Fad workouts and expensive gym memberships can make working out feel overwhelming, but one of the best and most affordable ways to get fit is by walking. It can be done just about anywhere, including outside in the fresh air. Walking can be performed regardless of age or ability, and minimal equipment is required. You can even do it barefoot, although we don’t recommend hitting the trails without shoes.
If walking leads to hiking or if you have stability issues, adding trekking poles to your workout can help reduce the impact on joints and prevent injuries. Trekking poles help to provide a point of stability and bring hands mid-chest, which can improve circulation.
Unlike hiking staffs, which are sold in single units and designed for flat terrain, trekking poles are sold in pairs and are better designed for use with heavy backpack loads and steep or uneven terrain. The trekking poles included on our list are telescopic and can be easily adjusted, which is important not only to fit a users’ height but to adjust depending on the altitude (poles should be shortened when hiking uphill and lengthened for downhill).
If you’re ready to hit your daily step goals and want to get outside, check out our four favorite trekking poles.
1. TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
For trekking poles that can stand up to rocky conditions, try the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles. The TrailBuddy poles are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and can withstand pressure and impact even on rocky and uneven ground. The TrainBuddy poles are one of the lightest aluminum poles available and come with interchangeable tips that are designed specifically for use on ice, mud or sand, paved and rocky surfaces and snow. The affordable set is available in a variety of colors and comes with a carrying bag, two pairs of rubber tips, one pair of connectors, a mud basket and a snow basket for light snowshoeing. The telescopic poles can be adjusted on the go between 24.5″ to 54″. We like that the TrailBuddy poles are available in eight color options, making it easy to distinguish between poles when in a large group.
Pros: The handles on the TrailBuddy poles are wrapped in cork, which is naturally moisture-wicking and keeps hands comfortable in both hot and cold weather.
Cons: The tips can sometimes loosen or fall off completely when walking.
2. Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
For hikers that don’t want to lug around cumbersome poles, the Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are worth the splurge. Like the TrailBuddy poles, the Foxelli also cover their handles in cork for an odorless, moisture-wicking surface that conforms to the shape of the user’s hands. The poles also have an extended EVA-foam sleeve below the cork and are designed to be used when handling switchbacks and sudden changes in terrain. The Foxelli poles are shock-absorbent and help to reduce the impact on joints. A quick-lock feature makes it easy to adjust the height on the telescopic poles. The Foxelli come with tungsten carbide tips and Thermoplastic rubber tips and baskets that provide secure footing in the snow and ice. We also like that the poles come with a carrying case for easy transportation and storage.
Pros: Because of their 100% carbon fiber makeup, the Foxelli poles are the lightest on our list and weigh only 7.6 ounces each.
Cons: The Foxelli come with a big price tag and are only available in black.
3. Bafx Products Adjustable Anti Shock Aluminum Hiking Poles
For beginner and intermediate hikers, the Bafx Products Adjustable Anti Shock Aluminum Hiking Poles aid when navigating flat, rocky and uneven terrain. The poles are designed with an anti-shock feature that helps to absorb impact and provide a more comfortable walk for users. The ergonomically designed handles have strips of cork for comfort and are easy to grip, with a wrist strap keeping them secure to the user. Each pole comes with two rubber tips for pavement and two spare tips for sand and snow, plus a carbide tip for gravel and ice that is built into each pole.
Pros: The Bafx can be adjusted to comfortably fit users between 3’6” and 6’4” and are ideal for taller hikers.
Cons: The Bafx poles weight 12.4 ounces each and are the heaviest poles on our list. The lock feature can be difficult to twist when wearing gloves or in wet conditions.
4. TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles
Reduce the impact of hiking and walking on your joints by using TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles. The poles are anti-shock and absorb impact to give users a more comfortable walking experience. The lightweight poles are made from aviation-grade aluminum and are designed with extra-long EVA-foam handles that are comfortable and help to wick away moisture. The quick-lock system makes it easy to extend and collapse the poles between 26″ and 53″. The poles come with a carrying case, which can also hold the two clips, two mud baskets, two snow baskets, two walking caps and four rubber tips that enable the poles to be used on any terrain. TheFitLife poles are available in five colors, including blue, purple and red, which are bright and highly visible.
Pros: TheFitLife poles come with an e-guide to help users understand how to use their poles.
Cons: At a 53″ max extension, TheFitLife are the shortest poles on our list and the least suited for taller hikers. The hard plastic handle is not as comfortable as poles that use cork on their handles. The tips can come off during reasonable use.