Skip to content

If You're Over 65, Don't Wear These 7 Clothing Items on a Walk

Don't let these wardrobe mistakes get in the way of your walk.

If you're looking for a low-risk way to jumpstart your physical fitness over 65, taking a daily walk offers major health benefits. In fact, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Circulation, seniors who walk three to four miles per day—the rough equivalent of 6,000 to 9,000 steps—are up to 50 percent less likely to suffer from a heart attack compared to people who walk 2,000 steps per day or fewer.

Experts say that if you plan to start a new walking regimen, your walking wardrobe should be top of mind. "Throughout Scandinavia, there is a saying: There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing," says fashion stylist and PR executive Christina Kroll. "If you want to walk outside—which, as we all know, is so much better than walking on a treadmill—you have to be on top of your game in terms of gear."

While some clothing items cause chafing, sweating, or sunburns on a walk, others can leave you freer to focus on moving your body in the great outdoors. Read on to find out which clothes stylists and other experts say you should avoid on your next walk if you're over 65.

RELATED: If You're Over 65, Don't Wear These 5 Clothing Items When Traveling.

Cotton base layers

Group Of Active Senior Friends Enjoying Hiking Through Countryside Walking Along Track Together

Joyce Shulman, author of the book Why Walk?: Discover the Transformative Power of an Intentional Walking Practice, says that choosing the right base layers is especially important when walking over the age of 65.

She recommends avoiding cotton close to your skin. "Avoiding cotton socks and other cotton base layers will help keep you dry and warm in the cooler temperatures and dryer in the warmer temperatures," she says, noting that cotton doesn't dry or wick as effectively as other fabrics.

Rain jackets

Senior couple wearing green and red raincoats holding a rainbow umbrella playing in the rain

Even if the sky is overcast, you should hold off on donning a rain jacket if you're over 65, says fashion stylist Elizabeth Kosich.

She instead suggests bringing one with you and using it only in truly inclement conditions, and choosing one with adequate venting to avoid overheating, sweating, and chafing.

"Practical in a pinch, rain jackets protect from the wet but tend to trap heat and lack airflow for longer wear," Kosich warns. "Plus the material is meant to be non-absorbent, which means it's not breathable or wicks moisture."

Hiking shoes

close up of man wearing hiking boots on mountains
avtk / Shutterstock

Hiking boots are ideal for traversing truly rough terrain, but Kosich advises against wearing them for everyday walks.

"One would think hiking shoes and walking shoes are interchangeable, but they're not," she tells Best Life. "Hiking shoes have heavy treads that, on surface streets, slow you down and lack sufficient shock absorption. They're also cumbersome on soft surfaces like sand. Today's footwear technology is outstanding, so make sure your shoe suits your activity to ensure maximum comfort, performance and safety."

RELATED: 5 Items You Shouldn't Wear on Hot Days If You're Over 65.

100-percent wool scarves

Full length portrait of happy senior couple enjoying walk in winter forest and looking at each other with love

A scarf can help you stay toasty in cooler weather, but Kosich says that the material you choose can make all the difference. She recommends against wearing wool scarves, especially if you're over 65. That's because, as the CDC points out, older adults are more prone to heat stress, and do not adjust as easily to temperature changes as their younger counterparts.

"Wool scarves deliver on warmth, though they tend to overheat the body as physical activity increases. Wearing a scarf for good measure is smart, though you'll want to avoid one-hundred percent wool and opt for wool blends instead to counterbalance rising body temperature," Kosich tells Best Life. "Wool doesn't absorb moisture well either, which is another reason to save it for ready-to-wear only, not activewear."

New sneakers

two blue pairs of asics kayano sneakers on outdoor steps
saha_stozhko / Shutterstock

If you've decided to start walking regularly, you may be thinking of marking the occasion with a new pair of sneakers. However, Kosich says you should hold off wearing them for longer walks until you're sure they're comfortable.

"A long walk is not the time to test out new sneakers," she shares. "The risk of blisters and chafing is high, which is enough to cut short any walk quickly. Instead, break in new sneakers little by little by first wearing around the house and on brief errands before working up to full days and distance walks. Also, consider orthotic inserts for extra support. Your feet will thank you!"

RELATED: 7 Tips For Wearing Sneakers Over 65, According to Doctors and Style Experts.

Clothes and sunglasses without UV protection

A senior man chooses glasses in an optical shop.

Sunscreen is just your first line of defense from the sun when you head for the great outdoors. Shulman says that you should also plan to wear clothing and sunglasses that offer adequate UV protection.

"There are some fantastic layers, now created with SPF protection built in," she says. "Your eyes can experience sun damage as well, so high-quality sunglasses are important any time of the year."

Hats without a strap

Happy senior woman on the beach in a tank top and hat
Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

Whether to keep warm in the winter or stay safe from the sun in the summer, hats are a great wardrobe addition for people over 65.

However, for longer walks, Kosich recommends always choosing one with a strap. "Windy conditions make for constant fretting, fussing and fixing of headwear while outdoors. Reduce stress by investing in a hat with a sturdy chin strap so you can be hands-free," she notes.

The stylist recommends shopping packable styles that easily roll and go, are machine washable, and offer UV ray protection. "Having sensible, high-functioning headwear is game-changing," she says.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
Filed Under
Sources referenced in this article
  1. Source:
  2. Source: