Hiking Outfits That Are Both Comfortable and Stylish
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Hiking Outfits That Are Both Comfortable and Stylish

Whether you’ve been bit by the hiking bug or just love to go for the occasional climb, it’s important to have clothing that looks and feels good on the trail. And guess what: hiking outfits don't have to be all about function, with no room for fashion. Leggings, pants, shorts, dresses—it’s all out there and in cute versions, which means you can find something that feels like you. For outdoor outfit inspiration, we put together men's and women's hiking looks for every season that are attractive and practical—with these, nobody’s going to question your mountain cred.

What to Look for in Hiking Clothes

View of People Hiking Along a Ridge
There’s a saying that you should remember when it comes to hiking clothes: Cotton kills. It’s a little extreme if we’re being honest, but the phrase is meant to emphasize that cotton tends to get wet and stay wet (and to lead to some awful chafe.) Instead, focus on merino wool or synthetic materials that can handle sweat and dry quick. Beyond that, you primarily need to make sure your clothing is comfortable, flexible enough for you to move in, and weather-appropriate (don’t get caught in a rainstorm without a jacket and if there’s any chance you’ll be out longer than you expect, bring extra clothing for warmth).

How to Layer Appropriately for Hiking

Man Hiking in the Rain
Layering completely depends on temperature. On a hot day, wear one body-hugging layer, and pack a back-up layer in case you’re unexpectedly delayed. For cooler temps, start with a synthetic or merino wool base layer and add on a synthetic fleece or quilted jacket. Bring along a waterproof layer for really cold days or when there’s a possibility of rain or snow. In most situations, leggings or pants will suffice for chillier temperatures, but add a bottom base layer when the weather calls for it. This simple layering technique can keep you warm in temperatures that are below freezing.

Some Considerations With Shoes

Best Walking Boots for Men
Time to bust a myth: You don’t need to wear big honkin’ boots to go hiking. If you’re looking for ankle stability, they’re a good way to go, but many people are quite comfortable in low-profile shoes. That said, it’s still worth upgrading from sneakers, which are out of their depth on all but the easiest terrains. Hiking shoes should have serious tread on the bottom to help you navigate over different trails—rocky, packed dirt, loose dirt, boulders—without slipping. Additionally, waterproof shoes are great for snow, muddy trails, or rain (obvi), but are otherwise too warm for the average hike and can lead to blisters. Waterproof shoes also don’t prevent water or snow from going in over top the ankle lip of your shoe, so you’ll need to step accordingly or consider gaiters or pants that cover the top. Many hikers prefer to wear lightweight, breathable shoes like so-called “trail runners,” even if they get a little wet (say, in a stream crossing) because they dry quicker than waterproof shoes.

The Best Hiking Outfits for Every Season

Couple Sitting on Mountain

Spring Hiking Outfits

Get springy with a floral shirt that will keep you dry and your shoulders safe from the sun (you’ll still need sunscreen everywhere else, of course). Since spring weather can be temperamental, tying a light jacket around your waist is smart. Paired with hiking pants (yay pockets!), sleek hiking boots, and a chic visor, you’ve got yourself a fun but seriously functional outfit.

Spring is all about breezy fits, so save your dark spandex technical gear for another day. This short-sleeved shirt keeps it casual, especially when paired with a basic hoodie. These hiking pants offer up to 40 SPF sun protection and also wick away the sweat you’ll generate when powering up a mountainside. No need to get too technical when it comes to shoes—as long as you’ve got traction, you’re in business.

Summer Hiking Outfits

We’ll be straight: hiking in sandals is a bold choice. Cactus and small rocks tend to make them unfavorable, but when the situation fits, sandals can be super-comfortable on a long, hot day. Just make sure to get some sunscreen on your toes—and everywhere else where your skin is exposed. Throwing a light, compressible jacket in your bag is always a good call for when you’re eating lunch in the shade.

While you’re technically allowed to go full muscle tee come warm weather, convertible shirts like this one from L.L. Bean provide much-needed sun protection, plus the option to roll up your sleeves when you need a cool-down. Pair it with chino shorts with built-in SPF and a good amount of stretch. Bring along a jacket, and keep your shoes simple. Always make sure your socks are either synthetic or wool to help avoid blisters and sad toes.

Fall Hiking Outfits

On a cool fall day, stick with a long-sleeved sweat-wicking shirt, like this textured pullover from Lululemon that also has serious stretch to hug the body. Top it with a waterproof trench that stretches with you when you’re going over technical terrain. Hiking leggings, like this color-blocked pair, wick sweat and keep your legs warm but not too toasty. And these mid-rise leather boots by Merrell are lined with an anti-microbial treatment to reduce stink, and soled with 3mm lug depths for the most rugged trails.

In the fall, you may as well embrace the lumberjack vibes and rock a long-sleeve plaid. An ultralight puffy feels perfect in the crisp autumn air, and water-repellant, UPF 50+ pants save the day whether you’re caught in a sprinkle or in the sun.

Winter Hiking Outfits

Come winter, base layers are key, and this long-sleeved shirt is made with polyester and merino wool to banish sweat and lock in warmth. Pair it with a quilted jacket that allows total freedom of movement (like for when you do a celebratory pump at the top of a snowy mountain) and add a rain jacket to help trap your hard-earned heat where you need it. And remember that winter hiking requires waterproof boots and gloves.

Start your winter outfit with an antimicrobial, 100 percent polyester base, then layer up with a water-repellant down jacket and a simple, stretchy rain jacket (this one from Eddie Bauer is remarkably quiet!). For all but the most serious winter weather, moisture-wicking and water-repellant trail pants will do the trick. Keep toes safe from rain, sleet, and snow with waterproof boots with excellent grip on winter terrain.

Rain Hiking Outfits

Assuming it’s not cold out, you don’t have to change much for a rainy day. A long-sleeved sweat-wicking shirt will help you from feeling like you’re sticking to your rain jacket. What’s really important is that you keep your feet dry with boots made from breathable material that’s impermeable to outside water but won’t trap in feet sweat. Pair them with merino wool and nylon socks that will have you saying, “What rain?”

A simple polyester long-sleeved shirt underneath a leak-proof jacket will keep your upper body dry in a downpour. While you could opt for full rain pants, they’re more likely to make you sweat than keep you dry, so instead opt for super-lightweight and water-repellant adventure pants. Waterproof shoes are nonnegotiable, though; opt for ones with breathable fabric, a cushioned heel, and an outsole with deep lugs.

What to Wear On a Hiking Date

Absolutely any of these outfits would be date-appropriate (there’s a reason you went hiking and not clubbing, you know?). If you’re wanting to look a little spiffier while still power-trekking like the badass you are, well—hiking dresses are totally a thing. Case in point: this wine-colored, stain-resistant sundress, which comes with an internal bra. Pair it with an athleisure bomber, simple hiking shoes, and a wide-brimmed sunhat, and you’ve got yourself an outfit. You’ll look like you’re on a casual promenade, but actually, you could handle pretty much anything nature threw at you — and squatting to pee will be easier than ever.

As long as you’re covered and comfortable, you can honestly wear whatever you want on a hiking date. But men’s hiking clothing can actually be pretty darn suave if you know where to look. You could easily wear this short-sleeved chambray shirt and four-way stretch chinos out to dinner. These Adidas hikers are super lightweight so they don’t hold you back, but still have enough tread to keep you from falling—unless it’s in looooove.

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