- In addition to its regular workout clothes and assortment of other collections (swimsuits, workwear, and underwear) made for an active lifestyle, Athleta has a hiking collection featuring high-performing and flattering tops, shorts, and skorts.
- They’re made with comfortable, sustainable fabrics and feature UPF 50+ coverage against the sun. Despite their name, they can certainly be used for activities other than hiking.
- Our favorites that we reviewed include the Excursion Hybrid Short ($69) for its comfort and deep pockets and the Ascender Short ($59) for its breathability, flexibility, and convenient back stash pocket.
Athleta‘s newest hiking capsule, called Wild at Heart, wants to get you outside. The collection is a response to the ill-fitting women’s hiking clothes that are just shrunken down versions of men’s hiking wear, instead featuring tops, shorts, and skorts with flattering silhouettes, eye-catching colors, and functional, high-performing fabrics.
Most have UPF 50+ protection to account for the fact you’ll be spending a lot of time under the sun this season, and many are made with sustainable fabrics fashioned from recycled materials.
Athleta is a powerhouse women’s brand that seems to knock every type of apparel out of the park. We’ve previously tried its workout leggings, swimsuits, workwear, and underwear — a range wide enough to surprise shoppers who might only know Athleta as a fitness brand. Our latest trial with its hiking pieces confirms that if you lead any semblance of an active lifestyle, or would like to start leading one, Athleta should be the one-stop shop at the top of your list.
What we really loved about the hiking wear is that you don’t have to relegate it to hiking purposes. Yes, Athleta thought about the designs in terms of the rocky mountains you’ll climb, gurgling streams you’ll hop over, and dusty trails you’ll travel down, but if you want to wear them to the gym or on a normal day out, you will feel perfectly comfortable doing so.
That’s exactly what we did with the pieces we reviewed from the Wild at Heart hiking collection, which include a dress, jacket, and two types of shorts. Other notable products to check out are the Excursion Hybrid Tight ($89), which is super soft, stretchy, and sweat-wicking, and the Expedition Skort ($69), a skirt with built-in shorts as well as a front zipper to give you ultimate flexibility.
Here’s what it’s like to wear Athleta’s Wild at Heart hiking pieces.
Expedition Skort Dress
Summer is the time to stop thinking about how to coordinate your tops and bottoms and start throwing on breezy dresses instead. With this casual, everyday dress, which was designed for hiking and climbing, you can move along with the spontaneous whims of summer. Because it has built-in shorts and mesh ventilation, you’ll be able to accept invitations to bike rides and dancing at a moment’s notice. The high-performance nylon material is smooth and soft, plus it has a UPF rating of 50+, which provides strong protection against the sun. As ready for physical activity as it is, it’s also equally flattering, featuring an adjustable drawstring waist and front zipper that lets you wear a fun bralette or bikini top underneath. —Connie Chen, reporter
Excursion Hybrid Shorts
I haven’t worn my Excursion Hybrid Shorts hiking yet, but I’ve gone running and cycling in them so far and they’re super comfortable and breathable. They’re high-waisted and knee-length (I got the 11-inch pair), which is exactly the amount of coverage I like when I’m working out, and they don’t ride up or bunch when put to the test. I also love their deep side pockets that securely hold my phone and ID — neither has even come close to sliding out when I’m on my bike. I got the shorts in a small, which fits true to size. —Ellen Hoffman, director of content of strategy
Biker shorts seem to be having a moment right now, which is what ultimately drew me to try these in the first place. While I haven’t worn these hiking — unless you consider traversing Manhattan blocks and avenues to be a hike — I have been impressed with how comfortable and practical they are. They fit like a glove — true to size and with a super lightweight panel down the sides for added flexibility. I love the high waist, it would make me feel comfortable enough to wear these with just a sports bra if I was hiking on a really hot day.
I can’t talk about how great these shorts are without talking about the pockets. Women deserve better pockets and Athleta is delivering with two deep side pockets that are big enough to hold an iPhone and then some. I should go hiking in these soon, but until then I’ll wear them for any athletic, or athleisure, pursuits I can. —Remi Rosmarin, reporter
I gravitated toward these nine-inch for the same reason as Remi — I’ve worn them as "fashion" shorts with a big button down and a blazer, and I’ve also worn them for a cycling workout and a run on the treadmill. They’re the perfect length (I’m just over 5 feet tall), they don’t bunch or roll up on my legs, and the pockets are game changers. I could have stood to size down, but it wouldn’t have made a huge difference. —Sally Kaplan, editor
If you hike, run, or do anything that requires flexible range of motion in your legs, these lightweight shorts are for you. The breathable, quick-drying fabric is made from recycled polyester and Spandex and never chafes against your legs. I like that they don’t have an attached inner brief because I prefer just running in my regular underwear, and I love the stash pocket in the back waistband. Whether you’re traversing a rocky hill and need your hands free for balance or are rotating circuits in the weight room and are prone to leaving your towel behind, you can use it to store extra baggage like light jackets and small towels without disrupting your workout. The shorts also have no less than three zip pockets to store smaller accessories like your house keys. —Connie Chen, reporter
Ascender UPF Jacket
This jacket has come in clutch so many times over the past few weeks. It’s perfect for rainy days, but thanks to its UPF protection, it’s the layer I bring with me any time I’m going to the park and I know I’m going to be adventuring in the sun for a while. It’s not super breathable so I don’t recommend it for hot days, but if it’s slightly cool or rainy out, this is the perfect thin layer for keeping you protected from sun and inclement weather. It also folds up really small in my bag. —Sally Kaplan, editor
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