Introduction: Hiking Boot Gaiters

These lightweight gaiters are designed to keep rocks, stickers, seeds, and other debris out of your hiking boots. They are made to fit mid-height boots and work best on boots with padded collars at the top. I use these primarily for hiking in the deserts of the southwestern U.S., so I don't worry about waterproofing.

Please pardon the sloppy stitching in the photos, I just could not get the thread tension adjusted properly.


  • Fabric, two pieces 18"x7" each.
  • 24" of 1" wide rubberized gripper elastic.
  • 32" of 1/16" round elastic cord.
  • 2 mini cord locks.
  • Thread.


  • Tape measure.
  • Scissors.
  • Marker.
  • Sewing machine.

Step 1: Cut Fabric and Hem

Cut two pieces of fabric 18" x 7" each. I like using ripstop nylon for durability, 1.1 to 1.9 oz/sq.yd. is fine. But you can use almost any fabric for this project; even old pant legs, bed sheets, shower curtains, whatever you have on hand.

Hem long edges of each piece about 1/4" to 3/8" from edge, then hem the short edges.

Fold the short edges again and hem about 1/2" from edge. Fold the long edge at the bottom again and hem about 1/2" from edge. This second hem encloses the cut edge of the fabric to prevent the edge from becoming frayed.

Fold corner at each end of top edge at 45 degrees about 1" and stitch in place.

Fold top long edge about 1/2" and straight stitch along long edge to form a sleeve or tube for the elastic cord.

Step 2: Measure Boots for Gripper Elastic

Put on your boots and lace up, measure around the top of your boots to determine the length of gripper elastic needed. If you don't have a flexible tape measure, use a piece of string or a shoelace to mark the distance, then measure the length of string.

The gripper elastic should be 3/4 of the measured distance around the top of the boot. The photo above shows a boot with padded collar that measured 14", so the gripper elastic will be 14" x 3/4 = 10.5". The other photo shows a boot that measured 10.5", so the gripper elastic for this boot will be 10.5" x 3/4 = 7-7/8" (it doesn't need to be exact, anywhere between 7-1/2" and 8" will work).

Cut two pieces of 1" gripper elastic to the length determined above. For this project I used 7-1/2" pieces.

Step 3: Stitch Gripper Elastic in Place

Place gripper elastic, rubber side up, along bottom long edge. Bar tack one end of gripper elastic about 1/2" from short edge.

Bar tack the other end about 1" from the other short edge.

Elastic zig zag stitch along both edges of gripper elastic while pulling on both ends to fully extend elastic.

Step 4: Stitch Short Edges Together

Fold the gaiter, elastic side out (inside out), so short edges are together. Straight stitch short edges together being careful not to stitch across the cord sleeve at the top.

Turn gaiter right side out.

Step 5: Top Cords

Cut two pieces of 1/16" diameter elastic cord, 16" long each.

Use a small safety pin to thread the elastic through the sleeve at the top of each gaiter.

Pull the cord ends through a mini cord lock and tie an overhand knot at each cord end.

Step 6: Wearing the Gaiters

Put on socks. Then pull the gaiter on over your sock, draw cord end up and gripper elastic end down. Put on boots, lace, and tie. Pull gripper elastic down over top of boot, it should be snug. Pull elastic draw cord ends to close the top edge around your leg above the top of the boot.