Best Gaiters And Leg Warmers For Hiking Of 2021

At last, came that hike up the mountain that we were waiting for so long. When we are about to cross that small stream, and when we get wet in the cold water twists all our bones, we remember: where are the leggings or heaters when we need them most? There are garments that, at first glance, seem a little useful until when the pertinent occasions arrive.

Do you know what we are talking about? Surely yes. Leggings are one of the best weapons against the cold that we can count on, but we don’t always take them into account, and we don’t know to what extent they can help us in countless situations. We have put together this specialized article to tell you all about these clothes and how they can change your life.

Most important things about leg warmers and gaiters

  • Gaiters are garments that, depending on their style and function, protect the leg against cold, moisture, or other weather or terrain conditions, especially the ankle. Its use is similar to that of socks, but they are much more effective in warmth and protection. They have a tubular shape and are attached to the foot with different fastening systems.
  • Although historically leggings were used by farmers and shepherds, today, their use is very popular with children and various sports or leisure contexts. They have different structures depending on the benefits and can be made of other materials.
  • To acquire a good pair of leggings, we must focus on some key aspects, such as the purpose of which we will give it, its impermeability, its weight and measurements, the comfort they suppose when wearing them, the material from which they are made and how breathable they are, among others.

The best leggings

If we are thinking of our next excursion to the snow or other trips where we will be abroad in the cold, it is better to include some useful gaiters in the suitcase. Our legs will thank you later! There are all kinds of offers on the market, and if you don’t know what decision to make, consider the following selection that brings together the best options available.

  • Salomon Trail Low Gaiters

Amazon designates these Salomon low leggings as “best selling”. They are suitable for trail running on demanding terrain. Still, they are also convenient whether there are mud, dust, gravel, snow, or weeds since they prevent the entry of elements into our shoes and protect the ankles from bumps or scratches. And, of course, from the cold.

Velcro straps on the sides make these leggings very easy to put on and take off. Besides, the strap that is hooked to the sole of the shoe guarantees a perfect fit. The stretch mesh fabric provides excellent freedom of movement, is breathable, aids stability thanks to the strap on the sole, and has reflective elements.

  • Unigear Waterproof Leggings 1 Pair

Made with the best Oxford cloth and 210D polyester fabric, these Unigear gaiters are double-layered and are incredibly resistant to all kinds of sports and outdoor activities. Lightweight, easy to fold and transport, they are waterproof against wind, rain, snow, and dust. They are suitable for all types of footwear.

These leggings keep your legs clean and dry. Ideal for activities such as climbing, hunting, or marching in the rain, you will find that its velcro closure design and an adjustable strap with buckle are practical and straightforward. The manufacturer ensures that once adjusted, they cling tightly and remain stable. You can buy them in 3 different sizes.

  • COSORO 1 Pair Unisex Leggings

Cosoro leggings are listed as “Amazon Choice,” and no wonder! Designed with an adjustable elastic band, they are made from a unique low-temperature resistant nylon material to prevent breakage, making them ideal on snow. They are straightforward to put on and keep your leg and ankles warm and dry at all times.

These gaiters also serve to protect you from mud, sand, dew, and moisture. You can use them to go skiing, hiking, or just to keep warm. The fabric is ripstop and waterproof against water and wind. Users who have bought them highlight, above all, the comfort when using them and the practical and straightforward way of putting them on. 

  • NARVIK, waterproof, breathable, resistant gaiters

Narvik leggings offer unprecedented quality. They are designed for long-lasting and demanding use. They protect you against humidity and snow on all excursions, ski routes, or snowshoes that you organize. Besides, they are breathable and waterproof. In the ankle area, the material is more robust and resistant to the wear typical of hiking.

Narvik gaiters are made of gray Ripstop: a double reinforced and ripstop material that incorporates thicker, high-strength yarns (usually nylon or polyester) in its weave. The zip is hidden, which gives it an extra aesthetic value. The gaiters have hooks for the laces and a simple fastening system.

  • TRIWONDER Leggings Trail Running

Take advantage of these Triwonder leggings made with eco-friendly nylon spandex, soft and highly elastic. Besides, they are breathable and highly resistant: they will efficiently protect your ankles from sand, dirt, and debris typical of rough terrain. They are very comfortable to wear and feature a non-slip design on the back.

