The Best Trail Running Poles For Ultra Running In 2024

If you run ultras or simply enjoy technical mountain running and fastpacking adventures, then some of these ultralight trekking poles may just become your new best friend.

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Welcome to our best trail running poles buyer’s guide which features the top lightweight trekking poles for trail runners, ultrarunners, and fastpackers. If you’re training for a mountain race and think you’ll be needing poles on race day too, then you’ve come to the right place.

Looking for hiking poles instead? See our roundup of the best trekking poles for hiking buyer’s guide.

Generally, I would recommend going for the lightest running poles you can afford, which are typically made from carbon (rather than aluminum). Consider folding/collapsible poles too, if you plan to stow them in a running hydration vest while not in use.

If you’re short on time, my top pick all-round favorite trail running poles are the Black Diamond Distance Z and the LEKI Ultratrail FXOne – both are outstanding lightweight folding poles for running.

Alastair using his LEKI Ultratrail FX.One poles during a hill training session
Alastair using his LEKI Ultratrail FX.One poles during a hill training session

All poles in this list are made from carbon and have a foldable/collapsible mechanism because I believe the best running poles should have these features as standard.

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This guide is regularly updated so remember to bookmark this page and check back before buying your next pair of trail running or hiking poles.


What are the benefits of using trail running poles?

Below are some of the main reasons why you may want to consider using poles while running.

Alastair using his Mountain King poles during UTMB OCC
Alastair using his Mountain King poles during UTMB OCC
  • They make light work of uphill climbs on steep (eg mountainous) trails.
  • They save your legs on long, hilly races.
  • They allow you to get into a rhythm!
  • They help with balance on steep descents by allowing you to probe for stable ground.
  • They allow for space (and self) preservation during busy races.

RUNNING WITH POLES GUIDE: If you haven’t used trail running poles before, have a read of our Trail Running with Poles advice guide which explains in-depth, how best to use them while running in the mountains, plus their pros and cons.

If you’re fairly new to trail running, you’ll most certainly enjoy reading our beginner’s guide to trail running a helpful read. It’s not just trail runners that can benefit from cutting down on the overall weight of their poles and other gear that gets carried over the trails and mountain passes!

If you’ve arrived at this page because you are looking for some new lightweight trekking poles for hikes including thru-hiking and fastpacking, then you’ve come to the right place. Some lightweight poles that are marketed to, or suitable for trail runners, are referred to by stores and brands as being lightweight hiking poles (or sometimes also ‘lightweight trekking poles’).

This is changing, however, as the sport skyrockets in growth, and you’ll usually find us calling them ‘trail running poles’ most of the time given that we are typically using them for mountain running. These trail running poles are therefore also great for hiking if keeping the overall weight of your hiking gear is a concern.

What to consider when choosing hiking or trail running poles

  • Weight – Go for hiking poles that are as lightweight as you can afford.
  • Durability – When running with hiking poles, they can get bashed
  • Length – As a general guide, while holding the pole with your arm at your side and elbow at a 90-degree angle, your forearm should be parallel the ground. Have your shoes on while measuring.
  • Folding or fixed length – this list includes only folding hiking poles, as we consider these to be the best options for trail and ultra running.

Now that you know what to look out for in terms of features, you’re ready to learn about what I consider to be the best trail running poles right now.


The best trail running poles in 2024, so far!

LEKI ULTRATRAIL FX.ONE SUPERLITE

1. LEKI Ultratrail FX.One

To learn more, read my in-depth LEKI Ultratrail FX.One review, next.

Weight: 12.9 oz / 366g (pair – including wrist straps)

The Leki Ultratrail FX.ONE trekking poles are specifically designed for trail running, and are excellent for all year training runs, and quick transitions when running long, ultra-distance races or for lightweight hiking trips.

There is an even lighter version called the Ultratrail FXOne Superlite which would be the lightest pole on this list, weighing in at only 9.6 ounces for a pair, however we recommend the FX.ONE for training and most trail runners as they’re much stronger and durable for training and racing with, less expensive and overall offer better value for money for most runners.

The push-button breaks down the poles quickly and once you stow them away in your bag they’ll weigh even less than your water. The breathable, lightweight mesh in the wrist strap offers support and closes around the hand securely so you can focus more on the terrain and less on your grip as you maneuver on scree and technical steeps.

Whether you’re training for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), or another mountain race of that caliber, or maybe the local steeplechase you want easy to use (and setup up/breakdown) trekking poles, then these are for you. These are a really popular choice amongst ultra trail runners right now as you may have noticed if you follow ultra running coverage over the summer months.


Black Diamond trekking poles distance carbon z ultralight hiking poles

2. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z ($190)

Weight: 9.9oz / 281g (pair)

At less than 10 oz. for a pair, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles are the gold standard for lightweight, collapsible trail running poles which is why they made it into the top 3 of this ‘best trail running poles’ roundup.

Similar to the other great running poles on this list, the Distance Carbon Z poles are made with carbon, which is why they’re so lightweight.

They are also designed to fold up into 3 small pieces, which is important if you need to store them back in your running hydration vest while not in use.

Black Diamond’s latest Distance Carbon Z’s joint support has been further improved, making them 30% stiffer, and they’re now more durable with reinforcements around the locking mechanism and upper shaft.

There are also non-scarring rubber tips and a lightweight EVA foam grip. With a reasonable price point too, these are our current top pick for the best lightweight running poles.

These Black Diamond poles are also very popular with backpackers and hikers due to their strength, lightweight, and how easily they store them in a backpack when not in use.


The Best Trail Running Poles For Ultra Running In 2024 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure

3. Mountain King Trail Blaze Skyrunner Ultra (£135)

Weight: 7.4oz / 210g (pair)

These 4-section ultralight trail poles are technically superb, featuring 100% carbon tubes. Designed and engineered in Great Britain and weighing in at just 7.4oz for the 120cm size (my size), and packing down to a compact 35cm in length, they are incredibly easy to carry and store. The comfortable webbing strap has a firm yet soft inner lining, ensuring comfort during long runs.

Fun fact, Mountain King poles were my first ever trail running poles, that I consequently ended up using in countless ultra marathons around the world. I still own them to this very day, and they still work great.

The poles are held together by a strong inner cord that locks in place when assembled, and to set them up, all you do is hold the cord and let the pole sections drop down and slot into each other. then pull the cord until you see the knot, then pull the knot to the outside of the groove in the black top piece to lock the cord. Secure the loose cord with the Velcro strap at the base of the handle. To fold, unhook the knot, close the four sections, and secure them together with the Velcro tie.

These poles two trekking baskets and a mesh storage bag, and spare or replacement pole sections are available if needed. The Skyrunner poles are praised for being light, strong, compact, and visually appealing. They’re perfect for ultra running, skyrunning, lightweight hiking, backpacking, offering excellent stability and ease of use.


REI Co Op Flash Carbon trekking Poles best trail running poles trail and kale

4. REI Co-op Flash Carbon

Weight: 13.6 oz. (pair)

These REI Co-op Flash Carbon trekking poles are ideal for quick-moving trips along troublesome trails.

They are lightweight, easily adjustable in length, and have versatile grips that fit a variety of hand positions.

Constructed with a 3-section design that offers just enough sturdiness, these poles collapse down rather than fold which means they don’t go as short in length when collapsed, so check your running hydration pack can carry these before purchasing.

The handle grips are nice and light and are made from breathable EVA foam, while the adjustable wrist straps help you control your poles.

The REI Co-Op Flash Carbon is a great entry-level running pole.

I hope you enjoyed reading this best trail running poles buyer’s guide, if you have any questions, please drop me a comment below.

Alastair
Alastairhttps://www.trailandkale.com
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello guys, I need your advice, I am a little overweight but my main problem is that I have a very sore knee and I already broke 2 poles because of the pressure I have to put on them, is there a model or brand that are tougher than others….thanks in advance….

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