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Gaiters are garments worn over the shoe and lower pant leg, and used primarily as personal protective equipment; similar garments used primarily for display are spats. Originally, gaiters were made of leather. Today, gaiters for walking are commonly made of plasticized synthetic cloth such as polyester. Gaiters for use on horseback continue to be made of leather.
Gaiters formed a part of the everyday clerical clothing of bishops and archdeacons of the Church of England until the middle part of the twentieth century. They were made of black cotton, wool, or silk, and buttoned up the sides, reaching to just below the knee where they would join with black breeches. Gaiters would be worn with a clerical apron, a type of short cassock reaching to just above the knee. The purpose of this vesture was originally practical, since archdeacons and bishops were presumed to be mobile, riding horses to various parts of a diocese or archdeaconry. In latter years, the clothing took on a more symbolic dimension.