Running poles, aka running sticks or lightweight trekking poles are a great option for long trail runs and ultramarathons. If you watch any high profile mountain skyrace or ultra, you’ll see the majority of participants carrying running poles – especially in Europe.
Running poles are a great choice if:
- you are recovering from an injury and need the extra support and confidence during trail runs that having a couple of extra contact points with the ground gives you
- you’re covering a long distance off-road, especially with a lot of ascent and descent
- you’re running a technical mountain race.
Based on our experience and reviews from road and trail runners across multiple brands and retailers, this post summarizes the Lookfly-recommended shortlist of the best running poles available.
Key considerations when deciding which are the best running poles for you
The following are key to consider when deciding which running poles to buy:
- Folding or fixed length
Generally, we would recommend going for the lightest running poles you can afford, which are typically made out of carbon (rather than aluminium). Consider folding poles if you need to be able to stow and carry them in a running hydration vest.
Carbon and folding running poles
Our top pick are Black Diamond’s Carbon Z running poles. These carbon poles are perfect for trail running and long days in the mountains, as they are folding, have a good hand-grip and fold down small.
LEKI offer a full range of trekking poles for running. Our favorites are the LEKI Micro RCM poles, which has a nice ergonomic grip, while also being lightweight. They also fold out quickly with a positive ‘click’ confirming they’re fully extended and ready to use.
Still carbon but coming in at a lower price point are the Scott RC trekking poles. Unlike the Black Diamond Carbon Z Poles and LEKI Micro RCM poles, the Scott poles do not fold, so are less convenient to pack and cannot be readily stowed in a running race vest. However, they are significantly less expensive, so if portability is less of a priority and you’re on more of a budget yet still want carbon construction, these are a great choice.
Carbon super-lightweight and adjustable
Komperdell’s Carbon C2 Ultralight Trekking poles offer the most lightweight option (6.4oz!). While they do not fold, they are adjustable length, which helps when you may need shorter length during climbs vs. longer length when descending on steep terrain, and is an advantage over the Scott RC trekking poles. The length adjustability also means they can be used by runners of different height.
More trekking poles for trail running
Visit our running poles page to see the full range of running poles on our site, complete with price comparisons across multiple retailers.
For more reviews, prices and running kit…
If you’re planning a long run or ultramarathon, you may need a running headlamp that will stand up to the task of lighting the way and lasting the duration of your low-light and nocturnal running activities!
Also have a browse on our site to read reviews, compare prices, and check out our curated range of dedicated running clothing, shoes and accessories across hundreds of running brands and multiple retailers.
For some great tips and the pros and cons of trail running with poles…
Our friends over at Trail & Kale have a great article on the subject: Trail running with poles: benefits, disadvantages and advice.