These ankle gaiters can be easily adjusted over pants and are firmly attached to footwear thanks to persuasive metal hooks. They have adjustable laces for people of different sizes, and the reflective logo is useful for visibility and safety reasons. Ultralight, they work perfectly in all seasons of the year.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Leggings

Leggings have become almost essential garments to guarantee the success of your outings, excursions, and trips, especially if you have long walked or activities such as hiking planned. The leggings market offers different models according to uses and needs. In this section, we will go through the most common doubts about them.

What exactly are leggings?

Leggings, also called legwarmers, are made with different textile materials to cover the legs, usually from the knee to the ankle, although there are other types. They are placed outside the footwear, and their function is to prevent water, snow, humidity, or various debris from entering, and they serve as extra protection against the cold.

Why are leggings necessary?

Whether we usually go on excursions in the mountains or the snow, if we like mountaineering or hiking, or if we simply go for a run on dirt, it is a reality that suitable footwear is not enough. The leggings, once they are well attached to our legs, fulfill different functions that are very useful:

  • Prevent external objects from entering, such as pebbles, dirt, or miscellaneous debris.
  • They keep feet dry from puddles or rainwater.
  • They protect the legs from typical friction or snagging with elements of the terrain.
  • They provide extra stability when walking, running, or climbing.
  • They help perspiration.
  • They preserve the feet from low temperatures.

What parts of the leg exactly do the leggings cover?

It depends on the type of leggings. Different measures are depending on the kind of activities. We find two criteria: the high leg gaiters, which cover from the knee to the instep; and low leg or ankle gaiters, which cover – as the name suggests – the entire ankle and instep. Some models cover the cufflinks. Low-cut gaiters are generally lightweight and breathable and are suitable for backpackers and hikers in forest, sand, mud, snow, or rough terrain. On the other hand, high-leg gaiters are ideal for extreme weather conditions and are usually ultra-resistant and waterproof. They are generally worn over boots.

The two leggings are not the same, but symmetrical. One is for the right leg, and one is for the left. When placing them, you must check that the zippers are outside, with the laces’ hooks in the front.

What structure do leggings usually have?

Generally, leggings are made up of the fabric or other fabric that covers the leg. Different accessories are added to this tubular structure to reinforce the material, hold the garment to the ankle or knee, and different closure systems for adequate protection. We can summarize the design in the following aspects.

  • They usually have an elastic band at the top to prevent them from sliding down.
  • The most common fastening system is the steel wire rope, but the most resistant gaiters use neoprene or urethane straps. You have to be very careful when putting the buckle so that it does not remain on the edge of the sole and does not crush when walking.
  • Regarding the side zippers to facilitate putting on, the best ones have a flap with velcro closure that prevents, for example, moisture from entering through them.
  • Many have a small hook to attach the gaiter to the shoelaces at the bottom front, which is an extra measure of protection.

What kinds of leggings are the most suitable?

Again, it depends on the use and needs you have. The good thing about the leggings market is that there is a lot of variety depending on the activities you have planned to do. Before choosing your model, therefore, you need to be very clear about your purpose. In the table below, we summarize the typical contexts in which different types of leggings are useful.

Type of activities Leggings type characteristics
Leggings for trail runnin g (mountain race). Ankle. Light, not bulky, comfortable to touch, with a fixing system underneath.
Classic or mountain leggings. High cane. Waterproof, resistant material, full coverage, breathable, with side zip or velcro.
Leggings for ice climbing. High cane. Made with ultra-reinforced, highly durable, resistant and waterproof materials.
Leggings for snow sports. High top or ankle depending on the sport. Waterproof and breathable.
Leggings for hiking and trekking. Ankle . Made to provide basic protection against rocks, sand and rain (for temperate climates) .
Leggings for running. Ankle. Super light, compact and elastic.

How thick should the leggings be?

