NEW HEADLINE SPONSOR for THE PURBECK FESTIVAL 2019

We are delighted to announce that GRUB’S SHOES have joined forces with Nordic Walking UK to take the Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival to another level! With over 150 walks over 3 days to choose from, this amazing event certainly calls for good walking shoes and since our reviews on the GRUB’S DISCOVER shoes last year (see here) we can’t think of any shoe brand we would rather have at the event!

NWUK Members have already been enjoying a discount on the shoes which really do combine comfort with durability whilst also aiding good NW technique. To get yours before the event log in to your members area to get the code. The festival Host team love them and have been snapping them in all the iconic places (such as Corfe castle pictured here) as they put the miles in to  check and plan all the routes. Come and join us in Dorset this September but HURRY as tickets are selling fast! 

 

On top of the World – Helen’s story

“On top of the World,” well at least the London 02 Arena!!!

This is me after being a member of Mercian Nordic Walking for just over 2 years. I originally joined after trying a “taster” session. This was followed by a training course and obtaining a passport which qualifies me to walk with instructors/groups in other counties and countries. What a great way to enjoy different experiences as a day trip or holiday.

I often reflect on how unfit I was and what I have been able to achieve through the concept of Nordic Walking, fitness and social activities. Previously I belonged to a local gym but was not sufficiently committed to exercising indoors to improve my fitness and therefore make anything like the best use of my monthly subscription. As soon as I joined Mercian Nordic Walking, I cancelled it and have not looked back since. Exercising outdoors is so effective and enjoyable (even in bad weather) due to group support and great banter. Who needs gym equipment when you can use your poles, isobows, park railings, benches and low fences for example?
I have found Nordic Walking (NW) to be a tremendous total body workout as it engages 90% of the body muscles but in addition I have benefited to a very great extent from additional muscular strength and endurance (MSE) training, cardio vascular (CV) exercises and latterly isometrics. I have come to realise how important exercise is per se but more so as we age. It is amazing how quickly muscles can weaken affecting posture and balance with aches and pains developing. A recent video of a trekfit activity I was taking part in, showed me running “knock- kneed’ ( I was so embarrassed) which I later found out is apparently due to weak ankle muscles. I hasten to add that we are always asked if we are Ok with social media and without this video I wouldn’t have known I had muscle weakness. Following a visit to an osteopath, who happens to be a NW instructor, I was recommended strengthening exercises using a wobble board. In addition I found an interesting article in a health magazine for ankle strengthening exercises as practised by ballerinas!! Oh to be a fly on the kitchen wall to see me using the work surface as a ballet barre whilst waiting for the kettle to boil!!! but the exercises are working.
With Mercian Nordic Walking we have a tremendous team of instructors, and walk leaders led by Ian Northcott, who all get to know their clients/capabilities and fitness goals. When I took up the sport, it was then Ian who primarily assessed my fitness. He inspired me to realise the benefits to my health and well-being by gradually introducing me to longer and more challenging walks, trekfit, MSE and CV exercises. I was never put under any pressure to do so but the more I have experienced the benefits of feeling fitter, the more I have wanted to do and Ian’s encouragement, support and enthusiasm is awe inspiring.
Diet is also very much part of my fitness and feeling good: statement of the obvious I hear you cry. Like most of us I am sure, I enjoy a glass of wine or two, or a gin and tonic but don’t need either. I have also reduced my meal portion sizes and snacking between meals. It is amazing how much energy is required to burn just a small amount of calories. Climbing to the top of the O2 only burnt 450!!!! insufficient, I fear, to negate the coffee and cake I had afterwards!!!

Earlier on this year, I went to one of Michael Mosely’s road shows and am now interested in different types of diets and eating patterns. Do I really need to eat breakfast everyday for example.
I digress a little but I wouldn’t have evaluated my lifestyle without the concept of Nordic Walking, health and well being: the best thing I have done for years.
Thanks to Ian and his team for all their enthusiasm for the sport, support and amazing number of walks/activities available each week via Mercian Nordic Walking and now in conjunction with the other NWUK Midlands groups.

