Trend Sport Speed hiking: Light-footed over stony paths

Speed hiking combines powerful movements with intensive outdoor experience: From simple to extreme, from moderate to challenging, here all tastes and conditions of a special trail are catered for. The Rothaarsteig offers distances that enjoy a great variety of scenery and has been awarded the “German Hikers’ Seal Premium Route”.

“Athletic Hiking” is only one of the many synonyms for the latest trend sport “Speed hiking”: This means expansive, powerful walking with light gear over demanding terrain. Condition and endurance are definitely required for this walking form: Speed hiking is an ideal supplement to moderate forms of endurance sport and is ideally suited to get going again after the rather quiet winter months. The cardiovascular system is stimulated; the overall muscle systems are trained and balanced. The route is the destination – according to personal taste or individual fitness, for enjoyment or for a physical outdoor challenge.

Lightweight and practical gear

Typical speed hiking gear is lightweight, reduced to the minimum: Boots must provide comfort and protection for ligaments and joints, especially for quick movements. The TEVA high-end multi-function shoe Forge Pro Event, for example, is a synthesis of a lightweight hiking shoe and a trail-running shoe. It is available as a ladies’ or men’s model and provides a safe grip for your foot on any terrain, with optimum protection for ligaments and joints against hard steps and knocks. Comfortable clothing allows optimum freedom of movement: TATONKA SoftShell-Jacket Leer Jacket has a soft warming, roughened inside and a robust, abrasion-resistant and water-resistant outside layer, the perfect jacket for energetic spring tours. Provisions can be carried in a small, comfortable rucksack, together with the drink system and robust weather protection. The toploader Vento 25 weighs only 900 gram and is ideal on active tours thanks to its minimum back contact coupled with outstanding load distribution properties. Hiking sticks also support your body, aiding walking and training the torso muscles.

Rothaarsteig: Outdoor challenge for performance-oriented individualists

The most interesting speed hiking trails are through delightful landscapes with different ground underfoot: The Rothaarsteig, for example, is one of the most popular long-distance hiking trails in Germany, taking you along natural pathways through impressive landscapes with breath-taking panoramas. Over the last ten years it has developed to a top trail for long-distance hikers, trail runners and speed hikers. With a distance of over 150 kilometers, some parts almost 3,200 meters above sea level, it provides suitable training stretches for all tastes, requirements and conditions.


Five selected trails with different lengths and levels of performance required, compiled by the Rothaarsteig team:

For beginners there is a charming route over the Willinger Hochheide, where most of the altitudes must be mastered right at the beginning of the tour. This trail is about kilometers long, starting and ending at the Visitor Center in Willingen.

The countryside around Willingen offers the visitor magnificent panorama views: One of the loveliest viewing points of this region is reached on the panorama tour around Willingen that over a distance or around 12 kilometers along the border between Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia offers unique views in all directions.

In respect of physical condition, if a more moderate and relaxing tour is preferred then from Winterberg to Winterberg-Langewiese: The distance of seven kilometers can be covered at normal walking pace in about two hours, when speed hiking then plan for about 80 minutes. The tour presents a short challenge in the ascent to Kahlen Asten but is otherwise relatively flat.

From Olsberg-Bruchhausen to Winterberg, tour distance of about 26 kilometer. At normal walking pace it takes seven hours but ambitious speed hikers can do it in about five hours. The largest part of this route is on forest pathways and roads; at the beginning for the speed hiker there is a relatively gentle but long ascent followed by relatively flat terrain with numerous small uphill and downhill stretches.

Speed hikers can take an extreme tour, the  trail from Hilchenbach-Lützel to Dillenburg: a distance of 52 kilometer that can be covered by top-fit speed hikers in around ten hours. Many small uphill and downhill stretches and a few steep tracks make this route an exciting outdoor challenge.

TATONKA and the Rothaarsteig: A powerful cooperation

For the Rothaarsteig TATONKA has compiled a small collection of hiking rucksacks and other products over the last six years that bear the distinguished logo of this long-distance trail: Robust map covers, travel kits, hip bags and many other practical and comfortable items round off the outdoor equipment range. The selected Rothaarsteig products are of course also found in the current TATONKA Collection for outdoor enthusiasts on all their tours.