Fitness: Learn About the Gear
  • The Basics

One of the nice things about starting a fitness routine is that, unlike some sports, no special "equipment" is needed. Getting in shape requires only your commitment and a minimal investment in apparel and footwear. Here are some guidelines for selecting gear:


A good pair of shoes is by far the most important gear you'll need for fitness walking or running. While some walkers prefer running shoes, today's walking shoes are built with many of the same performance features but designed specifically to the walking stride. When choosing walking or running shoes, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Comfort If the shoes don't feel good now, they will feel worse later
  2. Strong heel counter The wraparound support or "counter" at the heel should not collapse easily
  3. Flexibility You should be able to bend the shoe in half fairly easily
  4. Ample room in toe box The width of your thumb should fit between the end of the shoe and your big toe
  5. Cushioning You should experience an energetic "return" or "pop" off the stride, as well as cushioned support

For more information, please see Choosing an Athletic Shoe.

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Socks should be appropriate for the temperature and activity, and made of materials that wick moisture away from your feet. Dry feet are less likely to develop hot spots and become sore. Some socks are made thicker on the sole for cushioning. Try socks on just like shoes to see if they feel good and fit well.

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Indoors: Comfortable, loose-fitting shorts and T-shirts are fine for most indoor workouts. However, for any activity where clothing might become caught like at a rock gym, snug-fitting clothing that does not restrict movement is recommended.

Outdoors: In cold weather, a moisture-wicking, insulating layer like microfleece or thermal underwear is recommended as a first layer. In warm weather, a moisture-wicking fabric is still preferable to cotton. Cotton is not recommended because it holds moisture.

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