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In between the bottom of your walking trousers and the top of your boots there is a crucial gap...
It doesn’t matter how waterproof your boots are, there’s a massive hole where you put your feet into them, and where rain and puddle water can easily find its way. Likewise, trousers can flap around, dripping water running off them into your boots.
This gap is closed with gaiters, which are a simple square of material wrapped around each lower leg to prevent the rain getting in.
Despite their simplicity, there seems to be some confusion as to how to wear them.
So here’s our guide.
The features of the gaiter include a loop of tough material that has some kind of adjustment mechanism at one end (like a buckle), allowing it to be lengthened or shortened. This loop goes into the in-step, underneath your boot. The first step in putting on a gaiter should be to put this loop in place. The purpose of this loop is to prevent the gaiter from riding up while walking and exposing the top of your boot to the weather.
The second main feature is the method for closing the gaiter. This is either a zip, or a line of velcro, or both. It should be at the front of the leg, not at the back. Once the loop is in the in-step, the zip and velcro can be closed.
The third feature is a small hook at the front of the gaiter, where it tails out over your laces. Pull this forward and hook it into the laces. This hook also secures the gaiter.
Lastly, there are one or two elasticated draw-strings at the top of the gaiter and near the bottom, which can be tightened to keep the gaiter from slipping down. When buying gaiters, you’ll see that they come in sizes, and will tend to be for a range of shoe sizes (like socks). Make sure you get the right sized pair. Borrowing a pair from someone with much bigger feet will mean they may not work well as they’ll be too loose.
There seems to be a bit of a debate about whether gaiters should go underneath or over your waterproof trousers. The answer is that they should go underneath waterproofs, but over your non-waterproof walking trousers which are underneath the waterproofs. If a gaiter is over your waterproofs, rain will run down your trousers and into the top of the gaiter (no matter how tight you pull the draw-string, it’s not a watertight seal). It will then go into your boots, meaning your gaiters are actually collecting water rather than deflecting it.
We hope that solves all your gaiter problems!
Author: Alex Kendall
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