Becky and Troy using LEKI trekking poles to hike downhill among lichen-covered rocks

Why Use Rubber Tips on Trekking Poles?

Trekking poles usually feature hard metal or carbide tips, which provide excellent traction on trails, snow and ice.

Metal tips can wear down when used on ‘improved’ surfaces like asphalt or pavement. Metal tips can also leave unwanted scratches on surfaces and damage sensitive soils. You can use protective rubber tips for these situations.

Rubber trekking pole tips provide several benefits:

decrease wear on your poles

While the built-in metal or carbide tips of your trekking poles are replaceable, you can greatly extend the life of these parts by covering them with rubber tips. This is especially true if much of your trekking pole use occurs on hard or improved surfaces.

Gain improved traction

Rubber tips provide superior grip on unyielding surfaces such as rock, pavement, cobblestones, or concrete walkways. Metal or carbide tips of trekking poles generally can’t provide sufficient grip in these situations.

protect the world and your luggage

Rubber tips reduce the impact of trekking poles on the ground. That means you won’t damage the ground if you’re hiking in sensitive areas. In fact, some high-visitation parks and tourist areas suggest – or even require – that visitors use rubber tips on their hiking staffs and trekking poles so that environmentally sensitive soils or historic areas are not damaged.

Rubber tips reduce the noise of metal tips clacking on the ground. This small benefit can make a surprising difference in crowded settings.

When traveling with trekking poles in your luggage, rubber tips are an easy way to reduce the likelihood of other gear being damaged by the hard metal or carbide tips.

improve function and fitness

When shopping for trekking pole rubber tips, you may notice some are labeled ‘fitness tips’; these have a different shape from standard rubber tips. These types of tips are designed for fitness and are shaped to aid in forward propulsion. If you plan to utilize poles mainly for exercise, fitness tips might be the best choice.

A word about fit

Both metal and rubber tips are designed by manufactures to fit their models of trekking pole. Be sure to purchase the right rubber tip protectors for your trekking poles.

The takeaway

While they’re small and very simple, rubber trekking pole tips can yield numerous benefits, such as decreased pole wear and improved traction while protecting the trail and your luggage.

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Questions? Talk to a gear specialist.