Trekking and Running Poles
Leki MC 12 Vario

$250, 15 oz./pair (men’s 110-130cm pair, without stuff sack)

Sizes: men’s 110-130cm, women’s 100-120cm

If you think that nerding out on the “performance” aspect of trekking and trail-running poles just goes too over the top for you, don’t bother reading any further. But if you’re a serious hiker, trail runner, or backpacker who likes the idea of light, strong, adjustable, and very packable poles designed to help you conserve energy and possibly even move faster and go farther, you need to know about Leki’s innovative MC 12 Vario.

Folding, four-section, adjustable poles—a category with only a few competitors—the MC 12 Vario and all of Leki’s Cross Trail series poles share the unique feature of the Cross Shark strap and grip. Based on the quick-release trigger shark grip developed for Nordic ski poles, the hook-and-loop strap wraps and seals around the hand, while a button on top of the grip, easily depressed with your thumb, releases the strap to free your hand from the pole without constantly having to rip the strap off and on. Depressing that button lets you slide the strap back into place for using the poles.

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Leki MC 12 Vario poles grip.
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Plus, the enhanced width of the MC 12 Vario strap—adjustable for different hand sizes or wearing lightweight gloves, while its perforated mesh releases perspiration—and the ergonomic shape of the grips feel more supportive and comfortable.

As I found on multi-hour outings on my local trails, the design elevates your control of these sticks when hiking or running, enabling a quick swing, plant, and push-off that’s faster and more energy efficient then standard, simple pole straps. It also creates less hand fatigue because you hardly have to grip the poles. The sub-one-pound weight of the poles enhances the ease of swinging the poles.
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