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Step Into Summer With These Clothing and Footwear Tips

June 4, 2012

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman

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There`s no better time to get outside than during the summer! Whether it`s biking, running, playing sports, or just lounging by the pool, what you wear can make all the difference in how you enjoy your summer activities. Here are a few helpful hints:

Clothes:

Fabric. This is the most important clothing factor if you`re doing an activity that makes you sweat. Light-weight and breathable fabrics are key to keeping you comfortable and cool. For summer fun, cotton is still the best natural fiber around. It`s porous, which allows air to circulate around your skin, and it is durable. One drawback is that is it so absorbent it can stay wet longer than other fabrics if you`re perspiring profusely. Newer man-made fabrics that often use polyester or cotton/poly blends are especially designed to wick away moisture from the body where it is then evaporated into the air. This type of material is perfect to keep bicyclers and runners cool and dry.

Fit and Color. As you`d expect, lighter colored clothing is best for staying cool in the Sun. That doesn`t mean only wearing white, as pastels can work just as well. Also, many athletes swear that the fit of your clothing can make or break your performance. Clothes should not impede your movement or cause chaffing, nor should they be too billowy as that can weigh you down.

The Right Clothes. Make sure you wear the right type of clothing for the activity you choose. For example, if you`re planning on exercising or playing a team sport, avoid elastic in your clothes as that can really irritate sweaty skin, causing itching and redness. If you`re hitting the beach or pool, choose swimwear that dries quickly as this will keep you from sitting in a wet, heat-trapping suit.

Footwear:

Transition Smartly. Summer is the time people usually switch from more protective footwear to flip-flops, sandals, and open-toed shoes. This can lead to foot and leg pain due to the different muscle groups you use for these types of shoes. This can also lead to an increased injury risk as you get used to walking in shoes that tend to hold onto your foot more loosely. Try to ease your way into the flip-flop/sandal routine.

Use the Right Shoe for the Occasion. Obviously, flip-flops are not good for most sports or vigorous activities. Not only can you trip more easily, but they generally offer little support for your arches. Sandals are slightly better, but a good running shoe is still tops when it comes to almost any summer fun, with the exception, of course, of walking on the beach (keep the flip-flops for that). By the way, if you still have the same pair of running shoes from last summer and you average more than ten miles a week, it`s time for a new pair, according to the experts.

Don`t Forget about the Kids! Kids need good footwear too, although their needs tend to be geared more towards protecting their feet. Flip-flops just don`t offer enough protection from stubbed toes, blisters, and sprained ankles (or painful bee stings while walking through grass, ouch!) Experts recommend open shoes that provide more support and protection like good-fitting sandals or Crocs. If you can`t resist flip-flops, try to select a pair that has a back strap to help provide more support and walkability.

Following these tips will help you stay cool and healthy this summer. Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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Image: Summer can be fun all ages, as long as you wear proper clothing and shoes. This baby is enjoying a safe dip in the summer pool. Photo submitted by a WeatherBug user.

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