The 9 Best Fitness Walking Poles of 2019

Pick up a set of these poles for Nordic walking or hiking

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Fitness walking poles, nordic walking poles, and exerstriding poles can be useful in two ways. First, using poles helps you take strain off of knees and ankles and gives you more balance. Second, you work your upper body to burn more calories per mile while actually feeling like you are exerting yourself less. Burn more, feel less. Using the right technique is essential. These poles are designed for specific pole techniques and come with instructions. They are not necessarily interchangeable. For example, the nordic walking technique needs a strap or demi-glove attached to the pole, which the exerstriding technique does not require.

Our Top Picks


Best Overall: SWIX of Norway Nordic Walking Poles

VIP - Very Important Ski Walking Fitness Poles
VIP - Very Important Ski Walking Fitness Poles. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Ski Walking has a specially-designed fitness walking pole using the excellent Swix glove system. These are fixed-length poles and they are of high quality. The have a carbide tip and a removable rubber fitness tip to use on pavement.


Best Budget: Pacemaker Stix Aerostride Poles

PaceMaker Stix Aerostride Poles
PaceMaker Stix Aerostride Poles. Wendy Bumgardner ©

These aluminum nordic walking poles have cork grips for comfort and the glove-like strap needed for the nordic walking technique. They telescope from 26 inches to 54 inches with a flip-lock mechanism. They come with both a cane tip and a knobbly tip, plus baskets for sand or snow. You may find the flip lock is easier to use to make adjustments on the go, as compared with a twist lock that is seen on many adjustable poles.


Best Budget Runner-Up: Leki Spin Nordic Walking Poles

Leki Spin Nordic Walking Poles
Leki Spin Nordic Walking Poles. Courtesy of

The Spin is Leki's value-priced Nordic walking pole. They are adjustable in length from 100 centimeters to 130 centimeters. They have the Trigger Shark strap that you can release from the poles with a button. That makes it easy to disengage when you want to make a stop, rather than taking off the glove. Then you can click back into the poles when you're ready to go again. The poles are made of aluminum. They come with rubber fitness tips for use on pavement, or you can use them without it on softer trails.


Best with Palm Strap: KeenFit Poles

Keenfit Fitness Walking Poles
Keenfit Fitness Walking Poles. Courtesy of

These poles have a palm strap rather than a demi-glove and they come with instructions in their own pole walking exercise technique. They are adjustable in length. They come with road feet, trail feet, and snow/sand baskets.


Best for Nordic Walking: Nordic Walker Exel

Exel Nordic Walking Poles
Exel Nordic Walking Poles. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Exel Nordic Walker poles are designed for the nordic walking technique, and this company was at the forefront of popularizing the sport in Europe. The technique requires the poles to have a half-glove strap so you can release the pole on the backstroke and it snaps back into your hand as you move your arm forward. These lightweight carbon fiber one-piece poles have a paw for walking on streets and sidewalks and a spiketip for trails. You must order them in the correct size for your height and they are not adjustable.


Best Folding: York Nordic Ultralight Folding Walking Poles

Leki Speed Pacer Vario Poles
Leki Speed Pacer Vario Poles. Courtesy of

These nordic walking poles include the glove with an easy click release so you don't have to take the glove completely off when you make a stop. The grip is thicker than many of the traditional nordic walking poles. They fold for travel rather than telescoping. They weigh only 8.6 ounces each and fold to a length of 15.5 inches. You get rubber feet, snow baskets, and a travel storage bag as well. The height is adjustable from 43 to 53 inches, and the manufacturer also has a customized version for shorter people which you can get upon request. The price is excellent.


Best for Travel: Leki Traveller Nordic Walking Poles

Leki Traveller Carbon Nordic Walking Poles
Leki Traveller Carbon Nordic Walking Poles. Courtesy of

These three-section nordic walking poles are built to fit into your luggage. They compact down to 52 centimeters for packing. They come in a lighter-weight carbon fiber model (13.9 ounces per pair) or an aluminum model (16.8 ounces per pair). The adjustable length is from 62 centimeters to 130 centimeters for both models.


Best Grips: Exerstrider OS2 Poles

Exerstrider SE Walking Poles - Full
Exerstrider SE Walking Poles. Exerstrider

Exerstrider poles have patented, ergonomic "reflex" grips to fit the hand. They don't have a strap or glove, so they can't be used with the nordic walking technique. Instead, you receive a manual and DVD to teach you the exerstrider walking technique. Tom Rutlin developed this technique before the nordic walking technique was popularized in Europe. These poles are adjustable in length and work well on pavement or trail. You can use them as trekking poles for stability if you don't want to use them for fitness.


Best Wooden: Brazos FitnessWalker Poles

Brazos Fitness Walking Sticks
Brazos Fitness Walking Sticks. Brazos

Some people simply prefer wood. Brazos Walking Sticks has a FitnessWalker design in ash. The curved handles can work for the push off, and they have a cord strap to help retain the poles. However, without a half glove, these are only suited for the exerstriding or trekking techniques rather than the nordic walking technique. They come in only three lengths and are non-adjustable, but they can make custom lengths to your request. For the natural feel of wood, these will be the right fit for many people.

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