Helen

Sarah’s story – Cancer recovery with poles

When regular Norfolk Nordic Walker Sarah told her Instructor Rebecca Wheatley about her reasons for taking up Nordic walking, and the positive effects it has had on her post cancer recovery, she asked her if she would like to share her story as a testimonial to the power of the poles. Below, in her words, is her story:

SARAH’S NORDIC JOURNEY OF RECOVERY
“Post Cancer ……. Start Nordic Walking! 
3 years ago I underwent invasive treatment for breast cancer which left me fatigued, tired and suffering from aching joints long after the treatment had finished.
The NHS stance on post cancer treatment is a good diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise.
18 months post treatment I was still feeling tired with persistent aching joints, so when I saw Rebecca’s advert for a Nordic Walking Taster Session I went along. Not being one for the gym or swimming pool this was the ideal exercise. After I gained my passport I signed up for my first walk at the beautiful site of Caster St Edmunds. 3.5 miles later I was exhausted but thoroughly enjoyed myself, so much so 6 months later, a lot of training, wonderful walks and a huge amount of encouragement from Rebecca and the rest of the team I participated and completed my first ever half marathon on the North Norfolk coast.
As part of my treatment I had my lymph nodes removed from under my arm and after a bout of cellulitis I suffered from mild lymphedema (which left untreated is irreversible). Nordic Walking is encouraged by lymphedema therapists and the Big C and in the year that I have been walking my lymph fluid retention has dropped from 21% to 7.5%.
Now I regularly walk 3 times a week, I’m fitter than I have been in a long while, I can walk up a hill & talk at the same time without getting out of breath! I’ve seen parts of the Norfolk countryside I’ve never seen before and have met a wonderful group of walkers. Whatever the weather we laugh, we chat we have fun!
If there is anyone in the same or similar situation I would say – “don’t think about it – do it!” Rebecca will take you through the training and recommend the right walks for your ability encouraging you with a huge amount of enthusiasm along the way!”

Rebecca, says
“Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her journey. Hopefully her testimonial might strike a cord with anyone who may be in a similar situation but unsure of where to turn. It’s always empowering to know collectively we are more than just walkers who belong to an outdoor fitness club. We are also a supportive community of lively, spirited souls who enjoy fun, banter and a good laugh too – the best therapies of all!”

If you hail from Norfolk you can find Rebecca’s walks here – if you are from elsewhere in the UK you can find your local group but popping your postcode in here 

Don’t put it off, pick up some poles today!

It’s Warming up outside but are you?

Are you somebody who embraces the warm up exercises at the beginning of a walk or more likely to be grumbling ‘get on with it’ under your breath? YES, our Instructors know that some people just can’t see the point of what seems like a lot of twiddling, circling and stamping BUT there are actually several good reasons as to why, at NWUK, we always start our classes with them.

There is actually a proven process that will prepare a body for exercise, paying attention to the joints, muscles and cardiovascular system. Here’s why …………..

REASON ONE – Lighting your internal fire!

If you try to push cold muscles you are at risk of injuring them and if you don’t allow your body to heat up gently, you simply won’t get the best out of it for the whole walk which in turn will reduce the potential exercise benefits such as weight loss and tone. Your Instructor is trained to gently increase your heart rate in order to literally ignite your cardiovascular system and wake everything up effectively. As well as being advisable for your heart, lungs and blood pressure, this increase of blood flow will raise the core temperature and make muscles, ligaments and joints more relaxed and ready to work

REASON TWO – Joint Mobilisation.

