A few weeks back I was invited to a camp-out where I was given the opportunity to try out Nordic walking for the first time. Now, I have to admit that I was one of those mean spirited types who used to laugh and quietly mock people who indulged such activities – but it was a choice of either the Nordic walking or mountain biking, and the latter always makes me cry. So Nordic it was…
…and I absolutely flippin’ loved it. Yeah, me queen of the nasty ‘oh look at the crazies with their poles’ PROPER in LOVE with Nordic walking. I’ve now got my own poles and everything – but I what I didn’t have on the day of my trial was the right footwear.
To get your Nordic walk on you don’t really want to be wearing big old walking boots, which is basically what my outdoor shoe closet comprises of, so the nice folk over at Mammut sent me a pair of their MTR 141 Pro Low shoes to try out.
The first thing you’ll notice is the somewhat lairy colour, however they also do them in a more sedate black for the more shy and retiring types. The next thing you’ll remark on as you retrieve them from their box is how lightweight they are – not as light as some trail running shoes (which these are also suitable for) but it is considerably lighter than any outdoor shoes I’ve previously worn.
Alongside my Nordic Walking endeavours I have also started doing some light trail running (I’m turning 40 this year, so I’m under no illusions that I’m having a proper all-out midlife crisis!) Anyhow, the point of mentioning that here is that these shoes have a pretty impressive padded sole – not something I noticed whilst walking, but which became immediately apparent when running as they absorbed all manner or lumps and bumps – I suspect this is thanks to the memo foam and ‘Base Fit Advanced’ – whatever that is!
The lugs on the sole are a nifty looking pattern and, they certainly do the grippy thing – armed with my poles heading up a hill, no matter the surface is super easy and speedy. Not so speedy when running, but I know I’m not going to do it on my face thanks to the two-part gripex Sonar II outsole which apparently includes Sonar technology.
This type of sonar doesn’t allow you to commune with submarines (shame) but does in fact ‘offer grip in every direction.’ Whilst we are on the techno lingo, I can also tell you that the aforementioned sole is made from two rubber blends of different softnesses with integrated glass particles for reduced wear. Nice.
I sometimes suffer with my arches when out on long hikes or running – weirdly tends to just be the left one, but whilst wearing these the pain was greatly reduced – I suspect this is thanks to the Mammut patented Rolling Concept, which provides prone and supine support as needed.
One last techie bit I want to mention is that these MTR 141’s feature Gore-Tex, a name I’m sure we all are very familiar with these days, but super useful in a trail running shoe that finds itself being trudged through some pretty boggy puddles.
The lacing is one of those fancy looking speed system set-up’s with a toggle and handy little loops on the front for tucking it out of the way once set-up. It did take me a couple of tries to get this right for me as I have a wide foot, so want it looser down the bottom but synched enough at the top that they didn’t flap around.
Onto my wide hoofs, but first let me just say fit is a completely subjective and personal thing. I find Mammut footwear to be a tad narrow for me (it’s not just these beautiful beasties, but their boots too) and prolonged wear starts to send my toes to sleep.
Shame as I do really, really like them. So if you have a normal or narrower shaped foot do go and give a pair a whirl – even if you just fancy a pair or lightweight walking shoes (you don’t need to don lycra or carry poles to enjoy them!) I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.