Whether you're joining the 30-day walking challenge or just looking to get outside, heading out for a walk or a hike has many benefits and is a great way to get your body moving.
To help upgrade your walking experience, celebrity trainer Bob Harper stopped by TODAY to talk about some of his favorite accessories to help you stay on track with your goals. Not only does he love smart watches to measure your distance, but also he has the best shoes for training and products designed to help keep you safe.
In addition to Harper's picks, TODAY spoke to Men's Journal Contributing Editor Clint Carter to break down a complete exercise guide for both walking and hiking. Keep reading to see all 29 items to elevate your experience while enjoying the outdoors.
Walking essentials as seen on TODAY
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080v11 Shoes
If you're looking for new walking shoes, Harper says these New Balance sneakers fit like a glove and are super comfortable. According to the brand, the Fresh Foam cushion technology provides extra support for the midsole and hugs the foot for a snug fit.
New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v11 Shoes
Featuring the same signature Fresh Foam technology, the men's version of this shoe comes in 14 colors to choose from. Harper says these are the best pair of walking shoes you can have.
Step up your walking game with these sporting essentialsJune 13, 202204:59
Smartwool Women's Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Socks
"When I think about walking, people don’t really realize how important a good pair of socks are," Harper said. He says a pair of high performance socks not only keep your feet dry but also can help prevent blisters. Harper likes these socks from Smartwool for the light cushioning material on the ball and heel of the foot.
Smartwool Men's Run Targeted Cushion Ankle Socks
Harper also notes that he likes his socks to hit above the ankle for comfortability. The Smartwool socks feature a crew cut and a mesh venting material to control moisture and breathability.
Nuovoware Water Bottle Carrier Bag
When out for a long walk, you'll want to carry water along with your personal items. Harper says he likes to keep his hands free and this water bottle bag holds everything he needs. Featuring two pockets, this carrier bag has a spot for keys, identification cards, your phone and more.
Patagonia Ultralight Blackhole Mini Hip Pack
Harper says he doesn't like holding anything in his pockets and another great option is this lightweight hip pack. Coming in eight colors, the brand says the material is made from 100 percent recycled fabric and has a soft adjustable strap that fits comfortably against the hip.
Lululemon Align Tank Top
"All my friends tell me how important it is to have a good sports bra when walking," Harper said. The Align top from Lululemon doubles as a sports bra and tank top with it's built-in light support. According to the brand, this bestselling top is made of weightless fabric that absorbs moisture and is extremely breathable.
Apace Vision LED Safety Light (Set of 2)
If you like walking at night, keeping safety in mind is highly important. Harper suggests buying safety lights that you can easily clip on to your clothing or bag. These LED lights come in a set of two and can be worn on any running gear, including dog collars and leashes. According to the brand, these lights can be seen as far as 1000 feet away.
Rena Chris Reflective Band (Set of 4)
Another way to stay safe after sundown, is to wear reflective bands. Coming in a set of four, these multifunctional bands have 360 degree visibility and can be worn on the wrist, arms or ankles, according to the brand.
More outdoor exercise essentials
Previously, Clint Carter, Men's Journal contributing editor and avid hiker, stopped by TODAY to share his outdoor exercise favorites.
These ankle and wrist weights are making exercise chic. They're a great way to add a little extra intensity to your hike or walk, as they can help build strength and endurance. Carter says that they're good for walking and hiking, but using weights while you run might lead to injury.
Best walking and hiking gear: Hiking boots, walking sticks and moreAug. 30, 202104:25
Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles
To take some of the pressure off of your knees and legs, consider hiking poles. They'll make your arms do some of the work and can help reduce the risk of you rolling your ankle, Carter says.
18-Ounce Yeti Rambler
If you don't have one of these bestselling tumblers, what are you waiting for? We tried the brand's mug while working from home and loved it. What Carter loves about the tumbler is that you can swap the lids to transform the bottle in a matter of seconds; you can make it a water bottle, a travel coffee mug, a Stanley-style mug lid, a locktight thermos that won't spill in your bag and more.
Camelbak Cloudwalker Hydration 18
Or, skip the water bottle entirely. This backpack comes with a built-in hydration pack that you can sip from as you walk. It's adjustable and features compression technology to reduce that bulky feeling, but it also has enough room to store all of your essentials for the day.
