Walking Gear: Look Good, Feel Great

Feel more comfortable -- and inspired -- with these what-to-wear tips

Fit girl is stretching in the park in autumn

Medically reviewed in February 2021

You can roll out of bed and head for a walk wearing practically anything. But you'll be more comfortable -- less chafing, no extra fabric flapping around -- and maybe more inspired if you dress for it. And the more comfortable you are, the longer you'll walk.

Keep it smooth. Walking, like any sport, is a repetitive action, so avoid shorts or pants in heavy, stiff, or bulky fabrics that cause friction and can lead to chafing. Nix corduroy, thick sweats, even wide-ribbed socks, and go for something smooth.

In chilly weather, layer up. Layers keep you warm when you start out, and let you peel down when you get warm. Begin with a T-shirt, then pull on something with long sleeves (a sweatshirt or fleece top) that you can take off and tie around your waist. If the weather's iffy, add a water-resistant jacket.

Make it sweat absorbing. Especially in hot weather, whatever's next to your skin should absorb perspiration and help it evaporate (that goes for socks, too). Staying cool and dry fights chafing and keeps you going. There are all sorts of synthetic blends made for workout clothes that do a great job of this (look for words like "dri-fit"). Avoid cotton, which just gets soggy.

Stay safe. If you're walking when there's not much light, make sure there are reflective stripes, patches, or dots on your clothes and shoes. On bright days, remember your hat, shades, and sunscreen.

Rock your style. Celebrate your walking commitment in something other than those old gray sweats. Good-looking walking clothes come in all shapes, sizes, and price points and can make you feel great about getting out there and racking up your steps.

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