August is fading fast and the season of mists and yellow fruitfulness is almost upon us. It’s a bittersweet time for many and whilst I will miss those wonderful long hot sociable summer days, September is one of my favourite months. An elegant synthesis of reflection and fresh energy, it’s the transition between the end of summer on the start of winter. For us walkers it can be a confusing time kit-wise. Cold mornings, hot days, shortening evenings, dew drenched grass, and emerging muddy sections all require us to adapt our clothing and our footwear. Here’s some things to consider:
Nothing spoils a good walk more than wet feet and it’s at this time of year you generally find out how watertight your footwear is. If those expensive walking shoes/boots you bought at the start of the summer aren’t actually as waterproof as you’d been promised, take them back. Quality boots and shoes come with a guarantee and provided you’ve looked after them properly you are entitled to a replacement.
If your footwear is leaky and beyond its guarantee try re-proofing it. Nikwax and Grangers are reliable brands. Alternatively wear waterproof socks. Sealskinz are popular with our walkers (with sock liners underneath to counteract the rubbery feel) but Aldi and Bridgedale also now sell waterproof socks. Don’t forget you have to wash waterproof socks in special detergent to maintain their waterproof capability. For more sock information click here.
Whether to continue with walking shoes or switch to boots is another dilemma. I’m still using my walking shoes as they are cool, light and flexible, which suits my Nordic walking style. However the tread isn’t as sturdy as my boots and there’s no ankle support. Once I start slipping and sliding on muddy patches I will switch.
If you’re considering buying a pair of boots, Scarpa, Merrell, Keen and Salomon are all popular brands with our walkers. Click here for further information on what’s important for a Nordic walking boot.
Gaiters are a useful piece of kit and I would highly recommend them, especially at this time of year. They cover the top of your shoes/boots and the bottom of your trousers, keeping your feet and trousers dry, protecting your footwear and preventing your trousers from getting covered in mud. All have a durable water repellent finish on the outside and the more expensive ones also contain a waterproof and breathable membrane, which means you don’t get sweaty lower legs. Gaiters come in different sizes and lengths and it is worth trying them on to make sure they fit round your calves.
Another must-have for Nordic walkers is a pair of waterproof over-trousers. The best I’ve tried is Berghaus’s Paclite. They are light, very breathable and fold into their carry net so take up minimal space in a back pack. For our hour-long fitness classes I wear them over a pair of cropped leggings, which keeps me dry and cool. You can also buy waterproof trousers (Rohan’s Dry Roamers are highly rated) but these are too hot for me at this time of the year.
Tops and jackets
It’s still pretty warm so I’m sticking with my usual technical T, taking either a soft-shell jacket or a thin waterproof rolled up in my backpack if it feels cold/looks wet. I always buy waterproof, breathable jackets and there are some good end of summer bargains to be had at the moment.