Nordic walking poles are significantly shorter than those recommended for cross-country skiing. Nordic walking poles come in one-piece, non-adjustable shaft versions, available in varying lengths, and telescoping two or three piece twist-locking versions
Nordic walking is a total body version of walking that can be enjoyed both by non-athletes as a health-promoting physical activity, and by athletes as a sport. The activity is performed with specially designed walking poles similar to ski poles.
Nordic walking (original Finnish "Sauvakävely") is fitness walking with specially designed poles. While trekkers, backpackers and skiers had been using the basic concept for decades, Nordic Walking was first formally defined with the publication of "Hiihdon lajiosa" (translation: "A part of cross-country skiing training methodic") by Mauri Repo in 1979. ( Works related to Hiihdon lajiosa at Wikisource.) Nordic Walking's concept was developed on the basis of off-season ski-training activity while using one-piece ski poles. For decades hikers and backpackers used their one-piece ski poles long before trekking and Nordic walking poles came onto the scene. Ski racers deprived of snow have always used and still do use their one-piece ski poles for ski walking and hill bounding. The first poles specially designed and marketed to fitness walkers were produced by Exerstrider of the USA in 1988. Nordic Walker poles were produced and marketed by Exel in 1997. Exel coined and popularized the term 'Nordic Walking' in 1999.