Our joints are surrounded by soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid that acts a bit like oil in an engine, allowing your bones to move past one another more smoothly. Exercise in general encourages circulation of the fluid but before you start putting any pressure on the body its essential to first ease the joints into action and easing out any stiffness. This is where the ‘circling’ comes in – your Instructor is gently taking the joints through their range of movement and preparing them for the walk ahead. This will not only make you more comfortable on the walk but help prevent injury too. In fact good ankle mobility contributes to better balance and fewer falls so don’t skip this vital element of your class. Hip and knee mobility also improves comfort, performance and more crucially, reduces the risk of injury – so go on… enjoy the wiggling drills and feel your body thank you for it!

REASON THREE – Flexibility

Once your core temperature has been raised and the muscles and ligaments are more pliable, your Instructor will incorporate actions that mirror the movements likely to be contained in the walk or session. This type of stretching activity is known as dynamic stretching and is very different from the type of long cool down stretches used for conditioning at the end of a walk. Flexibility is the key to good mobility in older age and that exercising without including it  will actually make muscles shorter, tighter and more prone to damage.

Once your Instructor has fully prepared you for the start of your walk, they will set off at a gradual pace and ensure that you are fully ready to go before tackling any strenuous elements such as steep hills, workout drills or faster pace ‘gear’ work. You will also notice that they start to ease off before the end of the session too in order to prepare you for the cool down which we will cover in the next NWUK newsletter.

So next time you are willing the Instructor to stop ‘walking on the spot’ and get out on those trails, maybe spare a thought for how they are there to help you get results, avoid injury and learn how preparing your body well is a crucial part of being active..

 

 

Out and About Spring 2019

Our groups around the UK have been growing rapidly since January and no wonder with the quality tuition and variety of walks for people to enjoy!

Here is just a snapshot of what they have been up to already this year from tough challenges to weekend breaks and even a touch of Tai Chi!

Watford Nordic Walking took part in The PEACE HOSPICE LONDON BRIDGES WALK on 24th March – They walked 10 miles and crossed 12 iconic bridges as they enjoyed  the iconic sights of our capital city. This was training for many of them and the longest they have ever walked so well done everybody. 

Lots of groups use challenges as way to motivate people and you could do too. Don’t forget the Purbeck 16 mile and 27 mile challenges in September – there is still time to train!

 

It’s a sad Farewell from all at NWUK as Instructor Jackie Reiss from Wimbledon hangs up her poles due to injury. She lead her last walk in March and her fellow Instructors and lovely group will all be sorry to see her go. NWUK and Jackie have been trying to locate an Instructor to take over in the area so if you think you can help – call 0333 1234 540

 

Meanwhile Anthea Osborne and her group have donated a GATE to be enjoyed by all walkers in the Chilterns. The gate was christened in the sunshine near the beautiful Village of Turville where they enjoyed cake and coffee in the barn afterwards too. Great idea chaps – we love the gate which will promote NW to all who open it!

 

NWUK Instructors believe in teamwork and they love their groups to meet up and socialise.  You can check out some of these ‘meet up’ walks on our new www.nordicwalking.social pages. Nordic Walking Essex joined forces with Watford NW for this well attended special walk

Never ones to shy away from having fun, groups right across the UK donned red noses or got up to antics with their poles in order to raise money for comic relief !

Red noses in Preston!

Comedy poles in Derbyshire!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Norfolk Nordic Walking team completed the Marriott’s Way Half Marathon Their Instructor Rebecca Wheatley said ” We trained together and those miles literally melted away”  Why not set yourself a challenge for later this year – we even have a training plan in place for the Purbeck 16 event in September so why not make that your target and get training now!

Another thing we love to do is add new angles to our walks at NWUK and we have recently introduced two new skill sets for our Instructors. In this picture, Janine from Reading is leading a Tai Chi session for her group but if you like something a tad faster paced why not see if your local Instructor has trained to deliver our amazing Speedhyke sessions yet!

