How to choose the right Nordic walking poles? Our top 3 models for all levels

Increasingly popular, Nordic walking seduces with its sporty approach to hiking.

Before setting off to attack the paths, you must nevertheless choose the right poles, at the risk of injuring yourself on your first outings (admit it, it would be a shame).

Size, material of manufacture, gauntlets, washers, end caps, etc. : find out how to make the right choice and consult our top 3 of the best poles for beginners.

On your marks, get set, march!

Brief reminder on Nordic walking

Originally from Finland, Nordic walking was first used as training for cross-country skiers in the summer.

The objective then was to simulate sliding by combining walking technique and the use of poles. The discipline has gradually become more democratic, to become a popular sport today.

And for good reason !

Inexpensive and accessible to all, this ultra-complete discipline works on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination and balance.

Ideal for enjoying the great outdoors while keeping fit. To find out more, read: Losing weight with Nordic walking is possible by avoiding these 9 beginner mistakes

On the health side, practicing Nordic walking prevents in particular the risks of the following pathologies:

  • Cholesterol and type 2 diabetes;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Cardiovascular illnesses ;
  • Joint disorders and diseases;
  • Asthma.

So you have no reason not to get started!

The choice of size

Choosing the right size of poles is the essential point in order to enjoy a practice that is as effective as it is comfortable.

Unsuitable poles tend to put too much strain on the body, with the risk of seeing quickly appear back pain.

To make the right choice, the best is still to try them.

While standing, place the sticks in your hands and rest them on the ground. If you elbows form a right angleyou have found the right size.

If you prefer to buy your poles on the internet, the other way to know the correct length is to multiply your height (in centimeters) by 0.68.

If you’re just starting out, it’s best toopt for a slightly smaller stick than the result obtained (2 or 3 cm below).

In case of confirmed practice, prefer a slightly larger stick.

The choice of material

If you are about to buy your first sticks, the question of material will quickly arise. In aluminum or carbon, each piece of equipment has its own advantages and disadvantages.

L’aluminium is an inexpensive material, proposed for entry level sticks.

It will allow you to test a new sport without breaking the bank right away. However, they are heavier and absorb vibrations less.

Over the long term or with regular use, aluminum poles can cause tendonitis.

A little more expensive to buy, carbon poles are lighter and more comfortable, with better vibration absorption.

We advise you to go on a pole made of at least 50% carbon. In case of intensive practice, opt for a model made with 80% carbon (above, the poles generally lack flexibility).

The different types of handles

The handles of Nordic walking poles come in different materials.

Avoid plastic and rubber as much as possible.

Uncomfortable and not very absorbent, they will quickly impact your performance and tarnish your outings.

If they are more economical in the short term, you will have to replace them quickly for better quality equipment.

From the beginning, prefer foam handles or cork, comfortable, light and absorbent. A high-quality material, cork remains the preferred material, but its price is higher than foam.

Some poles also offer a longer handle at the sleeve to provide optimal grip on climbs. Think about it!

Single or multi-strand sticks

Here the answer is simple: single-strand stick remains the best option.

More solid, it perfectly supports the weight of the body for optimal balance and good shock absorption. The single-strand pole thus offers you a thrust that is both powerful and straight.

How to look like a pro!

However, the single-stranded stick is more cumbersome than its direct competitor, the multi-stranded stick. Foldable in half or in threeit slips easily into the bag and offers a compact solution to all nomadic athletes.

Telescopic and foldable, these sticks can also be used as classic hiking poles. Ideal for varying the pleasures of travel.

Choosing the right gauntlets

A walking stick without a gauntlet (or possibly a wrist strap) cannot be used for Nordic walking. Indeed, this small accessory is essential for a good practice.

In Nordic walking, the hand opens as the arm passes behind the hip. This technical gesture prolongs the thrust initiated on the stick.

The gauntlets allow you to release the stick without dropping it.

