Protect your knees while hiking.
They prolong the onset of leg fatigue by distributing weight between arms & legs.
They help increase your speed thanks to their aid in creating a rhythm.
They increase balance on uneven terrain, river crossings, and slippery log crossings.
They help you test unstable terrain before stepping on it.
They can help you push problematic things like poison oak, spiderwebs, & thorns out of the way.
They can help protect you against wildlife by lifting them overhead to appear larger to a threatening encounter.