What to Wear on a Hike and Still Look Cute

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Getting out on the trail is different for guys. The bar is set pretty low for them, right? As long as their boots fit, and their shirt is clean, they’re set. For women, we might actually want to look cute, even if we’re halfway through a 10-mile trail loop. So, what to wear on a hike and still look cute?

Fortunately, there are ways to look nice out there – even presentable enough for lunch, afterwards. There are plenty of ways to keep on wearing hiking clothes brands all through the week, too.

When planning ahead for a hiking trip, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. You’ll need to stash a few things, like your water bottle, lip balm, and phone. You’ll want to make sure your feet are comfortable, that you’re prepared for changing weather, and that your hair is at least tamed. And, you’ll want to keep some parts of you covered up, while you’re climbing over rocks and logs. Seriously – hiking clothes can look great!

women's hiking boots and hiking socks

Cute hiking boots and stylish hiking socks for women

First, check out hiking boots that will keep you moving along comfortably, while still looking good. When you’re shopping for boots, remember to wear socks that you’ll be using on the trail. And that tip about shoe shopping later in the day? It’s even more important with hiking footwear.

You’re looking for a fit that’s snug, not tight. Make sure that they don’t rub anywhere while you’re moving – even your ankles. You need to be able to wiggle your toes, and not feel seams or any bumps while you’re walking.

You’ve heard the saying: “Your best accessory is a smile”? There will be no smiles if you have hiking boots that don’t fit well. Take your time and try on several pairs.

As for hiking boot styles, you can satisfy your personal aesthetic with the wide array of styles out there. Here are some of my recommendations, to get you started:


Classic: Lowa’s Renegade GTX is an improvement of the traditional hiking boot look. They are also durable and lightweight. The Nubuck leather is already water-repellent, so you can handle all sorts of trail conditions with no worries. They weigh just over one pound each, and the traction sole is great for any climbing you might encounter. They are specifically designed for day hikes where you don’t need to carry a heavy backpack.

This style will still look good off the trail with jeans and casual wear, and will be comfortable enough to wear out on rainy or slick days when you’d appreciate the traction that you get from the Vibram lug soles.


Colorful: For chic hikers that are working a color scheme, I recommend something like the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX. These boots combine great color mixes with a trim look.
If you hate the thought of cramping your style with a pair of boring brown boots, the Salomon range will make your shopping a happy experience. Salomon provides durable hiking footwear, on-trend color, and they’re designed for a woman’s foot. They also come in wide widths.

This style is made from tough, weatherproof Goretex. Salomon gives a two-year guarantee – wouldn’t it be nice if all shoes had that? Even if your hikes are shorter, these are comfortable, have great grip, and give lots of cushioning.

If you plan on breaking in your hiking boots, see this article for some tips.

Smartwool hiking socks – the essential layer

The right pair of socks will keep your feet cool and dry, and also work as an accessory. This is not the time to break out your cotton crew socks – you’re going to want something that is made for hiking. Hiking boot socks are long enough to fit under your hiking boots, and leave a little fabric at the top.

People get really passionate about their sock choices. You’ll see a lot of opinions out there. Believe it or not, your best option will have some wool in the mix. This may seem counterintuitive for warm-weather hiking, but the natural fiber really does keep your feet drier and more comfortable. You’ll also want something that comes in color choices that you can use to spice up your outfit.

Keeping that in mind, check out these brands for socks that fit all these requirements, and that people just love on the trail.


Darn Tough hiking socks are a little pricier than some, but they also have a lifetime guarantee. They’re designed to not have any toe seams, and are fully cushioned. Even when you’re not hiking, they stay comfortable and adapt to the seasons. They also come in a good range of colors, like aqua, plum and moss.


Danish Endurance Merino Wool Hiking Socks come in an array of colors from bright to practical, and are completely padded from heel to toe. They are serious, no-blisters-tolerated socks with a 30% wool knit, and they are beloved by reviewers. They also come in colors like primary green, red, and yellow, so they don’t take themselves completely seriously.


 

Women’s hiking shorts, skirts, capris, leggings and more

hiking in a skirt

Now for clothing recommendations. For your bottom half, almost everyone would agree that they want something that is flattering, keeps you covered up when you’re moving around, and that will like nice if you go somewhere else after your hike. Impossible? No! Whether it’s warm or cold, there are combinations that will keep you looking downright chic out there on the trail.

For warmer weather, there are some alternatives to shorts that are just as trail-ready and comfortable. Get ready to learn about skorts and hiking skirts!

If you want to break away from the usual look of trail shorts that are never a flattering length, check out these cute alternatives. You don’t have to sacrifice the freedom of movement, and you never have to worry about keeping your less-favorite features on display.


For a genius-level piece of feminine engineering, check out the Skirt Sports Women’s Happy Girl Skirt. It combines a length that flatters, compression shorts underneath to smooth everything down, an array of colors, and – POCKETS.

