Going out for a leisurely stroll doesn’t really require more than an old pair of tennis shoes, but if you’re after some real fitness, you might consider an upgrade. Here are a few things that can transform walking into a motivating, data-rich, all-body bipedal adventure.
H2O to Go
Nathan Peak Hydration Waist Pak, for hydration on the fly.
Why we like it: Simple, effective. The bottle’s 45-degree angle makes it easy and natural to grab and put back and prevents it from bobbing up and down, so you barely notice it. Includes an 18-ounce SpeedDraw Flask and zip pocket. The pouch has enough room for a couple of energy bars or an iPhone 7. Side flaps seat it comfortably on your hips.
Pacemaker Stix Aerostride walking poles, for calorie-burning on pavement and dirt.
Why we like it: Half the price of higher-profile brands of poles, all of which speed you up and delay leg fatigue by letting you tap a rhythmic all-body motion that uses the arms and shoulders to help push you forward. Pacemaker includes comfy, sweat-absorbing cork handles and uses flip-locks, bicycle-style quick-release levers that clamp down tight when you customize the pole length, up to a max of 54 inches long and compacts to 25.5 inches for easy travel. Each pole is a featherweight 8.3 ounces and has replaceable tungsten tips.
Rocky Endeavor Point hiking sandals, combining an open-air upper with a walking shoe sole.
Why we like it: Cool, breezy sandals are perfect for non-technical walking adventures on streets and groomed trails, but flip-flops won’t do. Rocky’s hiking sandals stand out from others in this new category with stylish, tough features such as a comfy neoprene-lined full-grain leather upper, burly lug sole, protective toe cap and laceless, instant-cinch Boa closure system.
Quad Lock Sports Armband, so your phone can enjoy the ride.
Why we like it: A simple twist-lock motion provides instant access to your phone for calls or photo-ops without having to unzip a case. A two-stage locking mechanism allows quick reattachment and eliminates accidental drop-off. It can be positioned to avoid skin friction. The only downside: Some reviewers have mentioned their Velcro strap stopped holding tightly after six months.
Polar A370, a waterproof fitness tracker with continuous heart rate and other data, including sleep analysis.
Why we like it: Stylish watch with big, easy-to-read heart rate numbers, which means you can easily see it — without slowing down. It also offers a color-coded bar chart of desired target heart-rate zones and all the standard data that walkers and runners love: Pace, distance, route and even estimated treadmill speed and distance. Polar apps provide calories burned, training tips and tracking of sleep metrics such as duration, actual sleep time and awake/asleep/interruption times.