There are loads of good reasons to try Nordic walking, and it's easy to start. It does, however, require walking poles adapted to the Nordic walking technique. The pole is the most essential piece of equipment for this activity, inspired by a mix of Nordic skiing and walking. In this guide, we will detail the different parts which of a walking pole so you can make the right choice in Nordic walking sticks.
There's a simple rule for choosing the size of your Nordic walking poles, which most brands recommend using:
Walker Size X 0.68 = Stick Size
Then round up or down to the nearest pole size according to your ability. A longer stick is more sporty, while a shorter stick is more suitable for leisure walking.
Avoid telescopic poles, which are adjustable in height. They are ideal for clubs that want to discover Nordic walking but for a regular walker, opt for fixed-length poles to reduce vibration.
Avoid aluminium pole tubes as they don't absorb vibrations well, which isn't fun when walking. The majority of Nordic walking pole tubes are made from a combination of fibreglass and carbon. The percentage of carbon in the poles is between 50 and 100. The higher the carbon content in the stick, the lighter, more responsive and stronger the stick will be. The price of carbon is higher than fibreglass, so the price of sticks will vary according to the level of carbon in the tube.
Pole tips are made of tungsten — a material more resistant to wear than iron. There are several shapes of spikes, each suited to different types of walking terrain.
Straight tips and round tips, like those used in traditional trekking poles, are best for soft and springy ground.
Bevelled or inclined tips are very popular on harder terrain. Their powerful hooks allow for better arm movement during walking.
Made mostly of rubber, paws are used to cover the tip of the pole. Very handy on hard ground, they absorb the noise and vibrations of the stick hitting the ground. They are also recommended on certain walking circuits to limit the impact that pole points would have on fragile soil.
Some paws fit only on one stick model, but others, such as TSL Crossover paws, can be used on virtually any walking stick tip.
Baskets sit above the pole tip and prevent the pole from sinking too deep during walking.
If you intend to walk respectable distances, your choice of handle is important. There are generally three types of handles: all plastic, corks and mixed. Cork handles are the most comfortable. Due to their soft touch, grip comfort is excellent, but be aware that they wear rapidly. Plastic handles are more durable but much less comfortable, especially in hot weather, when we tend to sweat. The most common type of Nordic walking pole handles are those that combine a plastic part under the gauntlet for strength and a cork part under the fingers for comfort.
A gauntlet or a wrist strap creates the link between your hand and your walking poles, and therefore between your arms and legs. Nordic walking requires total freedom of hand movement while maintaining control of the walking poles. The quality of a gauntlet is paramount, and is largely responsible for walking comfort. It must be hand-hugging and adjustable. Generally, they have an adjustable strap to close comfortably around the hand.
It's often practical to be able to release your hands from your sticks during Nordic walking. A gauntlet should therefore be detachable. Each brand offers its own release system. The goal is to be able to release contact with your poles without removing your gauntlets. Choose a fast, simple and robust system.
Now that you have all the information, discover our selection of Nordic walking poles!