If you’re on the market for a new pair of ski poles – whether it’s your first pair or you’re replacing worn out poles – you’re going to find that there are limitless options to choose from.
While variety is certainly a good thing, it can also make selecting the right ski poles for your specific needs a challenge. To help you on your quest for finding the best ski poles, we’ve put in hours of research and have compared and contrasted countless models. We’ve also read through dozens of customer reviews.
Based on our assessments, we’ve narrowed down the options and have come up with a list of what we think are the absolute best ski poles currently on the market.
In this guide, we review our picks for the best ski poles. We also provide a handy buyer’s guide that highlights the factors that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for a pair of poles.
We finish out our review by answering questions to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this all-important skiing tool. Once you’ve finished reading through the information presented in this guide, you should be ready to purchase a great pair of ski poles that will best suit your needs.
Top 3 Picks
For shoppers who are in a hurry and want to find out what our top picks for the best ski poles are, this section is for you. Below, we share brief reviews of our choices for the best overall, the best premium, and the best budget ski poles.
Best Pick: Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
- 100% CARBON FIBER: Foxelli Trekking Poles (also known as Nordic walking poles or hiking sticks) are made from 100% carbon fiber material, which is known for its incredible lightness. Each pole weighs only 7.6 oz, allowing you to move quicker and faster while exerting less energy. Carbon fiber is also shock-absorbent and significantly minimizes the impact on joints. Durable and sturdy, these walking sticks are designed to withstand even the most challenging hikes or backpacking trips.
- EASILY ADJUSTABLE: Thanks to the quick-lock technology, Foxelli collapsible hiking poles are incredibly easy to use and a breeze to adjust - locking them in place takes only a few seconds. The sturdy locks are designed to firmly keep the walking poles in place and prevent them from sliding down, offering you the ultimate stability. Retractable from 24” to 55”, they work for a wide range of different heights, including both short & tall MEN, WOMEN & even KIDS!
- PROVIDING THE ULTIMATE COMFORT: The anti-slip natural cork grips absorb sweat and moisture and will keep your hands cool and dry during those challenging long-distance hikes. The extra-padded, fully adjustable, breathable wrist straps make sure that you don’t accidentally drop your poles, and provide you with the maximum comfort throughout the day. The extended foam sleeves, made of soft EVA foam, will aid you during switchbacks and abrupt changes in terrain.
- SUITABLE FOR ALL CONDITIONS: From challenging ice mountain climbing to casual strolling around the neighborhood - our included heavy-duty accessories and tungsten carbide tips will not let you down, whatever the terrain or the season may be. Thermoplastic rubber tips & baskets strongly attach to the trekking sticks, so you can forget about losing them on snowy or muddy trails. A carrying case and a carrying clip are both included for easy, convenient storage and transportation.
- RISK-FREE PURCHASE: Don’t worry about missing Amazon’s 30-day return window. We offer a 120-day, no questions asked, money-back guarantee with a 3-year warranty for any defects. If you’re not 100% satisfied - we’ll give you your money back. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE.
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are our pick for the best overall ski poles. Made of 100 percent carbon fiber, they’re super light, yet incredibly durable, so you can pick up your speed without having to exert a ton of energy. They’re also shock absorbing, which means less impact on your joints for more comfort.
Premium Pick: Salomon MTN Carbon S3 Ski Poles
- Lightweight - The Carbon shaft with Kevlar reinforcement keeps the weight down without sacrificing strength
- Adjustable - The redesigned easy-lock system adjusts from 110-135cm and allows you to handle all conditions and slope angles on your backcountry adventures
- Security and comfort - The S3 rubber and foam grip, premium strap and articulated backside basket add an extra measure of security while keeping you comfortable in the backcountry
- S3 Rubber and foam grip - A bi-material grip combining rubber and foam with integrated S3 safety technology
- Tip: Carbide - Widia Tip
Our pick for the best premium ski poles are the Salomon MTN Carbon S3 Ski Poles. Featuring a carbon shaft with Kevlar reinforcement, they’re lightweight, yet strong, making them an ideal choice for Alpine skiers.
Budget Pick: TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
- TOUGHER THAN CARBON FIBER - TrailBuddy Trekking Poles' tough aluminum can withstand pressure and impact better than carbon fiber - crucial if hiking on rocky terrain or supporting heavier weight
- LIGHT AIRCRAFT GRADE ALUMINUM - Aluminum 7075 hiking sticks weigh up to 4 ounces less than typical 6061 Aluminum common in hiking sticks - making it the perfect gift for an outdoor enthusiast!
