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[at-l] Beating a Dead Horse with Poles

Especially after Kahley's question of "Do you hike with poles?" I'm pondering my upcoming investment.
I have been looking at the Leki's with carbide tips, ergonomic handles, shock absorption system, etc.   However, I have also observed what damage said tips have done to the rock grade our local outfitter uses to test boots.  All the rocks are scratched from people testing these poles--which was proudly pointed out to me as proof that the little tips grip just fine.  Are the carbide tips that damaging in actual trail use?

My significant other, whose backpacking mileage now stands at close to 10,000 miles in the last 5 years, swears by Traxx Trekkers with the big rubber foot.  He believes the big rubber foot grips better on wet surfaces and does a whole lot less damage to the trail.
However, the Traxx poles (at least the ones I've seen locally) lack the ergonomic handles and the shock absorbers.

Any thoughts? I'm gonna get a set.  The question is:
Big rubber foot or little carbide tip?

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