Another thing a lot of groups do these days is plan Nordic Walking weekend breaks or holidays. This group from Kent, enjoyed a walking weekend on the Isle of Wight whilst others have explored as far afield as Tuscany and  cross country skiing in Norway. They usually welcome others to join them so check out our holiday pages HERE

 

Spring Nordic Walking kit essentials

Now it’s warming up, we can think about removing a layer or two but it’s a good idea to think beyond clothing in order to stay comfy as the seasons change

Footwear is equally important and whilst we want our feet to stay dry, bulky winter walking shoes can feel hot and heavy so at NWUK we love a lightweight flexible shoe like the GRUBS Discover shoe we recently trialled with spectacular results. They are really lightweight and help with the Nordic technique foot roll too.

Don’t forget NWUK Members can save £££s on these too so log in to your Members area to see the unique Members price.

Now is also the time to look at reducing the size of what we are carrying. We are less likely to need a hot drink or thick extra layer so check out thin backpacks that do not restrict the arm swing and allow air to flow through the back. If staying cool is a priority, why not opt for a waist belt? If you just want to carry a drink, phone, keys, thin upper layer and emergency snack so the Deuter waist pack range are ideal.

 

Finally, don’t forget those absolute Walking kit essentials – WATER is a must and so is SUNSCREEN but we also think there are a few other things that everybody should pop into their NW kit bag

Ticks and insects are now waking up and ready to bite so we love these pocket sized ‘Smidge’ sprays. We always pack them with a tick card just to be sure and add a lightweight foil blanket and squeezy emergency food gel like the amazing mountain fuel just in case we are out longer than planned or anything unexpected happens en route.

Check out our Spring essentials section of the web store to find lightweight hats and other useful kit ideas

Join us for some great walks in the Peak District this May

We know how much everybody enjoyed our mini Festival in the Peak District last May Bank Holiday so although we can’t repeat it due to a lack of venue, WE STILL HAVE THE SAME WALKS FOR YOU TO BOOK over 3 days this May (3rd, 4th and 5th) Come for a day or all three !

Yes the local Team who planned all those amazing Dovedale, Thorpe Cloud and Manifold Valley walks and even added more like Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall!

Although there won’t be a HUB and workshops on offer, there will be plenty of chances to join beautiful well organised walks and meet other Nordic Walkers.

There will also be plenty of social meet ups and the chance to drink in the stunning scenery of the Peak District.

Visit the event website  HERE to see the full range of amazing walks and a list of accommodation etc

Join in, have fun and make sure you send us a postcard to HQ as we are so sad we can’t be there this year!

If you already have a FREEDOM Passport – all you need to do is browse and book the walks of your choice. If you don’t yet have your Passport, don’t worry as you can even get that at the event too – book a conversion course if you have been taught to NW in the past or the Fast Track Learn to Nordic Walk course if you are a complete beginner!

 

 

Nordic Walking UK Instructor training – what does it entail?

Its mid February and NWUK are hosting an intensive 5 day Nordic Walking Instructor course near their HQ in Dorset. The setting is the stunning Studland Beach and it looks like the weather is set to warm up too.

We are often asked questions about the content of our training courses and how fit or experienced you need to be to attend so we thought we would shadow the course, chat to participants and give you a feel for what goes on……

It’s DAY ONE and as this is a business Induction day the HQ Team are there to welcome the new recruits who will begin their journey as Instructors by exploring what type of model will work for them as part of the wider NWUK Team. Its a small group of 5 people who have completed the NWUK selection process and already started some one line learning.

