What to wear and bring to Nordic Walking lessons?
- Comfortable clothes and closed-in good quality walking shoes (waterproof in winter). Important that top layer is not too bulky so that arms can swing freely. **detailed information on shoe features below**
- Cap, hat and rain jacket or appropriate top for rain or heat. Gloves in winter. Light-weight, windproof and breathable, close-fitting stretch gloves are best for use with NW pole wrist straps (avoid thick bulky gloves)
- Water, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, insect repellent, medications, mobile phone
- Hands free waist bag or small narrow backpack for water, keys, phone etc. Some Nordic Walkers prefer a waist-bag or drink-belt as some backpacks can inhibit the correct arm movement if they are too wide
Many people assume that heavy walking boots are needed for Nordic Walking – but these can actually make it difficult to achieve a good Nordic Walking technique [when fitness walking] because they tend to be heavier and less flexible than the latest walking shoe styles. Similarly, running shoes are also not usually designed to suit the Nordic Walking gait, which requires the foot to be in contact with the ground for far longer, has a much more centered heel strike and much more pronounced push off from the toes than used in running.
The most distinguishing feature between an ordinary fitness or running shoe and a shoe for Nordic walking is the construction of the heel (because of the more forceful heel strike of the Nordic Walking stride). If you are a regular Nordic Walker then the acquisition of suitable footwear is highly advised. There are now a few shoes on the market which have been designed specifically for the needs of Nordic Walkers and are a wise investment for your feet. If however, you are an occasional Nordic walker then lightweight outdoor or fitness walking shoes will suffice.
Please note that if you are Nordic Walking on uneven ground with rocks and loose surface then a hiking shoe or boot with a good tread and even ankle support may be warranted – especially on steep inclines and declines.
As every person’s foot shape differs, and to get optimum comfort, support and longevity from your Nordic walking footwear we suggest being fitted correctly and recommend consulting the experienced team at Athletes Foot who are familiar with the requirements of Nordic Walkers.
Key features to look for in a good Nordic Walking shoe for fitness walking include:
- Comfort – find a relatively light-weight shoe in a brand and style that suits your feet (wide, narrow, high arch etc) – ideally waterproof
- Adequate heel support and cushioning with a rounded/beveled heel to assist heel-toe movement and reduce heel-strike impact
- Flexibility in the forefoot so that you can push off comfortably and propel from the toes
- The shoe should not slip at the heel or rub when the foot rolls through the stride
- Avoid footwear that is too high around the ankle as this can cause rubbing
- A snug fit to avoid the foot slipping forwards which can cause the toes to hit the toe box and become bruised
Examples of suitable Nordic Walking shoes include: