SHOE report – what our Tutors are wearing!

ascics gelThe question we get asked more than anything else is…..which shoes do you advise for Nordic Walking. Our answer is simple – they MUST be flexible soled, comfortable, not too heavy and ideally waterproof but footwear is a very personal thing so no one make or style fits all.

In this issue we decided to ask our Tutors (the chaps who have trained all of our Instructors around the UK) what they all prefer and why. You might be quite surprised by our findings!

Martin Christie our lead Tutor has been Nordic walking since 2004 and as well as having personally trained over 1,000 Instructors he runs several sessions a week on Hampstead Heath in London.

Martin wears  – ASICS Gel Trabuco – he says

ascics gel

These trial running shoes are great – flexibility through the forefoot, lightweight, and decent tread and grip. I have a narrow foot and I’ve found the fit of the ASICS gel Trabuco ideal. I don’t choose the Goretex version as I prefer to wear Sealskinz socks when the weather dictates. And for Nordic walking, they have a tongue pocket for tucking in your laces to avoid poles catching in the lace loops (not that I’ve ever seen that happen).

Tanya Adolpho is our Childrens’ fitness specialist and Gymstick (resistance bands) supremo as well as a highly successful Nordic Walking Instructor and Tutor.

Tanya wears  – Vibro Trail Barefoot

I love Barefoot footwear, with waterproof socks.   They are like marmite; you either love them or hate them!  I absolutely love them and I’m slowly convincing my clients as well.


I can feel the floor, not only do I get a free foot reflexology session every walk as you can feel all the lumps and bumps, I have much better grip in the mud. Whilst people around me are slipping and sliding in the mud, I tend to walk with a smirk on my face as my feet mold into the environment feeling the mud whilst remaining upright.

FACT – The foot has 33 joints, 26 bones, more than a hundred muscles, tendons and
ligaments, as well as a sole loaded with nerve endings and a variety of touch receptors that allow us to feel, giving us vital proprioception to keep our balance as we walk, run and jump.  Over protecting our feet will stop this all from working, so  I’m convinced
that minimal footwear is the way to go.

I am also someone who also suffers from lower back pain, and since wearing minimalist shoes they have been fantastic to help keep the back in alignment, thus reducing the osteopath bills! Another plus no more blisters from over protection, my feet can breathe
and move how they have been designed too.

I can’t wait for the summer could be no shoes at all, (although I think I’ll need to keep the paws on the poles for that walk)”

Jason Feavers combines a full time job as Exercise referral co-ordinator in York with his role as a senior Tutor with NWUK. He specialises in  wellbeing and the use of exercise for those with health problems.

Through winter (and wet summers) I wear Inov8 Terroc 345 GTX shoes.  The shoes are incredibly waterproof yet breathable and light enough for long mountain walks or shorter walks through wet grass and muddy fields.  In summer I go for a minimalist shoe to really get the feel of the ground and allow my feet to move
as naturally as possible.  I’ve tried a number of minimalist running shoes, but found the Merrell Trail Glove to have  the most natural feel.Great for mindful Nordic walking and allowing the feet to work as nature intended.

Dawn McLean is a Tutor for both Nordic Walking UK and Later Life Training and her specialism is exercise for the older Adult

My favourite walking shoes are trail shoes as they always make me feel that I have a secure footing on all the varied

Brooks Hydroflow Trail Blade – These ones are grey with a wee bit of dayglo green on the bottom. I usually take a 6 or 6.5 and these are 6.5 and a perfect fit.  These are not
waterproof but are fabulous and sooooo comfy. I love them both for the comfort and for how they look.

My other pair are Asics Gel Trail Lahar which are gore tex waterproof and black with a wee bit of silver on and these are very comfortable too.  Size euro 40.5 is a great fit.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to see the vast range of shoes that are suitable for nordic walking and given you some ideas of what to look for when choosing your own pair?


We were quite surprised that a couple of our Tutors no longer worry about buying the more expensive Waterproof shoes but wear Waterproof socks instead! This way they can save money on shoes which they need to replace regularly and still stay warm and dry. We love the Sealskinz short waterproof socks so much that we now stock them on our website see here



4 thoughts on “SHOE report – what our Tutors are wearing!

  1. With a SpringBoost shoe featured against the heading I was surprised none of the instructors asked preferred them. I for one think they are are great shoe. The last fits my wide feet perfectly. The terrain I walk on varies between shingle, sand, rocks and grass, and mud from sticky to sloppy, with gradients step enough to satisfy the mountain-bikers. The uppers provide great support and the soles the best grip I have experienced this side of a walking boot, and they have lasted a good 30% longer than the Salomon GTX I used to wear, despite heavier use.

    The first few times of wearing them my calf muscles urged me to slow down on fast steep ascents, as the relative dipped heel governed by the insole forces a workout (insoles of two levels of ‘steepness’ are supplied with the shoes).

    They are expensive as walking trainers go, and somewhat heavy, but they are worth it for happy feet and the ankles attached to them, especially given their longevity.

    One thing this article makes clear is how different or particular each of us is about the points by which we make contact with the ground we walk on. If you work out what suits your feet your feet will be able to work best for you.

    • Hi David

      Thanks for the comment – you are right, shoes are highly personal! Martin doeas also wear and swear by the Springboost Tour but he teaches so many classes and Instructor courses a week he likes to mix and match. He finds the Springboost are brilliant when teaching Instructor training because he is on his feet all day – often with lots of standing around. Like you, we all find they are value for money and the comfort level & grip are both top flight!

  2. I’m with Martin on this one. I’ve been wearing Asics Gel Trabucos for 3 years now but DO choose the Gortex. I don’t always go a bundle on the colour ranges; they change twice per year, but with the two-way sole grip plus support, they give confidence to walk on any surface & in all conditions. Some of my clients have chosen them too with no complaints.

  3. I walk alot on uneven surfaces and trails that can get really muddy so i need something with really good grip so i use the La Sportive Raptor and when it get really bad the inov8 mud claw