LEKI, the world’s leading manufacturer of Ski, Hiking and Trekking Poles, had its start in Kirchheim, Germany as a hobby of its founder, Karl Lenhart, an airframe mechanic and avid skier. Lenhart believed aluminum would make a superior ski pole compared to the heavy steel models available in the late 1940s. After successfully creating lightweight poles for his friends, the hobby became a full-time business in 1954. The name of the company, LEKI, is a combination of “LE” from Lenhart and “KI” from the town of Kirchheim. Lenhart began producing injection molds for plastic pole parts, revolutionizing the ski pole industry.
In the early 1970s, LEKI launched its own line of ski poles and has since been recognized around the world as the leader in pole manufacturing and innovation. LEKI sets standards that others follow.
LEKI originated the use of nylon webbing for straps and created plastic molded grips and baskets in place of metal and leather. Additionally, Lenhart developed an aluminum tempering process that produced a pole shaft with incomparable strength, durability, and reliability.
In 1984, Klaus Lenhart, Karl’s son, assumed leadership and shortly thereafter developed the first dual-component grip. He is also responsible for improving adjustable pole-locking technology and grip innovations such as the Trigger “Click-In” system and COR-TEC, a material made of cork and latex.
As the ski market continued to flourish, LEKI began manufacturing hiking poles primarily for European mountain guides. The concept of using two poles as a means of relieving stress on knee joints and the lower back appealed to climbers who also saw benefits in performance and security. LEKI poles eventually caught on with the general hiking and trekking population that recognized and appreciated the preventive health benefits, as well as the climbing support and stabilizing effects.
In 1990, LEKI USA was incorporated. The North American market has embraced the company’s line of Alpine, Back Country, Mountaineering, Trekking, and Nordic Walking Poles. Like their European counterparts who have been loyal to LEKI for nearly five decades, American outdoor enthusiasts know and appreciate LEKI for quality and value.