Eighty young women, many dressed in costumes ranging from reindeer to cats, and angels to devils and cowgirls, posed for cameras, giggled, laughed out loud, and generally had a great time kicking in the Halloween weekend at Miami’s Hot Girl Walk last month.
“I just walked up and instantly met someone and we just started talking,” said participant Nina Cardi, 23, who is originally from Pennsylvania and currently lives in Brickell. “I felt super welcome.”
The group of women, with ages ranging from 18 to 50, gathered at South Pointe Park on a sweltering morning to get their exercise in and meet new people around the area. The walk was initiated by Gabriela Ayala, who posted a TikTok in May of this year encouraging girls in the area to join her for a “hot girl walk” and coffee afterwards.
That original TikTok now has over 46000 views and 2500 likes. After Ayala moved to the United Kingdom in July, Lucelia Nelles, 23, Monica Villegas, 28, and Lucia Di Tore, 27, took over as organizers of the event. Nelles, however, has stepped down from her organizer role.
But the movement doesn’t stop in Miami. The term ‘Hot Girl Walk’ was first coined by TikTok user Mia Lind, who took up walking during the pandemic. Lind encouraged girls to join the trend to increase their confidence and adopt a positive mindset.
The walk has since extended to other Florida cities like West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Naples. Nationally, cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Austin, have also adopted the idea.
In Miami, exercise and female empowerment bring women together with the popular Hot Girl Walk trend, where girls from South Florida meet up every Saturday morning to not only stay physically active but also, make new friends around the area.
“We miss Gabi, of course, but we wanted to make sure we kept this going,” said Di Tore, 27, Marketing Manager. “We think what she started was such a beautiful way to help others feel more at home.”
While the Miami walks originated in Brickell, they’ve expanded since to include locations in Miami Beach, Edgewater and Miami Design District.
“Miami is so big and has so many cute spots to walk around,” said Di Tore. “It’s a nice chance to explore and get to know new places, especially for the new girls in Miami.
The walk is usually between one and two miles, and lasts around an hour. However, girls usually meet up for food or coffee around the area afterwards.
And since making new friends while getting their exercise is a big part of the event, many girls like Cardi, choose to go alone.
“I wanted to meet new people and I just moved downtown recently, so I wanted to get involved in the community,” said Cardi.
For many participants, the friendships made in the walk go beyond the scheduled time and place on Saturdays.
“Last week, there were a bunch of people and one girl, I really clicked with, so we’re gonna make plans,” said Cardi.
The walks are often sponsored by different local brands like Ilia Beauty, Miami Dolphins, and Planta.
“We are a very attractive group to sponsor,” said Di Tore. “It’s mostly been inbound for now.”
While group size depends on different factors like time of the year and location, the biggest group the walk has seen included 350 girls.
As women, going on a walk alone can be intimidating and dangerous. Having a group of girls to exercise, go on a walk and have fun with makes the activity safer and more exciting. This initiative not only helps women make new friends but also brings out their confidence and motivates them to leave their comfort zones.
“I love running, I love walking, but I don’t wanna go by myself; there’s people catcalling and it’s just annoying,” said participant Alyx van de Vorm. “Whereas if someone posts, ‘I’m going on a walk in Brickell, does anyone wanna come?’ then you can just join and that girl will have someone to go with her.
It’s not uncommon to see dogs with their owners on the Hot Girl Walk. To participate, however, they must be on a leash and well-behaved.
Some walks have themes to promote different movements or times of the year. For Halloween weekend, walk participants dressed up in their favorite costumes—and dogs were even dressed up as well. Other theme days have included wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and wearing Miami Dolphins jerseys to support the NFL team. However, wearing regular workout clothes is also completely acceptable.
“It depends on the time of the year, but we all love wearing cute workout outfits to go on our Hot Girl Walks,” said Di Tore
Girls from the walk use the Clyx app to communicate with each other. With it, women can get together with other people around their area to go to different local events. By just swiping right on an event the app connects you with other girls that are also interested in it.
“We’re like Tinder, so you can swipe on events,” said van de Vorm. “And when you swipe right, we find you someone in Hot Girl Walk that wants to go to the same event.”
Hot Girl Walk gives women a safe space to exercise and meet new people while promoting confidence and motivation.
“It feels very empowering, knowing that every Saturday there will literally be a swarm of a hundred girls that can back me up in anything,” said van de Vorm. “It’s not about the walk, it’s about the community.”
Locations for Hot Girl Walks are usually announced early in the week via Instagram.