I soke my various baselayers in a dilute solution of zoflora before washing. It ensures the baselayer comes out of the wash refreshed and pong free everytime. It does also seem to keep them fresher for longer on re-use. A little extra time consuming but beats buying new baselayers because your old ones seem to have become irreversibly pongy. And the used solution can be used to clean the bathroom with afterwards..
What are you used to wearing in your daily life? Shoes or boots? If it's shoes then stay in shoes. Try and find a pair with thinnish flexible soles that feedback to your feet. Talk to a podiatrist and as Mrs. Nesbit says..'get out more.' I agree. When i've had a long period of abstainance from walking i stumble around more on my return. If i've had a period of regular walks i become more sure footed. I'm a combat boot wearer but then i wear them 24/7 so it's not an issue to wear them in the hills, however, if you don't then the advice on this thread makes a lot of sense.
I use webbing instead of a rucksack for summer mountain daywalks because it has better weight distrubution (for me anyway) for the steep climbs, puts your gear where you can get to it easier and allows your back to breath. I've got my eye on a karrimor predator patrol 45 to replace my berghaus arete for wintery walks because of the ability to taylor it to different walks by using the molle webbing for different pouches. However i haven't had my hands on one yet so can't weight up pros and cons and it may be a bit heavy for what you want it for. There's plenty of good military gear out there that works very well but it depends on what you want it for and what you need from it and whether or not you think walking is a fashion parade.