Nordic Walking vs. Hiking: Head-To-Head Comparison

When it comes to outdoor activities, many people immediately think of Nordic walking vs hiking. So what are the differences between them? Let’s find out right now!

Top Rated Best Budget Nordic Walking Poles for the money

Top Rated Best Budget Hiking Poles for the money

Nordic Walking vs. Hiking: Comparison Table

Before going any deeper, let’s check this detailed comparison table. It will give you an overview of how Nordic Walking vs. Hiking differ.

Nordic Walking


  • A full-body walking method, where you propel yourself along utilizing a pair of poles.
  • A recreational activity that refers to walking in nature.
  • Water
  • Sports clothing.
  • Small backpack.
  • Nordic walking poles.
  • Supple nordic walking shoes.
  • Plenty of food.
  • Plenty of water.
  • Hiking backpack.
  • Hiking shoes or boots.
  • A map and compass (optional).
  • Weather-appropriate clothing.
Best for who?
  • Suitable for both men and women.
  • Ideal for active people and athletes.
  • Suitable for age categories from children to seniors.
  • Recommended for people recuperating from certain types of injuries.

Nordic Walking vs Hiking:  What Are The Core Differences?

I hope that the provided comparison table can give you an overview of the core differences between the Nordic Walking vs Hiking.

Now let me walk you through their basic advantages and setbacks in detail.

Nordic Walking

It is one full-body walking method, where you propel yourself along utilizing a pair of poles. This activity can be considered cross-country skiing but without the skis.

This activity is beneficial, safe, fun, and easy to learn. Hence, you can incorporate it into your lifestyle as one exercise program.


This recreational activity refers to walking in nature. It is also a natural exercise that boosts physical fitness, is convenient and economical, and requires no special equipment.


Nordic Walking

  • Provide a thorough workout.
  • Good to lose weight
  • Improve our health
  • Increase calorie burning.
  • Reduce bad cholesterol levels.
  • Increase stability.
  • Increase the fun meter.


  • Improve physical strength
  • Better connection to nature
  • Escape from stressful daily life
  • Nice family activity
  • Hiking is cheap
  • Team spirit can be improved
  • Lower risk for mental problems
  • Your level of perseverance will grow
  • Overall fitness level improvements
  • Educational activity for your children
  • Flexibility regarding the difficulty level of the trail


Nordic Walking

  • Mastering the technique takes time.
  • Expensive.
  • Not suitable for everyone.
  • Extra luggage.
  • Uncomfortable for some.
  • Potential trip hazard.
  • Make other activities harder.


  • It might be dangerous
  • It can be quite exhausting
  • May not be suitable for small kids
  • Proper equipment is required
  • Wild animals
  • Geographic dependence

Nordic Walking and Hiking Equipment

Nordic Walking

  • Nordic walking poles.
  • Supple nordic walking shoes.
  • Sports clothing.
  • Small backpack.
  • Water


  • Hiking backpack.
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Hiking shoes or boots.
  • Plenty of water.
  • Plenty of food.
  • A map and compass (optional).
  • Knife or multi-tool.
  • First-aid kit.

Nordic Walking and Hiking Poles


  • Hiking

Most of the hiking poles have adjustable lengths and are telescopic, which is helpful for walking through varying terrain (For example, the shorter pole for going uphill and the longer one for going downhill).

  • Nordic walking

These poles are one-piece, so folding them is not feasible. There are three-piece or two-piece telescopic models, making them easier to transport and store.

Nordic walking might be one of the very dynamic activities, and the telescopic pole may not always be reliable in this case. On the flip side, those poles might be utilized by numerous people of various heights.

It is easy to calculate the optimal length of poles for you. All you need to do is multiply your current height by 0.68. For example, if you are 170 cm tall, you should use poles at least 115.6 cm long.


  • Hiking

Many models come with a simple strap that works as basic support. The strap is created for your hands to constantly hold your hiking poles.

  • Nordic walking

Nordic poles can also feature a strap that looks like a part of gloves and does not look like a standard skiing and hiking pole strap.

The reason is that you will release the grip on your Nordic poles when you move them backward while hiking poles are always in your hand.

If there are no glove-like straps, these poles should at least have thumb holes.

Grip type

  • Hiking

The grips of the trekking poles are ergonomically shaped (have finger grooves).

So they can fit the hands of users as well as possible. So, we recommend trying hiking poles out before buying if you are not already familiar with them.

  • Nordic walking

Nordic walking poles have thin and long grips, similar to skiing ones. It means one size can fit various users.

Pole material

The pole material comes in several materials, including fiberglass, carbon, aluminum, or a mixture of them.

The aluminum pole is the cheapest and heaviest option, while aluminum models might be one of the most suitable models for casual trekkers, who utilize them primarily as support.

On the other hand, fiberglass poles are most suitable for soft ground and lighter. Also, these poles tend to be utilized mainly by recreational trekker.

Carbon poles might be the way to go if you’re one of the more demanding hikers. The carbon level may vary in these poles, and the same goes for their attributes.

The higher the carbon level, the harder, lighter, and more shock-absorbent the walking poles are. In addition, the heavier the user, the higher the carbon level.

Grip material

There are a few grip materials utilized, differing in quality and thus influencing the price of a product.

Plastic poles are the easiest to maintain and cheapest option, while neoprene and rubber feature decent anti-slip qualities, and then there is genuine or synthetic cork.

The highest quality nordic walking poles come with comfortable genuine cork grips, which are reflected in the price tag.

Shock absorbers

  • Hiking

Most hiking poles feature shock absorbers, but you can choose poles with or without shock absorbers. Models with shock absorbers usually have “AS” (Anti-Shock) in the name.

  • Nordic walking

Shock absorbers are not required as Nordic walking is a dynamic and quick activity. So shock absorbers will reduce the energy required.


If you still need more information about Nordic Walking vs. Hiking, don’t skip this section. I will answer all your questions about these two products to give you more insights into their qualities.

Can I Use Nordic Walking Sticks for Hiking?

It is okay to use Nordic Walking poles for hiking or trekking. Hence, anybody wanting to purchase poles should consider Nordic Walking poles as they have extra benefits.

What Will My Muscles Work During Nordic Walking?

During a Nordic walking trip, almost 90% of the striated muscles of your bodywork. But the greatest load should fall on the following muscles:

  • Triceps.
  • Deltoid muscle.
  • Infraspinatus muscle.
  • Pectoralis major muscle.
  • Subscapularis muscle.
  • Latissimus dorsi muscle.
  • The group of muscles that flex your forearms.
  • Rectus and external abdominal muscles.
  • Quadriceps.
  • Calf muscles.
  • Quadriceps femoris muscle.
  • The group of gluteal muscles.
  • Anterior and posterior tibial muscles.

Can You Do Nordic Walking On Pavement?

Nordic poles are excellent for walking or hiking on dirt or grass, but you can still utilize them on a concrete sidewalk or walking track.

Do You Need Special Shoes for Nordic Walking?

It is not necessary to prepare specialist footwear and clothing for Nordic Walking.

How Long Should You Nordic Walk?

We recommend maintaining a 75-minute walk on the last day of the week.

Is Nordic Walking Good for Knees?

The short answer is Yes. Nordic walking can be an excellent alternative to traditional forms of cardio exercise for those with arthritis or joint pain.

Is Nordic Walking Better Than Normal Walking?

Yes. Nordic walking might burn more calories and work more muscles than conventional walking.

Is Nordic Walking Good for Arms?

Nordic walking is a combination of cardiovascular exercise and a vigorous muscle workout for your arms, core, shoulders, and legs.

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