Just when you think you’ve seen everything in the Nordic Walking field – something new catches your attention.
In this case it occurred on interstate 10 on the road to El Paso at a rest stop!
I met the Tim Affield, inventor of Nordic Walking Roller Poles on his morning walk (pictures below from his website but you get the idea)!
I was fascinated to learn about his unique Nordic walking adaptation and thought you might be too!
My SWIX Nordic poles are fixed length with carbide tips covered by rubber tips.I use one of the other depending on where I’m walking. Mine also have special “hand straps” so I never really have to grip the handles with my fingers. The instructions say to simply press back with the heel of the hand.
Here’s where the Roller Poles differ:
Instead of carbide tips or rubber “shoes” these devices have one way locking “ratchet” wheels. Press back on the poles and the wheels lock and dig in like the regular Nordic walking poles.
These roller poles are adjustable in length the way medical devices like crutches or walker are. That’s different than adjustable Nordic or Trekking poles that have a twist lock. If I were using an adjustable pole, I’d definitely feel more secure with those used for medical devices!
My poles are designed to be used mostly with a straight arm movement that starts at about the height of a “handshake” and moves back. Tim’s poles were adjusted longer and his motion began from a bent arm staring with a “triceps extension” movement.
Likewise the handgrips place the hand palm down for ergonomic reasons. I wasn’t familiar with the reasoning but have held my hands like that with my straps on my poles and it works very well and seemed to remove some strain I had in the heel of my palm during fast poling. With the hands in this position it’s almost like “crawling” without getting down on all fours!
I wondered how well the wheels work. Tim says they work on all terrain and haven’t worn out after 3000 miles! Anything has got to be better than the rubber tips – they can cost $10-$14 to replace (including mail) and don’t last long. Mine are worn out after less than a year and I do lots of other things besides Nordic Walk!
I didn’t get a chance to test them myself but I’d like to sometime – their price point is higher than my sticks so that probably won’t happen for a while!
It sure makes me wish I could replace my rubber rips with one way locking wheels though!
And I’d really like to test them compared to other Nordic Poles! I hope we see a lot more of them in use!