Nordic Walking poles – which are best?

Leki Prestige Nordic Walking poles

Dont be fooled by the myth that Nordic walking poles must be fixed and carbon! We supply a high percentage of the poles sold in the UK and the most popular model has always been the Leki Prestige (pictured) which is neither carbon or fixed length! Two thousand NWUK Instructors and their regular Nordic walkers can not all be wrong ….they simply love them!

Yes, fixed poles provide slightly less vibration but unless you are Nordic walking for several miles a day that’s unlikely to be an issue and the risk with a fixed length pole will always be that it may just be slightly too long or too short for you as they only come in 5 cm increments. Our experts think this could cause more discomfort longer term than the tiny increase in vibration likely with a pole that is completely adjustable in height.

These days the adjustment systems on good makes of poles like Leki and Gabel ensure minimal vibration and they are exceedingly strong – in fact they will bear up to 130 – 140  kilos of downward pressure with no problem at all. If you are using them for Nordic Walking as intended, they will last for years and are completely safe.

We think the key things to consider when choosing Nordic Walking poles are:-

  • The straps – are they comfy and how easy is it to attach and unattach them to thepole when you need to. (if they don’t attach at all they are NOT technically Nordic walking poles)
  •  Pole composition – yes carbon is best but it costs and other compounds are entirely suitable for the recreational Nordic Walker.
  • The paws (rubber feet) are they suitably angled for the Nordic walking technique? (If not they are nor Nordic walking poles) and are they easy to remove when on softer ground?
  • The weight of the pole – the lighter the better if you are looking for top performance but all standard Nordic Walking poles are lightweight and simple to use
  • The make – avoid cheaper brands like Norstix and go for the established makes like Swix, Leki, Gabel and  Kompardell – these companies actually manufacture ski poles too and have invested hugely in the development of their products. newcomers to the nordic walking market are usually copies made in the far East.
  • Travelling? – If you know you would like to take the poles abroad or even on the bus, you may wish to look for telescopic poles such as the adaptable Gabel Fusion or the ultimate in carbon luxury the Leki traveller carbon

Our personal favourite here at NWUK HQ is the Gabel Inverso Carbon Alu pictured above, which performs as if it was fixed length but can be adjusted accurately for the user with a top section near the handle that allows the user to get the exact right height.

Other poles we recommend to the recreational Nordic Walker are the Prestige (of course) and the Gabel Stretch – both are adjustable, affordable and perfectly suitable for those learning the technique and participating in regular Nordic walks.

To view our full range of Nordic Walking poles visit our on line store or call us at any time on 0333 1234 540 for expert advice. See what our customers say about us here

5 thoughts on “Nordic Walking poles – which are best?

  1. Nordic Walking is an awesome thing. Unfortunately it becomes less awesome when honesty and facts are neglected by those Nordic Walking “Pro” types that twist the facts just to increase sales and/or improve margins.

    Two super false facts in the above article weren’t typos, but false marketing with an agenda – an agenda to deceive. The author knows darn well that fix’d length poles typically come in 5cm increments and not the “10cm” increments he states above.

    And are there really 2,000 NWUK Instructors? Regardless of that exaggeration, most instructors teach classes with adjustable poles in their stash of loaner poles and ALL have at times been flustered by some of those poles’ twist-locks failing. It is the nature of the twist-lock system. I have heard from numerous instructors here in the USA about the embarrassment they face when their collapsible demo poles fail to cooperate during their classes. Being a certified instructor or coach should be earned. There should be study. There should be hands-on teaching experience. Then certification exams should be taken. And then perhaps certification is earned. Fast track certification options are not healthy for any sport.

    I only teach with one-piece poles and only recommend one-piece poles. Your supposed “experts” you say that one-piece poles can lead to discomfort are correct if the poles are sized incorrectly, but they are wrong and ignorant if they honestly feel that one-piece poles sized correctly lead to discomfort.

    I totally agree that cheap/flimsy off-brand poles flooding the market from China are worthless. They are falsely marketed. If your better quality poles are superior to those cheap/flimsy poles from China then don’t falsely market your superior poles. And be careful not to make false claims about superior one-piece poles as well.

    I am a big fan of SWIX and EXEL one-piece Nordic Walking Poles. I carry 16 different lengths and custom fit (like I would a ski racing poles) to ensure a Perfect Length.

    Perfect length poles help us to automatically walk with a super straight back – better walking posture is biomechanically a good thing. This improved walking posture when combined with the unique 4-Wheel-Drive type action of walking with poles radically reduces the stress to the shins, knees, hips and back. Nordic Walking is low impact and yet provides a highly effective workout – burning more calories and working more muscle groups than regular walking.

