Walking & WeatherWalking & Weather

Rain

Rain shouldn't deter you from walking, especially if you have a good umbrella that can stand up to the wind. Next, think about how to keep your feet dry. You can always buy waterproof shoes (or galoshes!), or you can waterproof your existing shoes with a sealant. If all else fails, there are always waterproof overshoes, which often look like plastic bags.

Don't forget about socks. You can buy socks made of wicking fabrics that transport rain or sweat away from the skin. There are also waterproof socks and gaiters, which are often sold in the hiking sections of outdoors stores.

You'll also want a good rain jacket. Plastic ponchos are great cheap fix, especially in a surprise downpour. You can also invest in a rubberized rain slicker or a water resistant/waterproof jacket. Look for vents and underarm zippers, which allow greater venting of perspiration. Also, make sure the jacket has a hood and neck protection (a collar that can be buttoned, zipped, or drawstringed to protect against wind and rain). Two way zippers allow you to zip it up from the bottom a bit, to give you better walking motions.

You can also invest in rain pants or a good waterproof hat. In any case, remember to wear bright colors so you're visible to drivers. Lights aren't a bad idea either.

Spring

Minnesota springs are unpredictable, so bring layers on your walks. A hoodie, sweater, scarf, or a light jacket are good things to keep in your walking arsenal. Keeping a pair of light gloves on hand is also helpful, especially for unexpectedly cold mornings or evenings.

Spring is also a good time to take stock of your walking gear. Do you have good shoes that can stand up to the mud? A decent rain jacket? Warm socks? Stock up on anything that needs to be replaced. 

Summer

Bottom line: flip flops should not be walking shoes. Although they may be quite comfortable for lounging around the home, poolside, or at the office (if you're lucky), your feet can sustain serious damage from wearing flip flops extensively. 

Remember to protect yourself from the sun: wear your sunscreen and a wide-brim summer hat. The big straw ones are especially "in" right now. Just as sunscreen protects the skin, sunglasses protect the eyes. Look for sunglasses with an OSHA label showing 99 or 100 percent UV protection, and get a pair that sits close to your face or wraps around it.

Make sure you bring plenty of water, and take sun breaks when you get the chance. Sit in the shade and rest up a bit!

Fall

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to go for a walk. Walking in fall is similar to walking in spring; wear layers, bring a pair of gloves, and use common sense to decide what to wear for the conditions and the distance you're walking.

Winter

A good winter walk can be amazing (seriously). The cold air is invigorating, and snow-covered trees are absolutely beautiful.

Bottom line, dress in layers.It helps to wear clothing that can be shed if you start overheating. Wear light weight long underwear, light weight turtle necks, fleeces, t-shirts, sweaters, and a thick coat...layer so that you can take off clothing, if necessary. Trust us, you can work up a sweat in the cold!

Wear thick socks with a good pair of slip-resistant boots. Never wear smooth soled walking shoes in wet or snowy weather; they get horrible traction, and you risk injury from falling on slick ice or snow.

Remember to wear a good hat (or headsock!) that covers your ears, along with scarves, gloves/mittens, and other cold-weather gear designed to keep your extremities warm.

Finally, if you're caught in a snowstorm (or in rain or fog), it's a very good idea to wear reflective clothing--day or night. A headlamp is also helpful; not only will it help drivers see you, but it can also help a bus driver see you waiting at a bus stop!