* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought this pair of walking poles about 7 years ago following having an ACL reconstruction on my right knee. I wanted to get back into walking but knew that my knee would need some more support than it had previously when going up and down hills. Since then they have been a regular part on my walking kit as they have made such a difference to how comfortable I feel when walking especially in relation to knee and back pain. The reason I think that is as I am better balanced when walking with a pair of poles as it allows me to distribute my weight better and seems to improve my posture and balance when walking
These poles are from Leki which is an Alpine company that seems to specialise in walking poles as well as other Alpine sporting equipment such as skis. The version I have is in the mid range and is the Makalu anti-shock version. The poles I have are black and blue in colour.
One of the reasons I choose these poles was due to the triple anti-shock claims that is emblazoned across each of the poles. The Triple Spring Anti-shock is designed to reduce the effect on the arms and wrists of the pole striking the ground to stop you getting the vibrations up your arms as the pole hit the ground. Now I have to admit as this was my first foray into walking poles I was very much lead by the customer service department in the shop. I initially practiced walking up and down the store with them and when the poles where at the correct height I could indeed feel no shocks in my arms. In the outdoors when walking up rock hills especially this technology has seemed to come into its own as I have hit the rocky surface with the poles there has been no jarring in my arms at all. As I have got into my stride when walking this anti-shock technology seems to work well as it allows me to use the strength in my upper body to help me climb hills in a more pleasurable way and there is less need for me to stop to rest as my legs as I did when I walked without poles. During descents I find it is easier to maintain my balance because of using these poles and I am less likely to toppling over a nasty section and they give me greater confidence to walk a bit faster down hill.
One of the most important features when walking with poles is the length of the poles. This is determined by the height from the ground to your elbow and this varies as you are walking and it should be adjusted according to whether you are on level ground, ascending or descending. Now what this means in reality are you need to adjust it at times as you are walking to ensure the distance between your elbow and ground is constant. The easy of use for adjusting these poles is fantastic, it is just a case of twisting the section you are adjusting clockwise whilst holding the other part of the pole then giving an easy pull or push to adjust the length and then turning anti- clockwise to lock them. I find this very simple to do whether it is at the top of a hill or mid hill if I need to reduce the length as the gradient gets a bit stepper. There are two sections that you can adjust and with my modest 5 foot 2 frame I never run out of pole length nor does it ever become too high to use correctly given they extend fully to 140 cm I imagine they will fit the majority of people comfortably.
An essential with any walking pole is a comfortable grip and these poles with their ego soft grip fit the bill very well. They are nice an easy to hold and part of the ergonomically designed handle allows for your palm and fingers to be well supported whilst holding it. By the end of a walk my hands don't ache from holding the poles and over the course of using these over the years the handle hasn't become tacky or sticky and is still nice to hold on to. I also find that when holding the handle if I am hot and sweaty the grip is still maintained and it doesn't fall out of my hands easily. The handles also sport a strap which I find helpful to place round my wrist as it means if I am pausing to take a picture on a hill I don't need to lay these down on the floor which I know is a bit lazy.
The tip to the poles is carbide flex tip which I have to admit means nothing to me but what I can tell you is that it even after a good few years of use it is still in working order with no damage to it all which means that the base of the poles continue to support my weight as I climb and descend hills. At the tip you can interchange the baskets on the base depending upon the terrain that you are walking on. I generally use the small grass basket that has been supplied with them and find this is sufficient for moving over most soft ground they can be easily taken off which I do for both transit purposes or if I am climbing up rocky faces as they are small and light they fit easily into a pocket ready to come out again if I need them to once on different terrain again.
Weight wise I find these are nice and light enough for me as these are the only poles I have used I can't compare them how they perform to lightweight versions. But I don't find them heavy to use or carry. I tend to just do day walks and when these are in use all the time rather than 2-3 days worth of walking and camping where weight may become a concern but for my purposes of a days walking at the weekend the weight is not a consideration.
The care and maintain of these is simple I just tend to store them with carbide tip facing down as this allows any water to run down the poles and away from some of the innards of the poles and protects the springs inside. In all the years of doing this they have never jammed from this treatment. The finish to these pole is fantastic and the Ultrasonic & anodized coatings that I believe are on these has kept them looking as good as new with very few starches being noticeable and I think the ones that are have come from them scratching each other with their Carbide Flex tips.
I would definitely recommend these walking poles I find they give me better balance and reduce the pressure on my knees and back as I walk up and down hills especially. The anti-shock properties that the poles have has also enabled my arms and associated joints to cope well with steep climbs and descents. They have lasted well and are easy to adjust. As an added bonus I also find they give me greater stability when going across streams and I am less likely to get wet because of the stability they give me. They are a mid range pair of poles at £50 for the pair from various stockiest including Amazon and are well worth their money not only because of how easy and comfortable to use but because of the life span they have.
* Length: Collapsed - 77cm, Extended - 140cm
* Material: High Tensile Aluminum 6.0
* Grip: ergo soft grip
* Strap: Automatic Safety System. Quick release.
* Anti Shock: Triple Spring Anti Shock
* Adjustment System: SLS
* Tip: Carbide Flex tip with interchangeable basket system.
* Finish: Ultrasonic & anodized bottom sections.
* Weight: 304g each
I bought a pair of these for a Trek up Kilimanjaro which I undertook earlier this year. Trekking poles were only recommended, but having bought a pair they made a massive difference and I am glad I did.
Leki are the market leaders for walking poles. There are cheaper alternatives available, but with Leki's you get exactly what you pay for - high quality.
This particular pole comes with a snow basket which stops the pole sinking too far into the snow if you are walking in snowy conditions. This is handy because it reduces the amount of work you have to do to dig the pole out of the snow.
These poles are full adjustable up to a maximum height of 140cm - this is higher than many cheaper alternatives but necessary for me as I am 6ft 5. Many other products I looked at were not big enough for me, so this is something you need to consider depending on what height you are.
These poles are anti-shock which reduces the strain levels on your forearms and wrists and are extremely sturdy.
Overall, they are expensive for what they are, but I am so glad I bought these as they made a huge difference to me. If you are in the market for trekking poles for serious walking / trekking and you can afford the extra cost, these are definitely the ones for you.
They are not just a fashion accessary but are also a great piece of mountain equipment. By using them you avoid damage to you knee joints and it makes walking up and down hills easier and often safer. Leki poles are telescopic walking stickes and usually come as a pair with snow baskets and additional features such as anti shock suspension. They are not cheap (about £60) but I find them really helpful when walking especially with heavy bags. They adjust to your size (your elbows should be at 90 degrees to your body and the poles should reach the floor). When walking up hill and on flat ground the pole should be positioned behind you so that you push off on them. When walking down hill, I often extend their length and position them in front of me. If you are using two poles you should move them in step with your opposite leg, this may sound complicated but when you do have them it becomes so much clearer. If you are using them in snowy conditions, snow baskets are a great help, stopping them from sinking in the snow too far. On ice they are amazing in helping you stay upright. On dangerous ground make sure you remove your hands from the straps so that if you do fall you can drop the poles and concentrate on saving yourself. Oher uses of trekking poles include checking the depth of bogs and rivers, for poking mysterious objects and most importantly making clothes lines.