Do Spats Go Over the Pant Leg? Exploring the Styling Options

Spats, also known as spatterdashes or spatter guards, are a timeless addition to any outdoor ensemble, providing both style and practicality. These classic and elegant accessories are designed to cover the instep and ankle, offering protection from dirt, mud, and unwanted splatters. It’s important to note that spats are different from gaiters, which are garments specifically worn to cover the lower trouser leg. With their versatile nature, spats effortlessly complement a variety of shoe styles, ensuring a polished and sophisticated look for the discerning wearer.

What Are Spats Normally Worn Over?

Spats are traditionally worn over formal shoes, such as oxfords or brogues, to add an extra layer of protection and style. They’re designed to cover the instep and ankle, creating a sleek and polished look. The purpose of spats is twofold – to protect the shoes from dirt, mud, or rain, and to elevate the overall aesthetic of the outfit.

They add a touch of old-world elegance and nostalgia to any outfit, instantly making a fashion statement. Whether worn with a tailored suit or a vintage-inspired ensemble, spats bring a refined and sophisticated air.

Spats have their origins in the late 19th century and were popularized during the Edwardian era. They were initially worn by gentlemen as a practical accessory when traveling outdoors. As fashion evolved, spats became a staple in mens formalwear, often seen at special events, weddings, and upscale gatherings. However, in recent years, spats have transcended gender boundaries, with women embracing this classic footwear accessory as well.

The material of spats can vary, ranging from leather to fabric, with different patterns and colors available. They’re typically fastened using buttons or straps, ensuring a secure fit. Spats are versatile in terms of styling, allowing for various combinations with trousers, socks, and other clothing items. They can add a touch of elegance to a simple outfit or serve as a unique accessory to a more elaborate ensemble.

They’re distinct from gaiters, which are worn over the lower trouser leg as well as the shoe. Spats have a long-standing history and are associated with refinement, making them a versatile accessory for both men and women. Their materials, fastenings, and designs provide endless possibilities for expressing personal style and adding a touch of vintage charm.

They’re essentially tight-fitting, stretchy pants that are often worn for physical activities, such as yoga, running, or grappling. While both spats and leggings serve similar purposes, there are a few key differences between the two.

What’s the Difference Between Spats and Leggings?

Spats are essentially a type of form-fitting garment that covers the legs, particularly the lower part of the leg, from the ankles up to just below the knee. They’re typically made from a blend of stretchy, moisture-wicking fabrics like nylon and polyester. Spats are designed to provide support and protection to the legs during intense physical activities, particularly martial arts and grappling sports like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

On the other hand, leggings are tight-fitting garments that cover the entire leg, from the waist down to the ankles. Leggings have become a popular fashion trend in recent years and are often worn casually or during workouts.

Although spats and leggings share some similarities in terms of their form-fitting nature and function, there are some notable differences. These features are essential for protecting the legs and preventing injuries during intense training sessions.

Additionally, spats are often made with specialized moisture-wicking fabrics that help keep the body dry and comfortable during physical activities. This is crucial in combat sports where sweating is inevitable. Leggings, on the other hand, may not offer the same level of moisture-wicking properties and durability as spats, as they’re primarily designed for fashion and everyday wear.

In terms of appearance, spats often come in solid colors or feature bold patterns and designs that are more common in the martial arts community.


In conclusion, spats have long been a fashion statement and functional accessory in outdoor wear. These instep and ankle coverings provide both style and practicality, distinguishing them from gaiters that are designed to cover the lower trouser leg and shoe. With their rich history and unique design, spats continue to be a beloved addition to formal and vintage attire, enhancing the overall aesthetic and adding a touch of elegance to any ensemble.