your feet and have one less worry or distraction while running then try gaiters today!

As you may have read from our waterproof running shoes buying guide, water, dirt, and debris always manage to find a way into your shoes. The number one much-needed unwanted companions make their way in is through the top of your shoes. To add a much-needed layer of protection, manufacturers have developed gaiters of different shapes and sizes. Our buying guide is specific to trail running gaiters – it’s important to remember that hiking and snow-related gaiters are typically constructed with much thicker fabric, come up a lot higher up on the leg and are really about maximum protection. In contrast, trail running gaiters focus on breathability and range of motion; therefore they are constructed from a stretchable material that minimizes heat and water retention.

Every once in a while during your runs, you have to deal with the issue of stuff getting into your shoes, which is not only painful but also slows down your running. This is very common especially if you’re into trail running - it can be anything from dirt and rocks to snow and mud, so you have to make sure you're protected from all potential hazards. If it's “easy” trails you are running on, you might not need a trail running gaiter, but it will definitely help if you end up running off-trail on rougher terrain or through the woods, where the protection of a trail shoe alone won't be enough. Gaiters serve both to keep debris out of your shoes as well as to provide protection from branches or rocks that might scrape your legs.

It's really important we have an extra layer of protection from moisture and debris. If you know that dust and pebbles are going to be an issue then the decision is really a no-brainer. Better to use a gaiter than to have skin irritation or blisters.

Style

There are several styles available to choose from when it comes to running gaiters and many also have additional styling and color options to consider as well. There are many choices to consider on this list so think about your wants and needs and what will work best for your unique needs as well as what will fit your style and flare. You should have no trouble finding something that will work.

Cheap gaiters will have fastenings made with Velcro, while higher quality gaiters usually have closures that are zipped and covered using a storm flap. The zippers are typically anatomically curved to fit your body, and help to ensure that the gaiter can open and close easily. These also give you a more secure fit and feel when worn. Most gaiters are designed with a hook that is used to secure the gaiter around the front part of your shoes or boots. They are often elasticized around the ankle section of your foot to enhance the fit. At the top part, you will find a press type of stud fastening and a pull-cord with elastic properties for tightening the gaiter. The very best gaiters are of course usually the most expensive as well, and use a fastening buckle that of a click-lock style with an adjustable strap that prevents over the over-tightening which can occur with elastic styles.

Value

The final point to consider in your search for the best running gaiters for your outdoor trekking needs is their value. The value of any piece of running gear is a combination of the price you will pay for the product and the benefits you stand to gain. Investing a little more money into a quality product that lasts and that will serve you well is always a smart choice and is a good value investment.

Whether you are looking to buy the most affordable option or have a budget to purchase the most expensive gaiters out there, you will find that the value of your product goes beyond the price. If you are a trail runner, then you know how important the right running shoe is--and once you find the perfect pair for yourself you will want to protect them and make sure you get the most out of them.

The best trail running gaiters will not only protect your feet and legs, but they will also protect your shoes further and prevent them from getting damaged by unexpected outdoor elements--we can never know what we will encounter. Regardless of your budget, you are going to want gaiters that cover your needs and protect you and your shoes.

When looking at the value we looked at the price and compared it to the features it offers--is it waterproof, water-resistant, secure, etc. We also took a look at what actual users had to say after utilizing them for a period of time. The value we gave each product is based on our overall assessment and, while it does consider it, the price is not the sole factor taken into account.

While you narrow down your choices, we encourage you to take a look and consider our value rating, however, we also want you to know that you need to apply it to your own needs. If you see that a gaiter designed for snowy conditions is highly rated in the value department but if you live in South Florida, then you probably won't find much value in the product. We assess the products as a whole and don't categorize them for specific environments, climates, etc.

