Soul Poles Original Soul 2016 Review by A Better Ski
The Soul Poles Original Soul is a stylish looking bamboo pole that also performs pretty well for resort skiers.
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Soul Poles Original Soul Ski Pole Review
The Soul Poles Original Soul is a conversation starter for sure. Almost every ride up the lift I’ve been asked, “are those bamboo”? Sure, they look great, but that alone isn’t reason enough for me to buy a pole. I spend a lot of time at the resort, and I need a pole that’s going to work for me in a variety of different terrain. I’ve owned, and tested plenty of aluminum, composite, and carbon poles, but this was my first experience with bamboo. Bamboo isn’t new to the industry, but has definitely seen a surge in use over the past few seasons. Bamboo is a fast growing, relatively “sustainable” material that has a good strength to weight ratio. I feel like many in the industry are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact, and bamboo is benefitting from this environmental awareness. I won’t go into the details, or start a heated debate over whether or not bamboo really is sustainable, but rather focus on the performance benefits, or lack of, that bamboo has over other traditional poles.
I felt that the weight was on par with most fixed height composite poles, and a touch lighter than most adjustable aluminum backcountry poles. I wouldn’t call these super light, and I feel that many carbon fiber poles are going to be lighter. Still I found that they aren’t heavy either, and swing weight is still pretty decent. I actually like the slightly heavier feel. It’s easy to get into a rhythm and the extra weight helps me swing my body around when I need to. It also feels more substantial, and I don’t worry as much about breaking them. The Soul Pole Original Soul is a fairly strong pole. Bamboo has a good strength to weight ratio. An all carbon pole is probably going to be stronger still for the weight, but like carbon, bamboo is able to flex better than aluminum and resist bending or breaking. The Original Soul can absorb some punishment on steeper bumped runs. At the same time, the Soul Poles Original Soul is strong enough to plant with some force and provide solid stability.
The Soul Poles Original Soul has a plastic grip that feels fine. Personally I prefer a rubber grip to plastic, and I wish the Original Soul grip was slightly more ergonomic. Still, it’s perfectly fine, and it would fit great in the right hands. I do like that you can chose the color of the grips and baskets of the Soul Poles Original Soul. The baskets I chose where the standard size, and they work perfectly fine for all-mountain skiing. You can also order the Original soul with a custom engraving, personalizing it for yourself, or someone else. The straps are nylon, and although they are comfortable and strong, they do tend to come undone a bit too often. At least two or three times a ski day, I have to adjust the straps. I think this could be a simple fix by adding a small “bump” at the end of the strap to keep it from pulling through so easily.
Bottom Line: The Soul Poles Original Soul is a great looking pole that is a conversation starter for sure. At the same time it’s moderately light, and strong, with a good performance flex. Shock absorption is good, and durability is on par with high end composite poles. It’s not quite as light as some carbon poles, and I think some people will prefer the swing weight of higher end composites. I would prefer better grips, and straps, but definitely not a deal breaker. I would definitely recommend the Soul Poles Original Soul if you looking for a moderate weight, strong, durable, flexible ski pole that is also stylish, customizable, and relatively sustainable. It’s one the best looking poles out there, and it still performs moderately well for resort skiers.
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