Ultra-running events are no joke; you need the right gear to reach the finish line. Gaiters are essential gear for many ultra runners (not all), and you want to ensure you have the best ones for the job. With a wide variety of gaiters on the market, it can take time to decide which ones are right for you. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork and compiled a list of the best trail-running gaiters for ultra-running events.
Table of Contents
Best Trail Running Gaiters
These gaiters listed below will protect your feet from mud and debris while giving you breathability and comfort throughout the race. So let’s prepare to run with no pebbles, grit or stones in your shoes!
Montane VIA Sock-It Trail Running Gaiter
I own a pair of the Montane VIA, and they are my favourite gaiters because they tick all the boxes. They provide superior protection and breathability and have a unique hook-and-loop closure system that ensures a secure fit. Plus, the lightweight and durable fabric makes them perfect for long-distance running. These gaiters are unisex and available in two sizes – S/M (UK size 4.5-8) and M/L (UK size 8-12). I’m a big fan of Montane outdoor gear and also own a few base layers, t-shirts and jackets.
Salomon Trail Gaiters High or Low
Salomon gaiters are perfect for long-distance running on your feet all-day. They provide lightweight protection while keeping your feet cool and comfortable. The ergonomic design ensures a secure fit, while the adjustable strap allows you to customise the fit for maximum protection. They are also available in low and high fit. Don’t worry; the high fit is not that high. It’s more of a standard fit.
Inov-8 All Terrain Gaiters
All-terrain gaiters are perfect for ultra-running events. Fits any trail running shoe brand thanks to the strengthened rubber O-ring attachment system. The also have a special attachment system if you shoes are by Inov-8. They provide superior protection and breathability while providing a secure fit around your ankle. The adjustable drawstring ensures your gaiter won’t slip off during the race. Available in the following sizes; S: UK 3-6), M: (Uk 7-9) and L (UK 10-12).
Altra Trail Gaiter
These gaiters come with a debris shield guard and a strap-less design—overall, these gaiters are very lightweight, maybe too lightweight. I’m not 100% sold on the durability compared to the other models in this guide. So, please don’t expect them to last a long time. That being said, fans of Altra seem to like them, and I’ve seen plenty of runners in the USA wearing them.
Running Gaiter Buying Guide
So above, you have our top pick. However, if you want more guidance, help and tips, keep reading. In the following section, we’ll look at when you might need them and when you might not, key features to look for and the pros & cons of wearing trail running gaiters when taking on an ultra marathon.
What To Look For In Trail Running Gaiters
When choosing gaiters for your first ultra-running event, make sure to consider the following features:
- Durability – You want to ensure that your gaiters are made with durable fabric that can withstand long distances and whatever terrain comes your way.
- Breathability – Since you’ll be running in these for hours, you must ensure they are breathable and do not induce overheating or sweat build-up.
- Comfort – Finally, it’s important to choose gaiters that are comfortable and won’t rub or chafe while you’re out on the trail.
- Adjustability – Look for gaiters with adjustable straps to get a customised fit no matter what running shoes you’re using that day.
When To Wear Trail Running Gaiters
Gaiters are best for trail running with plenty of mud, water, or debris. This could include rocky terrain, snow-covered trails, and even dusty, gritty gravel tracks. Gaiters help keep your feet protected from these elements so you can make it to the finish line without any issues! You can avoid wearing gaiters if the terrain is light, packed or grassy. I didn’t wear any for my last two ultramarathon events, and no debris entered my shoes. However, you could take some with you in your ultra running pack, or in your camping dry bag. Furthermore, wear your running shoes a little loose; if the shoe collar is more open, it might be worth wearing them.
So if you’re looking for gaiters that will keep up with you on your next ultra-running event, look no further than our list of the best trail-running gaiters featured in this guide. These gaiters have ticked all the boxes regarding durability, breathability, comfort and adjustability.
Using Running Gaiters Is A Personal Choice
You can either be the ultra runner who loves running through mud, dirt and rocks or tries to avoid them. That’s where trail running gaiters come in. Whether you choose to use them is entirely up to you, but they are designed to keep out dirt and debris while trail running.
Some people find them helpful in avoiding irritations from debris and keeping their feet cleaner throughout an ultra race. The key is finding the right fit – otherwise, those pesky little pebbles will still make their way into your shoes. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to deal with on top of an already gruelling race, then gaiters may be a perfect choice. You can also pair them up with waterproof running socks to offer you double protection.
Trail Running Gaiters Pros & Cons
- It protects your feet from mud and debris getting into your shoe, causing blisters and discomfort during an already challenging race.
- This will mean you won’t have to stop at the side of the trail or aid station to empty your shoe of dirt.
- Wearing trail gaiters lets you focus on the task – finishing the race and not wasting mental energy worrying.
- Breathable, so you don’t overheat or sweat too much.
- Comfortable and adjustable fit on most high-end styles.
- Gaiters can be expensive, depending on the brand/style, so only buy them if you intend to wear them.
Trail running gaiters are an invaluable part of your ultramarathon kit. Not only do they protect you from debris and rocks, but they also help keep your feet cool and comfortable during the race. So next time you’re gearing up for a long-distance event, consider investing in a good pair of gaiters! They could be just what you need to get through those tough miles. Try the Salomon or the Montane gaiters because they are both high-quality and affordable. The Inov-8 are also an excellent model, but I just prefer the other two models more. Good luck with your next ultra! May the gaiters be with you!
Disclaimer: This guide contains affiliate links, and I earn a small commission from any sale that occurs via my links. This, however, does not change my opinion; I always do my best to provide the facts and suggest products that will benefit my users. You pay no more and no less for using these links. It does, however, help to sustain my blog.