Best Overall Gaiter
Rab Latok Alpine
The Rab Latok Alpine
gives you durability, exceptional water resistance, breathability, and functionality in one lightweight package. It's made with eVent fabric in the body to keep boots and clothing dry from the inside and out. In our experience, eVent fabric is not only very water resistant, but also breathes significantly better than Gore-Tex. This means your feet will stay drier from the inside even in warmer conditions. The Latok Alpines went on easily over all the single boots we tested it with and had a very low profile, offering excellent protection without creating an additional tripping hazard. There are Robic nylon patches at the instep to protect against crampon spikes, and a clever internal Velcro adjustment system for the instep strap, which means you'll never have to worry about a buckle breaking. In fact, these gaiters are so cool and comfortable to wear that they might just win a die-hard non-user over. And at only $65, we'd way rather trash a pair of these over a $300 and up pair of guide pants.
The Rab Latok Alpine won our Editors' Choice award for their exceptional water resistance, breathability, and cool, sleek design.
Best Bang for the Buck
Outdoor Research Wrapid
The Outdoor Research Wrapid won our Best Buy award
for its remarkable versatility, ease of use, and of course the all important price point. We used it on long muddy runs, for going light and fast in the alpine, and they are light enough that we didn't mind carrying them "just in case" on day hikes. The Wrapid is a cinch to put on and stays put once in place. They are designed to go over trail shoes and hiking boots, but still fit well over the La Sportiva Nepal Evo. They withstood a lot of abuse during our testing and didn't look any worse for the wear. The Velcro closure system is still working great after months of use, and the plasticized instep strap showed no signs of breaking or fraying. If you are looking for one pair to buy that will work well for a variety of applications, or if you plan on putting them on and taking them off repeatedly each day, then the Wrapids are a great (and affordable) choice.
Top Pick for Lightweight and Breathability
The Rab Scree is an ultralight model
designed for use with approach or running shoes. It's made with a double weave stretch fabric that doesn't offer much in terms of water resistance, but a lot when it comes to comfort and breathability. Although no scree model is that easy to put on (usually you have to take your shoe off, put the gaiter on, tuck your pants in, the put your shoe back on and finish attaching it), compared to the other models in this category that we tested, putting on the Scree was a breeze. This was largely due to the bungee cord instep strap, which quickly loops around your shoe and secures down with a toggle. And because the geniuses at Rab can tell that the instep strap will be the first (and only?) thing to wear out, they kindly included a spare one for each foot with an extra toggle. These aren't the model to wear on your next trip to the big mountains, but for trail runs, bushwacks, hot hiking days, or for tick protection, the Rab Scree is the most comfortable and breathable model that we tested, and well deserving of our Top Pick award.
If you dislike pebbles and sand in your running shoes, or want a little extra protection on your hikes without weighing you down and having your feet get too sweaty, then the Rab Scree are a great option.