Why You Should Be Wearing Trail Running Gaiters

Why You Should Be Wearing Trail Running Gaiters

Estimated read time: 4 minutes.

If you’re an avid runner, you know there’s nothing like hitting the trail and getting away from it all. There’s nothing like the feeling of fresh air in your lungs and the sun on your face as you explore new terrain and push yourself to your limits. However, if you’re not careful, trail running can also be a recipe for disaster. That’s where gaiters come in.

What are Gaiters?

Gaiters are protective covers worn over your shoes and lower legs. They help to keep debris like dirt, sand, rocks, and snow out of your shoes and socks so that you can focus on the task at hand—running!

Why You Should Be Wearing Them 

There are a few reasons why every runner should invest in a good pair of gaiters. First of all, as any runner knows, one of the worst things that can happen on the run is getting a rock or piece of gravel stuck in your shoe. It’s not only painful but can also throw off your gait and rhythm, which can lead to injury. Gaiters help to prevent this by acting as a barrier between your shoes and the trail. 

In addition, gaiters help keep your feet dry and comfortable by wicking away sweat and preventing water from seeping into your shoes. This is especially important in cold weather when wet feet can lead to hypothermia. Additionally, gaiters can also help to prevent blisters by keeping sand and grit out of your socks. 

How to wear Trail Running Gaiters

If you’re sold on the idea of wearing gaiters, the next question is how to wear them. The good news is that it’s pretty simple! 

Step 1: Put on your trail running shoes. Make sure that they’re laced up tightly and that there’s no debris inside them.

Step 2: Place the gaiter over your foot, so the bottom opening is flush with the ground. The top opening should be facing up.

Step 3: Put your heel through the heel loop and pull the gaiter up over your calf. The fabric should be snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit one finger between your skin and the gaiter.

Step 4: Once the gaiter is in place, Adjust the velcro strap, so it’s snug but not too tight. You don’t want the gaiter to be so loose that it falls off, but you also don’t want it to be so tight that it cuts off circulation.

The best Trail Running Gaiters

Now that you know the importance of wearing gaiters and how to wear them, it’s time to choose a pair for yourself. Here are a few of the best trail running gaiters on the market: 

FK Gaiter – Ultimate Direction

If you’re looking for a gaiter that will keep you secure and comfortable on even the most challenging trails, look no further than the FK Gaiter from Ultimate Direction. These gaiters are designed by runners for runners and feature a durable instep strap, front hook, and wide hook-and-loop band that makes them easy to take on and off without messing with your shoes. The Cordura fabric is highly abrasion-resistant, making these gaiters ideal for a wide range of shoes, from more minimal trail shoes to the full-squish maximalist models. Whether tackling a new trail or pushing your limits on a familiar one, the FK Gaiter will help you go the distance in comfort and style.

Altra Trail Gaiter

These gaiters weigh in at just 2.6 ounces per pair, making them ideal for long hikes or trail runs. They’re also designed to fit securely without an under-shoe strap, as long as you have a gaiter trap in the back and a place to hook the front. This means you can take your shoes off/put them on without taking the gaiters off – perfect for making a quick pit stop.

REI Co-op Swiftland Running Gaiters

REI Co-op Swiftland Running Gaiters are made from a stretchy polyester/spandex blend; these gaiters are designed to provide a snug and comfortable fit that moves with you. They’re also breathable and quick-drying, so you can keep going even when the temperature starts to rise. Plus, they’re mud, dust, and sand-resistant, so you can rest assured knowing your feet will stay clean and dry. The front hook attaches to your shoelaces for a secure fit, and the 2 mm elastic cord fits snugly between your shoes’ lugs to keep them in place without compromising your stride. For even more security, the gaiters are compatible with any trail-running shoe with a built-in hook-and-loop patch at the heel (such as Altra shoes with GaiterTrap™ technology). 


If you’re serious about running, then you need to invest in a good pair of trail running gaiters. They’ll help keep rocks and debris out of your shoes, wick away sweat to keep your feet dry, and even prevent blisters by keeping sand and grit out of your socks. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the trails!

FAQs about trail running gaiters

How do I wash my gaiters? 

Most gaiters can be machine washed on a gentle cycle. However, we recommend checking the care instructions on your particular gaiters before washing them. 

I’ve never worn gaiters before. Where can I buy them? 

You can buy gaiters at most sporting goods stores or online. We recommend trying on a few different pairs to find the ones that fit you best.

Joseph Peele