No buddy likes running with rocks in their shoes. Especially when you’re in the middle of long race. Thankfully there is a solution. Enter trail gaiters. Popular with hikers for years, gaiters are a layer of protection that goes around your ankle keeping out small debris from entering your shoes. And while traditional hiking gaiters may not be designed for running, there are plenty of options that are. Today we will be looking at the best running gaiters for trail running and ultra running. Let’s get to it!
- TRIWONDER Gaiters offer excellent value for those looking to try out running gaiters without a significant investment.
- Altra Trail Gaiters are from a trusted brand but have a potential fit issue with their Velcro connection in the back.
- Salomon Trail Gaiters are popular and well-designed, using Velcro and an elastic strap for secure attachment without the need for extra shoe attachments.
- Ultimate Direction FK Gaiter is considered a gold standard, designed with durability and multiple secure features, but it comes at a higher price point.
The Best Running Gaiters for Trail Running & Ultra Running
TRIWONDER Gaiters Low Gators
Why you want them: The TRIWONDER Gaiters are a great value. At half the price of the other gaiter options if you are looking for something to try out before going with a more expensive pair. Then these are a great fit. The reviews on them are overall positive with minor details keeping them from a 5 star review. But many reviews concede that for the price they are a great value.
Why you might think twice: The price point of the running gaiters comes with it’s pluses and minuses. While they are a great deal you can expect these to hold up a bit less over time compared to higher quality brands. This includes the potential for rips and elastic that may lose it’s rebound over time quicker than other brands.
Altra Trail Gators
Why you want them: ALTRA is a trusted brand in the running community so you can expect to get a quality product. The Gaiters are light weight and protect well against small rocks and dirt getting in your shoes while running.
Why you might think twice: While the ALTRA trail gaiters work great for keeping stiff out of your shoes there is a bit of question to how well they fit. The front of the gaiter hooks onto the bottom lace but the back of the gator is connected by a small piece of Velcro that has to be connected to the shoes. This connection point is the only weakness we could find. And while not overly problematic it’s not something you find on the next couple modals.
Soloman Trail Gaiters
Why you want them: These may be the most popular trail gaiters on the market and for good reason. Salomon has been making quality trail running products for years. And the Salomon Trail Gaiters live up to that reputation. The simple design uses Velcro to strap around your ankle with an elastic strap that goes under the shoes to keep them pulled down. This means not having to use any thing to attach them to your shoes like other modals.
Why you might think twice: Since the elastic strap runs under your shoes. There is a chance of it wearing down fast over time compared to modals that attach on the top of the shoe. It is also very important to make sure the sizing is correct. They are not sized based on shoes size as you would assume. They are sized based on your ankle.
Ultimate Direction FK Gaiter
Why you want them: The Ultimate Direction FK Gaiter may be the gold standard for trail and ultra runners. They were designed to work well and built with backups to prevent failing while on the trail. The gaiters themselves feature Velcro to wrap the ankle as well as an extra snap button to keep them closed. They also feature an adjustable under foot loop to keep them pulled down. But just in case that’s not enough, Ultimate Direction added a bottom lace hook to make sure they don’t move even if the something happens to the bottom strap.
Why you might think twice: The price point of the FK gaiter may turn some people off. Especially if they have never run in gators and want to know if they like them before spending that much. Besides that there isn’t much to not like about these running gaiters.
Trail gaiters provide a practical solution for keeping small debris out of your shoes during long-distance runs. Our review of the best running gaiters for trail running and ultra running highlighted a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. TRIWONDER Gaiters offer a budget-friendly entry point, while Altra Trail Gaiters provide trusted quality, albeit with a potential fit issue. Salomon Trail Gaiters, a popular choice, offer simplicity and convenience but may have durability concerns with their underfoot strap.
For those seeking a premium option, the Ultimate Direction FK Gaiter sets the gold standard, boasting robust design and security features. While it comes at a higher cost, it’s an investment worth considering for serious trail and ultra runners. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific needs and preferences, ensuring you have a comfortable and debris-free running experience on the trails.