No expert, but started using them a few years ago, mostly a pair of REI/Komperdell aluminum poles, some time with Komperdells, and a few miles with a pair of Black Diamonds (carbon fiber? - anyway much lighter). Definite preference for the flick lock adjustments. Run them shorter uphill, longer coming down, and one long and one short if serious side hilling. If it's mostly relatively flat, very brushy, have to use my hands on really steep stuff, or I'm "close" they are collapsed in a side pocket on the Ute. I seem to make much better time/less energy going up steep ground with them, and they add a lot of stability coming down, especially with a meat load. With gloves on the handle material doesn't seem to make much difference for me. Bare handed the cork is nice, but can not speak to longevity of that material (so far so good). I use the metal (carbide?) tip, and they work fine for me in the mountains of central Idaho.
Saved my bacon a couple of years ago during elk season. I had a weird fall in the dark in rugged backcountry and broke my ankle. Used them as crutches to hobble out. Can also prop up a tarp if you are traveling light.