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Stay Protected on the Trails with Swiftland Hiking Gaiters


REI Swiftland Gaiters are low softshell gaiters designed for use with trail runners and low hiking shoes, including:

  1. trail runners with a rear gaiter trap (like Altra trail runners)
  2. trail runners or hiking shoes that have a flat sole
  3. trail runners or hiking shoes with a mid-sole arch

Specs at a glance

  • Best use: Trail running, hiking
  • Fit: Over the ankle
  • Material: 76% polyester/24% spandex, elastic cord, velcro
  • Sizing: Multiple
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Handed: The cordlock should be facing away from your opposite leg

The REI Swiftland Gaiters are made with a stretchy polyester/spandex fabric that provides a snug fit around your ankle and prevents pebbles and grit from entering the rear of your shoes. They’re held in position with a front hook that slides under your shoelaces, while the back end is held in place with a velcro patch in the rear or an elastic cord that runs under the sole of your shoes. You can use both methods at once if your shoes allow or just one. But they’re the only gaiters I know that provide two ways of securing the fabric over the back of your footwear.

Let’s look at all the cases:

Trail Runners with a Gaiter Trap

For example, the Swiftland Gaiters are compatible with trail runners like the Altra Lone Peak which has a velcro tab in the rear because they have the corresponding velcro tab in the back. Easy.

The rear of the Swiftland Gaiter attaches to the velcro in an Altra Trail Runner Gaiter Trap
The rear of the Swiftland Gaiter attaches to the velcro in an Altra Trail Runner Gaiter Trap

Trail Runners with a Flat Sole

But what if you hike trail runners or shoes that have completely flat soles and don’t come with a piece of velcro stuck to the back of the heel? You have two options. You can glue a piece of velcro to the back of your heels, although it will fall off sooner or later, or you can get gaiters that have a thin elastic cord that fits between your shoe’s lugs and keeps the gaiters in place. They work best with the narrow diameter cords that come with the gaiters at purchase.

If you have flat soles, the Swiftland cords can fit between the lugs.
If you have flat soles, the Swiftland cords can fit between the lugs.

Trail Runners with a Mid-Sole Arch

If use trail runners or hiking shoes that have a mid-sole arch, like these La Sportiva Wildcats, you can run Swiftland’s elastic cords through the arches.

The gaiter cord runs through the mid-sole arch.
The gaiter cord runs through the mid-sole arch.

Tick Bite Prevention

The Swiftland Gaiters are also tall enough that you can tuck your trouser legs into them in tick country to keep the buggers from crawling up your legs. That extra feature is very important to me because high gaiters are too hot to wear in the warmer months but most low gaiters are usually too low to create an effective seal between your shoes and your pants legs.

The Swiftand Gaiter is tall enough that you can stick your pant legs into them in Tick country
The Swiftland Gaiter is tall enough that you can stick your pant legs into them in Tick country

Gaiter Self-Repair

Finally, the Swiftland Gaiters are self-repairable if the cord running under your sole breaks. When purchased, the gaiters include a spare set of elastic cords. But they’re easy enough to repair with any thin elastic cord you have sitting around – I have miles of the stuff. Gear that you can repair easily and virtually for free is a good thing.

Recommendation

REI Swiftland Gaiters are versatile low gaiters that can work with any trail runner or low hiker. They provide duplicate ways of securing the rear of the gaiter, either with a velcro tab or an elastic cord. They also come up high enough in the calf, so that you can seal the gap between your pants cuffs and the gaiter, which is handy in Tick country. Finally, they’re easily self-repairable which is a big asset if you hike in remote areas where it is difficult to buy or mail replacement parts.

Shop at REI

 

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