Autumn is upon us so it’s time to think about your kit. Here are some suggestions for what to wear to stay dry and comfortable Nordic walking this autumn and winter.
- Leather is the only material that will stay waterproof for any length of time
- You need a flexible but grippy sole
- Weight is important.
- Ankle height and lacing design provide support but it’s a matter of personal taste.
Take a look at our blog Best Boots for `Nordic Walking
As every foot is different it’s worth spending some time trying a few on. And look after your boots and they will keep your feet dry for years to come.
Again we’ve written an article on which sock is best for Nordic walking The best walking socks – so take a look. You’ll want something that is breathable, controls moisture (preventing blisters) and is very comfortable. If your footwear isn’t waterproof then you’ll need socks that are. Try DexShell or Sealskinz.
These are useful and well worth buying. Grass in autumn can be long and wet and gaiters stop your trousers getting sopping. If your trousers get wet your socks are likely to as well. In the winter gaiters take the worst of the mud and muck, leaving your trousers clean enough to wear another day. You can buy long or short.
The main thing is that they need to be comfortable! This generally means buying something that is breathable, with a good wicking fabric, which allows freedom of movement. Essentially, therefore, a walking trouser rather than jeans or such like.
We would say that the most popular make amongst our walkers is Craghoppers. Rohan is another well-loved brand, especially their fabulous dry roamers.
You can buy lined or unlined trousers. Legs don’t really seem to feel the cold (unless they’re wet) so we prefer unlined trousers. Again it’s a personal preference thing. If it’s really cold you can wear thermal leggings as a base layer.
Not everyone likes waterproof over-trousers but we find them very useful. Trousers like Berghaus Gore-tex Paclite are light and very breathable. Take a look at http://www.bristolnordicwalking.co.uk/blog/need-waterproof-overtrousers-heres-three-best for other choices.
Base and mid layers
Layering your clothing is the key to comfort. It gives you the versatility you need for Nordic walking. Most off us start of chilly at the beginning of a class but we certainly warm up once we get going!
Layering means wearing several layers of lighter clothing which when combined, provides good warmth. In the winter months you will probably want a base layer, followed by a fleece or similar (the mid layer) under your jacket.
The article Layering: how to optimise your clothing for active walking has more detailed information on the layering system and the different options.
Essentially there are different kinds of ‘waterproof’ jacket – water resistant, showerproof and fully waterproof. Water resistant jackets are treated with a waterproof coating while fully waterproof jackets are made with a waterproof membrane and taped or sealed seams.
As well as being waterproof, our jackets also need to be breathable to let out all the sweat and perspiration! This means we really need to be buying something with a waterproof membrane such as Gore-tex, HyVent or eVent. It pushes the price up and your waterproof jacket is likely to be the most expensive piece of kit that you buy, but it’s worth it!
Our preference is to use a waterproof just as an outer ‘shell’ – so to not have any type of lining whatsoever. We like the Patagonia and Rab ranges but there are many fantastic makes and you may have a brand that you particularly like.
Hats, gloves and buffs
Hats, caps and head warmers stop the wind blowing your hair into your face, plus they keep you warm. You can overheat pretty quickly in anything other than a cap unless it’s very chilly, but everyone’s different.
Gloves are another topic of much debate during the winter months. The Nordic walking technique allows you to be very active with your hands, which improves circulation and helps keep them warm. However, most of us use gloves or mittens in the winter. We tend to find that thin, smooth (synthetic or leather) gloves are better than wool gloves as the wool tends to get stuck to the Velcro.
Buffs are great on a cold day, especially as they are very scrunchable. It means they’re easy to take off and shove in your pocket when you get hot.
An absolute must if you are joining our 6pm classes this autumn and winter. We recommend the PETZL Tactikka Headlamp
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on best walking kit here’s our recommendations:
Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team