Where to purchase Nordic Walking poles In the Twin Cities:
Note: REI, Dick’s and Sport Authority do NOT carry Nordic Walking poles. They do carry Hiking/Trekking poles which do NOT serve as Nordic Walking poles.
What to look for in a Nordic Walking Pole:
It is best to be fitted for your poles, so try to find a class and a qualified instructor that can recommend the right overall length for you. Poles come in adjustable lengths of either 2 or 3 part. This is a nice feature for travel and to share the poles with others as well as adjusting your length if you see fit to do so. Poles do come in fixed length too (not adjustable). Quality Nordic Walking poles are available in aluminum, aluminum/carbon, or carbon blend or all carbon. Nordic Walking poles are usually available with a comfortable hand strap system. Exerstrider poles are strapless. Grips should be comfortable to you and made of rubber, foam or cork.
What to avoid:
Knock off poles from discount or online retailers/resellers. Poles that are “hiking/trekking” poles. Poles that do not come with angled rubber tips. Poles that are in packaging that do not allow you to fit them at the store. Plastic grips. Poles that have loop straps (that is a trekking strap). Poles that are heavy, clunky and that vibrate excessively while in use. Poles that do not have a guarantee of at least one year.
Regular tennis shoes serve you well while walking on paved trails. A qualified retailer can fit your foot and recommend the right amount of arch support. Shoes do not last forever, so it is best to get new ones at least once a year or sooner if you put on a lot of miles.
If you like to walk on nature trails where you are on loose soil, rocks, etc, you may want to purchase a pair of trail shoes. Most walkers like the typical below the ankle type and find that the lined types (Gortex and similar) keep their feet dry while on wet trails or foul weather days.
Avoid cotton. Synthetic blends or wool socks are best.