Like any sport, walking offers shopping opportunities, although the basic necessities are minimal.

Shoes ? Walking shoes need good toe room and a flexible sole. For summer trekking, Keen has a walking sandal with a protective rubber toe. Merrell?s Siren Sport is vented.

Socks ? Wool or a blend is better than all cotton, which sticks to your feet and can cause blisters when you perspire. Bridgedale has a nice range of colors. Be sure to wear your walking socks when trying on new walking shoes.

Clothing ? Look for wicking fabrics and sportswear that provides sun and insect protection. Given the temperature variations on a Sonoma County day, it?s a good idea to dress in layers. Icebreaker?s Merino wool line includes tanks and long sleeved shirts.

Hats ? A must, along with sunscreen. Wide brims are better sun protection than ball caps. The Tilley hat is treated to repel sun, rain and bugs. It floats and can be tied on in the wind.

Hydrate ? Take water along if walking for more than 30 minutes. Water carriers range from backpacks with water tubes to fanny packs that hold water bottles. The Marmot pack has room for two water bottles and a hearty lunch.

Extras ? Walking sticks, which are like cross country ski poles with padded tips for sidewalks, not only provide balance but an extra cardiovascular effort. Other options include pedometers with GPS systems, heart rate monitors, personal stereos and MP3 players.

Source: Sonoma Outfitters, Santa Rosa