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These boots were made for walking!

Fashion journalism student Bridget Devine gives us the lowdown on hiking fashion for spring and summer.

So far this April, we’ve had a mixture of sunshine and showers – meaning it’s the perfect time to get your walking boots on and go hiking. We are incredibly lucky to have some beautiful hills and trails across the country.

Bridget Devine is a Fashion Journalism student in her first year at Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London, having completed a Fashion Design Foundation last year.

Whether you are bagging Munros in Scotland, roaming the Yorkshire Dales or traversing the Surrey Hills, hiking is a sport for everyone. Keep reading to find out the hottest styles this season for all your outdoor adventures.

Pastel shades, 90’s silhouettes and effortless layering is the blueprint this spring. All the best hiking brands have dusty blues and sage greens in their new collections, from Arc’teryx and Rab to Patagonia and The North Face. One of the brands that stood out this season was Acai Outdoor. A hiking label with Scottish heritage that was founded in 2017 is quickly gaining traction as one of the best brands for ladies hiking attire.

The focus is on providing performance-wear with all the ‘feeling of cut, flattery and style as couture fashion,’ founder Kasia Bromley said via Instagram. The brand’s new summer collection features their iconic, quilted Cloud Jacket as well as leggings, shorts and t-shirts in shades of Bluebell Blue, Lily Pad Green and Oatmeal Cream. If you are looking for warm outer layers that are moisture-wicking and breathable while being incredibly chic and affordable, Acai Outdoor is the place to look.

Free People is an American label founded in the early 70s in Pennsylvania that is known for women’s everyday apparel, however they now offer stylish sportswear for all occasions. Their hiking gear is designed for spring weather, offering packable rain jackets, flared walking trousers, all-in-one Runsie’s, skorts, capri leggings and protective pullovers. Their hiking gear is nothing like the stereotypical walking trouser or t-shirt you would find in Cotswold Outdoor or Mountain Warehouse, instead, the styles combine practicality with trendy 70s and 90s design.

A favourite of mine are the Cascade Flares, walking trousers with a flared silhouette that is not only flattering but also comes in a range of spring colours like Lilac, Moss Green and Sky Blue.

Talking of 90s style, one item that has had a resurgence on the runways is capri trousers, which means only one thing – capri leggings are back. Lots of brands have three quarter length leggings in store, but some of the best can be found at Adidas, Lululemon and Nike.

This 90s style is channelled in the colour-blocked jackets that 66oNorth offer online. An Icelandic brand that began dressing fishermen of the North Atlantic in the early 20th century now provides us with some of the best unisex technical wear for hiking, mountaineering and much more. The brand’s new SS24 Kría capsule collection combines bright spring colours in their 90s colour-blocked jackets, bucket hats and t-shirts, all perfect for your hiking adventures this season.

The brand has prospered since the rise of the ‘Gorpcore’ aesthetic that young people have adopted as a way of styling hiking gear as everyday streetwear. The main three items that seem to be all over the streets are lightweight, moisture-wicking fleeces, shell rain jackets and technical walking trousers worn by both men and women. This means any hiking gear you invest in this season can be worn in the great outdoors, as well as when going about your day to day errands. So, if you consciously purchase your outdoor gear this season, you can wear it everyday, not just when exploring the English countryside.

The question you might be asking though is… where are the best hiking trails in the South East? While the South might not be home to mountains or Munros, we have lots of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From the South Downs and Surrey Hills to the Kent Downs National Landscape, there are coastal hikes along the Seven Sisters and forest trails in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex.

There’s a range of hikes for hikers of different abilities, plenty in Kent and many only a short drive away, so if you have a quiet weekend coming up, why not put on your new gear and head out into the sunshine. But don’t forget your packable parka to cater for the lovely albeit unpredictable English weather.

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