I never learned to hike and backpack with trekking poles, so when my fiancé insisted I start using them I fought him pretty hard on it. Anybody who has ever seen me walk on level ground will understand why he made such a recommendation: I'm downright dangerous, especially when I'm in a hurry! I admittedly do better on uneven, rocky terrain, but the klutzy tendencies still hold pretty strong. Face plants, we go way back.
That said, I was loathe to spend any money on my entrée into Trekking Poles Land because I was sure I'd hate the whole shooting match. (And, to start, I did.) So, I picked up my first trekking poles at Target from their illustrious Eddie Bauer section. They were cheap, and that was pretty much my only requirement.
Fast forward some time later, and I'm still using them. They've survived being shipped across the country for our Yosemite trip (no snapping in half!); more importantly, they've withstood many, many, many trips, plunges, slides, and spectacular falls all over the country (because sometimes even a trekking pole can't save you). Only recently have I noticed my heavier-than-average usage starting to take its toll. Overall, they've held up beautifully. Much more beautifully than their price would imply. Additionally, I like their handles and the way they easily rock in my hands.
Some will consider these heavy, and I'm sure there are other entry-level trekking poles on the market set at a reasonable price. Still, for an entry trekking pole they are a-ok by me. I'm about to make a serious upgrade, but will certainly hang on to these as my backups. If you are curious about using trekking poles, but don't want to invest big money, take a look at these. When you're ready to upgrade, you'll have the motion down and can start to get more technical with your specs.