When you’re barreling down the trail chasing a PR, the last thing you want to worry about is what to do with your hands. That’s where this three-section, collapsible pole’s unique strap system comes in. It’s ultrawide and has a thumb hole so it fits more like a glove than a loop, meaning you can power uphill without having to clench your hands too tightly; one tester was able to pull his weight up the steepest section of 5,516-foot Big Bald in Tennessee without any wrist or finger strain. On the descent, the Cross Trail MCT 12 collapses to the smallest size in the test (16.5 inches) for easy stowage. You can also disengage the strap with a single button push, which allowed our tester to easily transfer one pole to his other hand for food intake on the 40-mile Mt. Mitchell Race Challenge without throwing off his stride. Ding: If you don’t want to use the straps, the handles lack grooves for hand placement and become slippery in humid conditions.
$249; 14.1 oz. per pair; 43-51 inches