Not so much bad as pointless (and pointless at slightly extra cost with something else to go wrong).
They sound like a good idea in theory, before you stop and think about it, but then you realise that walking sticks for the infirm don't have them, and if they don't have them when they use them for all their walking, all the time, probably with flimsier wrists than yoiurs, you see it's a marketing bullet point rather than something that's any use.
Yes, they'll be more comfortable for people who bang their poles down hard, but then there's an easy way round that: don't bang your poles down hard...
I need (at least) 140cm to be happy but crazy long limbs
The BD distance FL poles are pricy things but seem really nice with it. The longer version adjusts happily to anywhere between 120 and 140 and still packs down small enough - avalanche probe style - to happily go inside a rucksack.
Think there are other avalanche probe style ones, but don't think anything else quite that long.
Peter Clinch wrote (see)
.....but then you realise that walking sticks for the infirm don't have them, and if they don't have them when they use them for all their walking, all the time, probably with flimsier wrists than yoiurs, you see it's a marketing bullet point rather than something that's any use.
But walking sticks for the infirm are not necessarily cutting edge. Some high end models are sprung.
Years ago I had long discussions with Simon King (Mountain King poles) about the benefit of anti-shock poles & he was genuinely a big believer in their benefit (& angled grips). I've had a set of his poles with antishock for about 12 years & can't see any benefit over regular poles with regard to reducing fatigue. That said, I like the antishock & leave it on all the time except when doing more difficult stream crossings. Simon told me I was wasting energy using it on the uphills & I'm sure he's right. However when I use poles I often use them very proactively, unlike many folk who seem to use them so passively as to be virtually of no benefit. I actually enjoy the compression & kick off from the antishock on the flat & uphill as a small addition to the excercise benefit of walking in general.
But is that because of a benefit or because someone's marketing them as a potential benefit which some people go for? That orthopaedic walking sticks are not "cutting edge" is, I would suggest, a case of their being little going to improve a rigid stick if you want to transfer weight to the ground via your arm. There is no reason for a shock to be involved in that, so no need for a mechanism to reduce what needn't be there at all.
Angled grips are another marketing bullet point. If you're leaning on the strap then you have very little contact with the grip at all, beyond hooking it with fingers to pull it forward. IMHO any need for angled grips and antishock is an indication of poor technique that's too reliant on putting your weight through a tightly held grip, rather than leaning on a strap. If you want to throw technology at it then really go to town with it and go with Pacers.
I actually enjoy the compression & kick off from the antishock on the flat & uphill as a small addition to the excercise benefit of walking in general.
Fairy nuff, but it's not actually "anti shock" in that case, it's "bonus exercise spring".
Fair point re the ortho's but that's partly why i didn't think it was a fair comaprison to start with.
I'm not convinced about the angled grips offering any great benefit (I was given the poles by MK for a review) but I do think they fall where they should more naturally than straight sticks in part because you're not actually gripping the pole firmly. On the odd time I've used another straight pair they've felt wrong after the angled ones No great need for the angle or the antishock I guess but I'm not hurrying to change them. I've even found them fine for skiing..
No bad technique from me Peter. Like you I'm also a nordic skier & I'm on the strap rather clinging to the grip.
I think I'm actually agreeing with you re the spring not being a benefit as advertised & saying pretty much the same re the angle although I think it edges straight poles slightly. I've come to like the anti-shock for totally different reasons to what it was designed for.
Bottom line I wouldn't advice anyone that anti-shock was essential.
As for Pacer Poles - I really don't think they'd suit my style of pole use! I can't see the point of the handle shape when it's the strap I work against.
Nordic walking is a workout technique. A pole is a pole is a pole. Folk will try and sell you Nordic walking specific poles, but for that matter they'll try and sell you NW specific shoes. And walking lessons, for that matter... I must admit it rather bemuses me, but not as much as it bemuses my pals who are BASI Nordic instructors...
Some of the poles notionally for NW may have a rather more enclosing glove-type strap. I have those on my Nordic skiing track poles, and they're great for power (don't forget that for a Nordic skier a lot of your forward motion comes from your poles pushing back, and to do that they're quite a bit longer than a walking or NW pole), but they're a complete PITA if you want to do anything other than use poles. I would unhesitantly reccomend you don't use such poles if you want to use hands for non-pole stuff with any sort of frequency (biathletes often seem to use less efficient traditional straps because they're that much more awkward to get in and out of, judging from Winter Olympic TV coverage). While power sounds good for a workout, if you supply as much when Nordic Walking as you'd get from a full-on double pole on skis, I suspect you'd just fall flat on your face!
more like nordic ski poles. Trekking poles are more akin to alpine ski poles.
Trekking poles are more akin to adjustable ski touring poles, which aren't specific to Nordic or Alpine.
dunno about pacers - I guess you have to hold them
You push down on them as you would the strap on a conventional pole. You can either hang on lightly for recovery or use the retention loop to hook them forwards.
What's a ski touring pole?
A Swix Mountain is one example (also my favoured hut to hut example), and it has very little in common grip/strap-wise with my Swix CT4 track poles. The strap set up, aside from being leather, is basically the same as a trekking pole's, and there's nothing particularly Nordic specific about it: an Alpine randonneur could use it just as readily.
It’s not all hill walking and Kendal mint cake
Information on maintenance and insurance for vans from The Van Insurer
Become a fan of OutdoorsMagic
Follow us on twitter
Sign up to our free newsletter
Meet partners in our forum
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd. 2014 This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediate.co.uk