I keep encountering this issue during summer, when wearing short trousers or a skirt while hiking: my boots get filled up with small rocks and stones, and I must stop from time to time to empty them. I guess this is a common issue, but I was wondering: is there some method to avoid, or at least lessen the little stones which get in my shoes?

What I have tried so far:

  • wearing long trousers which cover the boots (too warm)
  • tying shoelaces differently (not too effective)
  • walk on the grassy side of the road (not always comfortable)
  • change the way I walk (hard and demands constant attention)
  • trying to see whether it happens with other shoes/boots too (and it does... now I use a Lomer Pelmo)
  • 3
    Something like that will do it, won't be too hot: dirtygirlgaiters.com
    – Wills
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 12:02
  • @Wills I think this is exactly what I am looking for :)
    – Akabelle
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 12:41
  • You will find gaiters of all sizes and shapes for all types of hiking being trails or snow on mountains. Here some examples. outdoorresearch.com/en/womens/gaiters.html
    – Desorder
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 21:40
  • wear lighter pants? I wear pants in every season, up to around 30C
    – njzk2
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 2:27
  • @njzk2 yes, I consider buying some extra light pants soon-ish
    – Akabelle
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 5:03

4 Answers 4


Like Russell said, gaiters are what you need, there are many varieties, most are meant to help keep your feet and pants dry while moving through the bush, but in your situation I'd probably recommend a pair of trail running gaiters:

enter image description here

They're built exclusively for keeping sand, dirt, and rocks out of your shoes, and they're pretty stylish, which is apparently kinda important for some girls... Check out Dirty Girl Gaiters

  • 1
    See my comment ;)
    – Wills
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:30
  • 3
    @wills, didn't even notice your comment, you should have made it an answer!
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:37
  • I always thought these were "gators," but "gaiters" makes a lot more sense. Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 21:07
  • @Azor-Ahai People typically don't want any gators on their legs when they go out for a hike. They aren't the easiest to get off without your leg coming off with them.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 22:24
  • 1
    And gators don't even do a great job of keeping rocks out of your shoes, because anything can end up anywhere once they're rolling you. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 1:37

The two answers suggesting the purchase of gaiters seem like a great idea. The same effect can be gained with socks. Either cut the elastic off of a pair of socks that are worn out. Or just roll down the tops of long socks over the cuff of you boot/shoe.

If you don't own or wear long socks, and you know someone who wears nylons, ask them to give you any old nylons with runs in them. You can cut them into gaiters of you own.

  • 2
    Rolling down the tops of existing socks works for gravel; for sand less so as the sand ends up staying around your ankle or working its way down inside the sock
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 15:27
  • @Chris, for thick socks yes, but if you had thin socks on, or sock liners, you could give them a twist as you folded them down and they'd essentially work the same as a trail running gaiter. So it depends on what socks you're wearing.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 19:57

Lightweight gaiters are your best option. They do a very good job of keeping things out of your shoes. If those are also too hot for you then you will have to reconsider the effort it takes to change your stride/walk so that you're not kicking up as much detritus. It will come down to which is less inconvenient for you: adding gaiters, changing your walk, or living with the rocks.


While gaiters might be useful for many hikers, for me that is too high maintenance.

Instead, I choose where I hike to avoid the problem. Steep hills "encourage" me to walk slowly and to carefully select where I place my feet on each step. And staying on the main path (usually) has less loose debris to kick up.

Here was my choice two days ago in the Columbia River Gorge (Oneonta Gorge): enter image description here

  • 3
    Sorry but your answer is not very useful. "Instead of buying a pair of gaiters ($30), hike on tracks that does not require such gear". Do you have a car? You need to put petrol, pay for maintenance. It might be better to sell it and walk everywhere.
    – Desorder
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 21:38
  • 3
    @Desorder: If you have a choice, you can hike where there is lots of stuff laying on the ground, or you can hike where there is not so much. That is a direct answer to the question How to keep small rocks and stones out of hiking boots? Perhaps I misunderstand the context of this forum? Is it meant to support only equipment-intensive answers?
    – wallyk
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 22:53
  • 1
    +1 for keeping it real (and for not being the 4th answer that suggests the same thing). Learnt how to hike, yo. *"Pick 'em up and set 'em down, Pyle!"
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 23:20
  • 1
    @wallyk Please note I didn't downvote your answer. I don't think we should support only equipment-intensive answers . I actually think we get pretty creative answers here. I just think your answer is not practical even because you can get a pair of gardening boot cover at your favorite garden shop for as little as $5. Also think how many places people would miss out because "the track has too much gravel" or "The shrub was too dense"
    – Desorder
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 23:37
  • 1
    Not that the price, $30 now reduced to $5, has anything to do with whether it's "high maintenance" or "equipment-intensive". You could be given a whole bunch of kit for free and it'd still be a whole bunch of kit. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 1:41

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