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Hiking in Majorca

Ilkka Lariola – Nikander’s partner, entrepreneur with Natura Viva Oy, and hiking guide – tested AKU’s SL Approach GTX and Arriba II GTX shoes and X-Socks Trekking Extreme Light on a hike in Majorca.

This is what he reports:

Majorca is one of my favourite hiking destinations. We have been organising hiking and adventure trips with local partners here for around five years now.

When older Finns hear the name Majorca, they often remember the erstwhile Keihäsmatkat travel agency and senseless boozing at coastal tourist destinations. Younger people might think of the humorous television character Mr Mallorca. Luckily, more and more people have been finding another kind of Majorca, and this is what we have been working for with the local guides.

Arriba II GTX

Tourism still plays a major role in Majorca, and most people come here to lounge on the beach, with a jug of sangria or a can of San Miguel beside them. However, outside the tourist centres, one can find a wilder Majorca, offering fantastic adventure and hiking routes. All of our local guides were born in Majorca, and they know all the best hiking routes and the most spectacular spots on the island.

The most popular area for outdoor activities is the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, whose highest peak, Puig Major, soars to 1,455 metres. The mountains rise almost straight from the sea, and their slopes are dramatically steep. In winter, the highest peaks above these sheer drops may even be covered in snow.

The mountains are not the only place where outstanding hiking routes can be found. However, the routes are not always marked very well, and often only the locals know the best routes and the finest spots.

General access rights do not apply in Majorca. One must have permission before accessing private grounds, and sometimes hiking routes are closed off physically by locked gates. With locals’ assistance, these gates may open – or at least the guides know where not to go. Nevertheless, independent travellers still can find good routes on their own.

SL Approach GTX

On our treks, we want to take the customers to the best spots and introduce them to the most memorable attractions. To do this, we sometimes have to take more difficult paths, or leave the paths altogether. On the whole, hiking routes in Majorca are rocky and relatively rough.

I have been looking for suitable footwear for these conditions for years. I’m used to wearing low shoes even on challenging terrain, but I would like to find shoes with a good, stiffer sole. Wear resistance would be another useful property. Usually it seems that just when shoes have adapted to my feet, the soles start coming off or the fabric becomes torn. Having worn shoes out in less than a month, I have been wondering whether there’s something wrong with my walking style.

A few weeks before this spring’s trip, I obtained a couple of pairs of AKU footwear: one pair of the sturdier SL Approach GTX shoes and another of the somewhat lighter Arriba II GTX type. Both pairs are protected with Gore-Tex® membrane material. I have worn both pairs here, and my experiences thus far have been solely positive. The Vibram soles provide an excellent grip even in wet conditions – this makes a huge difference in comparison to my previous shoes. The shoes also fit perfectly, and I’ve had no problems with them whatsoever.

I tried to break the shoes in already in Finland. With the sturdier pair, in particular, it took somewhat longer to get used to the stiff sole. But after a couple of days of walking, the soles of my feet are no longer sore – and the shoes feel better each day. I also like the rubber toe and heel reinforcement of the Approach shoes. After all, it is usually the toes and heels that I wear away first.

The only issue so far has been the weather – I haven’t had much need for Gore-Tex shoes. Besides, with the sun beating down, there would be no harm in having shoes with greater breathability. Therefore, next on the agenda might be the same shoes but without the Gore-Tex membrane.

Next week, in addition to hiking, we have aquatic activities scheduled for a few days. I’d rather fancy the Aguana Light shoes shown on AKU’s Web site – they would be perfect for canyoning and coasteering. But five pairs of shoes for a two-week trip might be taking it somewhat too far... Two pairs will do just fine.

X-Socks Trekking Extreme Light

I also have two pairs of X-Socks to go with the shoes, a thinner pair and a thicker one. My first impression of the socks too is great. I also used the Marathon socks at the Rome Marathon in March, and I can recommend those also.

So far, neither the shoes nor the socks are showing any signs of wear. Having used them for such a short time, I don’t know yet how well they resist wear in the long term, but I’ll be able to report on this in the autumn, at the latest.

I’ll be spending most of the summer in a kayak in Finland, so there won’t be much need for hiking shoes or socks during that time. However, I still have a week and a half left in Majorca, and I’m already looking forward to several weeks of hiking in Madeira and Tenerife in the autumn.

With hiking greetings,

Ilkka



Nikander’s product range expands with HEAD outdoor footwear and stylish Equa bottles

Nikander’s selection of consumer products keeps on expanding. New products we can now offer to our customers include high-quality HEAD outdoor footwear and stylish Equa drinking bottles. ‘HEAD shoes bring a much-needed addition to our range of fashionable and mid-price shoes, whereas the Equa bottles reflect the increased environmentally conscious thinking among consumers in terms of both consumption and lifestyle habits', explains Reima Rikkonen, Product Manager in charge of the HEAD and Equa brands.

Nikander's HEAD range includes leisure footwear for adults and children. The collection includes sandals, lifestyle shoes favoured by young people, walking shoes, and waterproof footwear designed for challenging trekking and outdoor activities. All HEAD footwear is designed in Italy, using only carefully selected, functional, and durable materials.

The Equa plastic bottles are made from an organic and recyclable material called Eastman Tritan. All Equa bottles are impermeable drip-free, dishwasher-proof and suited for holding hot drinks. The material does not contain any harmful bisphenol A (BPA) compound or soluble substances. 10% of the profits on the Equa bottles are donated to the protection of nature and the environment.

