The beauty of walking is its simplicity – you can just put your shoes on and head out of the door. But while you don’t need to splash cash on endless quantities of expensive kit, there are some wise investments in comfort you can make.

Feet first

Shoes are obviously your first priority. While you can walk in any old pair, it’s far better to give your feet plenty of support and comfort to prevent blisters and foot, leg or back pain. There are many shoes specifically designed for walking. Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot trainers (£80, have a super-thin, flexible, puncture-resistant sole that mimics the feeling of walking barefoot (the company also has excellent environmental credentials). Asics also does a range of walking shoes, such as the Gel-Kayano Walker 6 (£80,, which provides excellent support and cushioning, and has a wide “toe box” to really allow you to push off through your toes.

Weatherproof threads

As for clothing, the ideal walking attire is several thin layers which you can shed as you warm up, especially in the cold winter months. You also want the fabrics you wear to wick sweat away from your body, and repel the inevitable British wind and rain. For women, the Ronhill Asp SoftTech Pant (£52.99) does both of these things so that you don’t have to wear rustly waterproof trousers. The North Face does an excellent waterproof, yet lightweight, jacket called the Upland (£99.99) and a cosy fleece which wicks away sweat called the Mossbud (£54.99, all available at and other major sports retailers). For men, the North Face does a men’s version of the Upland (£99.99), and try Technicals Men’s Limitless Trousers (£44.99; both available at Avoid wearing jeans – if they get wet, they stay wet.

Picking a pedometer

If you’re serious about upping your daily step count, you’ll need a pedometer. All pedometers count the number of steps you take, but a report in the British Medical Journal found that most pedometers can have up to a 50% error rate. The more you spend on your pedometer, the more accurate you can expect it to be. Independent studies have shown the Step Pedometer (£15.99; to be 99% accurate, while £49.95 will get you a Sportline 375 MP3 Pedometer with FM Radio (, which tracks steps, distance and calories burned.

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