How to Choose Walking Clothes

With good  shoes on your  feet,  you’re  nearly ready to hit the  road. Although great shoes are the key ingredient, carefully considered clothes will make your workouts more comfortable.

Next to shoes, socks are your best friend. Avoid cotton; synthetic fibers  are better at drawing moisture away from your  skin and they  don’t end up soggy. Wet socks rub and cause blisters, besides being uncomfortable. Consider some of the  newer and  finer wool socks; they’ve come a long way. Look for snugly fitting  socks with  as few seams to chafe  as possible. For some blister-prone people, wearing two thin pairs of socks can eliminate rubbing. Consider trying on your socks of choice with your shoes when you shop because thicker socks may alter the fit you need.

Tops, whether short- or long-sleeved, should be comfortable and allow you to swing  your  arms freely.  They  can  either be loose or snug, but avoid  bulky seams. The  best clothing is made of high-tech synthetic materials that breathe and wick  moisture away  from your skin, keeping you cooler in hot weather and  warmer in  cold.  Although they  can be more expensive than that old  T-shirt in  your drawer, I’d bet my bottom dollar that you will love any lightweight technical shirt you get that is made for activity and  sweating. If you aren’t prepared to invest the  money, your  next best bet is  a  natural fiber, such as  cotton, especially for indoor workouts where the elements aren’t a  big factor.

How to Choose Walking ClothesBottoms, from sweats to shorts, can  be  loose fitting without bulky  seams  be – tween your thighs to irritate or chafe, or skin  tight, depending on your  personal comfort level.  Long tights in the winter and  thigh-length tights in the  summer protect and  support well. Here, too, high-performance wicking fabrics are available, as are blends with Lycra. Personal preference and  budget play the  largest role in your  decision.

Headgear is important to protect you from the sun in the summer and retain body heat in the winter. If you’re worried about sun, consider a cap with a drape in the back to protect your neck or a hat with a wide brim.  In the winter, cover up with wind- or waterproof shells and,  if in a really cold  climate, shell  pants, preferably those that are breathable to allow your  sweat to evaporate. Layers work best—not only to trap your  body  heat, but  to peel  off as you heat up or put  on as you  cool  down.  I can’t  begin  to explain the  choices in jackets, but I will tell you  that the  windbreaker has  changed a lot. There are  all levels  of windproof, water-resistant, and waterproof jackets with hoods or not, with full or half zippers, with pockets or not,  or with underarm zippers or not.  Check out local specialty running stores (they carry lightweight outerwear good  for walking or running), sporting goods stores, or even an outdoor specialty store. Although outdoor specialty stores may cater to backpackers and  hikers, the outerwear (as  well  as  gloves  and  headgear) crosses over  well. Hands, too, need protection in the  cold.  For cool  days, lightweight glove  liners are  fine. Otherwise look for thermal mittens or gloves or those made of moisture-wicking materials. All those technical fibers, including those that repel water or stop wind, are also available in gloves  and mittens. Consider these items an investment in your comfort. If you’re comfortable, you’ll be much more likely to keep up your  walking program.

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