Hiking wardrobe hit a plateau? Here’s how to level up

A photo collage of hiking apparel
(Altra; Sunday Afternoon; Smartwool; Patagonia; Fjallraven)

This story is part of our ultimate guide to hiking in L.A. You can buy a print copy at the L.A. Times store.

Everyone has a hand in the outdoor clothing scene these days. Don’t be surprised if you see Gucci boots and beanies on the trail. The Italian luxury label collaborated with outdoor clothing giant North Face to create a fashion line. Many hikers won’t be wearing the double Gs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about how they look. Here are items that make a different style statement.



A collage of hiking boots
HOKA TenNine Hike GTX, left,; North Face x Gucci Collection hiking boots and Altra’s Lone Peak hiker boots.
(Hoka; North Face x Gucci; Altra)

These lightweight titans can take on the Pacific Crest Trail. Really. Hoka’s new TenNine Hike Gore-Tex ($250, with fat shock-absorbing heels and a wacky look has received positive notices from gear testers. Altra’s sturdy Lone Peak Hiking Boots ($140, with a wide toe box and ankle support also go the distance. Of course, if you’re in love with luxe style, check out boots from the North Face x Gucci Collection, featuring both logos ($1,450;



Pants for hiking
Stretchy hiking pants from Toad & Co., left, and Athleta.
(Toad & Co.; Athleta)

You aren’t stuck with the baggy look, unless you want to be. Yoga pants and leggings have long made the leap to the trails. Athleta’s Trekkie Hike Pant ($98, looks like traditional trail pants but are made of reinforced ripstop nylon that stretches when you do. Toad & Co., based in Santa Barbara, offers an Earthworks Pant made of cotton, Tencel and spandex that’s moisture-wicking and stylish ($85,


Sun-proof shirts

A model wearing a button-down long-sleeve shirt stands next to a gray hoodie.
Mountain Hardwear’s Canyon Long Sleeve Shirt, left, and Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody.
(Mountain Hardwear; Patagonia)

Long-sleeve shirts are must-have protection against harsh Southern California sun. The trick is to find one light enough to protect you without boosting the sweat factor. Mountain Hardwear’s Canyon Long Sleeve Shirt ($65, with 50 SPF fabric keeps you covered in classic button-down fashion. If that look is too shirt-y, Patagonia makes a lightweight Capilene Cool Daily Hoody ($55, that blocks the sun and offers 50 SPF protection.


Sun hats

A green ball-cap style hat and a blue brimmed hat with neck shield
Fjallraven’s Abisko cap, left, and the Ultra Adventure Hat from Sunday Afternoons.
(Fjallraven; Sunday Afternoons)

Choosing a summer hiking hat is tough. If you like the Lawrence of Arabia look, Sunday Afternoons’ Ultra Adventure Hat protects the back of your neck with a 6-inch flap. It also has sleeves to hold your sunglasses in place ($42, Prefer the ball-cap look? Fjallraven’s Abisko Hike Lite Cap ($35, has a wide brim and sweat-absorbing headband. It’s quick-drying too, no matter how sweaty you get.



Smartwool PhD Pro Hike Crew socks
Smartwool PhD Pro Hike Crew sock


Good hiking socks are expensive but worth it. Look for breathable fabrics that will keep your feet dry as well as cushioning key areas to keep your feet comfy during long days on the trail. Smartwool’s PhD Pro Hike Crew Socks ($27.95, comes in different designs and combine merino wool, nylon and elastane to create a warm, breathable sock. They’re also designed to guard against rubbing that could cause blisters. Royal Robbins’ Venture Crew Sock ($22, is unisex, comes in various colors (I like Arctic blue) and adds cushioning to support the arch and back of the ankle. There are no seams on the toes, another way to avoid friction on your boots.