In the past year, getting outside for a walk has become a go-to pastime for people everywhere. And for good reason: Almost anyone can do it, it requires zero machines or memberships, and it’s a way to connect with the world around you, even during quarantine. What more could you want from an exercise regimen?
Whether you’re new to pounding the pavement or you’ve been an avid walker for years, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your walking gear—with warmer weather on the way and a full year of experience under your belt, the right equipment can propel you to new distances. Plus, if you’re training for the Prevention Virtual Walk on Saturday, May 1—our twice-annual walking event that connects people around the world in a DIY 5K—you’re going to want to try out some of this stuff.
From shoes to socks, masks to headphones, we’ve scoured the internet for the very best gear for walkers of every level. Time to lace up your sneakers!
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Best Walking Shoes
Vionic Women’s Walker Classic Shoes
With more than 2,600 5-star reviews on Amazon, Vionic’s signature walking shoes are so good that we named them our favorite walking shoes. Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association, these sneakers include a supportive insert, an EVA midsole, and a flexible outsole, which means you’ll stay comfortable and supported on even the longest walks.
Best Walking Socks
Balega Hidden Comfort Socks
Balega’s Hidden Comfort socks have earned an impressive 4.8-star average on Amazon, making them some of the most-loved socks on the internet. Quick-drying Drynamix fabric wicks away moisture while mesh panels keep you dry, making chafing a thing of the past. Reviewers especially love the thick ankle tab, which prevents friction on long walks.
Best Face Mask for Walkers
Uniqlo AIRism Face Masks, 3-Pack
Recently named our top workout mask in Prevention’s 2021 Fitness Awards, Uniqlo’s AIRism face masks stand out from the competition with three layers of breathable, protective fabric—one wicks away moisture, one acts as a built-in filter, and one offers UV protection. On top of all that, the coverings are also machine-washable. “I wear them at work, where I’m moving around and sweating a lot,” one reviewer says, “and they are comfy and keep my face cool.”
Best Leggings for Walkers
Colorfulkoala Women’s High-Waisted Leggings
These leggings come with pockets, are super soft, and are less than $30. “The stretch in these leggings is nothing like I’ve ever seen,” one Amazon reviewer raves. “They hold perfectly but they’re not tight, and they stretch but they are not see through at all.” In other words, they’re perfect for walking.
Best Pants for Walkers
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants
You won’t regret purchasing these cult-favorite pants—almost everyone who buys them loves them. “I wear them hiking, biking, around town, and I even found out how to pull them off in a corporate environment,” one reviewer writes. “These are my new favorite pants ever,” says another, who also wears them everywhere. And since they cinch at the ankles, you’ll also get some extra protection from ticks while walking in the woods. (Just be sure to pack a repellent with you, too.)
Best Shorts for Walkers
Under Armour Play Up Shorts 3.0
When it’s just too hot for pants (or if you want to show off your newly toned legs), UA’s Play Up shorts will be part of your go-to walking uniform. Athletes of all shapes and sizes love them for their lightweight fabric, pockets, and ability to stay in place doing just about anything. In short, they’re a walker’s dream.
Best Jacket for Walkers
REI Groundbreaker Rain Jacket
A good rain jacket is necessary for any walker’s wardrobe, especially one as layering-friendly as this. REI’s slicker is waterproof and breathable—a lifesaver in summer heat—all while looking way more polished than the $25 price tag would suggest. Reviewers have tested it in wind, snow, sleet, and showers, and they say it really does hold up; one couple went on a rainy, chilly hike in Alaska, and only these rain jackets held up the entire time.
Best Tank for Walkers
Zella Strength Racerback Tank
Zella’s quick-drying, lightweight tank is great for just about any workout, but it’s looser fit and easy-to-wear colors are ideal for walkers. “I like that it’s light and airy for summer workouts,” one reviewer says. “I really like the higher neck and longer length. I would buy this again.” Plus, a whopping 77% of Nordstrom shoppers give it a perfect 5-star rating.
Best Tee for Walkers
Sweaty Betty Glisten Long-Sleeve Tee
Woven from sustainable bamboo, this long-sleeve tee is seriously soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking. Buyers love that it fits like a second skin without chafing, making it ideal for chilly, evening walks. Bonus: It comes in beautiful colors.
Best Sports Bra for Walkers
Lukafit Standout Sports Bra
We love Lukafit’s signature sports bra. Available in lavender and black (in a print that features Black women working out), it’s stylish, supportive, and ideal for walks of any intensity. “The padding in the cups is removable, and the racerback is low enough in the back to give great support and help my posture,” a reviewer says. “This is THE bra!”
Best Walking Sandals
Teva Hurricane XLT2
Sandals are having a moment in our comfort-obsessed times, and these Tevas are the best of the bunch. Recycled plastic straps, an EVA midsole, a supportive footbed, and a rugged outsole are enough to please just about anyone, especially on day hikes, neighborhood jaunts, and river expeditions. (They also look much cooler than you remember from your college days.)
Best Fitness Tracker for Walkers
Fitbit Charge 4
$134.00 (11% off)
With a heart monitor, sleep tracker, and built-in GPS, the Fitbit Charge 4 is the only fitness tracker you need on and off the trail. “I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone looking for a full-time fitness tracker,” one buyer writes. “There is no other fitness tracker on the planet that offers GPS tracking and touch-free payment for this price point.” As part of the Prevention Virtual Walk, enter to win a Fitbit Inspire 2 (another standout fitness tracker) here!
Best Headphones for Walkers
Jaybird Vista Headphones
$149.99 (17% off)
Walkers need headphones that stay in place and offer quality sound—and that’s what Jaybird Vista earbuds deliver. The Bluetooth-enabled buds have six-hour battery life, plus 10 more stored in the charging case, which is small enough to slip into a pocket. “These are the best earbuds I own, without question,” one reviewer raves. “They consistently excel in every category, which is something I haven’t encountered until these earbuds.”
Best Ankle Weights for Walkers
Looking to add a bit of resistance to your walk? Bala’s ankle weights help sculpt your legs and arms with each stride, and they’re way prettier than any of the other weights on the market. “I got them for walking and yoga but I think I am going to wear them everywhere,” one user says. “They are very comfy and soft to the touch.”
Best Water Bottle for Walkers
Nathan Insulated SpeedShot Plus
Tired of carrying a bulky water bottle on your walk? Pick up one of these insulated water bottles, which straps directly to your hand and includes a storage pouch. Plus, it’s reflective so drivers will be able to spot you on evening walks.
Best Bag for Walkers
Herschel Fourteen Waist Pack
We don’t blame you if you’re wary of fanny packs, but hear us out: this option from Herschel is a happy medium between style and functionality that’s especially helpful if you’re bringing stuff (read: your phone, car keys, and cash) with you on a walk. No wonder it has a 4.8-star Amazon average rating.
Best Sunscreen for Walkers
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
No matter the weather, you should be wearing SPF every single day, especially if forget your hat at home. Neutrogena’s SPF 70 sunscreen is non-greasy and lightweight, and it won’t aggravate sensitive skin. Plus, you can’t beat the under-$10 price tag.
Best Roller for Walkers
TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller
After a long walk or hike, there’s no better feeling than releasing tension with a foam roller. TriggerPoint’s unique pattern mimics the hands of a masseuse, offering a better cool-down than the competition. Pro tip: You can also use it to warm up your muscles before a particularly strenuous walk.
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