Nordic Walking is the umbrella term that incorporates walking for fitness, mobility & balance, and trekking or distance walking. The majority of the pole types can be used for any and all of the various types of walking with training in the correct technique for your pole type and walking styles.
- moderate to fast paced walk
- moderate to high intensity
- short to medium distances
Pole types and accessories need to allow you to maintain good traction with your planted pole tip while positioning the pole at an angle to the ground that allows you to push your body forward (such as is done with cross-country skiing). Poles of good quality can be quieter during your workouts than inexpensive “fitness poles”, which can rattle at the connections and be distracting during your workout. With regular use a Leki Fitness Traction walking pole tip may last you one year or one walking season, but the Leki Fitness tip (smaller and lighter) will need to be replaced much more often.
For Fitness Walking, it is an important part of the activity to maintain a grip on the pole during the push phase, so look for a pole style that offers you the best grip for your walking style. Personally for Fitness Walking I prefer the cork grips offered by Leki to some of the rubber grips, my hands often sweat and get gummy on the rubber grips if I wear them without gloves. I stock a variety of pole types so you can try them out for yourself!
Nordic Trail Walking:
- slow to moderate paced walk
- low to moderate intensity
- medium to long distances
Most pole types are adaptable to Trekking or Nordic Trail Walking. Rubber tips can be purchased specifically for trekking if desired, and are removable to uncover a replaceable carbide tip that is the same as on a trekking pole. These carbide tips allow you to grip on most non-paved surfaces and are standard on all walking poles.
Trail Walking offers variation in walking surface and terrain, so any pole should allow you to shift the pole quickly from vertical to angled as needed for balance & stability as you walk. If you do a lot of hill walking, having an easy to adjust length is also beneficial.
If your trail walking involves frequent stops for photographs, look for a grip that is easy to drop and pick up. Leki offers a detachable “glove” system that is easy to disconnect and re-connect without any necessary adjustment, while a strap system as found on a trekking pole may allow you do drop and dangle the pole from your wrist. Try them out to see what type is right for you.
Mobility & Balance:
- slow paced walk
- low intensity
- short distances
Mobility & Balance can be a technique used during any Fitness Walk or Nordic Trail Walk when the footing or terrain becomes difficult, or it can be a type of walking for those with limited mobility or health conditions that benefit from the additional stability that poles can provide. The primary difference in pole type is that a bell-shaped tip is used in lieu of a tapered tip because the pole is primarily used in a vertical position.