By Gill Stewart at
We are really fussy about shoes at NWUK and our requirements are pretty simple……
Number one priority is COMFORT! We want to be out with our poles at every opportunity on all types of terrains so we need supportive, lightweight shoes with great cushioning.
Second priority is WATERPROOFING WITH BREATHE – ABILITY! Soggy and/or sweaty feet will effect the experience of even the shortest of walks and one thing that we have learned over the years is dry feet = happy walkers!
The third element is very specific but vital for Nordic Walking and that’s a sole that flexible enough to get a great HEEL TO TOE FOOT ROLL. Part of good Nordic walking technique is to hit the ground with the heel of the foot and to engage the whole foot in a rolling action that finishes with a push off from the toes as you propel forward with the pole on the opposite side. The key things a shoe needs to provide in order to facilitate this are good cushioning for the heel strike and great flexibility through the mid foot to the toes.
This month we have been testing GRUBS Discover shoes which have built in ‘RollinGait’ technology and a unique Stabilty cradle which positions the foot deep in the sole. Tested by a panel of key Instructors, our original concerns re the chunky sole were replaced with a ” WOW that really helps to stabilise the foot, is extremely comfy and the shoes really do enable brilliant NW technique!! Tested by 6 Instructors – the shoes have ranked higher than any others we have tested for Nordic Walking.
Here are a few of the reviews ……………………….
Sam Armstrong from Derbyshire trialled a pair of brightly coloured fuchsia and mint shoes and rated them out of 10 – here are her conclusions…………………
Comfort 10 – Laces 10 – Sole and rollingait technology 9
(Took a few hours to get used to the rollingait but once adapted to it I was hooked. Loved the fact that it encourages the lemon squeeze effect and heel strike. It’s not got a 10 because I would like to see a deeper lug. Although saying that they performed well on the Adventure walk and there were slippy conditions under the leaves and sandstone rocks.)
Mid sole 10 (Like wearing slippers outdoors but with enough support) –
Waterproof – I’ve now fully tested the shoes in wet, damp and muddy conditions. They were really tested out on an awful muddy peak district walk and I have to say performed brilliantly, absolutely superb.
My feet stayed warm and dry and they didn’t slip or feel insecure at all whilst I supported less able members down a slippy bank. So top marks for the lugs!
Weight 10 – Super light but still feel very much a solid shoe.
Uppers – Hard to score on this one, as I’m not a fan of the colour and neither did it go down to well with my walkers. However, I did mention the fact that it came in grey too. They were all very curious about the shoe and if it had been in grey they wouldn’t have noticed it as much.
In all I like the fabric, the flexibility of the shoe and the control that you feel you have with it. A super snug fit to the foot, very secure with the lacing system. They are also warm and cosy (if that make sense).
Conclusion – I Love them!
Janine Lewis an Instructor who is based in Reading who trialled the black and yellow version says “These shoes were made for a lot of fun and serious walking! The company name alone, Grubs, lets you know that they are a no nonsense shoe for our wonderful British weather and terrain.
Over the last 7 days I have played on flint-stoned canal paths, slippery wet grass slopes, wet chalky hills, huge puddles, tarmac paths, woodland trails with hidden roots under slippery leaves. The tough rugged soles with decent grippy rubbery cleats really did keep me up right and dry.
The shoes are wider than I am used to but with their unique lacing system I could tighten them to get a comfortable supportive hug within the shoe. There was a slight crease from pulling them tight but this did not rub on my upper foot.
The shoes are also a neutral footbed which was more practical for the heel to toe rolling through action of Nordic walking. You walk with a stronger foot placement. I did not need to resort to adding my orthotic soles in and comfortably walked up to 12 miles each day with out foot ache. There was sufficient suppleness through the top of the shoe to flex as I moved through to the upright movement of heel to toe, almost on tip toes. Especially comfortable going up the hills too.
I wore different socks each day from merino thermal socks to athletic thinner running socks. I had no foot movement due to the lacing. I find with some shoes that are wider, I have to wear thicker socks that can often cause friction blisters. Not the case with these.
The shoe was almost similar in style and look of the lower foot bed of a wellie. This made them very waterproof. I have still not managed to get wet feet despite jumping in puddles.
The heel grip was high and snug and didn’t rub. The ankle area was cut low and again, no rubbing. I have long feet with a skinny heel area, so although I was in a broad men’s shoe, size 9, I did not feel like I was walking in oversize heavy shoes.
The footbed has a solid innersole, which I initially thought would feel hard and harsh on the sole, especially If I was walking on gravel. The rubber sole seems to disperse the piercing effect of the small stones.
These shoes are good alternative to leather shoes as they are lighter in weight. They are a different style to the trail shoes which are also low profile but often narrower. The shoe style didn’t have excess stitching on top which often deteriorates and splits with the constant upper shoe creasing.
It’s a thumbs up from me for these shoes. Solid, supportive, warm and waterproof. Oh, and in my favourite duck-yellow!
Ian Northcott from Bromsgrove had a charcoal and black pair to put through their paces and here’s his opinion!
I have used these shoes for a few days now. Wow (apart from the white sole) they are fantastic.
Comfort 5/5 – Waterproof 5/5 – Colour 2/5 – NW Friendly 4/5
Indoor Gym friendly 4/5 – Running Friendly 3/5 – Brilliant – I want another pair!!!
Ashley Sandy from Wiltshire said “They are really comfortable and flexible – they are great for NW on the flat with an even surface. I can really squeeze the lemons with them.
They are waterproof and dry which is great at the moment – the colour is not great and the mint colour got dirty really quickly. On hills they are OK again if the ground is even but as they are a bit wide for me – they were less supportive when walking on rougher ground or uneven surfaces because I could feel my feet moving around especially around the toe box which is pretty wide. However they are so comfy otherwise that I will try them with some insoles”
Finally Lucie Cormack and Gill Stewart from HQ have been testing the shoes on a variety of walks from long and slow to fast paced workout walks and the verdict is that they perform well on both and definitely seem to reduce fatique in the legs and aid faster paced Nordic walking. Lucie says ” They are incredibly lightweight yet robust with a great grip and i jut seem to want to walk faster when I wear them!
So we think that’s a pretty good thumbs up from the Nordic Walking UK experts and are delighted that Grubs are offering a 25% discount off the GRUBS DISCOVER shoes to NWUK Members. Click here to find out more