Waterproof socks or gaiters?
QWhen would waterproof socks be more appropriate to wear than gaiters, and vice versa?
Gaiters are the most common lower leg protection used by hillwalkers, and their benefit is they keep mud, grit and other debris from entering the top of the boot and prevent your trousers from getting muddy or torn. They don’t generally keep all the water out of your boots though, so when crossing a river, for example, you can expect water to get into your boots.
Gaiters are, however, ideal for walking through bracken, long grass, mud and snow, as they generally provide enough protection for your feet and lower legs. There is one gaiter, the Berghaus Yeti, that does totally enclose the boot so no water can get in, but fitting them can be very difficult and they are not compatible with all boot designs. The main drawback of all gaiters is they tend to become a little sweaty around the calf of the leg.
Waterproof socks keep your feet totally dry, so long as water cannot get into the top of them. This makes them a great choice in shallow, wet, boggy ground if you think water is going to penetrate your boots or shoes. They work very well with low-cut trail shoes, as even with gaiters water tends to get into these quite easily. The benefit of waterproof socks is your calves don’t get as sweaty as they would with gaiters, but they are very slightly sweatier than a standard non-waterproof sock.
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