A pole equipped with a snug, ergonomic strap is sometimes preferred by walkers.

Choose the right point

Point of contact between the stick and the ground, the quality of the tip is an important criterion when choosing your equipment.

Prefer a carbide tip tungstenresistant and adherent.

The spikes can be fitted with protective rubber tips to dampen noise and improve grip on the ground.

These small accessories are interesting if you regularly walk on ground where you cannot plant the tip of your stick (concrete, asphalt, etc.).

Finally, the models with double points improve grip on the ground and offer multi-directional positioning.

Choose washers

Two types of pucks are offered: the winter version and the summer version.

Smaller, summer pucks prevent sticks from getting stuck in the rocks. With a larger diameter, winter pucks improve flotation on snow.

Pucks slide easily into the bottom of your poles and change in seconds depending on walking conditions.

Which Nordic walking poles to choose according to your practice?

nordic walking mistakes

Are you starting to see things more clearly? Here is a small summary to help you choose the right product according to your level.

Occasional walker

If you practice Nordic walking once or twice a month, go on a comfort aluminum pole, ideal for familiarizing yourself with this new technique.

Shock resistant, aluminum also remains the best option in terms of value for money. Choose a round tungsten tip and ensure that the model is equipped with a removable gauntlet.

regular walker

Do you practice Nordic walking once or twice a week?

Opt for sticks composed of at least 50% carbon, lighter. The carbon also absorbs vibrations in your arms for increased walking comfort.

Elastomeric handlesfoam or cork are also recommended.

As with casual practice, round tungsten tips and detachable gauntlets should be among the features offered.

intensive walker

More than twice a weekopt for a high-end model, anti-vibration, anti-sweat and as light as possible. Beware, however, of 100% carbon models which generally lack flexibility.

Preferably head for a stick 80% carbon. At this level, quality grips become highly recommended to limit perspiration in the hands.

On the point side, in the event of outings on greasy or wet ground, we recommend that you equip yourself with beveled points to take advantage of optimal propulsion, without risking the pole slipping!

Our selection of the best poles to start Nordic walking

Now that you know (almost) everything about Nordic walking poles, discover our top 3 of the best products to start Nordic walking.

And yes, you will definitely have no more excuses not to get started!

The best entry-level: the NW P100 Nordic walking pole

Editor’s Choice

entry-level walking stick

Available from Decathlon, this entry-level product is ideal for outings once or twice a month.

Without giving up on comfort, its low price allows you to test a new sport without breaking the bank. The NW P100 combines solidity, grip and practicality thanks to its ergonomic design designed for beginners.

The product is sold with detachable gauntlets and spikes at the price of 19 €. Available in black or grey, it is the perfect piece of equipment to discover Nordic walking.

The best for determined beginners: the Propulse Walk 900 pole

Editor’s Choice

entry-level walking stick

With 80% carbon, cork handles and all the essential accessories for a good Nordic pole, the Propulse Walk 900 from Decathlon is perfect for beginner walkers looking for performance.

Light, anti-vibration, comfortable and resistant, it offers optimal propulsion thanks to its beveled tip. The model is available in anise or black verse and currently displayed at 21 €.

The best telescopic poles: ATTRAC

Offered by the POWRX brand, the ATTRAC telescopic poles offer an aluminum design for a total weight of 540 g.

The product is sold with two rubber tips (asphalt and ground) as well as a pair of washers for the snow. The length adjusts from 69 to 136 cm.

Also note the ultra-comfortable cork handles for optimal sweat absorption. With a slightly higher purchase price, this telescopic system will accompany you as you progress.

If you want to take up Nordic walking, choosing the right poles is the crucial step in becoming the king of the trails.

You will therefore have to choose the model best suited to your practice, taking into account in particular the length, the material of manufacture and the handles offered.

Once you have found your equipment, all you have to do is enjoy the benefits of this sport!

Updated by Quentin on:25/03/2023

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