These are the first poles I ever bought or even tried. Next to getting hydraulic Cyborg legs these are the best thing for hiking. Ever. They instantly turned me into a four legged mountain goat.
Took them on a 7 mile fastpack initially, and I was flying down wet rocky trails faster than I could free fall. These give you the balance and confidence to make some INSANE steps and jumps you would have never tried without them! If your into crazy technical hiking these are must haves. I also have a questionable ankle that always gets sore and this negated that completely. Also great for skirting around a large muddy or wet section of trail and for water crossings.
Upper body workout is impressive as well, I read they take 25% of the work off of your legs. Spreading out the exertion kept me from taking breaks every 20 minutes. The shock absorption is a nice bonus, grips are great. On downhills I was putting 20-30 lbs of pressure on each pole and they held it like champs. Putting that much weight on them GREATLY diminishes leg impact. Pairing them with my Osprey Aether (60) with its pole storage straps made coverting to scrambling or walking flats super fast.
Some tips I picked up: Use the wrist tethers correctly and spread your weight through your wrist as well as your hand; you can make your lead pole longer than the other; sometimes using one pole is better than both; alternating your leg and pole arm on hills is clutch – try to maintain that form and you will crush uphills and get a serious workout.
If you are on the fence with a pole purchase ask yourself this: Would you go skiing without poles? Its really the exact same difference. Also if you go hiking with a friend that doesn’t have poles or good gear, letting them use one will greatly improve the odds of them hiking with you again.