- EASIER TO ADJUST THAN TWIST LOCK - Changing the height of these telescoping poles from 24.5 to 54 inches is a breeze even when you're wearing gloves or trekking in wet conditions thanks to its lever-locks
- BUILT FOR YOUR COMFORT - Cork handles are comfy to use in both hot and cold temperatures, are moisture-wicking, and mold to the shape of your hand while the strap is padded to avoid chafing your skin
- GET YOUR COMPLETE SET NOW - Available in beautiful black, blue, red, green, yellow, pink, purple, and aqua colors, these poles also come with a carrying bag, 2 pairs rubber tips , 1 pair connectors, mud baskets, and snow baskets (snow baskets for light snowshoeing only, NOT for skiing)
If you don’t want to spend a lot, but you also don’t want to sacrifice quality, the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are a great choice for you. Made of heavy-duty aircraft-grade aluminum, these ski poles are as durable as they are lightweight.
Top 7 Ski Poles
Now that we’ve given you a quick rundown of our top choices for the best overall, best premium, and best budget ski poles, let’s take a more in-depth look at our picks for the best ski poles. In this section of our guide, we offer a more in-depth review of our top three choices, as well as four additional high-quality ski poles. In these reviews, you’ll find detailed information about each model, as well as a list of pros and cons.
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Foxelli really hit the nail on the head with their Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles. Not only are they well designed, but they’re also extremely versatile. Made of 100 percent carbon fiber, they’re incredibly lightweight (weighing just 7.6 oz per pole) and are extremely strong and durable.
The carbon fiber material is also shock absorbing, which means less impact on your joints so you can enjoy longer skiing sessions without pain. The anti-slip natural cork grips absorb sweat and moisture, so your hands will remain cool and dry, further adding to your comfort.
Extra-padded and adjustable wrist straps ensure that your poles stay right where they belong so you can grab them whenever you need them. With quick-lock technology, these ski poles can be adjusted from 24 inches to 55 inches in a matter of seconds and can be used by skiers of all heights – from children to tall adults.
The tungsten carbide tips and the assortment of interchangeable accessories, including snow baskets, asphalt and rock tips, and mud baskets, mean that these poles can be used on all types of terrains. When you’re finished using them, just collapse the poles down, pop on the storage tips, and slip them into heavy-duty carrying case.
- Made of 100 percent, lightweight, yet durable carbon fiber
- Shock absorption reduces strain joint strain
- With quick-lock technology, they can be extended from 24 inches to 55 inches
- Anti-slip natural cork grips absorb moisture and remain cool
- EVA foam padded sleeves
- Extra-padded and adjustable wrist straps
- Comes with an assortment of interchangeable accessories
- Suitable for all conditions and terrains
- Collapsible design and include carrying case allows for easy storage and transport
- Affordably priced
- Backed by a 120-day money-back guarantee and a 3-year warranty
- One user said they had issues with the clamps, but that may be a manufacturer defect
Salomon MTN Carbon S3 Carbon Ski Poles
For serious skiers who are looking for poles that can support and guide them through the backcountry, the Salomon S3 Carbon Skin Poles from MTN – one of the leading manufacturers in the outdoor equipment industry – are an excellent choice
These shaft of these ski poles are made of Kevlar-reinforced carbon material, which keeps the weight of the poles down while ensuring their strength, so you can have confidence knowing that they won’t weigh you down, yet are highly reliable.
The easy-lock system allows the height to be adjusted from 110 to 135 cm in a matter of seconds so that you can easily handle all types of angles and conditions. The S3 rubber and foam grip provides superior comfort on your hands, while the premium padded strap keeps the poles right where you need them.
An articulated backside basket and a carbide-widia tip provides great grip for optimal performance.
- Kevlar-reinforced carbon shaft
- Super durable, yet extremely lightweight
- Easy-lock system adjusts the height from 110 to 135 cm in a matter of seconds
- S3 rubber and foam grip ensures comfort
- Articulated backside basket and carbide-widia tip for excellent grip and optimal performance
- Padded, adjustable wrist straps keeps the ski poles close-at-hand
- They’re a bit on the pricey side and may be cost-prohibitive for some shoppers
TrailBuddy Trekking Poles
For skiers who don’t want to spend a lot of money but want to ensure that their poles are durable and reliable, the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles are an outstanding choice. Not only are they very budget-friendly, but they’re also smartly designed and well-constructed.
Made of aircraft aluminum, they’re super lightweight, yet are tough enough to withstand excessive pressure and impact; in fact, the aluminum material actually withstands pressure and impact better than carbon fiber, and is even more lightweight. Thanks to the twist lock system, these telescoping ski poles can be adjusted from 24.5 inches to 54 inches in a matter of seconds, even when they’re wet and you’re wearing gloves.
