Last Updated on 10/11/2021
Cork Vs EVA Grip for Hiking Poles
One of the main features of any hiking pole is the handles and you will have to decide on cork vs EVA grips. Cork grips are generally considered to be better than EVA. Cork is natural and does not absorb moisture readily, but cracks with time and is not as shock absorbent as EVA.
If you have ever used hiking poles more advanced than a stick whittled into shape, you will appreciate the comfort of a quality grip. The majority of poles come with either cork or EVA foam grips on them and there are benefits to both.
We should give a mention to rubber grips here which are the third choice. Rubber grips are solid and uncomfortable and often lead to hotspots or blisters. They are weather-resistant and extremely durable, though, but we don’t recommend them for long walks or continual use.
But what’s the best choice when comparing cork grip vs EVA grip? Let’s have a look.
Benefits of Cork for Hiking Pole Handles
So what’s so good about cork, then?
- Cork is naturally moisture-wicking and does not absorb moisture. Unlike EVA handles, cork does not end up slippery or soaked on long walks. Wet handles are uncomfortable and slippery and can cause blisters or sores over time.
- Because it doesn’t hold moisture in the same way as EVA, cork won’t freeze. They also stay cool in the summer, unlike EVA, so your hands don’t overheat.
- Cork is smooth and non-abrasive. This helps you avoid sores and hotspots on your hands, which can lead to blisters over time.
- When you first get your hands on your new cork grips, they might feel a bit chunky. Cork has a certain amount of elasticity in it and conforms to your hand over time. This leaves you with a more secure and comfortable grip the more you use your pole.
- Cork is all-natural. Compared with the manufacturing of EVA foam, it is considered to be a sustainable practice. If you have environmental interests at heart, this may be one of many small changes you can make to make a difference.
Benefits of EVA Foam for Trekking Pole Handles
Well, if cork grips are that good, can we really compare EVA vs cork grip? There are definite benefits to either, though, and some people may prefer EVA over cork.
- EVA foam is more durable than cork. Though it’s unlikely that your cork grip is going to fall apart quickly, it can crumble over the years. EVA will outlast cork and probably most other parts of your pole, too.
- Not just more durable, but cheaper too. Poles with EVA handles are usually around $20 – $30 cheaper than those with cork grips. Couple that with the fact they last longer, it’s a far more economic purchase.
- EVA closed-cell foam has a high level of shock absorption. If you spent a lot of time on hard or rocky trails, this extra cushioning can help to save your wrists. This is even more effective when coupled with straps, which help to relieve the tension on your wrists.
- This may not be their key selling point, but EVA is lighter than cork. Of course, there are other components that make up a hiking pole that can have more of an effect. Just because it has an EVA grip doesn’t mean your pole is automatically lighter, but it helps.
Cork Vs EVA Grips, Which is Best for Hiking Poles?
In the great cork vs EVA grip debate, which trekking pole grip do we prefer then? Well, there’s an element of personal preference. In general, cork is considered to be a better choice, especially among those who are going on longer hikes or in wetter conditions.
EVA does have many positives and is probably more commonly used, despite the consensus that cork is better. EVA handles are more readily available on a wider range of poles. Couple that with the durability and affordability and you can see why it’s so popular.
Cork is definitely worth the extra cost if you plan to use your poles rigorously. Once it conforms to the shape of your hand, you will have your own personalized pole which does not absorb water and wicks sweat.
So what’s best? Well, that’s up to you. Like a lot of things in the outdoors, cork vs EVA grip for hiking poles comes down to personal preference.