It’s nice to have waterproof gaiters, but it’s often even better to have gaiters that don’t make your feet suffocate. Which is certainly not to say that waterproof gaiters wont breath, because they will, it’s just that gaiters that are only water resistant, or not waterproof at all will breath a lot more. And breathable gaiters are a great piece of gear to have in the summer time, when you’re less worried about rain and moisture and more worried about debris in your boots or shoes.
What to look for when shopping for breathable gaiters.
Water Resistant – Waterproof gaiters are probably not a good idea if you’re looking for breathable, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a pair of water resistant gaiters. Water resistant gaiters will breath relatively well, and if you ever find yourself needing something to keep a bit of water out, they will do that too.
Ankle – If you’re looking to keep debris out of your shoes then you would likely be fine with just a pair of ankle gaiters. The taller, calf length gaiters are useful, but they trap more of your leg under the gaiter, and for just keeping debris out you don’t really need all that extra fabric protecting your leg.
Best Breathable Gaiters
Some of the best choices for breathable gaiters.
Rab Hispar Gaiters - If you want a full length, waterproof gaiter that is also going to breath well, then you want an eVent gaiter. eVent is a fabric similar to Gore Tex, but is generally more breathable. The Rab Hispars are made with 3 layer eVent on the top section, to keep water out, and then 600D ballistic polyester on the bottom, to stand up to a little use and abuse. So a really excellent of waterproof yet breathable gaiters.
Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters - The Rocky Mountain gaiters are, as the name suggests, a pair of ankle gaiters. They're made with nylon, which is definitely a very breathable fabric, and an ideal choice for gaiters. They also come with a water resistant coating, which doesn't do much to detract from the breathability, but will definitely help to keep some rain and snow out. So an ideal compromise between keeping some amount of water out and breathing very well.
REI Desert Gaiters - The REI Desert Gaiters are built primarily to keep debris like dirt and rocks out of your shoes. They're nylon, so they will keep some amount of water out, and will also dry very quickly if they get wet, but the main thing that these gaiters are meant to keep out of your shoes is not water. But that said, they are extremely breathable, and actually have a UPF 30 rating, to keep the sun off and your feet dry from sweat.