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Best trail running poles for difficult terrain

Give yourself some extra support and traction on your next mountain trail with our pick of the best running poles

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Running on a mountain trail can be a fantastic way of mixing up your training and building your strength and cardio as you take in some impressive views, but it also comes with some added risks.

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With uneven terrain, slippery slopes and scattered stones, the trails can be a treacherous place to run. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of running poles that will help you navigate the unpredictable landscape.

As well as helping spread the load of your weight, a reliable running pole will also give you that extra bit of traction and something to lean on if you lose your balance. With that in mind, we’ve put together our picks of the best running poles below.

You can also read our selection of the best trial running shoes.

Best trail running poles to buy in 2022

Salomon Arctic Trail Running Poles

Give yourself a bit of assistance on your next trail run with these hiking and trail running poles from Salomon. Made with a sturdy aluminium shaft, these have been designed to support the stature of someone who’s between 167-179cm tall, as the poles themselves measure in at 120cm. 

The baskets (the round parts near the tip) have been made with a variety of terrains in mind so should be able to handle whatever your next run throws at you, and the handles have both a grip to keep you attached as well as a back-up wrist strap should you accidentally let go.

Just bear in mind this is a fixed length pole, so can’t be collapsed at will.

Black Diamond Trail Sport Trekking Poles

Not only do these running poles have EVA foam on the handle to make sure you have a reliable grip, they’re also made with moisture management tech so they shouldn’t slip out of your hands even if things get a bit sweaty. 

The poles are also adjustable so you can find the height that works best for you, or manage the size on the go if you need to adapt on an especially steep incline. 

The usual length of this pole is 100-140cm, but can be collapsed down to 62cm for packing away on the go.

Sense Unisex Trail Running Hiking Pole

Pick up the pace in preparation for your next race, with these trekking poles from Sense. Made with a carbon shaft, they should still be reliable and lightweight, which means they won’t drag you down as you carry them around. 

The handle can also be extended for maximum comfort with a layer of foam to limit strain on your hands, and the whole pole is made to be shock-absorbent so you shouldn’t feel too much of the impact. It also has a strong bottom tip that should be able to find traction even in snow and ice.

This is also ideal if you plan to use it for the full duration of your run as it’s a fixed length.

Leki Unisex Adult’s Vertical K Trail Running Poles

Made for the time-conscious trail runner who doesn’t want to be slowed down by an uneven surface, these running poles from Leki have a special speed tip on the end to keep you moving at a fast pace. 

They weigh just 270g, so should keep you light on your feet, while providing some added support as you move through the mountain trails. 

The handles are made from cork to ensure a top level of comfort as you whizz along, and you can even extend the handle to make sure it’s the right fit for you and the path you’re on.

You can even collapse this away when it’s not in use and whip it out just as quickly when you hit a challenging part of the terrain.

Leki Ultratrail FX One Superlite Running Poles

If you’re looking for a running pole that’s super light and compact, this may be your best bet. Weighing 274g, this is slightly heavier than the Vertical K also from Leki, but it has the advantage of folding away to a contracted size of just 35cm. 

This means it will be great for storage and keeping in your backpack until you really need it.

Made from a sturdy carbon material, it has carbide tips and an ergonomic handle with an adjustment range that can stand anywhere between 105-135cm, and can be packed away down to a size of 35cm when not in use.

Komperdell Carbon FXP.4 Approach Vario Running Poles

This versatile pole from Komperdell is especially handy if you’re someone who likes to customise their gear. It has a pair of foam handles that can be extended to suit your height and the option to replace the tips if you have a specific run in mind. 

You can also swap out the baskets to make sure it’s giving you as much support as possible depending on where you’re planning your next run. This can also pack away for easy convenience.

Scott RC 3-Part Running Foldable Pole

If you have plans for a longer, slow paced run, the Scott RC 3-part poles are a good place to start. They’re designed to be easy enough to collapse for sections when it isn’t necessary, folding down to a size of 37cm which means they should fit quite snugly in your bag. 

As soon as a tricky section of the trail appears, you can pop the poles back up and make use of the ergonomic straps that will keep it tight to your hands, and the carbide tip which should grip nicely into the ground. 

Dynafit Elevation Pro Running Poles

This fixed length pole from Dynafit is available in a variety of sizes that range from 115-130cm,  giving you the extra support on your mountain trail run. 

Both the handles and the logo are a vivid green which will help you spot them if you drop them on an incline, and as they weigh just 244g with foam handles, they should be pretty easy to carry with you whether you’re using them or not. 

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