Home / Blog / The Best Gear for Going on a Walk

The Best Gear for Going on a Walk

Jul 13, 2023Jul 13, 2023

Published May 17, 2023

Elissa Sanci

Share this post

Taking a daily walk around your neighborhood can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health—walking is as good for your heart as it is for your mind. If you need some motivation, sign up for the five-week walking series run by our colleagues at New York Times Well. And these expert-vetted Wirecutter picks can set you up for success.

With minimal cushioning and an overall minimalist feel, these lightweight running shoes are great for casual walkers and marathoners alike.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $130.

The same shoes in men's sizing.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $130.

Sometimes the only motivation you need to take a walk (or hop on the treadmill) is a supportive pair of shoes you can travel miles in while evading blisters and aches. The Altra Escalante 3 sneakers—a lightweight pair of running shoes with minimal cushioning—are particularly good for walkers because they provide stability and support without feeling too heavy. If you need more cushioning, however, you may want to see whether shoes with stacked, foam soles (like the ubiquitous Hokas) are right for you.

Though this fanny pack is small, it can easily hold everything you need for a stroll through the park.

You don't need to bring much with you, but there are some things you shouldn't leave home without. Carry your phone, wallet, keys, and sunscreen in a lightweight fanny pack that you can strap around your waist or sling across your chest. The Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack is a sporty little bag that won't weigh you down during a jaunt around the neighborhood. Its soft, padded back makes it comfortable to wear, and it's available in a few different color combinations (including all black). So you’re likely to find a version you love.

Available in a dozen fun patterns, this wide-brimmed hat provides UPF 50+ sun protection. It has an adjustable chin strap and comes with a matching pouch, so you can carry it on the go.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $0.

For another layer of UV protection, pull on a sun hat. We were first introduced to the Barrière Sun Hat by theme-park journalist Carlye Wisel, who wears it to protect her scalp as she traipses literal miles through the Magic Kingdom. Certified UPF 50+, this hat has become a staff favorite for its wide brim, cute patterns (cherries! tie-dye!), and portability: It folds up into a packable pouch for easy transport.

These tiny earbuds have great sound, a long battery life, and a hear-through mode for situational awareness.

A pump-up playlist or an engrossing podcast episode can inspire you to tack on more mileage, but drowning out what's going on around you can pose a safety risk. You can have the best of both worlds with the Soundcore Space A40 earbuds, a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds equipped with a natural-sounding hear-through mode to keep you keyed into your surroundings. Tiny and lightweight, these earbuds are comfortable enough to wear for hours. And with 10 hours of battery life per charge, they’ll likely outlast even your most herculean walk. If you’re the type who prefers to walk and talk, the Soundcore Space A40s have a great microphone that reduces background noise, to ensure the recipient of your call hears you clearly.

This audiobook service has a similar fee structure and selection to others we’ve tried, but each purchase supports a local bookstore. Plus, the in-app recommendations are a cut above.

On your next walk, get lost in a good book. Yes, libraries loan out audiobooks for free, but if the title you’re itching to read has a months-long waiting list, an audiobook subscription can help tide you over. We particularly like because it lets customers choose an indie bookstore to support through their purchases. For a monthly $15 fee, this service gives you access to one book per pay cycle, plus a 30% discount on add-on titles. And if you’re not jiving with a book that you thought you’d love, allows returns so you can find a story you do love.

This chemical formula sunscreen is designed for use on the face and the body, and it rubs in easily without leaving behind a white cast.

Protect your skin from the sun by slathering on a layer of Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion before you head outside—and bring the bottle along so you can reapply it. With a minty, floral scent, Supergoop Play rubs in easily without leaving a white cast on your skin. It's designed for both your face and body, and it's sold in four sizes (three of which can easily fit into even the smallest fanny pack).

This plastic water bottle isn't as heavy as stainless steel options, and it has a wrist strap, so it's easy to carry on walks.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $35.

It's important to stay hydrated, but toting a heavy water bottle for miles can be a pain. A lightweight, collapsible travel bottle like the Nomader is a much better companion. This water bottle can be rolled up and stashed in your bag once it's empty. And it has a nifty carrying strap, so you can wear it around your wrist or thread it through the straps of a fanny pack.

These sleek, round shades are comfortable to wear and affordable, and they look good on almost any face.

Instead of squinting through sun rays to view your surroundings, slip on some UV-blocking, polarized sunglasses, such as the Sungait Vintage Round pair. Affordable and universally flattering on a variety of face shapes, these Sungait sunnies are comfy enough to wear on long walks and durable enough to survive being shoved into a fanny pack when clouds roll in. And if they do break, they’re covered by a lifetime warranty.

Sleek and feature-packed, this activity tracker accurately and automatically records a range of activities, includes built-in GPS, and has an app that makes it simple to use and customize.

Tangible evidence of your hard work can be incredibly motivating. So wearing a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Charge 5 on your walks will ensure that the steps you take are accounted for. This easy-to-use, sleek tracker accurately measures steps and distance. And it reliably detects and automatically begins to record workouts after 10 minutes of activity, so your steps will be counted—even if you forget to manually track your walk. Checking your stats on Fitbit's straightforward app is easy, and you can also link your account with those of other Fitbit users, which is a good way to hold yourself accountable.

This article was edited by Annemarie Conte and Catherine Kast.

by Ria Misra

The women of Wirecutter drew on our experience—many of us log thousands of miles a year—to create a packing list to help you truly enjoy flying solo.

by Wirecutter Staff

We put in another year and tens of thousands more miles of travel to test the best travel gear—and we stand by last year's choices alongside a few new picks.

by Ryan Bradley

After 40 hours of testing on trails, streets, beaches, and more, we’re determined that the Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles are the best for nearly everyone.

by Christine Ryan

Our sleep and travel editors recommend gear for coping with travel-induced insomnia, vetted through hours of testing and years of personal experience.