The ultimate guide to women's walking trousers 2023
How to choose your perfect pair
Fit can vary widely between different brands and models, with a range of sizes and leg lengths available. Some brands, such as Fjallraven, offer two different cuts – straight and curved – to better suit different body shapes. Features range from minimalist to comprehensive and include pockets, vents, adjustors and attachments. A few pockets can be very handy, especially zipped options for keeping valuables safe. Look for multiple panels and an articulated cut to ensure comfortable and unrestricted movement, especially if you’ll be walking in mountainous areas with steep terrain.
The best fabric will depend on the conditions you expect to encounter. Lighter weight fabrics will be cooler and more breathable in warm weather, but may not be as durable as more traditional heavy duty trousers. Stretchy fabrics can be more forgiving, supportive and comfortable to wear for longer walks, while reinforced panels in high wear areas such as the knees, seat and pockets improve durability.
Sherpa Kalpana Tight RRP £60
Size Range: XXS to XXXL
These versatile tights are great for hiking and general adventure wear. The fabric is soft and smooth, with flatlock seams and a high, wide waistband for superb comfort. Two good-sized pockets, one on the outside of each thigh, fit a smartphone, snacks, compass etc for easy access on the go. There’s a handy hidden key pocket in the waistband, but no potentially uncomfortable rear pocket or drawcord so they’re also perfect for yoga and gym work. They’re lightly supportive all over but, thanks to the multiple panels, utterly unrestrictive. An adjustable waistband would keep them in place better, but overall they’re lovely to wear and good value too. Plus, every item purchased from Sherpa funds a school day for a child in Nepal.
Rab Incline Pants RRP £90
Size Range: UK8 to UK16
Lightweight, stretchy and breathable, these looser-fit trousers are a great choice for warmer weather walks, offering comfortable protection from sun, wind and insects. Made from Rab’s Matrix softshell fabric, they pack down small and dry quickly, perfect for all-day or multi-day adventures. A good range of features includes a shaped waistband with double snap closure, a tethered drawcord at the hem for cinching in during windy weather or when crossing boggy ground, and three zipped pockets for stashing essentials. Rab is a Fair Wear certified and climate neutral company.
Smartwool Merino Sport Fleece Colorblock Leggings RRP £109.99
Size Range: XS to XL
These stretchy yet supportive fleece-lined leggings work well as a winter baselayer under usual walking trousers or as standalone legwear in warmer weather. They’re made from a durable synthetic outer fabric with a soft-brushed Merino wool lining next to the skin, which is comfortable, sweat-wicking and naturally antimicrobial. A waist drawcord adjusts the fit, a drop-in thigh pocket on one side and a secure zippered pocket on the other add useful storage, and there’s reflective print for safety. They come up very small, so you’ll probably need to go up a size.
Salewa Alpine Hemp Light Pant RRP £115
Size Range: XS to XXXL
Made from lightweight but hardwearing sustainable hemp blended with a soft and stretchy polyester/elastane mix, these smart, tailored trousers look fantastic and perform just as well. Designed for the dynamic movements of climbing and scrambling, they feature Durastretch knee and inner thigh panels, and pre-shaped knees, ensuring all-day walking comfort. They’re airy and breathable to wear, ideal for warmer weather use. Handy features include two handwarmer pockets, two zipped rear pockets, belt loops, and drawcords at the waist and ankles for a perfectly customised fit.
Alpkit Ardent pants RRP £119.99
Size Range: UK6 to UK20
A great all-round, year-round choice, these tough yet comfortable midweight softshell trousers are designed for multi-adventure use. They combine a stretchy and unrestricted feel with abrasion-, weather-resistance and reinforced panels for many years of use in tough conditions. Two zipped handwarmer pockets and two zipped thigh pockets offer secure storage for snacks, smartphone and other valuables. Available in short, regular and long leg lengths. Alpkit is a B-Corp certified company, meaning its operation is required to meet high social and environmental standards.
Klättermusen Bestla Pants RRP £199
Size Range: XXS to XL
Klättermusen’s clever Bestla fabric has a two-layer construction, with a hardwearing stretch bio-based nylon-mix shell and a soft, breathable, insulating and sweat-wicking recycled biodegradable PrimaLoft knitted liner. The result is a garment that’s incredibly cosy and comfortable for all-day, everyday wear that performs at the highest level in use. We’ve worn these for hiking and running in all conditions and they’re outstanding every time. Elastic adjustors at the waist, knees and ankles ensure a perfect fit and there’s a good-sized zipped rear pocket to keep valuables secure. Team with the Bestla Anorak for all-over comfort and performance.
66°North Straumnes Pants RRP £225
Size Range: XS to XXL
The Straumnes Pants lie somewhere between technical joggers, running tights and walking trousers. The fabric is hardwearing but light and stretchy, cut and articulated to allow full freedom of movement. The two-layer construction features a soft, breathable polyamide and elastane inner and tougher, windproof Gore-Tex Infinium outer. With a comfortable, wide waistband they stay put even when moving fast, climbing and descending. Two spacious thigh pockets are easy to access thanks to a top flap rather than zip. Reflective stripes add visibility for low light use.
Klättermusen Grimner Pants RRP £239
Size Range: XXS to XL
Classic, hardwearing year-round walking trousers, the Grimners combine bombproof construction, top quality materials, thoroughly considered features and a perfect fit. The Hirsutum fabric is a blend of organic cotton and Ultramid bio-mass balanced nylon, so they’re soft, naturally breathable and flexible to wear, while also offering plenty of protection against weather and abrasion. Cotton-based reinforcement panels at the knee, rear and pocket edges further reduce wear and tear. Abundant storage includes two large leg pockets with Vislon zippers and pocket lids, fastening back pocket and two handwarmer pockets, plus a gear loop on the waist. Adjustment buckles at the ankles customise the width, with a poppered flap to prevent snagging, while a detachable shoelace hook keeps them well in place.
**Recommended retail prices correct at the time of writing. Please refer to manufacturer or retailer websites for the very latest pricing information.
Our gear testers, Jen & Sim Benson have a wealth of outdoor and walking experience. They provide regular gear reviews and kit advice in Walk magazine, the Ramblers quarterly magazine that forms part of your Ramblers membership benefits. Join today from only £3.21 per month.
With over 500 Ramblers groups right across Britain there’s probably one (or more) near you. Here’s how and why you should join one for a sociable stroll.
Discover where you can walk on paths and other rights of way across England, Wales and Scotland by following our guide.