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Top tips when buying Nordic walking shoes and boots

With the wetter weather we thought we’d share some top tips when buying footwear for Nordic walking. 

Want dry feet, go for boots

If you want to avoid the dreaded squidge, make sure you plump for a waterproof leather boot rather than a waterproof shoe. Experience has shown us over the years even the most expensive Gore-Tex waterproof shoe may not stay waterproof for long.

Squeeze the lemon

Nordic walkers will all know the ‘squeezing the lemon’ under the foot analogy – we need to roll through from heel to toe and get an active push off. So it’s important your foot is able to flex in your footwear (no wellie boots please).

Buy to suit the season/terrain

As we’ve said boots are better in the winter, but when spring comes around it’s worth buying another set of walking shoes. Buying two pairs may seem extravagant, but if you are a regular Nordic walker you’ll know it’s well worth the money to feel comfortable all year round.

And if you are planning on regularly walking over rough terrain consider a half or full/high boot or shoe as it will give you vital ankle support.

How does it fit?

Your new shoes/boots should feel comfortable from the start. They may stretch slightly as you wear them but don’t buy too small as you’ll be putting thicker than normal socks underneath.

Your toe shouldn’t hit the front of the shoe when you walk and there should be no slipping around inside, otherwise you risk the dreaded blister.

The lighter the better

Light walking footwear will give you extra manoeuvrability and flexibility in the foot. Shoes are generally lighter than boots, but with today’s newer style boots there’s often not much difference.


Whether you have leather, suede, nubuck or synthetic/hybrid materials, to help keep them performing well you’ll need to do some maintenance.

Scrub them clean after each Nordic walk and if your boots get really wet, stuff them with newspaper to help draw out moisture, maintain their shape and prevent odour.

Re-proof them every couple of wears or when you notice that water has stopped beading on the surface. It’s important to know what your boots are made of before you treat them as each type of material needs a different product.


If you get chilly toes waterproof socks like Sealskinz can not only keep you dry but will also add extra warmth. Just make sure you care for them properly as the membrane can be easily snagged.


Don’t throw away the receipt!

The manufacturer may offer some sort of guarantee so check before you buy and keep your receipt. As long as you have looked after them you can take your shoes/boots back even after months of use.

Our waterproof boots top pick

Scarpa Terra

Our favourite waterproof boots are the wonderful Scarpa Terra GTX.  They have a flexible sole, are lightweight, comfortable and the one-piece leather keeps your feet beautifully dry.

Scarpa Terra GTX Walking Boot

The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team. 

You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here plus if you’re looking for our advice on best walking kit here’s our recommendations: 

waterproof boots    waterproof jackets  walking socks accessories