The cork handles are soft, mold to the shape of your hands, and are moisture-wicking, so you’ll have a comfortable and sturdy grip in all types of situations. These ski poles also come with a variety of interchangeable accessories, including snow baskets, mud baskets, and rubber tips, so they can be used on all types of terrains. The padded straps keep the poles close-at-hand and prevent chafing, too.
To further add to the benefits, the TrailBuddy ski poles are available in an assortment of colors, including black, aqua, red, pink, yellow, blue, plum, and green, so they’re not only durable, reliable, and lightweight, but they’re also attractive. All of these features – including a storage and carrying case – are offered at a super-affordable price.
- Aircraft grade aluminum construction
- Lightweight and durable design
- Telescopic poles can be adjusted from 24.5 inches to 54 inches in seconds
- Cork handles adjust to the shape of the hands, wick moisture away, and remain comfortable in cold temperatures
- Padded wrist straps ensure the poles stay right where you need them
- Comes with an assortment of interchangeable accessories, as well as a carrying bag
- Very affordably priced
- A few users said that they experienced problems with the poles after a few uses; however, that could be the result of a manufacturer defect
Zipline Lollipop Ski Poles
Made by Zipline Lollipop, the official supplier of the US ski team, these ski poles are designed for all skiers, from novice to advanced experts. Measuring 14.0 mm, their flex is highly forgiving, so they can be used for pipe, park, ad free-skiing.
Made of graphite-carbon technology, these poles are super lightweight, yet highly durable. The material also minimized vibration, so there’s less stress on the joints. The improved dual-density grip is made of thermoplastic and adjusted to the shape of the hands, so you’ll have confidence knowing that you’ll always have a firm grip.
The zip straps have a streamlined design and can be easily adjusted at a moment’s notice, so your poles will always be there when you need them. The carbide zip tip is tough, sharp, and features strong teeth, so you’ll always get the most accurate pole plants.
Available in a large selection of sizes – from 38 inches to 54 inches – and 15 different colors, you’ll be able to get the perfect ski poles to suit your specific style and needs.
- Made of graphite carbon composite material
- Lightweight and highly durable
- Shock-absorbing to reduce joint and muscle strain
- Dual-density zip grip made with thermoplastic contours to the hands and ensures a comfortable and secure grip
- Carbide zip tip with durable teeth for accurate pole plants
- Easy to adjust zip straps
- Available in a wide range of sizes and colors
- Made by the supplier of the US Ski Team
- A few users said that they don’t work with hand guards
Retrospect High Point Trekking Poles
While they’re made for trekking, the Retrospect High Point poles can also be used for skiing. That’s because the come with interchangeable accessories, including skiing baskets.
They’re made of aircraft-grade aluminum, so they’re lightweight, durable, and can handle those steep slopes and level surfaces with ease. The length can be adjusted to accommodate your height or the activities you’re engaging in.
With the quick-adjust technology, they can go from 26 inches to 54 inches in a matter of seconds. The tungsten carbide tips give you a firm grip in all types of terrain and the cork grips conform to the hands while wicking moisture away and cutting down on vibrations.
The padded wrist straps are adjustable and comfortable, so you won’t have to worry about losing your poles on the slopes. The come complete with a variety of accessories, including snow baskets, tungsten carbide tips, boots, and rubber caps, as well as a convenient carrying case for easy storage.
- Made of lightweight, yet durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Telescopic design allows them to adjust from 26 inches to 54 inches in seconds
- Quick-lock technology secures the poles in place
- Cork grips conform to the hands, wick moisture away, and absorb shock
- Padded wrist straps keep the poles right where you need them
- Comes with a convenient storage and carrying case
- Affordably priced
- A few customers said they weren’t happy with the design
WSD Ski Poles
If you’re looking for ski poles for kids, this option from WSD is a great choice. The telescopic, collapsible, and adjustable design makes them perfectly suited for young skiers who enjoy both alpine and downhill skiing.
They can adjust from 32 inches to 42 inches in a matter of seconds, so they grow with your kids and can be used for different activities. And, thanks to the quick-lock technology, they are extremely stable.
The lightweight aluminum material is durable, yet easy for even the youngest snow bunnies to handle, thanks to the super lightweight design. The grips are made specifically for smaller hands, too, and are made of thick, yet pliable padding, to ensure a comfortable, yet firm grip.
With padded, adjustable wrist straps, they’ll always be there when your little ones need them.
