What are the differences between Nordic walking poles and hiking poles?

Nordic walking is a sport that requires 2 special poles that help the walker propel him or herself forwards, in a movement that strengthens the upper body. As opposed to hiking, where poles are only recommended, Nordic poles are essential to the sport. They give you support when you go uphill and help you avoid slipping on the downhills. The way you use your poles is therefore vastly different from hiking. That's why it's so crucial to choose poles specifically designed for the sport, adapted to your requirements when you go walking. Follow our instructions!



In Nordic walking, you generally walk on flat ground, so your poles help propel you forwards and exercise your upper body. They are indispensable and specific to this complete sport: Without Nordic walking poles, there is no Nordic walking.

When you go hiking and you walk on steep terrain with slopes, the poles allow you to support yourself as you go up and avoid slipping on the downhills: so, although it's recommended to use poles for hiking, they're not strictly necessary.

This programme exists thanks to a partnership with Sikana, a non-profit organisation. Sikana and Décathlon developed a universal learning platform to support sport lovers, schools, associations and NGOs who want to share the benefits and joys of sports with everyone.Visit www.sikana.tv.

...And what are the shafts of the poles made of?

In Nordic walking, when choosing their poles, walkers look at the percentage of carbon in the components.

The higher the percentage, the more the carbon will limit the impact of vibrations on the joints and arms; and provide lightness and propulsion.

In hiking, on the other hand, walkers look for durability because the purpose of the poles is to make walking easier and reduce the risk of falling and injury. The material best suited to hikers' needs is aluminium.


"GAUNTLET WRIST STRAPS": specific to Nordic walking poles

In Nordic walking:

The poles have wrist straps with thumb loops (also known as gauntlets) that allow you to open your hand fully during propulsion: that's the most important movement in Nordic walking, and it should be fluid and regular.

Hiking poles have a simple wrist-strap that is slipped over the wrist (a type of carry strap, because you never release your poles when walking.


For Nordic walking, we recommend giving preference to single-piece poles (made of a single tube) that minimise vibrations while you are walking and protect your joints.

For hiking, telescopic poles (multi-piece) are recommended so you can adapt them to the type of terrain and store them comfortably in your backpack. Nordic walking poles thus meet all the specific needs of this complete sport that is good for your health.

When you buy your Nordic walking poles, you will see that they are always sold in pairs, unlike hiking poles, which are sold individually, because just one hiking pole may be enough to remain stable when walking.

In conclusion, please refer to this table before choosing your poles

Nordic walking

:• Roles: Increase propulsion, work the upper body~ • Composition of shaft: Go for carbon~ • Wrist-straps: Fixed or detachable gauntlet~ • Single-piece VS Telescopic: Go for single piece


• Roles: support on the uphills, avoid slipping on the downhills~• Composition of shaft: Go for aluminium~ • Wrist-straps: Carry strap~ • Single piece VS Telescopic: Go for telescopic

What about you, what kind of walker are you? Choose by clicking on the profile that fits you best: hikers or fitness walkers

Thinking about taking up Nordic walking? Discover all the benefits in this article.