Be very considerate when choosing socks for a walking trip. This is one of the most important elements of the outfit, since feet bear your weight when you walk. The right choice of socks will make you feel comfortable during the trip and will protect from blisters, calluses and corns.
Having walked several hundred kilometres, we can confirm the significance of choosing the right size of socks. When picking socks, we often have a scale of several sizes. For example, if your shoe size is 40, you could choose between sizes 38-39 and 40-41. But if your foot fits nicely and tightly into socks of size 38-39, which do not squeeze your feet, we recommend choosing this size for the beginning of the trip. Larger socks may have excess fabric to enable them to stretch, which is likely to form wrinkles during a long trip. Wrinkles will inevitably cause blisters.
Please keep in mind that your feet may sweat and swell when walking long distances. Since moisture is not healthy for your feet, to prevent pain and injury, take at least one spare pair of socks so you will have the opportunity to change them during the trip. If the size of the socks you choose is “on the verge” and may become too tight when your feet swell, it is worthwhile to have a pair of larger socks. This way, you can decrease the pressure placed on the feet and reduce discomfort.
Depending on the weather, it’s worthwhile to choose synthetic fibre or merino sheep’s wool socks. They breathe well and quickly wick away sweat. As moisture is bad for your feet, avoid socks made from cotton or other moisture-absorbing fibres. They will definitely cause you inconvenience.
Regardless of the summertime heat, do not choose very short or thin socks. Ideally, they should be denser at the ankle and foot pads. The latter reinforcement provides more stability to the foot. To prevent calluses, protect foot areas which experience the most pressure: foot pads, heels and toes. For this purpose, you can choose socks with padding, apply silicone patches or sprinkle feet with baby or special powder.
Shoes are one of the essential elements of a walking trip, especially of a long one. The most important aspects are the right size, technology and construction of the sole, which must be appropriate for the purpose of the shoes and the surface you will walk on.If you are going to buy new shoes, be sure to try them by walking shorter distances before you go to a long trip. This way, you will make sure that your shoes are not too tight and do not rub, and you will stretch them a bit according to the shape of your feet.
Choose boots with a medium-high top (slightly above the ankle). The sole should be slightly thinner than footwear for mountain trips. Shoes with lower tops and more flexible soles are more suitable for warmer seasons. As an alternative, you can choose off-road running shoes that are ideal for trips on plain or uneven surfaces. This type of footwear will absorb impact and give you a feeling of comfort, as you will feel fewer bumps on uneven surfaces. If you consider wearing casual shoes, which may have a thin sole, consider the impact of shocks and the risk of foot instability. You may be able to walk the chosen distance, but your feet will require longer and more frequent rests, and you will need more time to recover after the trip.
Even when you select shoes for casual wear, the most important aspect is the proper size of the shoes. If you walk short distances, the size of your feet still varies by several millimetres depending on the weight the foot must bear, the air temperature, rate of moisture evaporation and other factors. When choosing close-toed shoes, leave 5 to 10 millimetres of free space for the feet to move. When walking long distances, the feet swell, so if in normal conditions boots are one size too big, they will be just right during a trip.
Clothing worn during a trip should breathe, wick away moisture and be comfortable, so we recommend choosing from synthetic or merino wool clothing. Why? Because these types of clothing, in contrast to our usual leisurewear made of cotton fibre, do not retain a large amount of moisture and dry much faster while allowing the body to breathe. This prevents you from experiencing discomfort and possible health issues. Synthetic fabrics are much more robust compared to other types, giving you more confidence and ease of movement.
It is also very important to prepare for various weather conditions, and here the rule of three layers will help.
I LAYER or the base layer functions in quickly wicking away the moisture. This is extremely important because moisture not only causes discomfort but also attracts chill (especially when you stop after being active or begin to move less).
We recommend that you choose well-fitting clothes in synthetic or merino wool fabric. Columbia T-shirts with Omni-Freeze™ technology are perfect for hot weather. They do not only breathe, but they also refresh your body and protect against harmful UV rays. Alternatively, you may want to consider a Jack Wolfskin T-shirt with Silk Touch Jersey Texacool Q.M.C. S.Fresh technology, which will remind you of silk. This technology also wicks away moisture, does not absorb odours and will help you maintain the right body temperature.
II LAYER is designed to retain heat and remove excess moisture. We also recommend choosing these clothes according to the weather conditions. When considering possible options for the second layer, keep in mind that you may feel cold or warm depending on the walk. For your convenience, choose clothes that can be easily and fully unbuttoned. In the warm season, we recommend Columbia Silver Ridge shirts, which protect your hands and neck from UV rays and possible burns during long trips and breathe well. Choose fleece in the colder season – it’s extremely light, takes up little space, maintains optimal body temperature and has good breathing properties. Fleece is extremely rich in both thickness and detail.
III LAYER takes care of outer protection. Waterproof and windproof clothes are the perfect choice, but the clothes must also breathe. We recommend choosing the Columbia Pouring Adventure jacket with Omni-Tech membrane. If the weather is rainy and you plan to carry a heavy backpack, we recommend the Jack Wolfskin Sierra Trail, which offers excellent waterproof properties and wicks away moisture. Remember that windproof and waterproof jackets do not always breathe well, so be sure to pay attention to their functionality when making a purchase. Based on experience, we highly recommend washing water-resistant clothes which you have been wearing for a long time and re-impregnating them.
For longer distances, choose comfortable trousers that will not restrict your movement. We do not recommend traveling in jeans or trousers made of very stiff fabric, which will cause discomfort on long walks. Choose synthetic fibre, polyester or nylon trousers, which will wick away moisture and provide a feeling of comfort. Please note that the trousers you choose should contain elastane. We recommend for this trip the Columbia Titan Peak trousers, which also are moisture and wind resistant, and the Jack Wolfskin Activate Light trousers with the same characteristics. For those who are looking for a universal model for both summer and winter, we recommend choosing trousers with detachable trouser legs – when you start the trip early in the morning when it is still cool, you can wear long trousers, and when the weather gets warmer, you can detach the bottoms of your trousers and walk in shorts.
When choosing clothes, be sure to consider the weather conditions, and do not forget that clothes are seldom designed for absolutely everything, so choose clothing with the most suitable features. Also keep in mind that although walking is not an intense sport, we recommend that you have alternate clothes that you can change into when you stop or at the end of the trip.
The experts at the active leisure store Hiatus recommend the clothes and footwear tested by them during their Klaipėda – Vilnius trip, which will be sold to the participants of the trip with a discount:
- Columbia and Jack Wolfskin socks (Jack Wolfskin: TREKKING PRO CLASSIC CUT is the most suitable for the trip) – 50% discount.
- Jack Wolfskin, Columbia and Didriksons summer collection clothing – 35% discount
- Jack Wolfskin, Columbia and Sorel footwear – 30% discount
- Jack Wolfskin, Columbia and Didriksons winter collection clothing – 25%
- SIGG water bottles – 20% discount
Please find all products recommended for the participants of the trip here