Yes, it’s designed with three pockets – one on each short leg, as well as one on the back of the skirt. The skirt itself is made from a wicking fabric that stays cool and is easy to wash. The shorts stay put, the waistband is elastic, and it looks cute enough to wear almost anywhere. It comes in an array of colors, but black is a great choice to work with.


This athletic skort gets rave reviews and comes at a price that will allow you to get more than one color. It’s a little shorter than the skirt sports model, but still gives coverage and a slimming short underneath. It has two pockets that will fit a phone, and a waistband that can be adjusted for the best fit.


For something that will keep you warm in the winter, allow you to sit down on even freezing surfaces, and fit right in with some of the latest trends, check out the Skhoop short skirt. Yes, it’s really down! It’s also really light, comes in cool colors like a metallic champagne that is totally of-the-moment, and looks amazing over leggings or tights. There are side zippers that can be adjusted for freedom of movement, and it even has belt loops.


For a little more leg coverage, check out this capri skirt. It has capri-length tights – also with built-in compression. There are two thigh pockets, and it stays put even through your most vigorous hiking maneuvers. You could literally scale a boulder in this skirt, without sacrificing a bit of mobility or coverage. And, it looks darn cute while you’re grabbing an after-hike smoothie.


 

Women’s hiking shirts and tops ideas

girl in woods

Now that we’ve literally covered the bottom half, let’s talk about tops. Hiking comfort is all about the layers. You’ll want to be prepared for the weather, while not bulking up.


A good t-shirt is always appropriate, but you’ll want to choose something flattering and even conversation-provoking. Your base layer should fit close, provide wicking action for active hikes, and provide a measure of SPF protection. The Tesla Compression T-Shirt is a great layering piece. It comes in long and short sleeved styles, has a good selection of colors, and provides UPF 50 sun protection.


To go over your base layer, a button-down shirt like this one from Columbia is a cute way to add some color, provide extra pockets, and keep the sun off. They’re designed to provide maximum ventilation. You can roll the sleeves up or down as you need, and when you’re not using it, it can be tied around your waist or stuffed in a backpack. It provides 30 UPF sun protection, and with the collar and versatility, is universally flattering.


Zipped fleece tops are a natural, too. They’re lightweight and perfect to layer with. If you go with a lighter weight version, you’ll have a lot more versatility. Look for a jacket that is flattering, and that zips all the way up. This Columbia fleece jacket is slim-cut, and perfect for layering over a t-shirt. When zipped all the way up, it makes a turtleneck. Unzipped, it looks more stylish than just sweatshirt. It comes in over 20 colors – pick one that’s flattering for you, and you’ll always have a head start on looking cute out on the trail.

There are too many jacket choices to cover in one post, but consider a good lightweight rain jacket for your hiking wardrobe. The best ones are easy to fold up and pack along. Consider a Columbia like the one above or a North Face, two of my favorite brands. Preferably one with a hood to keep your head dry that can also double as a windbreaker. A relaxed fit is best, so you leave room for layers underneath.


 

Style and function – cute backpacks and the best accessories

fashionable backpack

Backpack options

To finish off your perfectly stylish hiking wardrobe, you’ll want to accessorize. The awesome thing about any of these items is that they’re versatile, and are intended to be used in more than one way. They’re a like a Fashion Swiss Army Knife – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how often you’ll use them.

A good small backpack can be used both out on the trail and in the city. You wouldn’t want to take your best purse out on your hike, but you’ll love using a chic backpack like this one from Le Pliage for everyday use. The entire Le Pliage line has gained cult status because of their range of colors, practicality, and packability. These small backpacks are just the right size to tuck in a water bottle and a few other necessities while looking très fabulous.

 

Another option is the iconic Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack. This started out as a utilitarian school bag in Sweden back in the 1950’s. Now, it’s a completely charming and functional item that comes in an almost overwhelming array of colors, like Salvia Green and Ox Red.

Other accessories


Next, get a good multipurpose piece like the Buff UV Headband. Ladies, this is so much more than a headband! With one these on your hike, you can tame your hair, keep your neck warm, protect your head from UV rays, cover your mouth and nose in cold weather, use as a head scarf for extra warmth, or use as a headband. You can even wet it down, wring it out, and use it to keep your neck cool. They come in just about any color or pattern you can think of, and you can stash it in your pocket.

Don’t forget a water bottle!

Last, don’t forget to keep water with you on the trail – everyone looks better with enough hydration. Get a good water bottle like this popular one on Amazon – one that’s BPA free and that can hold enough water to keep you going.

It’s really not hard at all to stay chic and cute out on the trail. As a matter of fact, once you’re done outfitting yourself for your hiking dates, you’ll have durable, useful items that will make the rest of your life stylish and fun.


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