With thick-soled shoes and long laces on their feet, a rucksack with multiple pockets and straps on their back --from which a water bottle sometimes protrudes--and a Nordic walking stick in each hand, hikers seem to be even more numerous this summer.
Between January and June 2021, the number of hikers on the country's trails increased by 30%, according to the directorate of Tourism. In 2020, the number of hikers was already double that in 2019. The increase in 2020 was accounted for by residents, but this year an influx of foreign visitors has pushed up the figures once more.
The hiking craze has been notable in specialist shops, where sales are at a premium levels. "It's obvious that a lot of people are discovering walking," says A.S. Adventure. Sales of hiking equipment have increased by "20 to 30%" since the arrival of covid-19. Boots, trousers and jackets are particularly popular. Camping products, such as stoves, are also "booming, but not as explosive".
Shoes top the sales list
"We have a lot of demand. People are going green, discovering the paths around their homes," explains Adri Chinotti of the hiking department at Decathlon City. "Some people didn't know if they could go on holiday and preferred to take a tent and go on an adventure.” The shop only opened at the beginning of the year in Luxembourg, which makes it difficult to compare over time.
However, hiking products are now second in terms of sales after the store’s fitness line. According to the feedback from customers, Chinotti says cannot imagine this hiking effect running out of steam. "They are becoming aware that nature is good for them,” she notes.
At the Intersport shop in Bertrange, "what limits hiking is the stock", says Johann Di Nucci, head of the store. Demand exists, but it is difficult to meet. "Deliveries have been frozen" because of the health crisis. He estimates that “if we had the necessary stock, hiking products could represent 25 to 30% of sales," instead of the current 20%. Boots, mattresses and sleeping bags are among the key products.
The Citabel shop in Leudelange is also experiencing some supply difficulties, from Asian and European suppliers. This has not prevented sales of hiking products from continuing to rise. Mainly thanks to a demand for boots, but also for rain jackets, which are very useful in this sometimes too grey summer.
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.