Boot gaiters can keep snow, moisture, mud, and debris out of your boots when you hike in any season. They can also help keep your ankles warm when walking through heavy snow or in very cold weather. To ensure they work effectively, you need put on boot gaiters correctly. Here’s how:
#1 Put On The Boots And Pants First
Gaiters are meant to be worn over the boots and pants. So, put these on first. Wear the pants and boots just like you would without the gaiters. If possible, wear the leg of the pants over the top of the boot.
#2 Start with the Back Then Go Forwards
The gaiters will first need to be wrapped around the back of your pant leg and boot ankle. Make sure to place the gaiter low enough on the boot and also just below the knee.
#3 The Label Stays On The Outside
The gaiter will likely have a company label or logo and this should stay on the outside. If you put the gaiters on backward, they may not repel dust or fluids and this could hinder their effectiveness.
#4 Fasten The Velcro
Start with the area near your boot toe and work your way upwards. Make sure to fasten the velcro completely with no overlap or underlap. Close the tab on the velcro flap on the lower area if it has one to secure the velcro.
#5 Apply The Hooks And Straps
There may be a hook at the lower end of the gaiter on the front flap that is meant for a shoelace to run through. Pull your shoelace through this hook to more secure the gaiter in place on your leg. This will also prevent the gaiter from lifting and allowing dirt and snow through.
The laces should be tied so that they are securely in place but also securely enough that they will not come undone once they are on your legs.
A strap on the top of the gaiter will help tighten the top and keep it from sliding down and prevent anything from entering the top. It will also keep the velcro from opening. But make sure not to make it too tight as to block any blood flow in the leg or make it uncomfortable.
Wrap the instep straps under the sole of the boot to the other side and fasten it tightly. This will help keep the gaiters attached in place and prevent any snow or mud from entering.
Other Gaiter Considerations
Wear Dry Pants and Socks Underneath
Make sure your boots, pants, and socks are already dry before putting on your gaiters. If you decide to take the wet socks off after putting on the gaiters, you will have extra work to do.
Wearing Alternative Undergarments
You can also wear gaiters over thermals, extra-long socks, yoga pants, sweat pants, or khaki jeans. It is recommended to only buy a brand that is waterproof, or they could render them useless if you do not also have waterproof hiking pants on as well.
You can wear gaiters with shorts, but if you choose to consider also wearing extra-long socks, thermals, or yoga pants underneath to prevent leg abrasions from the gaiter material. Remember, the purpose of gaiters is to prevent snow, dirt, or mud from touching the lower leg and boot area and any openings on the top of the gaiter can let this in.
Wearing Different Types Of Socks
You can wear any type of sock under the boots that you like, just as you would if you choose to not wear gaiters.
Putting on gaiters the right way will make your hike much more enjoyable. So, follow these steps and you will be well on your way to having a fun and clean adventure!
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.