I have used LEKI poles for years and recently upgraded my old pole, which had served me for 10 years to a pair of LEKI super MAKALU cortec poles with anti shock.
These are superb and a great improvement on the old design. They are lighter and weight very little, have a stronger lock mechanism and as well as the cork handles they have a black cloth sheath protecting the cork from dirt which is a great idea.
Cork handles; a great idea as some cheaper walking poles handles can give a sweat rash and rub, these go one step further and are protected by a black sheath of cloth to prevent wear
Padded upper stem; this idea I first saw on Craghoppers poles. It allows you to comfortably grip the pole below the handle when ascending steeply without having to alter the length. Altering the length is easy using a 2 handed twist and locks very firmly in place. It extends in two places so is long enough for any task unlike some cheaper poles
Lightweight; each pole weights about 330g approx cheaper poles can be much heavier
Anti shock system; a walking pole can take about 20% of the load off your knees. This system adds a springing shock absorption system that is great as it prevent jarring to wrist on rocky descents, travelling on hard ground and when using the poles like I do when coming down off a style with a pack on.
Titanium tip; These hardly wear - after 10 years of using my old pole including road walks etc the tip is not worn at all! Also on Leki poles the very bottom is flexible and after thinking I have destroyed my pole after getting it trapped in a rock the very tip slowly reforms back straight!
Good top strap with release mechanism, most people don’t realise how important it is to loop your wrist through the top strap these poles came with a very high quality strap very comfy
Many people still have a poor opinion of walking poles seeing them as an old mans tool, more fool them - the benefits they offer on your joints are not to be over looked and the new generation of antishock poles are brilliant. I used to use a single pole for years but am now switching to the pair, takes a little getting used to but well worth the support.
As a serious trekker I find poles are a godsend when crossing fences, styles, gates and streams with a heavy pack on and really save twisted ankles on steep descent and my knackered legs on ascents. There are many cheaper poles on the market but I have seen locking mechanisms break or fail, poles bend etc so my advise is if you are looking for a serious pole that will last a long time buy LEKI
(Picture from LEKI web site http://www.leki.de/html/leki05/content.php?folder=346&ug=12)