By WALX Leicester East at
Do you ever wonder, “What should I wear to WALX?” I normally answer, “Anything you are comfortable in (within reason)!” However, it is worth a bit of thought so that you are suitably attired for the conditions and the activity. At the most basic level, a pair of shoes appropriate for the environment and weather, and a coat to keep you warm and dry (particularly at this time of year) is all you need, but since our WALX are aimed at improving your physical fitness, maybe we should think a little more about it? Doing so gets us into the right mindset for exercise; after all, you wouldn’t go running in stilettos or to the gym in your Sunday Best – would you?
You don’t need to spend a fortune on shiny leather boots and dubbin to join in with our activities. However, for your safety and comfort it is worth wearing a pair of sturdy trainers or boots designed for walking. High street retailers like Mountain Warehouse (www.mountainwarehouse.com) or Blacks (www.blacks.co.uk) offer a great range of footwear for all budgets. I have to confess my current walking boots came from the middle aisle of one of those well-known budget German supermarkets and have lasted several years! At the time writing, there is an amazing offer available on Grubs Discover Trainers in Black/Burst (https://www.grubswarehouse.com/product-page/discover-black-burst). These trainers are a favourite amongst WALX Leaders; being warm, waterproof, breathable and having a specially designed sole to give traction and support while walking. Also, don’t forget a good pair of walking socks, which are more supportive than regular socks, will help avoid blisters.
Moving up the body, in the height of summer your legs will look great in shorts or a skort. Nevertheless, long trousers might be more appropriate just now. If you are taking part in a Wellness WALX or Total Body WALX, you might want to consider how easily you can bend and stretch in your chosen legwear. Fleece-lined trousers might seem a good choice, but they could be a bit bulky for a session which focuses more on strength and conditioning. Leggings or jogging bottoms might be more comfortable. The major retailers sell thermal leggings at this time of year, which could be a good compromise of warmth and comfort. We love the leggings sold by Flanci Activewear (https://www.flanciactivewear.co.uk/walx.html), who have designed a series exclusively for WALX, and have released a couple of those designs with fleece-lined options for the cooler months.
AVOID wearing jeans. If they get wet they cling to you and take forever to dry making you very cold and extremely uncomfortable (not to mention the fact that they can rub!). Speaking of wet, if the conditions are particularly bad, pack-away waterproof overtrousers, which can be picked up cheaply at outdoor stores, are handy to have lurking at the bottom of your backpack – just in case!
These trap the heat and act as insulation or can be removed gradually to save you from going from one temperature extreme to another. Ideally, the layer next to your skin (often called the base layer) should be a breathable synthetic fabric. Cotton isn’t recommended as it retains moisture (OK, sweat!) which can cause you to chill as it evaporates. Depending on the conditions, over the base layer you may need a t-shirt/shirt, a sweatshirt/fleece and then your jacket, but you don’t want to end up looking like the Michelin Man, and you do want to be able to move without being impeded by your clothing! At this point it might be worth suggesting that using a weather app to check out the local weather forecast for the time of your walk can really help with your decision about what to wear. I use the free Hyperlocal Weather App on Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mcy.cihan.darkskyxweather&hl=en_GB, which is provided by Dark Sky on iOS https://darksky.net/app.
Ideally, something waterproof and breathable, but at the end of the day a coat which keeps you warm and dry on a daily basis will work for a walk. Preferably, you don’t want to wear something which is going to interfere with your movement (your best wool coat might not be the most appropriate) but most of us have a softshell, or anorak or cagoul or similar which ought to be suitable.
A baseball cap will keep the rain out of your eyes to an extent, but a woolly titfer will do a grand job of keeping you toasty. The hands also radiate heat, so please don’t overlook gloves as an essential piece of kit. I personally like warm, breathable running gloves which are thin enough to not impede my dexterity. Mine have a metallicized lining to reflect heat back into my hands (and little mitten covers to slip over my fingers when the arctic winds are blowing!). These from Decathlon https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/evolutiv-running-gloves/_/R-p-172603 are similar.
With all this in mind, what will YOU wear when you WALX?