    Please let me know if you have any questions at any time.

    Have a great day! Ski Walking is the best,

    Pete – owner/founder/coach The American Nordic Walking System and http://WWW.SKIWALKING.COM Nordic Walking Poles

    Email: GETFIT@SKIWALKING.COM

    • Hi Pete
      Thanks for the post – you are correct re the 5 cm increments and we have now amended the blog – it was actually a typo by the PR team but we stand by our experts’ view that even a couple of centimetres can impact on correct pole use.
      We do not simply seek to sell adjustable poles as we sell ALL types but we feel it is WRONG to advise beginners that they MUST buy fixed length for the reasons outlined, especially as they are likely to improve technique and posture. We are actually also now offer a bespoke fixed pole service so we can get exactly the correct height for those who do not want any adjustment features.
      Re your comment that we are exaggerating about our 2,000 plus Instructors – it is 100% true in fact our total now succeeds that amount with our Master trainer Martin Christie having trained over 2,000 himself. Our academy now has 6 highly qualified Tutors in the UK (read their profiles on the TEAM page our website) and offer a FULL QUALIFICATION that is on the UK Qualification credit framework All of our Instructors DO have to sit exams and are all level 2 fitness professionals as a minimum and we will e mail you some information about the level we provide – it is certainly NOT fast track with over 50 hours of learning required on Anatomy, Physiology and the principles of exercise alone. We train Individuals, teams of hospital falls prevention experts and even 500 young Instructors who were funded under the Future Jobs fund aimed at giving youngsters meaningful work. Hopefully, more research on your part will enable you to establish that we are not simply a commercial enterprise but totally committed to using Nordic Walking to help others become more active.
      Our experts’ do firmly believe adjustable poles are ideal as we can get the height EXACTLY right for the user in order to match technique to their own personal goals and our Instructors use them in classes with no issues. Yes, we get the odd ‘twizzler’ poles but we address this with our education both for the public and the Instructors see the feature about maintaining poles on our blog.

      We are proud to have one of the most advanced systems of Nordic Walking delivery in the world with our FREEDOM card system and other programmes such as Wellbeing, Weight loss, Ski fit and Trek fit and our UK Instructors conference last year had an attendance over over 300 dedicated Nordic Walking professionals.

      Despite our diferent views on poles, we appear to have the same goal which is to promote this fantastic activity, so please stay in touch.

      Nordic Walking UK

  2. Gill – THANKS for the reply! And keep up the good work promoting Nordic Walking on the other side of the pond.

    I still have some issues regarding that initial post. But the one I want to address is the fact that your “fitness experts” feel that one-piece poles “could cause more discomfort longer term than the tiny increase in vibration likely with a pole that is completely adjustable in height.” That would be true perhaps if the poles were sized incorrectly, but correctly fitted one-piece poles do not come with a concern for discomfort. I’ve been coaching skiers since the stone age and custom fitting poles is an easy thing. If someone is in-between sizes it is easy to whack a few cm off a one-piece pole.

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to sell 2 different existing happy customers (happy with their one-piece poles) the EXEL TraveFit Poles that we carry, but do NOT recommend for everyday use, for seniors and never for anyone with a balance issue. One-piece poles are superior or I wouldn’t have turned away the chance to sell 2 pairs of very high end, high priced poles – with better margins that one-piece poles. I intentionally lost those sales opportunities. I am consistent and committed to quality. I am confident I did the right thing. Customer safety, customer satisfaction and customer success are my top goals.

    It would be rare that there would be day that I don’t have one-piece poles strapped on doing one or more of the things I love most – teaching Nordic Walking Classes, running hills, hiking the Sleeping Bear Dunes, roller skiing, cross country skiing (classic or skate), tele skiing, downhill skiing, ……… Only one-piece poles could handle that much FUN! As you know I would destroy collapsible poles doing most, if not all, of those awesome activities.

    Wishing you the best of luck. I hope you continue getting more individuals out the door and walking,

    Pete – owner/founder/coach http://WWW.SKIWALKING.COM and the American Nordic Walking System

  3. At the early stages of Nordic Walking, when learning to use poles effectively the adjustable poles have their advantages. You can try different lengths to experiment with and can change length as your technique evolves and your body adapts to a different walking style.

    However, once that stage has been reached a one-piece 100% carbon pole is much better than any two piece set up in my view; lighter, more comfortable and just feels much nicer!

    • We agree that they feel better but if they are not the right length it WILL affect technique and often 5 cms either way will make a difference. Our advise is to go for an extendable pole with the adjustment at the top – feels like fixed length but adjusts PERFECTLY for your height.