Innes Kerr NWUK Business Development Director explains ” Great Instructors come from a variety of backgrounds so we like to harness their qualities and skills whilst providing support in areas they may not be so competent in. For instance we may have somebody who is confident in front of a group but terrible at admin, planning and social media or indeed the reverse. The reason our training is so comprehensive is that we know from experience that people need a range of skills in order to succeed and if we only taught them how to teach technique they are highly likely to not make a go of their new venture. We are also conscious that we want the RIGHT people to represent our brand so we have quite a robust selection process which also respects that their goals may vary from somebody who wants a full time business to a retiree or Mum who wants to be part of the team but with less commitment. Our support process ensures we can support these amazing folk and provide the tools they need to change other peoples lives. The Induction day is where we work with them to so we can jointly create a plan for them going forward” 

The day is a mix of workshops and presentations that explore everything from marketing and social media to how it all works at Team NWUK and the tools which are provided as part of the training package. These include a comprehensive client management/booking/payment/system, a marketing tool kit, websites and of course the passports and associated discounts for people they teach in the future. As  one of the new recruits on this course commented ” I had totally underestimated what needs to be in place in order to build, plan and promote a NW programme and how to keep clients once you have trained them – now its all beginning to make sense and I am blown away by how the HQ team are here to work with us on this”

DAY TWO is much more what you would expect to see on a course for outdoor exercise Instructors. Denise Page the NWUK Tutor welcomes the group and it’s much more practical training today. Kit on, the group head out and begin to learn NW techniques and more importantly how to break down each element and match it to the goals and ability of each and every potential client.

Today we are covering what NWUK calls ‘Gears 1 and 2 ‘ of the NW technique and the range of movement required to actually get the benefits from NW poles. Of course the group also need to practice how to warm up and cool down the body prior to taking people into an exercise state and also how to make sure that each individual is working at a safe intensity. To help with this, they will have already completed some on line learning prior to their practical training that covers how the body works and how to measure exercise intensity in order to progress people gradually.

Although there is a lot more physical work today, Denise makes sure the energetic elements are mixed with vital indoor theory such as risk assessments, route planning and incident handling. One thing the Team at NWUK are keen to ensure is that it’s not necessary to be super fit to attend their training, the focus is much more on having the right passion and people skills. The Diploma manual is really comprehensive and provides a great revision resource alongside the on line learning dashboard that all code compliant NWUK Diploma graduates have access to.

DAY THREE and it’s an early start as we meet in a car park about 3 miles from the Training room because we are joining Lucie an Instructor from HQ to shadow her on an early morning walk with her group. We are lucky to be heading out to the amazing Houns Tout with cliff top views of the Jurassic Coast and out to Portland.

We learn from watching Lucie do the warm up and manage the mixed abilities in the group plus we get to chat to them about what they enjoy. Denise also builds in some practical questions in order to get us to think about planning/risk assessing this route.  It’s also great to meet one of the local Walk Leaders, Angela to experience the role Leaders play and why she loves being part of the Team. A great start to an action packed day that sees us return to Studland for more practice on mobilisation, technique, gears 3 and 4 and teaching practice before we break for lunch and head off to nearby NWUK HQ to meet the support and retail teams and learn all about poles and equipment.

There’s a surprising amount of things to cover and we are lucky that MD Mike is on hand to help us understand the pole composition and how to provide sound advice for our clients once we qualify. It’s great to see the Warehouse and first hand how the FREEDOM passports and associated free NWUK membership scheme provide postage free (via shop n drop) and discounted poles to help people get started. We finish the day with more theory before catching up for Supper in Swanage where some of the HQ team join us for a relaxed evening.

DAY FOUR also starts with a walk with the local group although this time we join Instructor Sally (a former nurse) who runs the wellbeing and gentle walks. We head off through the woods to a stunning spot in the sand dunes where Sally takes us through some breathing exercises and balance drills. We then leave the group to continue their walk and we practice teaching technique to each other and prepare for our assessments. It’s great to join actual walks and see just how adaptable Nordic Walking is and how skilled the Intructors are at helping people achieve their goals. The Wellbeing module forms part of the Advanced Diploma and this session has helped the new Instructors see why it’s worth considering adding those skills in the future. We also get to try out strapless Activator poles which are used extensively in NWUK wellbeing and rehabilitation sessions.

