Top Picks for Walking Gear for a Healthy New Year

Get your New Year's resolutions off to a good start. If you've set a goal of better health through fitness walking and weight loss, these items are a great investment. If you got a holiday bonus or gift cash to spend, these are great ways to spend them on yourself.


NordicTrack C970 Pro Treadmill
NordicTrack C970 Pro Treadmill. NordicTrack

With a home treadmill, you eliminate the excuse that it's too cold or dark to walk outdoors in the winter. Experts say that a treadmill is the most effective home exercise tool because it is the easiest to use. Pick a good quality treadmill and it will serve you for years.
Top Picks for Budget Treadmills

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Fitbit Activity Trackers

Fitbit Family of Fitness Trackers
Fitbit Family of Fitness Trackers. Courtesy of Fitbit

The Fitbit has been my favorite walking gadget for over five years. All of them communicate via Bluetooth with a phone app (iOS or Android) and/or your computer via a USB stick (PC or Mac). All track steps, distance, calories and active time. Via the app or web site, you can also keep a diet diary and balance your calories in - calories out, and track other health indices such as blood pressure and blood sugar. There is no additional subscription fee to track your activity online or with the app. The Fitbit app plays well with other popular fitness and diet apps, sharing data and stats.

  • Fitbit Flex: This popular wristband, tracks sleep but not stairs, and has only LED progress dots rather than a numerical display.
  • Fitbit Charge: This wristband has a numerical display for steps, distance, calories and stairs climbed. It also automatically tracks sleep.
  • Fitbit Charge HR: In addition to what the Charge does, it reads your pulse continuously. It has a buckle band rather than snap.
  • Fitbit Surge Super Fitness Watch: Includes GPS for speed and distance, heart rate monitoring, plus sleep, steps, distance, workout tracking,
  • Fitbit One: Clip/pocket tracker that tracks stairs and sleep quality. The One tracks stairs climbed and tracks your sleep quality.
  • Fitbit Zip: Lowest-price clip/pocket pedometer (doesn't track sleep or stairs). Has a long-lasting battery so you don't need to recharge it.
  • Fitbit Aria: WiFi-linked body fat scale so you can track your weight, body fat and BMI on your Fitbit app and online dashboard.

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A Properly Fit Pair of Walking/Running Shoes

New Balance Shoe
New Balance Shoe. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Walking fitness starts with your feet. Take a trip to the most-serious running shoe store in your area to get fit for shoes by people who are experts and want to make lifetime customers. Don't go to that mall chain store or discount shoe mart and get served by seasonal staff who don't know shoes from shinola. At the serious-running-shoe store, they will very likely put you into a running shoe that works well for walking, and it will cost between $50 and $110. These shoes will be worth the price. Most of these stores have a generous return policy, and will keep working with you until you get the shoes that serve you best. You can use the Roadrunner Sports Shoe Dog tool to get a better idea of what kind of shoes you need.

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SockGuy Socks


Socks can be as important as shoes. Walkers need socks that will wick away moisture to help prevent blisters as you increase your mileage.  If your New Years resolution included training for a 10K, half marathon or marathon walk, then you need to invest in good socks. Sockguy socks are fun socks in colorful designs - but also serious socks made of core-spun CoolMax to prevent blisters.

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Walking Outfit

Couple Brisk Walking on Boardwalk
Couple Brisk Walking on Boardwalk. Lars Klove Photo Service/The Image Bank/Getty Images

What you wear walking can greatly help keep you comfortable and moving smoothly. Changing into your walking clothes can motivate you to actually get out the door or on the treadmill. The basics are sweat-wicking layers from sports bra to base-layer shirt and pants or shorts. If you are going to walk in cooler weather, you may also need a windbreaker jacket, insulating layer, or shell jacket. Take a trip to the best running store in your area and get tricked out like the athlete you are. If you are a plus-size person, you may need to look further afield to find great gear that fits. I have links to online vendors for plus-size walking clothing.

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Register for a Walker-Friendly Race or Charity Walk

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Starting Line
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Starting Line. Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic/Getty

My biggest motivator to actually complete weekly walking workout plan is that I have to be ready for the walks I've registered for. You can start easy with a 5K charity walk, or give yourself a stretch challenge of a half marathon or marathon. That medal is going to look great on you!

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Walking Training Group

Training Group Walking
Training Group. Joshua Hodge Photography/E+/Getty

Joining a walking group can keep you on track for your goals and provide the extra motivation and accountability that will lead to success. The group can be an informal walking group, a local walking club, or a group coached to train for a half marathon or marathon. For those who can afford it, a personal trainer can get you going in the right direction for your fitness goals. But if you are having difficulty connecting with human walkers, then one of the best ways to make yourself walk every day is to have a dog that must be walked. Sloppy doggy kisses are an extra bonus.

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Water Bottle

Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Stainless Steel Water Bottle. Wendy Bumgardner
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Staying hydrated during your workouts is very important. These walking-themed water bottles include squeezable BPA-free plastic, Sigg aluminum bottles and stainless steel bottles. If your goal is for a half marathon or marathon walk in the new year, choose a bottle that will tout your goal.

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Walking Journal

Keep a walking log
Keep a walking log. Chris Tobin/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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If you want your new habits to stick, writing them down is the best way to keep yourself on track. We have a variety of free printable walking logs, or you may want this spiral bound 14-week journal. You might also check out our sister site, Calorie Count, which has a free online diet and exercise diary, diet tracking tools, and a free phone app.

Use a Walking App That Earns Rewards

Walking Apps
Walking Apps. Wendy Bumgardner © 2013

You can use apps to motivate yourself to walk. These apps will give you credit for your walking and workouts to earn rewards and prizes. It can be that extra goad to get your moving each day.

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