Whether you are an adventure racer, a simple short-distance trail runner, a hiker, or an ultrarunner, you owe it to yourselves to cover all your bases, and figuratively speaking, to cover your socks and shoes with gaiters.
Homemade Gaiters can be easily made for running shoes or boots out of a pair of regular white crew socks. Pull the socks on your feet and with a scissors, cut the socks around the foot at the top of the shoe line. Toss out the foot portions. Fold the top of the sock down on itself so the folded down top covers the top of the shoe. Make a small hole in this folded down top at the back of the shoe and just to the rear of each upper shoe lace eyelet. Make similar holes in the shoe. Through the shoe hole place a plastic twist tie from a loaf of bread or similar package. By twisting the ties through these matching holes you have effectively covered the top of the shoes. Undo the twist ties to change shoes or socks while leaving the sock gaiter on your leg.
You can also use the arms off an old nylon jacket with elastic sleeves. Cut the sleeves off about 6 inches up the sleeve from the cuff. Simply pull the arms, elastic end first, onto your legs over your socks. The loose nylon covers the top of the shoes and it keeps 100% of the usual trail debris from entering the shoe. With this type of gaiter, there are no straps, so changing your shoes and socks is a breeze. Look for old nylon jackets at your local thrift store. Improvising can work wonders.
Professionally Made Gaiters
Dirty Girl Gaiters are made in great colors and designs. These lightweight gaiters are found on the shoes of both men and women. They keep the debris out of your shoes with style and sass. This soft, comfortable four-way stretch spandex unisex gaiter hooks under the front shoe lace and secures to the back of the shoe with a self-adhesive Velcro strip. They are available in many sizes including for youth and children. There is an an everchanging variety of groovy colors and patterns.
JoeTrailMan Gaiters are made without the usual strap under the shoe. They attach to the front most shoelaces via a hook and to the rear with a Velcro tab. The tension of the four-way stretch material holds the gaiter in place. Joe’s gaiters are offered in small and regular to fit all types of shoes. This style slips on your foot before putting on your shoes, which also makes it easy to changes shoes or socks.
North Face Gaiters come in several designs. Their styles offer form-fitting pull-on with hook attachment and a single-handed drawstring closure system. Although their gaiters are made to fit several North Face shoes, they can be adapted to other shoes.
Outdoor Research makes several gaiter styles appropriate for running and hiking. All gaiters open in the front with Velcro, have an eyelet on either side for a lace that goes under the shoe’s arch, and a metal hook that fastens to a shoelace.
RaceReady Trail Gaitors are made for running shoes and low-top hiking boots. Made in a combination of colors from quick drying and breathable Supplex nylon, these gaiters have a “space-age tough” cord that goes under the shoe’s arch. They fasten with the usual Velcro closure on the outside of the shoe.
REI makes several designs of gaiters.