Foreword There is no formal, legal definition of what exact characteristics constitute a Nordic walking pole, or stick. Established brands of Nordic walking poles in Europe include Exel (Finland), Gabel (Italy), Kompardell (Austria), Leki (Germany), and Swix (Norway). In Canada, an established brand is Nordixx. There are two points of contention around Nordic walking poles: the question of wrist straps, and the actual construction of the poles themselves. Nordic walking associations around the world seem to agree that technically if a pole doesn’t have straps and doesn’t have angled rubber feet, then while it may be a fine pole for some kind of walking, and even though the maker of it may say it’s for Nordic walking, that it’s not technically, actually a Nordic walking pole. Exerstrider poles, which are strapless poles made in the US, would therefore not be strictly classed as Nordic walking poles, though they are considered very good for other forms of fitness walking. Urban Poling poles made in Canada, also being strapless, would seem to fall into the category of being fitness walking poles like Exerstriders. Some poles are half way between, in that they have wrist straps but ones that seem more designed to prevent you dropping the poles rather than being necessarily a means of pushing the poles as the straps are on most Nordic poles. In any event, the strap vs strapless question seems to be a minor debate compared to the debate of fixed-length, adjustable-length pole vs one piece solid pole. I have to say that I found that the adjustable people come across as the more flexible (no pun intended) people in life, who seem inclined to say “whatever works best for you”, while some in the fixed-length camp can come across as rigid and ideological, and very unhappy that the rest of the world isn’t compelled to make the same morally superior pole choice as they did. And women won’t be surprised that all the egos involved here belong to men. This is just to say — weigh the pros and cons of both types of poles (as you’ll see below) in light of what you think will work best for you and your life, and don’t be bullied into deciding otherwise. Marko Kantaneva, one of the founders of the sport, apparently promotes both fixed-length and adjustable poles equally.
Source: Choosing a Nordic Walking Pole