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5 Clothing Items You Shouldn't Wear on a Walk

These are the items to avoid, fitness experts say.

Walking is a great way to stay fit and healthy without the impact of more rigorous forms of exercise. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publishing, walking comes with a range of major benefits, including enhanced immune function, reduced risk of certain types of cancer, weight management, improved joint health, and more.

Though walking is among the simplest exercises you can do, fitness experts say it still takes a small amount of preparation. In particular, choosing the right things to wear on your walk can help avoid strain, injury, and discomfort. Just as important is knowing which clothing items to skip, so you can set out on your walk in comfort and safety.

Not sure what to wear for your next excursion? Read on to find out which five clothing items you should never wear on a walk, according to fitness experts.

RELATED: If You're Over 65, Don't Wear These 6 Clothing Items to Exercise.

Skirts or dresses without shorts underneath

Rear view of a woman standing among sand dunes, wearing a long blue dress and a sun hat
Liudmila Kiermeier / iStock

Taking longer walks, especially in high heat, can lead to sweating and chafing. Kevin Le Gall, a fitness expert and the owner and lead editor for Climbing House, says that wearing skirts or dresses without shorts underneath can exacerbate the problem.

"While skirts and dresses can keep you cool, they'll do nothing to prevent chafing in hot temperatures. When you're going for a longer walk, you want to make sure your inner thighs are protected from rubbing against one another," he adds.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Take a Daily Walk.

Unsupportive footwear

dress code woman flip flops

Juju Sheikh, a personal trainer and founder of the fitness app Cloud Nine Collective, says that you should never take a walk in unsupportive footwear. This includes flip-flops, sandals, high heels, and sneakers without adequate arch support.

"Walking shoes should provide suitable support around the balls of your feet and your ankles, while also being resilient enough to sustain various types of terrain," she tells Best Life.

Caroline Grainger, an ISSA-certified personal trainer at FitnessTrainer, agrees that proper footwear is non-negotiable.

"While most people will be fine wearing sandals or unsupportive sneakers during a walk around the block, if you're going for a longer walk, you want to make sure you're wearing the right shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes while walking can lead to blisters, cramps, and even stress fractures," she warns.

RELATED: The 7 Best Walking Shoe Brands.

Heavy, non-breathable fabrics

senior man on a walk
Mladen Mitrinovic / Shutterstock

If you're going for a longer walk or hike, experts recommend opting for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics.

"Non-breathable fabrics are a bane for a lot of walkers; they are bulky, heavy, and can cause sweating and discomfort," explains Sheikh. "They're particularly bad for long walks because they don't let air or moisture pass through very easily, resulting in a lot of heat retention and poor ventilation."

The personal trainer recommends avoiding synthetic blends of fabrics, vinyl, PVC, rubberized fabrics, and heavy denim clothing when out on a walk.

Even everyday clothing items such as jeans and cotton t-shirts can prove heavy and un-absorbent on a walk, says Adrian Todd, an occupational therapist, hiking coach, and founder of
Great Minds Think Hike.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 "Comfortable" Shoes That Are Actually Bad for Your Feet, Podiatrists Say.

Unsupportive bras

Bra hanging on a hanger.

Wearing an unsupportive or uncomfortable bra can also tarnish your walking experience, says Sheikh. Underwires, too-tight straps, and unforgiving materials are all common culprits.

"Having an unsupportive bra results in discomfort and strain on your back and shoulders, as well as restricted natural movement. Collectively, this can cause imbalances in your body, potentially resulting in injury if sustained over a long period of time," she explains.

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A senior woman putting in earbuds while getting ready to take a walk

Headphones are not exactly a clothing item, but several of the experts we spoke to called out the accessory as a safety risk, especially when you're walking in unfamiliar areas.

"If you're walking in the evening or early morning, trying to beat the heat, you should be careful about wearing headphones. Make sure to stay aware of your surroundings at all times when out on a walk, so you can stay safe," says Le Gall.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more