The rest of the day is spent learning about developing a professional timetable, how to handle enquiries, understand client motivation, host Taster sessions and teach a 4 session tuition course that matches their goals. We also explore how to build walks on the management portal, how to price sessions and provide progression for clients before heading out side for our final practice on stretching and cool downs.

DAY FIVE a now pretty tired group are preparing for the inevitable assessment and evaluation but they have had plenty of practice and support each other through the group teaching drills and cool down assessments. The great thing about the diploma training is that assessment is carried out throughout the week so it’s not too onerous on day 5 and there are no longer any written exams because a lot of content is now on line. Denise gives them the good news that  they have all passed today, so the mood lightens as you can see!

There is now just a further module on how to identify and correct common technique faults and a chance to try out some muscle strength and conditioning drills. This energetic session sees the fitter amongst the group running, jumping and bounding with poles whilst they all experience how poles can be used for a range of resistance exercises too. The latter is a taste of another Advanced Diploma module but it helps new Instructors to have a go at this stage so they can understand how to build their skills and add to the sessions longer term. An exhausting day finishes with a final checklist from Denise and Innes that runs through all the things they need to get in place in order to get started and the chance to chat to the Business Team about the support they would like to have (social media, IT, Marketing etc). Innes will help them to work out exactly what they need and the HQ Support Team will be in touch next week to start building web profiles, Facebook pages and conduct one to one training on the Management portal. It’s good to know that there are lots of revision videos on all aspects of the course and processes and an ongoing support structure of webinars and one to one calls for the Delivery Partners. “At NWUK you are never alone” says Denise “the HQ Guys, Other Instructors, your Walk leaders and even your walkers themselves become like one big Family and it’s so rewarding” she adds.

As the new recruits head for home we ask a few of them for their feedback and here’s what they said…………………………

“A Brilliant insight into the world and community of Nordic Walking and I am proud to be a part of it!”

“A really positive experience , great delivery style and venue”

“The Tutor Denise was awesome and the way she lead the course was ‘special’ ”

If you think you would like to join the NWUK Instructor Team why not come to one of our Discovery Days – you will meet the HQ Team and have the chance to talk through whats expected of you, the training you will need and the cost of getting started. There will Instructors on hand to share their stories and there is NO obligation or charge for the session as we like to make sure our new recruits have all the facts and are the right people. Call 0333 1234 540 for more info or see www.nwukjoinourteam.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 – What a year for NWUK!

2018 has been a hectic and amazing one for Team NWUK. It started with a bang when Mercian Nordic walking led by Ian Northcott were filmed for an ITV’s  Britains best walks with Julia Bradbury which was aired on 30th Jan. To add more excitement, a call came into NWUK HQ on Tuesday  23rd Jan asking if Ian and his group would like to join Julia promote the programme on the BBC One show – see Pic

So Ian and his trusty band of walkers did a live purple ‘fly past’of the presenters on prime time TV and caught up with Julia Bradbury too!


Meanwhile NWUK Malaysia were hitting the headlines with their project Pyjama walk where  unicorn onesies were clearly the fashion statement of the day! All great training for the Purbeck festival which they attended en mass too (not in the onesies though!)

There were plenty of challenge events for Nordic Walkers take part in this year from the Grasmere gallop and Cotswold 24 hour race to the Chichester half marathon and of course the Purbeck 16 mile and 27 mile challenges during the festival 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The HQ Team were out and about as ever in 2018 and it was great to see so many of you at Countryfile Live and other events we attended. Our purple dome was also on show at the Keswick Mountain Festival and Grasmere Gallop events – to find out where we will be or more about evnts and meet ups for Nordic walkers visit our EVENTS PAGES 

Even the Home Secretary had a go at Nordic Walking when he met Instructor Elaine Griffiths at a pensioners fair recently – hopefully it provided  a pleasant break from the Brexit talks at least? It is known to be good for stress after all!

