As you read this, I will be trekking 100km across the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan raising money for Sugarplum children and JDRF – the world’s leading charity for Type 1 diabetes research. We’ll be walking 25km a day for four days and sleeping in tents in the desert. In preparation, I am wearing my walking boots 24/7 in the hope of preventing eye-watering blisters and coming home with my toenails intact.
Of all the amazing kit I’m taking, as I train I’m learning the importance of the right underwear. Some of the key pieces include socks that don’t rub, a bra that supports but doesn’t poke me in the ribs, and knickers that don’t ride up, or wrangle down (god forbid inner-thigh chafing).
It’s the undies underdogs that really deserve a moment in the limelight and since I’m putting mine through the ultimate endurance test, here are some of my favourite pieces that will kick butt in everyday exercise too.
Socks that rock
Some of the best trainer socks I’ve found are Sweaty Betty Technical Run Socks (£25, sweatybetty.com). You wouldn’t know you needed these until you’ve tried them. Made from breathable organic cotton, they have an inbuilt arch support that hugs the foot, as well as softer anti-blister areas. Slightly cushioned, they are to normal socks what an underwired bra is to the non-wired. My other favourites are from Runderwear. I love its Anti-Blister Running Socks (£15, runderwear.co.uk) which have double-layered fabric to prevent friction. When it comes to hiking socks, there are two camps of thought – comfy and cushioned or thinner and silkier to prevent rubbing.
Personally, I am in camp one and a big fan of Falke TK2 Cool Women’s Trekking Socks (£24, falke.com) which are the perfect mix of softness and non-friction, non-bulky padding. For those in camp two, our ex-army trek guide recommends wearing two pairs of silk socks which will glide over toes rather than rub. She recommends Falke Sensual Silk Socks (£20). For wet terrains, I like SealSkinz Socks (from £10, sealskinz.com), which are pillowy inside and keep boggy waters out (obviously not a requirement in the desert!).
I cannot stress enough the importance of a quality sports bra when exercising, especially for larger busts. I was once told by an expert that a lack of support can stretch the ligaments down the sides of the bust which may never regain tautness. As someone who isn’t small-chested (I’m a 34D), I know all too well the discomfort and embarrassment of finding yourself in an unsupportive bra during a round of burpees. For exercise, I prefer a cropped sports bra with a racer back. My favourite is Lululemon Invigorate Bra (£48, lululemon.co.uk) which is designed for high-impact training. I also like Sweaty Betty Ultra Running Bra (£50), which comes in sizes A-F, gives fantastic support and has adjustable straps for the ultimate jig-free jog.
I’ve found sports knickers perfection in Lululemon Invisiwear Bikini (£48 for pack of three), which are soft and virtually undetectable under leggings. For a cheaper alternative, try Marks & Spencer No VPL Low Rise Brazilian Knickers (£14 for pack of three, marksandspencer.com), which are also brilliantly light and don’t add any extra lumps and bumps. I also love Runderwear Running Hipster (£18), which claims ‘chafe-free running guaranteed’.
A little pot of calm
The pocket-sized B Strong Wintergreen Balm from Bamford (£25, bamford.com) contains soothing essential oils of wintergreen, camphor and cloves. I apply the aromatic blend to my wrists and inhale deeply ‒ particularly useful for clearing brain fog or if you’re feeling under the weather.
The onesie for me
Halle Berry launched her health and wellness brand Re.Spin last year. This autumn, she has teamed up with Sweaty Betty for the second time to create an edit of effortless layers for the cosy season: throw-on hoodies, luxe tracksuit bottoms, soft scarves and, my favourite, the Selene Waffle Jumpsuit (below, £140, sweatybetty.com), which is a onesie with class.