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Remember when hiking clothes were most commonly worn by the early adopters of quinoa and people who always seem to have a kayak perched on the roof of their four-by-four? Those days are long gone. Even for those who only encounter nature in their local garden centre, hiking attire is mainstream now (and so is quinoa, in case you’ve avoided eating out for a decade). Whether you’re an ultra-running evangelist or don’t trust anywhere that’s not tarmaced, the trend deserves a place in your wardrobe. It’s practical, comfortable, and it looks bizarrely good in dirt-free zones, too.

Just like there are different types of paths for every type of hiker, there’s a hiking aesthetic for every kind of guy – from the guy who’s trekking through Yosemite to the one more suited to talking about hiking in the pub. Pick your route accordingly.

Workwear hiker 

A quick scroll through Instagram seems to reveal that everyone you know lives on a scenic hiking trail in Corsica. Trekking isn’t just a way to a way to up endurance, it’s also a way to one-up your friends – just ask all the ones who are suddenly aspiring travel influencers. But the truth is, most people taking to the trails these days aren’t scaling mountains or embarking on the Pacific Crest Trail – they’re taking a leisurely ramble and hopscotching over the odd babbling brook.

“Don’t fuss about wearing top-of-the-line hiking gear if you’re setting out on a casual weekend walk,” Freddie says. “Reach for workwear staples in earthy colours – think an olive shirt-jacket and khaki climbing trousers – paired with leather boots with a hardy sole and solid traction. They’ll weather the hike, while also looking handsome in the pub for a celebratory pint after.”

Gentleman mountaineer

If you’re not so keen to trek, but you’re happy to sip a vin chaud in a lodge with sweeping views of the trail, there are pieces you can wear that will help you to nail a more refined hiking aesthetic. “A heritage-inspired gilet, tapered trousers, and a chunky knit harken back to the type of style a hiker might have worn in the 50s,” Freddie says. “They may not be the most practical of clothes, but they’ll capture the spirit – ideal for those who want to sit the hike out but still look the part.”

As a bonus, each of these pieces individually can be mixed and matched with other cold-weather staples throughout the season, so you’ll get wear out of them even when you’re not mountain-bound.

Photographed: Similar Nike ACG 2.5l packable jacket (£145), Stan Ray 1200 taper fatigue pant (£75), Karhu Aria (£69)

Streetwear hiker

If you’re more into pounding the pavement then heading off the beaten track, there’s still a way to weave the hiking aesthetic into your look – especially now that athletic staples have trickled into mainstream style.

“Look for colourful technical kit from brands like Nike ACG, and punchy trainers from brands like Karhu,” Freddie says. “Paired with a tapered fatigue pant, they’ll help create a cool, streetwear look that still nods to the hiking aesthetic.” The technical pieces may come with packable features and generously sized pockets, but no one will be the wiser if you use them to store your keys and phone instead of a protein bar.

Real deal hiker

If you’re actually heading beyond phone reception, then just looking the part won’t cut it. “You’ll need to commit to a head-to-toe hiking look,” Freddie says. “That means choosing a performance-ready jacket that’s prepared to brace the elements, insulated layers in case the weather dips, proper trail-climbing shoes, and a comfortable, versatile rucksack that’s optimised for the outdoors.” 

But you don’t have to sacrifice great style to climb mountains (you are going to take a photo at the top, after all). Bold outerwear, bright hiking trainers, and looser-fitting trousers have been adopted by mainstream and performance-wear designers alike, so your summit photo gets even more taps on Instagram. Show those travel influencers how it’s done.


Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Mark Sanders
Styling: Freddie Kemp