This huge purple gathering was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of NWUK’s first ever Delivery Partner Instructors – Sam Armstrong from Derbyshire has changed countless lives in those 10 years and it great to see how many people pitched in to make it a party to remember. Proof that NWUK groups are about more than just walking with poles!

We have had a couple of engagements in our groups but this is a FIRST……  two Nordic walkers tying the knot with a guard of honour made up of Nordic walking poles! Congratulations to Andrea and Bill from the Battersea Polers club from everyone at NWUK HQ – we hope you took the poles on honeymoon too?

Autumn saw lots of remembrance and Halloween walks too this year 

 

 

 

 

 

We are so looking forward to seeing all the Christmas tinsel walk pictures! We love these images so make sure you send us pictures of your group or pop them onto our Facebook pages

NWUK showcased the amazing Activator poles in the neuro demo zone at the Therapy Expo at the NEC in November . Martin Chrsitie outlined why we think that these strapless poles are perfect for people with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and how we work with specialist teams to offer simple pole walking solutions for all levels. For more info contact the team on 0333 1234 540

Finally 2018 was a busy year for NWUK Festivals with our third event in Purbeck (Dorset) and a new mini event in the Peak District – both were amazing and tickets are already on sale for the newly named PURPLEBECK 2019 which will be BIGGER, BOLDER and BETTER than ever so nab a ticket before they go up in price! HERE

Shoe review – Grubs stand up to the NW technique test

We are really fussy about shoes at NWUK and our requirements are pretty simple……

Number one priority is COMFORT! We want to be out with our poles at every opportunity on all types of terrains so we need supportive, lightweight shoes with great cushioning.

Second priority is WATERPROOFING WITH BREATHE – ABILITY! Soggy and/or sweaty feet will effect the experience of even the shortest of walks and one thing that we have learned over the years is dry feet = happy walkers!

The third element is very specific but vital for Nordic Walking and that’s a sole that flexible enough to get a great HEEL TO TOE FOOT ROLL. Part of good Nordic walking technique is to hit the ground with the heel of the foot and to engage the whole foot in a rolling action that finishes with a push off from the toes as you propel forward with the pole on the opposite side. The key things a shoe needs to provide in order to facilitate this are good cushioning for the heel strike and great flexibility through the mid foot to the toes.

 

This month we have been testing GRUBS Discover shoes which have built in ‘RollinGait’ technology and a unique Stabilty cradle which positions the foot deep in the sole. Tested by a panel of key Instructors, our original concerns re the chunky sole were replaced with a ” WOW that really helps to stabilise the foot, is extremely comfy and the shoes really do enable brilliant NW technique!! Tested by 6 Instructors – the shoes have ranked higher than any others we have tested for Nordic Walking.

Here are a few of the reviews ……………………….

Sam Armstrong from Derbyshire trialled a pair of brightly coloured fuchsia and mint shoes and rated them out of 10 – here are her conclusions…………………

Comfort 10 – Laces 10 – Sole and rollingait technology 9

(Took a few hours to get used to the rollingait but once adapted to it I was hooked. Loved the fact that it encourages the lemon squeeze effect and heel strike. It’s not got a 10 because I would like to see a deeper lug. Although saying that they performed well on the Adventure walk and there were slippy conditions under the leaves and sandstone rocks.)

Mid sole 10 (Like wearing slippers outdoors but with enough support) – 

Waterproof –  I’ve now fully tested the shoes in wet, damp and muddy conditions. They were really tested out on an awful muddy peak district walk and I have to say performed brilliantly, absolutely superb.

My feet stayed warm and dry and they didn’t slip or feel insecure at all whilst I supported less able members down a slippy bank. So top marks for the lugs!

Weight 10 – Super light but still feel very much a solid shoe.

Uppers – Hard to score on this one, as I’m not a fan of the colour and neither did it go down to well with my walkers. However, I did mention the fact that it came in grey too. They were all very curious about the shoe and if it had been in grey they wouldn’t have noticed it as much.

