5 of the best walking poles for all your adventures

Rick Pearson
·3-min read

From Runner's World

Nicknamed ‘cheat sticks’ by some ultrarunners, trekking poles are becoming an increasingly popular sight in long-distance trail events. Light, durable and easily tucked away into a race backpack, they are particularly useful on steep inclines, taking some of the burden off your quads and glutes. Providing a true full-body workout, running with poles has been shown to burn 20 per cent more calories than running pole-free. While this may not be good news in an ultramarathon, it should be balanced against studies that show using poles reduces your perception of effort going uphill, and that those using poles tend to walk quicker than those without. They can also assist on the downhills, taking some of the load off your joints, leaving your legs feeling fresher the next day. And they improve balance when carrying load. So, plenty of pluses for runners or walkers in for the long haul. Here are five of the best poles on the market.

1.Leki Micro Trail Pro

The poles of choice among many of the world’s top ultrarunners. These are light yet extremely durable and can be folded up small enough to fit inside your race vest. They come with a specially designed glove that you can lock into the pole, meaning you don’t have to worry about gripping it tightly. If you have deep pockets, these poles should be your number-one choice.

2. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Pole

Like the Leki poles, these are extremely light and fold down small enough to fit into a running vest. They provide excellent grip, too, although they lack some of the build quality of the Leki and, as a result, aren’t quite as hard-wearing.

3. Leki Micro RCM Superlight

Weighing just 128g, these poles are among the lightest on the market. The Thermo grip with a rounded head allows for a number of grip variations, too, which can be useful on challenging terrain. There’s a push-button release mechanism that folds the poles down to just 36cm, ready to be packed away when not needed.

4. Mountain King Trail Blaze

Better known in the US, Mountain King poles tend to fly under the radar in the UK. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. On the contrary, these light, comfortable and compact poles are perfect for long-distance runs in lumpy places. Compared with some of their rivals, they’re fairly cheap, too.

5. Salomon Sense Ultra Foldable

Salomon is a powerhouse of offroad running gear, and these poles are suitably high-quality. Made from carbon, they’re strong yet light, while the Split-Second Folding System allows you to instantly break the pole down to a third of its size – handy for packing away on the move.

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