Some great kit from our women’s outdoor clothing specialist FINDRA.
As autumn gets ever chillier, we are looking ahead to winter walks and thinking about warmth and comfort when out on the trails. Staying warm and dry is key to enjoying winter walks, so we asked Alex Feechan, founder of active womenswear brand FINDRA, about the clothing she would personally recommend.
Layer up to keep warm.
Layering is key to enabling you to continue walking and enjoying the outdoors in winter, Alex explains. Merino layers are especially important, helping to trap air to keep you insulated from the cold. And because of its natural wicking, temperature-regulating and anti-bacterial properties, soft merino wool is the perfect material to layer up in.
Start with your next-to-skin layer with something like FINDRA’s Alys merino-lite vest top, made from a cruelty-free merino wool blend of single jersey fabric. On top of this, you need a soft and breathable base layer, ideally in a fabric that can absorb moisture, too.
Base layers for core temperature
Our Fern textured base layer top and base layer leggings are made from lightweight, high-performance, soft-to-the-touch merino wool. As a knitwear designer, I regard merino wool as nature’s technical wonder fabric: it is light and easy to wear, breathable, fast-drying and wicks moisture away from the skin, regulating your core body temperature to stay fresh, dry, and comfortable. It is also odour-resistant. Because merino wool wicks away sweat particles from the skin into the atmosphere, there is no build-up of sweat and bacteria on the garment, so you stay fresh, and your clothing doesn’t smell; you can wear it for longer without needing to wash it. 100% goodness for you and the planet!
This top is a WalkingWomen favourite, which we love – so many colours and so soft to wear. Fern Top
Mid-layers must work hard.
Next up should be a sweat-wicking mid-layer, the layer that has to pull its weight when creating insulation. A cosy long-sleeved top with a cowl neck or zip works brilliantly over base layers. Our award-winning FINDRA classic, the Marin – the first piece I created for FINDRA –has a cowl neck and handy thumbholes to keep wrists warm. The Marin is made from warm 100% merino wool and is seamless for added comfort, which means it has been knitted in one piece with no seams to rub or wear. The Marin is incredibly comfortable and looks great off the hills, too.
Our brand-new Elsie hoodie has the bonus of a hood, as well as an extended back length for extra coverage and FINDRA’s signature thumb holes. Another handy piece to layer up is our Barra waffle gilet, which has double layers of merino wool; cold air gets caught between the layers, protecting the wearer and helping to regulate core body temperature, and it’s nice and light to wear, not bulky.
From the feet up
The right socks are an absolute must for winter, and merino wool is perfect again. Our Nordic merino wool blend socks have hard-wearing acrylic wool for durability and to keep feet warm.
When it comes to outerwear, the Stroma Waterproof Jacket is breathable and lightweight, allowing plenty of freedom of movement. Made from lightweight, soft-to-the-touch P4Dry – a high-performance, waterproof, technical four-way stretch fabric using eco-friendly S.Café® yarn, which is made from repurposed plastic bottles and coffee grounds. The Stroma has a hood with a drawcord, extended back for additional cover and won’t rustle noisily as you walk.
To finish off, I’m rarely without a Betty Merino wool neckwarmer. Made from 100% merino wool, this stretchy, seamless neck warmer can be pulled up for extra protection or simply worn around the neck. Team the Betty with an easy-to-wear and carry Merino Trail beanie and a cosy pair of Tallalambswool gloves which have a wonderful deep rib cuff to keep wrists warm, and you’re good to go.
Clothing made to layer, which will keep you warm and comfortable without restricting natural movement, is my go-to for winter walking.