How to choose cross-country ski poles

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How to choose cross-country ski poles

When you’ve chosen your cross-country skis and boots, you need to find a pair of poles. In cross-country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, poles are really important as they help to propel you forward. What size should they be? What kind of straps should they have? What materials should they be made from? Here is our advice to choose the right cross-country ski poles.

Cross-country ski pole sizing

Poles used in classic skiing are shorter than those used in skate skiing.

In skating they should generally come up to the same height as your nose or ears and you can use this formula for a more specific fit: your height in cm x 0.89.

For classic cross-country skiing they should come up to shoulder height or you can use this formula: your height in cm x 0.83.

If your ideal pole length is between two sizes, we advise you to choose the longer of the two. You can reduce the length of your pole by cutting it by a few centimeters at the top, underneath the grip, but this should be carried out by a specialist retailer! 
--- Discover our cross-country ski poles : for HER | for HIM

Poles for children are also available. Kids cross-country ski poles come with 20cm of adjustability, so they can be adjusted for different disciplines and grow with the child.
--- Discover our kids cross-country ski poles selection

Types of cross-country ski pole straps

There are 3 types of pole straps:

  • Loop straps: as in downhill skiing this strap is easy to use for beginners
  • Harness straps: are more comfortable as they hold the pole close to the hand. These straps are used by intermediate to advanced skiers.
  • Quick-release harness straps: these straps disengage from the pole making them very practical.

What should the pole shaft be made from? 


  • Entry level poles are made from aluminium. They are not the lightest on the market but they are sturdy and not too expensive.
  • Mid-range poles are made from composite material using a percentage of carbon to make them more lightweight. 
  • High-end poles are made completely from carbon, making them really sturdy. This makes them the lightest poles but also the most fragile.

--- Discover our cross-country ski poles : for HER | for HIM

Pole swing

In cross-country skiing, after propelling yourself forward and pushing back on your poles, you need to bring your pole back in front of you in a swinging motion. Swing is an important quality in higher-end poles.

Some poles are weighted at the top, which will have an impact on the swing and also on the balance of the pole.  The more weight there is at the top of the pole, the better the swing will be.

Ligherweighted poles are generally more fragile, however the more expensive the pole, the better the swing. This is due to the high carbon content.

How much do cross-country ski poles cost?

The price of cross-country ski poles varies between 20$ and 340$.

Entry level pole shafts are made from aluminium and generally come with loop straps. They are heavier but are not too expensive.

Mid-range poles can be between 65$ and 170$ and are made from composite material with between 20% – 60% of carbon. They generally have a harness strap system, a comfortable, anatomical grip and are lightweight, making them popular among intermediate to advanced level skiers.

High-end poles can vary in price between 160$ and 340$. The shafts are made completely from lightweight carbon, this makes them a little bit more fragile. They are designed for advanced level skiers who regularly compete in races or for those skiers looking to enhance their performance.

It’s best to buy your poles when you buy the rest of your equipment. Once you’ve calculated the right pole size for you, you need to take into account your ability level. If you are a regular skier a lightweight pole that is well weighted will help you to enjoy your skiing even more!