Our Top Favorite Gaitors

1. Salomon Low

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Salomon Low
Amazon Link

These low gaiters ride low on the ankle, and hence provide little disruption while being very comfortable. They don’t ride up on the ankle and they don’t often need much re-adjustment. They secure with Velcro, which ensures a tight fit and a sturdy product, and they’re very good for keeping sand, stones, and water out of your shoes. Like much of Salomon’s gear, they work well and they’re a good addition to your arsenal of running equipment. If you’re looking for something simple and reliable, these are a great option.

Read more

Comfort

These gaiters are very comfy while still doing the job well. Though waterproof, they ride low on the ankle, so they’re not going to keep you dry if you’re regularly running through puddles or in particularly boggy or watery terrain.

Appearance

They’re very smart and subtle, and look particularly good when worn with darker shoes. This is about as good as it gets in terms of discreet and small gaiters.

Cost and Value

They are around average price. Though there are slightly cheaper options on the market, these are very good value. You can certainly do worse than investing in these – there are lots of options on the market which cost more and don’t do the job as effectively.

Amazon Link

2. Salomon High

Where to buy
Salomon High
Amazon Link

Another great product from Salomon. Make sure not to mistake it with Salomon Low Trail Gaiters; these are available in three sizes. They also give you excellent protection for your ankle bones, they're water-resistant and will let you run on any terrain you want to. They're also extremely breathable!

Read more

Comfort

They are very helpful toll while running by preventing dirt, rocks, sand, and snow from entering your shoes. They also give additional security with Velcro closures.

Appearance

These have a reflective design to make you visible on the trail you run at night.

Cost and Value

Since these are made with elastic jersey fabric, they very durable and that’s why the price may be a little high. Nevertheless, they work perfectly and are worth every penny.

3. Outdoor Research Wrapid

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Outdoor Research Wrapid
Amazon Link

These gaiters are comfortable and provide optimal protection. They are made of Nylon, Polyester, and Spandex, and are high enough to prevent any debris from entering your trail running shoes.

Read more

Comfort

These gaiters are adjustable, lightweight, and comfortable. They utilize a hoop and loop system to keep the gaiters tightly secured - so they don't get in your way during your runs.

Appearance

These water-resistant gaiters are high enough to use anywhere - whether it's snowy, wet, or muddy. They only come in black and while they look thick, they will actually keep your feet cool and dry during runs.

Cost and Value

These trail running gaiters come at a moderate price. They won't break the bank, but there are cheaper options available on the market.

Amazon Link

4. Altra Trail

Where to buy
Altra Trail
Amazon Link

These consist of 82% Nylon and 18% Spandex. They have a low profile design and are perfect for the most challenging runs. There are no straps so you can easily take off your shoes without taking off the gaiters. There are two sizes available. They have an over-the-ankle design to keep all the debris out of your shoes.

Read more

Comfort

While you run you may forget that you’re wearing them because they are so lightweight. The material is breathable and abrasion resistant.

Appearance

These have a special reflective print which makes you more visible on the trail. They have metal lace hooks at the front. They are available in many colors if you want to add some style to your gear.

Cost and Value

These gaiters aren’t very expensive and are definitely worth the price.

5. Outdoor Research Ultra Trail

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Outdoor Research Ultra Trail
Amazon Link

These are some great gaiters by Outdoor Research. They come in other colors besides black and are really durable and built to last. If you need protection from the terrain you run in, take a further look at these awesome gaiters.

Read more

Comfort

These gaiters are made of Nylon and Spandex to ensure they provide a secure and comfortable fit. They are lightweight, breathable, and don't take away from your full range of motion--in fact, they encourage it thanks to their stretch and flexibility.

Appearance

These gaiters are minimalistic and not bulky in the slightest. They have reflective features and are water resistant.

Cost

These are a great investment if you need water resistant protection when you hit your favorite trails.

Amazon Link

6. Outdoor Research Stamina

Where to buy
Outdoor Research Stamina
Amazon Link

These were created for real race lovers. Very lightweight, they're made of Polyester and Elastyne. They were designed for real hard-working athletes and competitors. They keep all mud, sand and other debris out of your shoes. They also have lace hooks.