When we talk about the textile material’s thickness, we have to speak about deniers (d). This unit refers to the linear mass density of fibers. They are equivalent to the weight in grams for every 9 thousand meters of fiber. The higher this value, the denser and thicker the material’s fiber, so it is more resistant, although it weighs more. Typically, it is the bottom of the leggings that needs the most resistance. Typical values ​​for the tops can be 70 d for better breathability. In some cases, Kevlar is placed in the lower parts: its expected value should be 400, 500, 600 d, and the most resistant up to 1000 d.

How waterproof should leggings be?

Impermeability is measured in millimeters of the height of water columns that a fabric supports without letting water pass. We consider a waterproof garment when it helps more than 10 thousand mm. As we have seen the different uses that can be given to leggings, not all models must be 100% waterproof. We leave these indicators as a reference.

  • 0 to 5 thousand mm: no resistance to slight rain; yes to dry snow.
  • 6 mil to 10,000 mm: withstands light to moderate rain and average snowfall.
  • 11 thousand to 15 thousand mm: withstands medium to heavy rain and heavy snowfall.
  • 16,000 to 20,000 mm: withstands hefty showers and intense snowstorms.
  • More than 20 thousand mm: maximum protection against rain and snowstorms.

How to know the correct size of leggings?

Most brands usually specify what shoe size the gaiters are for. But it is best to try them on with the winter boots or sports shoes that you are going to use since the main thing is that they are firm and comfortable. Sometimes, it is convenient to take a larger size because they are very tight. It is also not recommended that the gaiters are too baggy, as they will not be very efficient at keeping water, sand, or debris out of the way. Some brands make leggings models specifically for women. The difference is that the calf is wider. Anyway, it is always better to try it yourself before.

What maintenance do leggings require?

Not much. It is true that if you dedicate yourself to extreme sports or if you do mountaineering, it is likely that they will get filthy. In these cases, it is always good to clean the gaiters immediately after removing the thickest dirt. Afterward, a damp cloth is enough to ensure adequate drying before the next use.

Leg warmers purchase criteria

Leggings are perhaps the garments that best protect our feet and shoes. Before embarking on our next adventure, excursion, or trip, it is good to have our pair well ready. We have already seen that the models differ according to use, activities, and materials. If you have doubts, we recommend that you follow these purchase criteria to not make a mistake in the purchase.

  • Impermeability
  • Clamping way
  • Material strength
  • Breathability
  • Design

Impermeability

As we have seen, all types of leggings don’t need to be 100% waterproof. It depends on what we use them for. But as usual, we need them for outdoor activities, and we will always run the risk of rain, accumulated water, snow, or other waste. Therefore, it is better to check that your gaiters withstand at least 6 thousand mm of water.

Clamping way

The purpose of leggings is to protect us from external elements entering our shoes and to bother us when walking or running. This is not possible if the models we have do not have a sound clamping system that leaves them stable. Therefore, make sure that the side zippers are efficient or, if not, that the velcro system has a suitable attachment.

Material strength

If we are into extreme sports or activities in the mountains, we need leggings made of the most robust possible material. A good example is the so-called Ripstop: a double reinforced fabric, usually ripstop, which incorporates thicker, high-resistance threads in its weave. In this sense, the thicker the gaiters, the more excellent the resistance.

Breathability

The leggings’ breathability is vital since, if during the activity we do not evacuate the sweat vapor quickly enough, it condenses and soaks the shoes and pants. For this reason, we recommend looking for models with high-quality membranes and two or three layers, such as Gore-Tex Pro. Models without a membrane are not recommended.

Design

Leggings are accessories for our footwear, so they should go as unnoticed as possible when we use them. Some models are extremely heavy or uncomfortable, and we will end up getting tired of them. This is why it is advisable to try them before buying them, to ensure that their design is very compact and comfortable.

Summary

Leggings are garments made of various textile materials (usually nylon and spandex) that cover the legs, from the knee to the ankle, to protect them against cold, water, snow, humidity, and other factors. They are accessories used outside of footwear and are very useful in all kinds of outdoor activities.

There are high-top leggings and ankle leggings, and they differ in the parts of the leg they cover. It is advisable to choose the type that we want to use according to the activities we do since ultralight leggings for running in the mountains are not the same as the ultra-reinforced and heavy ones necessary for ice climbing.