Outdoors Clothing From the Feet Up

The outdoors clothing you choose depends on the use you want to put it to. Let’s start with the feet. All trail activities need grip, flex and protection: but the kind of protection you go for changes depending on the sport you’re into.

Hiking boots are essential property for any serious walker. Hills, fells and mountains are beautiful things but covered in rocks and roots and dotted with cracks and drops. A safe walker is a good walker: and that means combining serious grip with the ability to let the ankle rotate properly.

Outdoors clothing for the hiker’s foot comes in two basic incarnations: flexible and breathable (for everyday walking and athletic hiking) and sturdy (for steady long distance fell walking). You’ll find plenty of technical fabrics at play in the former, while your basic long distance boots for steady walking will combine soft leather with tough construction, making them waterproof and immensely strong.

When you get into fell running and trail running, your feet get a whole new range of outdoors clothing: even more technical than the athletic hiking boot and with all sorts of running related functions. The Columbia Drainmaker, for example, combines water shoe tech (quick drying with plenty of runnels to let the water out) with lightweight running shoe characteristics and a sole capable of withstanding the torsion of running over rocky trails.

Choose the type of trail running shoe you use according to the kind of running you do. Bulkier shoes offer more comfort and support, but are unsuitable for racing or ultra distance running: their weight works against them when you are going for quick times or trying to minimise your load. Light trail running shoes are ideal outdoors clothing for competitive feet – but remember, every gram shed from your shoe leaves your feet more open to impact.