- Specifically designed with kids in mind
- Telescopic and collapsible; can be adjusted form 32 inches to 42 inches
- Made of lightweight, yet durable aluminum material
- Padded grips adjust to the hands and ensure a secure, comfortable grip
- Adjustable wrist straps
- Screw on baskets can be removed for different uses
- Available in an assortment of colors
- Affordably priced
- Ideal for new or experienced young skiers
- Might not be durable enough for some skiers
For skiers who are looking to add a little more fun to their backcountry or downhill adventures, the WhiSki Poles are a unique option. They’re high-performance ski poles that are made of high-grade aluminum materials, so they’re lightweight, durable, and reliable.
What really makes them unique is the addition of an integrated flask in the cavity of the pole. Just unscrew the cap at the top of the poles, pour in some whiskey or any other adult libation, replace the cap, and you’re ready to hit the slopes.
When you want to warm up your blood with a swig of your beverage of choice, just unscrew the cap and add on the collapsible funnel. The poles hold up to 8 fluid ounces of liquid and because they’re made of high-quality materials, they provide outstanding performance. With adjustable wrist straps and comfortable grips, these ski poles are as practical as they are fun.
Available in two colors – neon green and black – and three different sizes – 44, 50, and 52 inches – the WhiSki Poles would make a great gift for any adult skier.
- Made of high-grade aluminum materials
- Lightweight, yet durable
- Doubles as functional, high-performance ski poles and a flask
- Reliable and comfortable design
- Available in three different sizes
- Comes complete with a collapsible flask that attaches right to the end of the poles
- For serious skiers, they may not offer the performance that you’re seeking
Other Best Selling Options
- Lightweight: high quality aluminum shaft is strong and light
- Strong: aluminum provides strength and stiffness
- Color-matched to skis: full selection of colors allows you to match any ski in the range
- Lightweight : High quality aluminum shaft is strong and light
- Ergonomic feel : Specific bi-material all-mountain grip designed for women comfortably supports the hand.
- Color-matched to skis : Full selection of colors allows you to match any ski in the range
- GRAPHITE CARBON COMPOSITE TECHNOLOGY - High modulus carbon fiber graphite replaces the outdated aluminum of most ski poles, resulting in a pole that reduces vibration with every pole pant and is extremely lightweight and durable
- STIFF 16.0mm TAPERED SKI POLE - Pole shaft tapers from 16.0mm at the handle to 14.0mm at the tip for a stiffer pole with a lighter swing-weight that is used by World Cup and Olympic Gold Medal athletes like David Wise. New for 2020-21 Season: Blurr XT longer Grip Option and Limited Edition Blurr Honeycomb with reinforced Kevlar lower section for increased strength
- LARGE, POWDER BASKET: Popular with free skiers and powder skiers because Blurr poles feature a 9mm larger powder basket to tackle the fresh powder all skiers dream about
- “ZIP TOUCH” DUAL DENSITY GRIP - Our signature “trigger finger” ZipGrip is built with thermoplastic (TPU) and contours to your hand, preventing your gloves from slipping. Velcro Straps are easily adjustable on the fly
- Choice of Olympic Gold Medalist, David Wise
- Strong: aluminum provides strength and stiffness
- Lightweight: high quality aluminum shaft is strong and light
- Ergonomic feel: specific Women's grip provides hand support and comfort
- Colour: Black; Target group: Men; Terrain: Allmountain; Length (cm): 125.
- Grip: performance rubber; shaft: 18 mm aluminium; basket: 60 mm performance; features nesting baskets.
- Nesting Baskets - For easy and safe storage of the poles.
Ski Poles Buyer’s Guide
Whether you’re a novice skier who is learning the ropes on the bunny trails or you’re an experienced downhiller who has been hitting the slopes for years, or even a backcountry skier, a good pair of ski poles is an essential part of your equipment.
Used for stabilization and propulsion, without ski poles, you could end up falling flat on your face or getting stuck on the slopes – hence why they’re kind of important. Even if you’re just learning how to ski, having a reliable pair of poles is vital because when you’re ready to move up in the ranks, you’ll know how to use your poles and will have greater success while you navigate more challenging courses.
Believe it or not, ski poles have a pretty long history. In fact, they date back about 3623BC, where they were used in Sweden, but they have likely been used for even longer than that, as there are cave paintings that depict ski poles.
Though the exact reason for their use in history isn’t known, it can safely be assumed that they were used for the same purposes as they are today: to allow skier to balance and push themselves forward. Fast forward to modern times and the purpose and design of ski poles hasn’t really changed all too much over the years; however, the technologies that are used and the materials that they are constructed of have definitely evolved.
