Plastic Shafts - Inexpensive, and available in many colors, but break fairly easily. Good shafts until you start throwing tight groups and breaking lots of shafts. Materials are usually polycarbonate or nylon, some have replaceable tops for greater longevity.
Composite Shafts - Composite type shafts, like the Alamo or Quiver, have plastic bases that thread into the darts, combined with aluminum or other metal alloy tops that hold the flight. These are excellent shafts, quite durable, and will not vibrate loose as easily as solid aluminum shafts. Generally available with replaceable tops for economy and convenience.
Solid Aluminum Shafts - More rigid and durable than Plastic or Composite shafts, in many styles, some with decorative engraved stripes, spirals, etc. They may tend to vibrate loose, especially on heavier darts. When used with thick flights, such as Dimplex or Nylon, the slots may need to be pried open slightly, with a dart tool or knife blade. Will normally bend instead of breaking when hit; just straighten for more use.
Aluminum shafts often vibrate loose when playing, so rubber O-ring lock washers are highly recommended. This only occurs when there is a metal-to-metal contact, so plastic shafts do not normally need the lock washers.
Spinning Shafts- A variety of shaft styles are now available, that allow the flights to turn out of the way when struck by another dart. Spinning shafts do nothing to improve the flight of the dart through the air, but they do allow tighter groups by letting the flights align with each other. Also, these shaft will greatly reduce torn flights.