Best Running Gaiters 2017 – Comparisons & Reviews

Trail running isn’t for the faint-hearted. You have to contend with uneven terrain and the occasional animal encounter. But, one thing you shouldn’t have to deal with is rocks and sand getting into your shoes, disrupting your stride. With the best running gaiters, you’ll get protection from this common but super irritating annoyance.

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​Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

How comfortable they are: Some gaiters can feel too tight around the ankle area. You don’t want something that feels uncomfortable every time you move. This is an issue you have to be aware of if you have thicker ankles.

Best Running Gaiters

If you have thick ankles, these won’t work as well for you and if your ankles are thin, they’ll feel a bit baggy.

Best Running Gaiters

These gaiters are heavy duty compared to some other brands. They will give you ankle bone protection, which is a great add-on when you’re running on trails because uneven trails can hurt even the strongest of ankles.

Pros

  • These gaiters have a reflective logo on them, so while you won’t get much-added visibility in low-light situations, you will get some.

  • You’ll get great breathability with these.

  • It’s a one-piece design, which runners who hate complicated, time-consuming gear will appreciate -- they’ll slip on fast.

  • Although they offer the extra ankle protection, they are still lightweight enough that you won’t feel like you’re running in molasses while wearing these.

  • These will fit any shoes, which runners who bounce between different running shoes will like.

Cons

  • You’ll only have one color selection with these.

  • These gaiters won’t get you through years of running -- they may not even last months, depending upon your running volume because they tend to get holes in them.

  • Some runners have had problems with the Velcro coming apart during their runs and if mud gets on the Velcro, that problem becomes even worse.

Best Running Gaiters

​These black gaiters are made of primarily nylon and polyester, with a little bit of spandex thrown in. They are tall enough to protect you from anything that’s trying to work its way into your shoes.

​Pros

  • These gaiters have anti-slip prints at the heel that are made of silicone.

  • They use a hook and loop system on the inside so you won’t have that annoying flapping of straps while you’re running.

  • They also have an instep strap that you can take off if it’s irritating you or you can adjust it if the fit just needs a little tweaking.

  • These gaiters are tall enough to handle snowy conditions and they’ll also keep your feet drier in wet conditions, thanks to the water resistant shell material.

Cons

  • The Velcro positioning on these gaiters can snag on socks and pants. You’ll want to be careful not to wear any super expensive gear while using these or you may want to cover that area with a bit of duct tape on your run.

  • These may not feel very comfortable on your first run, but they’ll break in over time.

  • They run a bit small.

https://www.amazon.com/Inov-8-Debris-Gaiter-32-Medium/dp/B008ALUK1K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502641431&sr=8-1&keywords=inov8+debris+gaiter

These aren’t as heavy duty as the other Outdoor Research gaiters on our list. These are more affordable and they are a minimalist version for runners who want as little weight as possible and don’t mind losing the water protection feature.

Pros

  • These gaiters have an elastic top to help keep them in place.

  • They have hook and loop patches in the heel area, which gives runners a little more security that they’ll stay attached mile after mile.

  • They come in three different color choices -- basic black and two bright, eye-catching colors that will stand out on the trails.

  • The fabric is extremely lightweight, so your legs won’t feel the strain of wearing these gaiters.

  • The air will circulate well when you’re wearing these because the fabric is so breathable.

Cons

  • These won’t do well in heavy rain or snow because they are so light.

  • The Velcro at the heel isn’t the strongest stuff -- it starts to come off after a while, but the gaiters still stay in place.

Best Running Gaiters

If you’re tired of your feet getting wet from snow or rain when you’re running trails, you might like these gaiters. They are better at repelling water than some other trail gaiters are.

Pros

  • This gaiter is made with moisture-wicking fabric that will keep the sweat away from your skin to make you more comfortable on your run.

  • These stay in place because they have an under-the-heel loop and a lace hook on the front.

  • They hold up well in extremely muddy conditions, which is where some other gaiters fail.

  • They hug your leg without being too constricting and that’s nice for runners who hate the billowy nature of some other gaiters on the market.

  • They are easy to put on.

Cons

  • Some runners have said the rubber straps these use have snapped on them mid-race.

  • The material is a magnet for thorns and other plant life that likes to stick on clothing.

And the Winner Is …

The Altra trail gaiters are the best running gaiters on this list as long as you wear Altra trail shoes. If you don’t, they will still work, but you may have to do some modifications to make them perfect for you.

These are affordable and you’ll get great color choices with these. They don’t use straps, which some runners like about this gaiter because if they want they can switch their shoes and socks without having to take off the gaiter.

At 1.3 ounces, they feel like feathers on your legs and they won’t make you feel hot during summer runs. 

Altra Trail Gaiter
Shannon Serpette
 

Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer and avid runner. She ran her first 5k two years ago, and hasn’t stopped running since. She has completed a half marathon and recently earned her first Top 3 performance medal for her age category in a race.

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