When it comes to purchasing a set of ski poles, it goes without saying that you need to ensure you’re purchasing the perfect pair for your specific needs. With so many different options on the market, that can seem like a difficult task, though.
In an effort to assist you with selecting the best poles for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors that you should take into consideration before you decide on a model. By considering these factors, you’ll be able to determine exactly what type of poles will work best for you.
The first thing you need to do is determine which type of ski poles you’ll need. There are three main type of ski poles:
- General use. These ski poles are outfitted with small, standard baskets that are intended to be used in all types of conditions. They’re ideal for recreational skiers.
- Race poles. As the name suggests, these poles are made for racing. They have an asymmetrical design, which helps to increase propulsion, thereby making you go faster. They should really only be used by racers, as they aren’t well-suited for general-use
- Powder poles. Powder poles are made of lightweight materials, like carbon fiber or aluminum, and are intended for backcountry touring. They have larger baskets, which provide better flotation on powdery snow.
Once you determine what type of ski poles you’ll need, the next thing you need to do is decide the type of material. Ski poles can be made out of a variety of materials. Options include:
- Aluminum – Durable, lightweight, and inexpensive; it’s the most commonly used material.
- Fiberglass – Even more durable and lighter than aluminum, with the added bonus of being able to “snap back” if they bend
- Carbon fiber / composite – This material is the lightest weight of all and is ideal for long skiing adventures; however, it tends to be fragile and expensive.
The baskets are another important feature to consider. Baskets are those circular rings that sit on the bottom of a ski pole; the part that makes contact with the ground. As such, they play a key role in the function of the poles, as they prevent them from falling into the snow.
Baskets are available in a variety of sizes and are made from various types of materials. For downhill skiing in powdery conditions, smaller baskets are ideal, while larger baskets are better suited for backcountry skiing, as they provide more support as you go uphill. Racers, on the other hand, should opt for the smallest baskets possible, as they will deliver the best performance.
Many poles come with interchangeable baskets to make them more versatile; a nice feature if you are planning on engaging in different types of skiing.
You’ll also want to consider the grips on the poles. Grips are the part of the poles that you hold in your hands. They should be soft and pliable to ensure a firm, yet comfortable grip. Grips are available in a variety of materials. Natural cork is one of the most common materials, as it naturally whisks moisture away, easily molds to the hands, and is soft, yet durable.
Another important feature to consider is the straps, as they are what secure the poles to your arms and ensure that they are within your reach and that you won’t lose them if you fall or let go of the poles.
The grips are attached to the top of the poles, near the grip. They can also be made of a variety of materials, though nylon tends to be the most commonly used, as it is flexible, breathable, and durable. To ensure the best fit, look for straps that are adjustable, as you’ll be able to change the size to suit your specific needs.
Of course, you’re also going to want to consider the size of the poles themselves. The length of your ski poles will have a huge impact on your performance, so choosing the right size is imperative.
In order to determine what size you’ll need, experts recommend standing on level ground, holding the poles upside down (so that the baskets are on the top), and bending the arms to a 90-degree angle so that the poles are resting on the ground. According to professionals, it’s a good idea to go down a size, as doing so will help you balance your weight better.
If you aren’t sure what size you’ll need, you might want to consider investing in a pair of adjustable poles; several of the options on our list are adjustable. The height can be changed so that they’re shorter or taller, allowing you to achieve the perfect size for your specific needs.
If you do opt for adjustable poles, make sure that they have a durable locking mechanism so as to prevent them from collapsing while you are on the slope or in the backcountry.
Ski Poles FAQs
Now that we’ve taken a look at the key factors that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for ski poles, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions that consumers have about ski poles.
Do I really need ski poles?
While it is certainly possible to ski without poles, it really isn’t recommended. Poles balance you and allow you to propel yourself across the snow. Therefore, without poles, skiing would most definitely be a much more challenging sport.
Which material is best?
It depends on your needs. Aluminum is affordable, durable, and lightweight, while fiberglass is even less expensive and just as durable, but it’s also heavier. Carbon fiber is the lightest weight material of all, but it also tends to be the most expensive. Keeping these things in mind when you’re trying to determine which material is best for your needs.
Are baskets really important?
Yes. Baskets, as mentioned, are what prevent the poles from slipping into the snow. The size of the baskets will affect the function of the poles. For example, if you’re skiing on powder and the baskets are too small, your poles will sink into the snow.
The type of ski poles you choose will have a huge impact on your overall success and enjoyment during your downhill or backcountry adventures. With the information presented in this guide, you should be able to choose the best pair of ski poles for your specific needs – even if you aren’t planning on purchasing the poles that we’ve highlighted in our review.