The Salomon Trail Low is a low-ankle gaiter meant for running or thru-hiking on dusty, duff-covered trails. They feature a large velcro attachment, sturdy instep strap, and elastic heel band. We like the idea of them, we just have some issues with their real-world performance. The angle of the instep strap is unusual and we never felt like we got the fit quite right. This model is designed to be worn with low-cut, low-volume shoes, so if boots are your regular backcountry footwear of choice, you should look elsewhere for gaiters. Their very limited water resistance also makes them better-suited for arid climates where puddles, precipitation, and muck are less likely to be an issue.
Salomon Trail Low Review
Cons: Strange fit, instep strap oddly aligned, need to be readjusted often
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We took these gaiters out on the sloppy trails of northern New England in early spring to see if they could stand up. We found that this pair had some thoughtful features that unfortunately weren't executed in a way that maximizes their performance. The instep strap extended from the main body at an odd angle, leaving a gap for mud to find its way onto our socks and the elastic heel strap just never quite hugged footwear like we wanted it to.
Comfort and Breathability
The Trail Low sits just above the ankle. This makes this model fairly comfortable insofar as it doesn't feel much different from a sock. This also means that breathability is less of an issue because it just doesn't cover that much skin. Our testers noted that when we wore them on hot days with low-cut socks and they were against bare skin, there was more ankle sweat than they would have preferred.
These gaiters were solid at keeping out dirt and pine needles. They fit snugly around our ankles, so even when we kicked up some duff we were able to keep on moving.
They are not very versatile though. Even using them with high-ankle trail shoes (let alone something even more substantial like a boot), we found that they didn't offer a meaningful amount of protection.
We tried our best to trash them, intentionally running through bramble and over rocks that we thought would scuff them up, but these gaiters held up surprisingly well. Because of their fairly low profile, they don't really get caught on anything more than a sock typically would. And in the few instances that they did get snagged, they ultimately came out no worse for wear.
We are also impressed with the instep strap. It's made from sturdy rubber and is the thickest and widest strap of any of the trail running models that we tested. Though it is not replaceable like the cord on other low and mid models, it would take a lot of miles on some seriously rough terrain to be able to wear through it.
Ease of Attachment
This model is conceptually easy to slip on and off; just slide the instep strap under your arch and velcro the gaiter around your ankle. In practice, we always seemed to need a few tries to get it feeling right. Either the velcro wouldn't line up the way it is meant to or the instep strap would sit too far back, or both.
Another thing to note is that there is a right gaiter and a left gaiter. They are marked, but many other models do not make that differentiation, so we had to remember to check each time before we put them on.
The Salomon Trail Low will keep your socks dry in light rain, but that's about it. We were pleasantly surprised by how well they did, but as a trail running gaiter, they are not designed to aggressively repel water. We also found that the angle of the instep strap meant that there was sometimes a gap between our footwear and the bottom of these gaiters.
If protection from precipitation is a primary concern, we would recommend a heartier gaiter that is designed to be used with sturdier footwear or one that comes with a DWR coating.
These gaiters are pretty lightweight. It seems like the added ounces come from the thick instep strap and large velcro attachment. The practical difference in weight isn't significant for most purposes though.
They are just about average for a pair of trail running gaiters. The material is resilient and the rubber instep is thick and durable, so we would expect them to be solid for a lot of miles.
The Salomon Trail Low is a rugged, lightweight trail running gaiter. We had some issues with its fit, so if you are looking for a similar product with better performance, there are better options out there.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch