I bought the LEKI PEAK AERGON XL poles for myself…
Price Paid: $129
I bought the LEKI PEAK AERGON XL poles for myself and a pair of comparable trekking poles from another top European trekking pole maker for my wife. What makes the LEKI poles far superior is the ANGLED GRIP. With the other poles that have a grip with no angle my elbows were slightly sore during a long hike. With the angled grip on the LEKI'S there was no pressure on my elbows despite steep ascents and descents. The grip material on the LEKI was far more comfortable and extended down the pole (XL) for better gripping on the uphills. These anodized aluminum poles felt stronger and sturdier than the slightly lighter part carbon, part titanal material poles of the other maker.
Another advantage of the LEKI poles was the SAS-soft antishock system. It took the pressure off my shoulders and arms, but the antishock movement was only and inch or so and did not affect going uphill nor did they make them unstable crossing a stream or rocky part. Antishock for me is a necessity and makes the poles much more comfortable.
The other poles WERE easier to lock and unlock to lengthen or shorten the poles. With the leki poles (SUPERLOCK SYSTEM) you have to twist two sections of the pole separately to tighten the internal locking mechanism-on one occasion I had to twist the poles several times to get them to lock. With the other poles (THE POWERLOCK SYSTEM) you merely snap shut an external locking mechanism-this is easier, but it also looked like it was more breakable. But I found this advantage a moot point.
Despite what some "experts" say there is NO NEED to lengthen the poles going downhill and shorten them uphill-that would be a real pain hiking in a very hilly area using any pole. Just set the length of the poles to a comfortable default position for yourself before a hike and leave them at that length-FOREVER. On the downhill your arm angle will open up away from your body and I found there is no need to lengthen the poles even on the steepest downhills. On the uphill as the arm angle gets tighter merely slide your hands down the pole to shorten the grip and grip the very comfortable XL handles on the LEKI poles.
The LEKI'S cost more, that and Locking mechanism aside (LEKI claims independent testing shows their locking mechanism to be the strongest in the business) the LEKI poles have such an advantage in comfort and feel there is no contest.