In addition to the plastic bottles, the Equa bottle selection also includes colourful CMYK-series glass bottles. The glass bottles are made from a borosilicate material, which endures changes in temperature especially well, and thus the bottles are also well-suited for warm drinks. The bottle is finished off with a tight cap made from stainless steel, and colourful silicone strips to protect the bottle from dents. The glass used in the bottles is 100% recyclable and dishwasher-proof.

Take a look at the manufacturers’ Websites here:
www.myequa.com
www.headtrekking.com



New products represented by Nikander: X-BIONIC® and X-SOCKS®

Nikander has taken over the representation of the internationally renowned Swiss clothes brands X-BIONIC® and X-SOCKS® in Finland.


The X-BIONIC brand offers an extensive range of technical clothing for men, women, and children. The range includes high quality technical clothing for professional sports as well as leisure activities. The several patented technical solutions support and activate the muscles and ensure the correct internal temperature and humidity removal of the clothes.

The X-SOCKS products are developed for professional athletes and demanding sports activities. The breathable socks support the foot and optimise the ventilation of the foot during sports activities, reducing problems caused by the foot sweating, softening, and swelling. The objective of the technical solutions and innovative design of the socks is to create a feeling of being barefoot. The sock models are designed specifically for different sports.

Both brands have several patents, and they have won hundreds of tests and dozens of awards for technical solutions and design, among other things.

Read more about the manufacturer:
www.x-bionic.com
www.x-socks.com

Run faster with a Swiss invention.

A scientific study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) measures a lower heart rate and reduced lactic acid build up with the Swiss running shoes On.


40 well-trained runners took part in a broad study at ETH Zurich, which showed that, on average, while treadmill running in the On, their heart rate was reduced by 2 beats per minute when measured against their heart rate while running in their favorite running shoe. It also revealed the lactate acid concentration in their blood was reduced, on average, by 5.4%. The differences are statistically significant. For 12 runners, the heart rate was reduced beyond daily variances by up to 10 beats per minute. Only 2 subjects showed an increased heart rate outside their daily variances. With the On, most runners could therefore perform at lower heart rate levels when running at the same speed as in their usual shoe of choice. The study was conducted at the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport by Prof. Dr. med. Urs Boutellier and Claudia Knöpfli. “The physiological benefits of the On compared to conventional running shoes seem to increase at higher speeds. It will be exciting to see how this translates into competition results”, explains Boutellier.

“Many runners, athletes and casual joggers alike, report improved running times and new personal bests. The independent ETH study now proves the key factors involved on a scientific level“, says Olivier Bernhard, the former professional triathlete who led the development of the On shoe with Swiss sports scientists and engineers. The young Zurich based company On today publishes the study report on its website: www.on-running.com

On features the award-winning Cloudtec outsole technology engineered in Switzerland. Its 13 unique Cloudtec-elements absorb destructive energy on impact before becoming firm to unleash positive energy on push-off for acceleration. Running On feels light, natural and fast.

Read more about the manufacturer:
http://www.on-running.com/


New representation for Nikander:
The On shoe

The internationally acclaimed Swiss On shoes are finally available in Finland. Nikander is in charge of the distribution in Finland.


On Running

The patented shock absorption technology of the On shoe significantly reduces the impact on joints, lower limbs, and lower back, and helps to activate the muscles of the feet and toes. While traditional running shoes mainly focus on reducing the vertical shock impact, the sole elements of the On shoe help to reduce the horizontal impact on the joints and lower limbs. In addition, the structure of the sole increases the forward push force at the push-off.

Both women’s and men’s models are available. The light and comfortable shoes are ideal for all users from recreational runners to demanding top-athletes, and can be worn throughout the year.

One of the specialists involved in the design of the On shoe is the six time Ironman Triathlon World Championship winner Olivier Bernhard, who has tested the On CloudTec™ technology used in the shoe for the past five years.

The On shoe has been selected as the winner of the esteemed BrandNew Award at the international sports fair ISPO 2010 among 300 other new brands.

Read more about the manufacturer:
http://www.on-running.com/


Nikander to represent Trespass

Nikander took over the Finnish representation of the traditional Scottish outdoor and snow sports clothing brand on 31 May 2010.


Trespass is a large-scale international operator that supplies clothing to more than 60 countries. Durable high quality, functioning logistics, and a good availability of the products are the strengths of the company. Trespass has been sold in Finnish sportswear stores since 1995.

“The Trespass products used to come to the Finnish sports retailers directly from Scotland. In the future, all deliveries will be sent from our warehouse in Sarankulma, Tampere, where we will maintain an expansive range of Trespass products throughout the year,” says Reima Rikkonen, the Trespass Product Manager.

Read more about the manufacturer:
www.trespass.co.uk


Nikander to represent Cool-X

Nikander has started co-operation with Frescon Oy, the manufacturer of the Cool-X Cold Therapy Products on 20 November 2009.


The sports store distribution of the Cool-X Cold Therapy is now managed by Nikander. “The versatile Cool-X product range are kept as stock goods, which means that we can swiftly and flexibly serve the changing needs of the sports stores,” says Jari Pesu, the Product Manager for the Cool-X brand. Cool-X products, ideal for many kinds of muscle care, are available at well-equipped sports stores across the country.

Frescon Oy manufactures and markets muscle care products. The quality of the products is ensured by a continuous and strong investment in product development, as well as the certified quality system based on the ISO 13485 standard. The operational principle is to manufacture safe and efficient products that are easy to use, and to provide flexible customer service. The close collaboration and development work with active athletes and physiotherapists guarantees the best possible products.

Read more about the manufacturer:
www.frescon.fi