Read more

Comfort

With these there is no chance of debris getting in your shoe so there is a smaller chance for injury and blisters. They can easily attach to most running shoes. They are also very easy to clean.

Appearance

Their minimalistic appearance is really appreciated by reviewers. They're very adjustable.

Cost and Value

You may smile when you see the price as it’s quite cheap compared to the previous models on our list while still being of a very high quality.

7. Rab Latok Alpine

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Rab Latok Alpine
Amazon Link

We previously had some Salomon gaiters here on our list, but we found the Rab Latok Alpine gaiters to replace them with. These are great for technical terrain and a great addition if you hit the trails often.

Read more

Comfort

These are one of the higher and bulky gaiters, so they are designed to take on tough terrain. They have a drawcord and a hook and loop closure for a comfortable and secure fit. Their under boot strap provides additional security and their overall design is perfect for cold and snowy conditions.

Appearance

They look bulky because they are designed for cold and snowy weather. These are meant to keep you protected and not to look stylish. They don't come in color or design patterns, so their standard colors are it.

Cost and Value

These are some of the more expensive gaiters on our list. If you won't be in snowy or extra technical terrain then these won't be your best bet. However, if their features meet your needs then they are some of the best out there.

Amazon Link

8. Inov-8 Debris 32

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Inov-8 Debris 32
Amazon Link

These Inov-8 gaiters are excellent at keeping out stones, dirt, and debris, and are more waterproof than your average gaiters. Their clever water repellent treatment ensures that you stay dry in all but the very worst conditions. They are also very thick, which is great when you want to stay warm in cold conditions, but can mean that they leave your feet slightly too warm in hotter conditions. These gaiters come with one major flaw – the rubber cord which attaches them to the shoe is not very durable at all, and often snaps after very little use.

Read more

Comfort

These gaiters are very comfy and keep you quite warm. They’re nice and thick and provide plenty of coziness. They keep out all those annoying bits of debris and rock, which ensures a pleasant and comfortable run.

Appearance

They’re plain black, and hence subtle. But despite their strength, they do look a little floppy and flimsy. This means that they’re not particularly fashionable, which might be of significance to some.

Cost and value

This is perhaps the best option in terms of price. They are the cheapest on this list and do the job as well as any other. That said, they aren’t as reliable, so if you’re one of the unlucky ones, this could be one of those pesky examples of being dollar smart and penny stupid.

Amazon Link

9. Gore-X

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Gore-X
Amazon Link

If you are looking for a stylish pair of gaiters, then these are not it. However, if you want effectiveness, durability, and something that will make you visible then the Gore-X gaiters certainly deliver.

Read more

Comfort

These gaiters are short and breathable. They feature a windstopper membrane that will help you take on whatever the weather throws your way and provide a secure and comfortable fit that will stay in place.

Appearance

These are not super stylish but they are lower in cut and look sleek and minimalistic. They have reflective features and are available in fluorescent color, so you know you will be visible to others.

Cost and value

These are slightly expensive and you can find more affordable as well as more expensive options. Overall, they are a great everyday pick.

Amazon Link

10. Rab Scree

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Rab Scree
Amazon Link

These gaiters do all of the basic things well, but they don’t offer much in terms of waterproofing. They are a very light set of gaiters and provide very good breathability and flexibility to keep you cool, but at the expense of comfort. The tops of the gaiters are somewhat uncomfortable for some wearers as they can squeeze the ankles. They look fine and they are pretty easy to put on and take off, but if you happen to have slightly larger ankles, these might not be the best option for you.

Read more

Comfort

The main flaw here is comfort. They can be slightly tight and unpleasant if you have larger ankles. This is only an issue for a small portion of users but is of significance.

Appearance

These are plain and come in a nice grey color. Though they don’t have the subtlety or sleekness of other options, they still look pretty good.

Cost and value

These are a little on the steeper side, though they’re not a great deal more expensive than other options.

Amazon Link

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.