Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiter
Outdoor ResearchSparkplug Gaiter

Electricity for your ankles.

Give your soggy, snowy, or muddy trail run a boost with the Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiter, which uses a breathable, water-resistant, stretchy nylon fabric and a single lace hook to keep junk, gunk, and trail skunks from befouling your socks and enmuddening your ankles.

  • Nylon/spandex blend
  • Breathable and water-resistant
  • 8.5in tall
  • Single lace hook attachment
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

C+ gaiters

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

The truth? These gaiters kept rocks, sticks, and dirt out of my trail runners the 22 miles I backpacked this weekend. They absolutely did what they are meant to do. However, I really can't give it higher than a C+ rating because 1) they are not water repellent at all (I will say they seem to dry out very quickly though), 2) I walked 5 feet off trail to relieve myself and got a hole in the gaiter on the FIRST day of use within the first 2 miles of my hike. What a bummer! The hole will surely grow over time and I will have to replace them. I may sew it now before it expands. I am very careful where I walk when I come off the trail so I must have barely missed a brier and snagged the material...so not very durable considering what they are meant for. :( As a thru hiker, it may be worth the investment to get gaiters made of sturdy material so you are not having to replace your gaiters during every resupply in town. 3) The velcro adhesive provided stinks. One completely came off the shoe after the first use and the second one somehow moved an inch above where I stuck it. So I'll have to buy more velcro from Walmart, adding to the cost of these gaiters. And for $15 gaiters, I'm not about to pay $6 for shipping to return or exchange them for a better pair. That's not Outdoor Research's fault BUT it will ultimately prevent me from doing business with Backcountry down the road. I originally came to Backcountry from REI for the better prices. But honestly, I would rather make the drive to REI and spend the extra few dollars just to have peace of mind that I can return anything for a full refund (used or unused) within a year without having to pay money to return the product. Any real gearhead knows the importance of flexibility in trying new gear and returning it if it's not the right fit! Bottom line: they get the job done but you'll have to replace them after a few hikes.


    They are lightweight and keep the rocks and dirt out of your shoes. I used them recently on a 20 mile hike in the Smokey Mountains. Over dirt, rock and water crossings. Worked awesome. For the money, they are a great buy

    Excellent! Happy Trails, Tim!

    OR Rep

    Perfect for keeping sand and rocks out

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I've been using these for hot weather hiking where I want to keep grit / rocks / sand out of my shoes and have been really happy with how they have performed so far. They're a light spandex that has a Velcro attachment for the back (either glue on a strip that they include or if you have shoes like Altra - they'll work perfectly) and a hook attachment for the front. No fuss and I forget they're there once I have them on. Dry super quick if they get wet. I have had a bit of issue with the top falling down over the day, but I prefer pulling that back up every once in a while to having something that would be constricting.

    If you've never tried gaiters before for keeping junk out of your shoes, these are a great option and I absolutely recommend it - once you get used to runnning or hiking with gaiters, you'll wonder how you lived without!

    Sold on these!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I don't know where these have been all my life. These just solved my biggest Utah hiking problem, which was constantly kicking dirt, sand, and small rocks into my own shoes. I don't care how careful you are, you WILL do this while you walk.

    These attach perfectly to my Altra Lone Peak shoes with the toe clip and heel velcro. I love that I don't have to mess with a band around the sole of the shoe. https://www.backcountry.com/altra-lone-peak-3.0-trail-running-shoe-womens

    I spent 3 days walking through sand and water and they survived just fine. Though if I start to run into wear issues, as others have, I will add an update.

    Somewhat functional

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs large
    • Size Bought: L/XL

    They do keep most dirt and detritus out of my running shoes. It might be my skinny ankles but the fabric is very light and without an elastic top the gaiters sag towards the top of my shoes. As a work around I've used a medium rubber band on the outside and it seems to keep them up. Adding the velcro to the back of my shoes wasn't that difficult. They should include more than a single pair because trail shoes generally only last a few months, besides who only has a single pair?. That said, getting roll of velcro from any hardware store isn't a huge deal.

    Perry - Thanks for the feedback - I will pass it on to the folks at OR.

    OR Rep

    Unanswered Question

    How much does a medium weigh?

    Gaiter Size Guide

    Gaiter Size Guide

    They do what they're supposed to.

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Ordered these to wear while backpacking in my Altra Lone Peaks. They do what they're supposed to-- they're lightweight, they're simple, and they stay put. They're nothing fancy, but they're functional, and the material dries quickly and keeps rocks and dirt and other nature business out of my shoes. As trail running gaiters go, these get the job done! They also come with extra velcro for the heel of your shoes, in case your shoes aren't already pre-velcro'ed.

    I wear a size 9.5 womens HOKA should I order size large?

    L/XL would be the correct size for a 9.5 women's shoe.