I'm installing the SPT STS next week with Kartboy bushings and I'm thinking I may not like the stock shift knob with a shorter throw (probably try it out first that way before ordering anything), but I'm already looking at my options and it seems that boot retaining lip tends to limit what you can use, at least without some kind of jury rigging (e.g. zip tie) or just letting it hang down a bit.
Even though I like the look of the metal and metal-hybrid knobs, I don't think I'd like the extreme heat/cold issues with them or the workarounds (gloves, socks, etc. used to avoid them). The duracon models are still basically plastic and kind of have a cheap feel to my hand (fondled one at the Subie dealer last month) compared to leather or metal.
The STI 5-speed handle appears to be a shorter/rounder leather-wrap handle and looks much better than the stock one from the photos I've seen, but it's pricey and I wonder if I'd prefer the feel of leather all the way around instead of a pointless shift-pattern on top like the stock one also has (my '04 WRX shifter was leather all the way around and thinner than this one).
The Varis Carbon Fiber sphere looks pretty good in the photos I've seen of it and would probably go well with my DGM color and black color scheme (contrast), but I haven't seen a 5-speed compatible "lip" version thus far putting it back in the work-around category.
I need to check some more sites and see if I can find a full leather one to my liking as an alternative (or at least with a different shape handle, more sphere-like I think). Otherwise, I'm thinking the STI 5-speed leather one from Subaru might be the best option, despite it's price.
I'm open to suggestions, though (taking the above into account).