Osprey Tempest 6
This women's-specific belt bag is a great pick for anyone that prefers to keep it light on the trails. It's lightweight and made from sustainable materials, which won't restrict your movement.
Osprey Talon 6
Prefer a fanny pack? Carter says this hip pack is "perfect for day hikes" and is roomier than you think. It can hold all of your snacks and navigation gear, plus two full-size water bottles.
Before you head out, make sure you have this app downloaded on your phone. While the app itself is free, it only costs $30 for a year-long membership, which grants you access to over 100,000 trail maps. It helps you prepare for the trek ahead and also offers advice and tips from hikers who have completed the trail before you.
MyCharge Adventure H20 6700
Don't be stuck without a fully charged phone while you're outdoors. This waterproof portable charger has enough juice to bring your phone to a full charge and can even charge an iPad. The attached clip also makes it easy to keep on hand, but the charger is also drop-proof in the event that it takes a tumble.
Black Diamond Flare Headlamp
Carter says keeping a headlight at the ready as the sun begins to set earlier with each coming day is a good idea. This way, you don't have to complete your trek in the dark.
Eddie Bauer Resolution Seamless Short-Sleeve Crew T-Shirt
This tee checks all of the boxes: stretch, odor control and ultra-soft. It's body-skimming, too, so you can look and feel your best as you break a sweat.
Eddie Bauer Resolution V-Neck T-Shirt
The same moisture-wicking tee comes in a sporty V-neck style with a relaxed fit. It comes in five different colors that you can wear beyond the trails this fall.
Eddie Bauer Treign Crew Sweatshirt
Want to keep bugs away or plan on going for walks in the evenings? This moisture-wicking sweatshirt is made from an ultra-soft brushed fabric and also features thumbholes for easy layering.
Eddie Bauer Men's Ventatrex Long-Sleeve Crew
Trying to keep cool outside? You might not actually want to wear a cotton tee. Carter suggests choosing a shirt that will wick away moisture and keep you cool and comfortable. This long-sleeve top from Eddie Bauer (which also comes in a short-sleeve version) is made from polyester and is also treated with odor-control, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.
PrAna Alana Pant
With UPF 50+ and DWR-treated fabric, these pants are great for days out in the sun where you'll be breaking a sweat. Plus, they're machine washable for easy care.
PrAna Halle Pant
These lightweight pants offer a great amount of stretch but they can also convert into capris. They're DWR-treated, which means they'll wick away moisture and resist wrinkles as you move about.
PrAna Alameda Pant
These pants are made out of a recycled nylon, which offers a bit of stretch. They feature a total of five functional pockets and look sleek enough to wear on both active and casual days.
PrAna Stretch Zion Pant
When you're hiking, Carter says stretch in your clothing is critical. These pants from prAna offer just that, and they also feature an exterior pocket for gear, plus a tie-waist strap. The perk about that last part? It can be more comfortable than wearing a belt.
Swiftwick Pursuit Two Sock
Carter also recommends choosing a better pair of socks. He says the moisture that cotton socks trap can increase your risk of blisters and athletes foot. To avoid the potential issues with your feet, grab a pair of socks made from merino wool, which will wick away sweat and keep your feet dry. Carter says this pair from Swiftwick features extra cushion at the heel and toe, too.
Merrell Women's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
Your favorite pair of sneakers might not hold up too well when it comes to rugged outdoor activities such as hiking, which is why Carter recommends investing in a solid pair of footwear. Some factors to look out for are tread and the actual feel of the shoe — if it's not comfortable, you won't want to wear it.
Merrell Moab Speed Hiking Shoe
These hiking shoes prove that you don't need bulky footwear for a successful hike. They feature a stiff midsole plate and a deeper tread on the bottom along with reinforcement in key places, so you can step confidently over gravel and branches.
Are you up for a 30-day walking challenge? Sign up for the challenge with our free Start TODAY newsletter. Then, join us on the START Today Facebook group for daily tips and motivation, to connect with others following the plan, and to get real-time advice from trainer Stephanie Mansour!
For more stories like this, check out:
- 27 moisture-wicking styles to keep you dry in humid heat
- I'm an experienced runner — here are 15 running shoes for every kind of runner
- This viral tumbler has a 110k-person waitlist — and it's finally back in stock
Subscribe to our Stuff We Love and One Great Find newsletters, and download our TODAY app to discover deals, shopping tips, budget-friendly product recommendations and more!