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Cross Training For Runners

How to Choose Trail Running Gaiters

3 Mins read

If you want to protect your feet and reduce the chances of abrasions, cuts, blisters, and just general feelings of discomfort, then you should get a pair of  trail running gaiters.

This is especially the case if you often run on technical, harsh trails, where you’ll want to ensure that the dirt, rocks, debris, and water don’t get into your running shoes. This is, ultimately, the recipe for pain and blisters.

Have no idea how to choose one? Worry no more. I got you covered.

In today’s post, I’m sharing the main guidelines to keep in mind whenever you’re choosing running gaiters so you can make the best decision.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started

What’s A Trail Running Gaiter?

Gaiters consist of a protective shell or sleeve which covers a specific area of your body, typically the upper part of the shoe, ankle, and the lower part of legs—just below the knees.

More specifically, running gaiters are made with high-performance, breathable and thin material that doesn’t hinder movement and reduces heat or water gain.

Gaiters have two functions.

The first is to keep debris and other trail hazards from getting into the top of your shoe, thus, reducing the risks of blisters and other problems.

Second, to protect your feet from the abrasion caused by rocks, branches, and other elements of the trail.

Running gaiters are common among trail runners, but just like compression sleeves and other accessories, they’re not essential.

But, the added level of protection while trail running can surely help. In fact, if you plan to spend many miles running through the trails and woods, challenging terrain, you may need a pair of running gaiters.

How to Choose Trail Running Gaiters

The first thing to consider when shopping for running gaiter is the materials they’re made with. The fabrics play a major role in the level of performance and comfort they’ll provide.

The gaiters’ material impacts the overall weight as well as the amount of breathability, insulation, and waterproofing they provide.

Running gaiters should be made of lightweight fabric that’s designed to keep debris and other elements from getting into your shoes but aren’t completely waterproof.

Plan to run in muddy or wet conditions?

Choose gaiters that feature a Gore-Tex membrane, which prevents moisture from seeping in but also lets sweat escape.

Additional Resource – Here’s the full guide to running watches

Height of A Running Gaiter

Running gaiters come in various sizes.  The height of your gaiters will depend on how much protection you need.

The higher the gaiter, the more protection it provides to your Lowe legs and ankle.

So which one is which?

As a rule, shorter gaiters are all you need for trail running, especially if you’re running only on fairly wet or technical terrains.

But for the super treacherous and/or snowy conditions, higher running gaits are the better option.

Additional resource – Compression leggings for running


When choosing running gaiters, make sure they fit snugly against your shoes—keeping debris out is the whole point anyway—but also fit comfortably around your lower legs.

What’s more?

Try on the gaiter while wearing the shoes and socks you’ll be using when trail running.

Additional resource  – Your guide to running belts

Abrasion Resistance

Most running gaiters are designed with some level of abrasion resistance which provides good durability in preventing the gaiter from ripping in case it gets torn or catches an obstacle along the trail.

Some running gaiters will include rugged abrasion on the lower portion to help endure the abrasion of rocks, roots, debris.

Additional resource – Trail Running First Aid Kit 

How to Put Running Gaiters On

Although running gaiters aren’t particularly complicated, knowing how to put them right can help you make the most out of them.

You should put on the gaiter correctly, so you don’t waste much time once on the trails.

Check out this YouTube tutorial on how to wear running gaiters correctly.

How to Choose Trail Running Gaiters – Conclusion

There you have it! To help you choose the best trail running gaiters, today’s article should be enough to help you make the right decision. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Running Strong.

David D.

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