Surprisingly versatile, these all-purpose mid-height gaiters work well for everything from day hikes to lightweight backpacking trips. Though the design means they’ll never be as protective as a full-height gaiter, the tough fabrics and rugged build make them a dependable addition in multiple scenarios.
Tough and rugged
Replaceable instep strap
Mid-cut design offers limited coverage
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Black Diamond Cirque gaiters: first impressions
Mid-height gaiters, like these Black Diamond Cirques, are a popular choice amongst US and European trail hikers but are less common in the UK. However, this design makes a lot of sense if you’re looking for a good balance of protection and convenience with minimal weight. The Black Diamond Cirques deliver on all fronts, being durable, lightweight, comfortable and packable. They’re also fast to fit or remove, making them well-suited to mixed terrain where you might not need to wear gaiters all day long.
In terms of construction, they feature the brand’s own BD dry waterproof-breathable membrane bonded to a puncture-resistant upper, reinforced with a double-layer 600-denier abrasion guard. That’s a tougher build than many high-cut gaiters included in our best gaiters round-up. They’re fitted with a quick-release buckle on the top cuff, with an adjustable webbing strap that cinches in tightly around the calves.
The gaiters attach to your boots or hiking shoes with a durable metal bootlace hook. Underfoot, a nylon cord is used to secure them around your instep. This component seems to be relatively tough, but is unlikely to be as durable as a thicker webbing strap. However, the design means that it is easily replaceable and removable, allowing for quick repair on the trail if necessary. A broken cord could easily be switched out for 550 paracord or Dyneema, for example.
• RRP: $55 (US) / £40 (UK)
• Weight (per pair): 164g / 5.8 oz
• Length: Mid height
• Sizes: S / M / L
• Colors: Black
Black Diamond Cirque gaiters: on the trails
The Black Diamond Cirques have been around long enough for numerous hikers and backpackers to comment approvingly on their overall durability, comfort and functionality. We were similarly impressed, provided you use them as intended.
Obviously, any terrain that allows mud or water to overtop the mid-cut height means you end up with wet feet. But for crossing dewy fields, traversing scree slopes or tramping muddy footpaths and dusty trails, they do a good job of keeping out moisture and small pieces of debris, while also protecting from mud and muck. They also seem to be well-made, showing little signs of wear and tear even after a couple of months’ regular use.
We particularly like the fact that they can be used with a wide range of footwear, from mid-cut hiking boots to the best trail running shoes. That actually makes them surprisingly versatile, so although they reach their limits in winter conditions, for the rest of the year round they’re a tempting option.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.