The 7 Best Walking Poles to Buy in 2018

Stay stable and protect joints with a pair of these

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If you are into getting your fitness in by walking or hiking, you might want to invest in a pair (or just one) of walking poles that not only protect your knees and ankles from high-impact movement, but also give you traction on steep and uneven terrain.

There is a plethora of walking poles out there for every type of hiker and walker. From beginners and those designed specifically for women and children to pairs that are good for travel, there’s a pole to fit your needs. Here, the pairs to consider when purchasing walking poles.

Best Overall: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles

These collapsible poles by Black Diamond consistently top the list of favorites by hikers who love their durability, performance and versatility. Made for use in all four seasons, they have compact carbon fiber shafts, dual FlickLok Pro adjusters and cork grips. No worries whether you’re left and right-handed either, as the padded wrist strap can be adjusted to accommodate either. Two sets of baskets are included to accommodate both snow and regular trail hiking.

The poles’ length can be adjusted from 25 to 51 inches, and the pair weighs just over 1 pound in total. Overall, customers say these poles offer everything you want in walking poles for a reasonable price.

Best Budget: Montem Ultra Strong Hiking / Walking / Trekking Poles

Montem is a new company on the market, but their poles are getting great reviews for their low prices and solid performance. This pair is a bargain and has all the features of many more expensive brands. Made of Aluminum 7075 (the same material used to build airplanes), the pair weighs just over 19.2 ounces. They can be adjusted to heights from 24 to 53 inches, and have a special Flick-Lock system to keep them locked securely in place.

They’re small enough to make them good for travel, but are made of aluminum so they’re sturdy too. They make a great set of poles for someone just starting out or as an extra pair to have on hand. Customers rave about them and say they’re an exceptional value, well-designed, and make hiking easier and more enjoyable.

Best Collapsible: Sterling Endurance Collapsible Trekking Poles

These walking poles from Sterling Endurance offer maximum portability, as they collapse to just 13.5 inches. A storage bag is included as well, so you can just toss them in a backpack or other bag to take them on the go.

Made of a special type of aluminum, they’re extremely durable (comparable to some steels in fact), yet they're lightweight. They can adjust to heights from 44 to 54 inches and have a Quick Flip Lock to hold them in place. Customers who have used these poles around the world rave about them, with more than 80 percent of 600-plus reviewers on Amazon giving them five stars.

Best for Women: Women's Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles

Black Diamond is known for their high-quality, durable trekking poles, and these, which are designed specifically for women, are no exception. They’re constructed to protect women’s wrists from bumps, and the ergonomic foam grip is also sized for women’s hands. They easily adjust from 24 to 49 inches with Flock Lock adjustments, and the pair weighs just 1 pound 4 ounces.

They also come with Control Shock Technology, which customers say significantly reduces the impact on knees, hips and other joints. Overall, reviewers say these poles are great for security and stability even on ​tough terrain and are worth the price.

Best for Travel: Mountainsmith Halite 7075 Trekking Pole

If you’re looking to take your poles on the go, this pair from Mountainsmith is ready. Perfect for traveling, they’re lightweight (1 pound 5 ounces for the pair) and fold down to just 16 inches, so they won’t take up too much space in your luggage, but they still provide all the functionality you want in a set of sturdy poles that are ready to tackle tough terrain.

Bright in Moroccan blue, this pair comes with snow baskets (for snowshoeing) as well as hiking baskets. They have cork and EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) handles and padded wrist straps for comfort, and an Interlock system lets you easily adjust to heights between 48 to 54 inches. They also come with replaceable rubber boot tips and carbide tips you can swap out depending on the terrain.

Best Lightweight: Hiker Hunger 100% Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles

When you don’t want your poles weighing you down, there are these walking poles from Hiker Hunger that weigh less than a pound. Both poles combined weight just 15.2 ounces, making them great for throwing in a suitcase, backpack, or another bag you’ll be carrying. The collapsible poles can extend from 24 to 54 inches, and the pieces can be separated and stored in a carrying bag, which comes with the poles.

Despite being light, these poles are strong too. Made of 100 percent carbon fiber, they’re shock-absorbent and have an ergonomic cork grip for comfort. They come with snow baskets, mud baskets, rubber tips, and rubber feet—everything you need for hiking, snowshoeing and beyond. Almost 90 percent of the 800-plus reviewers on Amazon gave these poles five stars, saying they’re strong, lightweight and exceed expectations.

Best for Children: YOURJOY 2 Pack Kids Telescopic Trekking Pole

Add a whole new element of fun to hiking for kids with a pair of their very own walking poles. Kids love to have their own gear, and these poles are made to fit them just right. They also come in an array of bright colors, including pink, green, and blue, which always makes things more fun.

These poles can be adjusted to lengths from 17 to 33.5 inches, and the wrist straps are adjustable too. Made of lightweight aluminum, they weigh just over 11 ounces each, and they come with two sets of tips and two sets of baskets to help keep them from sinking in snow or mud. Customers say that beyond being adorable for little ones, these poles are lightweight, sturdy and easy to adjust to fit kids of various heights.