In all I like the fabric, the flexibility of the shoe and the control that you feel you have with it. A super snug fit to the foot, very secure with the lacing system. They are also warm and cosy (if that make sense).

Conclusion –  I Love them!

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Janine Lewis an Instructor who is based in Reading who trialled the black and yellow version says “These shoes were made for a lot of fun and serious walking! The company name alone, Grubs, lets you know that they are a no nonsense shoe for our wonderful British weather and terrain. 

Over the last 7 days I have played on flint-stoned canal paths, slippery wet grass slopes, wet chalky hills, huge puddles, tarmac paths, woodland trails with hidden roots under slippery leaves. The tough rugged soles with decent grippy rubbery cleats really did keep me up right and dry.

The shoes are wider than I am used to but with their unique lacing system I could tighten them to get a comfortable supportive hug within the shoe. There was a slight crease from pulling them tight but this did not rub on my upper foot. 

The shoes are also a neutral footbed which was more practical for the heel to toe rolling through action of Nordic walking. You walk with a stronger foot placement. I did not need to resort to adding my orthotic soles in and comfortably walked up to 12 miles each day with out foot ache. There was sufficient suppleness through the top of the shoe to flex as I moved through to the upright movement of heel to toe, almost on tip toes. Especially comfortable going up the hills too.

I wore different socks each day from merino thermal socks to athletic thinner running socks. I had no foot movement due to the lacing. I find with some shoes that are wider, I have to wear thicker socks that can often cause friction blisters. Not the case with these.

The shoe was almost similar in style and look of the lower foot bed of a wellie. This made them very waterproof. I have still not managed to get wet feet despite jumping in puddles.

The heel grip was high and snug and didn’t rub. The ankle area was cut low and again, no rubbing. I have long feet with a skinny heel area, so although I was in a broad men’s shoe, size 9, I did not feel like I was walking in oversize heavy shoes. 

The footbed has a solid innersole, which I initially thought would feel hard and harsh on the sole, especially If I was walking on gravel. The rubber sole seems to disperse the piercing effect of the small stones.  

These shoes are good alternative to leather shoes as they are lighter in weight. They are a different style to the trail shoes which are also low profile but often narrower. The shoe style didn’t have excess stitching on top which often deteriorates and splits with the constant upper shoe creasing.

It’s a thumbs up from me for these shoes. Solid, supportive, warm and waterproof. Oh, and in my favourite duck-yellow! 

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Ian Northcott from Bromsgrove had a charcoal and black pair to put through their paces and here’s his opinion! 

I have used these shoes for a few days now. Wow (apart from the white sole) they are fantastic. 

Comfort 5/5 – Waterproof 5/5 – Colour 2/5 – NW Friendly 4/5

Indoor Gym friendly 4/5 – Running Friendly 3/5 – Brilliant – I want another pair!!!

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Ashley Sandy from Wiltshire said “They are really comfortable and flexible – they are great for NW on the flat with an even surface. I can really squeeze the lemons with them.

They are waterproof and dry which is great at the moment – the colour is not great and the mint colour got dirty really quickly.  On hills they are OK again if the ground is even but as they are a bit wide for me – they were less supportive when walking on rougher ground or uneven surfaces because I could feel my feet moving around especially around the toe box which is pretty wide. However they are so comfy otherwise that I will try them with some insoles”


Finally Lucie Cormack and Gill Stewart from HQ have been testing the shoes on a variety of walks from long and slow to fast paced workout walks and the verdict is that they perform well on both and definitely seem to reduce fatique in the legs and aid faster paced Nordic walking. Lucie says ” They are incredibly lightweight yet robust with a great grip and i jut seem to want to walk faster when I wear them!

So we think that’s a pretty good thumbs up from the Nordic Walking UK experts and are delighted that Grubs are offering a 25% discount off the GRUBS DISCOVER shoes to NWUK Members. Click here to find out more