Walking canes aid stability and balance for those needing help with mobility. They also have long been used as accessories, making a bold and elegant fashion statement to complement evening wear. Now they are available in colorful patterns to add confidence and character to any outfit while also easing the burden on a leg or hip after injury or surgery, or when joint disorders cause painful movement. With all these options and purposes, it may be difficult to sort out the different types of walking canes and their best uses.
Form Follows Function
This aphorism is credited to famed architect Louis Sullivan in the late 19th century, but it applies to canes in many ways. A cane’s design is guided by its intended use and the needs of its user.
Tip: A cane can have a single, triple, or quadruple base. The more points of contact with the ground, the more stability the cane provides. Most canes, regardless of the number of points on the base, have an added rubber tip to give the stick a better grip on the ground.
Handle: Cane handles come in many shapes, designed to make it easy and comfortable for the user to grasp. While some cane handles or knobs are purely decorative, others are ergonomically designed to provide support and ease of use.
Shaft: The shaft of the cane is the long straight part that bears weight to ease the burden on an injured or ailing limb. Cane shafts come in a great variety of woods and modern synthetic materials like acrylic, including transparent Lucite and carbon fiber. Custom cane shafts are cut to a specific length appropriate for the user.
Features: This is where the variety really kicks in. Canes now come in colorful patterns. Some fold up for portability, and other adjustable walking sticks have telescoping shafts to change their length. Some canes are specially designed to support taller or heavier users or to help users rise from a seated position. The Irish shillelagh began as a weapon for fighting with sticks.
For hundreds of years, gadget canes have concealed everything from dice to snuff to jewelry, to weapons like swords, and now even tasers. Sword canes and similar kinds of gadget canes may classify as illegal concealed weapons in your state, so check local laws.
Fashionable Canes offers a wide variety of canes and accessories for mobility and style. Many users own several different types of canes for assorted occasions.