Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Take a Hike How to Look Good in the Middle of Nowhere

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Take a Hike How to Look Good in the Middle of Nowhere

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma McCarthy What to wear

UNTIL recently, I didn't count myself as an outdoorsy person. I travel to work via the Tube, not on two wheels. I'd rather be watching telly than hanging out in a tent. And I count trekking to a pub garden on a sunny day as a fresh-air pursuit. Then I signed up for a 26-mile charity hike in August through the Wye Valley in Wales. Needless to say I was about as prepared for this as a picnic faced with a bad weather forecast. What I soon came to realise is that rambling is not a stylish sport.

While the trend for a functional aesthetic fashion calls it gorpcore, I prefer practi-cool has led in a rise in style plates sporting designer fleeces, anoraks and geography-teacher sandals, these are often better equipped for trekking through fashion week crowds than scaling a mountain. If you really want to be a serious walker you have to be serious about your clothing. And that means throwing all fashion sense out of the window. Or so I thought.

During extensive research, in which I pitted my vanity against a desire to minimise chafing around the 15-mile mark, I concluded that it is possible to stay fashion-forward in the middle of nowhere.

Let's start with the boots. Turns out, a tractor sole and set of bungee-cord laces do not a hiking boot make. And after a few days lusting over Prada's burgundy velvet pair cute with this season's checked pencil skirt, not so much when caked in mud I stepped into the world of Gore-Tex linings in search of a more practical pair. I was delighted to discover that New Balance stocks an aesthetically pleasing pair the 1400vls in plain black with teal accents (PS90) which are as light as a walking shoe but built for rugged terrain. The waterproof membrane also keeps your feet dry, while the brand's "Rollbar" technology (a moulded plate under the heel to stop feet from rolling inwards) supports the ankle. Timberland has also cornered the non-ugly, non-blister-inducing market with its Chocorua Trail boots (PS130), decked out in abrasion-resistant, waterproof brown leather with a moisture-wicking lining and cushioned footbed. …

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