Frequently Asked Questions

LEKI Pole Care and Maintenance PDF

Also see our Guide To Replacement Pole Sections and the general Guide To Spare Parts.

Who runs the website?
The website is operated by Open Air Cambridge Ltd. You will see that all pages are headed with the "LEKI at Open Air" branding to remove any doubts about who the site is operated by. Open Air have had a shop in Cambridge since 1990 and started selling LEKI trekking poles soon after. Utilising the in-depth knowledge of LEKI products built up over the years the company owners decided, after discovering that the domain was available, to create a web shop to make this expertise available to the whole of the UK.

What is the best pole for me?
The reason there are so many models available is that everybody has different requirements. These are due to many factors such as height, weight, type of activity, budget and other reasons. Also a user may have other priorities or reasons for using poles, such as protecting an injury, increasing endurance or being able to carry heavier loads. See the bottom of this page for our guides to choosing Trekking or Nordic Walking poles.

Should I use one pole or two?
Two poles have more than twice the benefit of one. Some users may use a single pole for a bit of reassuring stability or to help them down large steps, but one pole will typically only consistently hold 5% of the users weight. Two poles, if used correctly, can carry 15% of the users weight for long periods, taking the load away from the legs to the, otherwise unused, muscles of the arms and shoulders.

Why are most poles only available in pairs?
LEKI only manufacture their Trekking and Nordic Walking poles in pairs because that is the way they are designed to be used. Most people new to using poles initially feel awkward having a pole in each hand, but find that if they persevere the full benefits of using poles will come to them after a few days. We have also found that most users who purchase a single pole soon want another one to make a pair, often finding that an exact match to their original one is not available.

What is Nordic Walking and how do the poles differ from trekking poles?
Nordic Walking began as a summer training exercise for serious "cross country" skiers. It can be seen as a half-way activity between low impact walking and high stress running where the whole body is exercised. Fitness walkers in Europe adopted Nordic Walking as a time-efficient, low-stress, total body workout.

Can I use Nordic Walking poles for Trekking?
Nordic Walking poles feature a narrow profile "cross country"-style grip with adjustable and releasable straps. This grip is not suited to Trekking as it is not designed to carry the same load as those on trekking poles. The top of the grip also has no wide platform to rest the hand on and to protect the user in case of a fall.

Can I Use Trekking poles for Nordic Walking?
LEKI Nordic Walking poles are slightly modified versions of their world famous trekking poles. Some users have been known to "have a go" at Nordic Walking with their Trekking poles, but quickly abandon this due to the (necessarily) more cumbersome nature of the grips and straps on these poles.

What is the Super Lock System (SLS) and does it differ from the old "Classic" system?
The SLS is LEKI's advanced internal pole locking system; it offers an improvement on the older Classic system as it  generates 400% more locking force and requires very little torque to achieve this. It is also far less likely to stick in extreme cold. The Classic is still featured in lower priced Leki poles.

What is Speedlock and what are its advantages?
Speedlock uses an external lever to lock the section in place. Because no twisting of the sections is required it allows  quicker adjustment in the length of the pole when terrain changes. Also, because the mechanism is external it is easier to operate in icy conditions.

How do I adjust the spring of a Triple Spring System pole?
The spring in Triple Spring System poles can be set to three positions: Soft, Medium and Locked. To adjust push the pole in to the ground to fully compress the spring then while holding the middle section steady turn the upper part on third of a turn (I.e. 120 degrees) and release. Repeat this until the desired position is achieved.

What is the Soft Antishock System (SAS) and how does it differ from the older "Triple Spring" system?
SAS was LEKI's more advanced shock absorber; It offered an improvement from the old Triple Spring System in that it features a true shock absorber, acting to dampen the shock during use of the poles that would otherwise be transferred to the joints of the upper body. The dampening effect is due to the inclusion of two elastomeric pads placed either side of the internal spring. The old system is still featured in the lower priced Leki poles. Most SAS models can have their shock absorbers locked for extra stability. This system was replaced on later poles with the SAS-Lite system.

Can I lock the SAS shock absorber?
Only some early models featuring the SAS shock absorbers can be locked. Pull the middle section out past the STOP mark. The shock absorber mechanism can then be seen. If the black plastic outer part at the end of the middle section has a  long L shaped slot with a pin in it that moves in and out with the shock absorber then the shock absorber can be locked. When the spring is compressed the pin can be twisted in to the foot of the L, locking it in position. This can only be done on some models that have the shock absorber as part of the middle section.

What is SAS-Lite?
To save weight most LEKI AntiShock models now have their shock absorbers on the lower section. This system also has a shorter travel compared with standard SAS removing the need to be able to lock the shock absorber.

Is the Ultralight Titanium range manufactured from titanium?
No. This branding is used due to it's light weight association. The alloy does in fact have a small percentage of titanium in the mix; the purpose of this is to increase stiffness, compensating for the reduced diameter of the tubing used in this category. It is the reduction in shaft diameter (not material thickness) that results in such a lightweight pole.

How durable is the Carbide Flextip?
The tungsten carbide "point" is very durable and wears very slowly in normal use. It normally only needs replacing after  prolonged heavy use on hard rocks or roads. The Flextip is also designed to flex by up to 30 degrees to prevent damage if it gets caught in, say, a crack in rocks. If poles are to be used on surfaced paths and roads regularly consider using a  rubber ferrule to extend the life of tip and provide a better grip on these surfaces.

How is a Carbide Flexitip replaced?
The Carbide Flexitip is not normally glued  on, the exception being poles that have a very glossy surface finish. They are designed to come off under stress, e.g., when jammed in a rock crack which reduces the likelihood of the pole actually snapping. The tip may come off when pulled using a tool such as mole grips or pliers. If you have difficulty in getting the tip off, try heating it in a cup of boiling water for a minute then wrapping in a cloth to pull it off. Don't forget to remove the basket first as this is more difficult once the Flextip is removed. A new tip can then be pushed in to place; make sure it is tapped firmly in place on a solid surface.

Are the poles left/right handed?
Some poles are "handed" if the strap is shaped to fit one hand better than the other.Right hand poles have a black dot or a "R" printed on the handle, left handed poles have a white dot or a "L" printed on the handle. The poles themselves are not asymmetric, it is the strap that is; when the strap is correctly set for use the broad, smooth section of the strap should curve towards the right on a right handed strap and vice-versa. This provides a more comfortable feel during use (and less likelihood of blisters). You can change the configuration by removing the locating pin and strap wedge from the handle, and readjusting the strap before re-assembly.

What is the correct way to use the straps?
Check that the straps are not twisted and that they form a smooth webbing "cup". Push the hand up though the loop, open the hand and grasp the pole handle down and over the strap. The strap should sit comfortably between your hand and the handle. In this way the strap will give the maximum amount of support through the wrist and is the most supportive and versatile way of using it. Also when the hand is opened the pole simply hangs from the wrist.

How do you change the handle?
The handles are a tight push-fit and can be removed with a jug of boiling water and a vice! Try to get as much expansion as possible on the handle by placing it in boiling water for 2 minutes or more, clamp the handle in a vice and twist the pole to get it to release. This operation should only be considered if the old handle is to be replaced.

Is there a guarantee?
LEKI offers a lifetime global warranty on material defects and manufacturing defects, as well as a ten-year availability guarantee for spare parts.