Selecting the Best Walking Cane: A Buyers Guide to Walking Canes
A sturdy cane or walking stick can serve a variety of purposes, from a jaunty fashion statement to a reliable and sometimes medically necessary means of balance, support, and pain relief.
While a single tip cane creates a third point of contact and adequate stability for most users, those in need of additional support may opt to rely on a four-footed “Quad Base” style. Quad Base Canes are a popular choice for those recovering from a physical injury as well, especially when transitioning away from a walker or other therapy device.
Things to consider when buying your walking cane:
- What type of walking cane do I need? Am I shopping for fashion, balance assistance, or medical need?
- What is the best cane size for my body type? (height, weight, etc.)
- What, if any, special walking cane features best fit my lifestyle?
Types of Handles For Your Walking Cane
With a standard single-footed walking cane, the differences typically come down to the style of handle, and the materials of both the handle and the shaft.
The Derby style cane handle dates back to the 1400s and is named for Lord Derby who wanted a walking stick that he could hook over his arm to free his hands. The derby style handle is still a favorite to this day, due to its practicality and diversity.
Because weight is placed more directly over the shaft, the user tends to have greater stability.
The Tourist cane handle is modeled after the classic look of a shepherd's crook walking stick.
A favorite for centuries, the classic shepherd's crook cane or hook handle cane is a convenient and affordable option for the cane enthusiast in your life. The process to make this popular tourist walking cane takes special skills because the wood must be heated up and bent into this crook shape with the use of steam.
This must be done in a way to prevent the wood from breaking or splintering. Perfect to hang over a forearm or even on a pants pocket
The Fritz-style walking cane handle was designed in Germany in the 1600s for a German prince with sensitive, arthritic hands. Having less of a curve allows the user's weight to be more evenly distributed across the palm and reduces pressure on the individual joints.
Like the Derby style, the Fritz places weight directly over the shaft, giving added stability.
Knob or Ball Handles
With a long tradition of distinguished elegance and sophistication, knob cane handles offer comfort that you'll love and the classic style that has withstood the test of time for hundreds of years. Popular among gentlemen and ladies alike from medieval times to the present, knob- and ball-handle canes fit comfortably into the palm of your hand while offering a sleek, sophisticated look that you are sure to love.
Ergonomic canes are specially designed for comfort, durability, and style. The interesting look of an ergonomic walking cane handle is the ingenious design that fits your palm like a glove and evenly distributes your weight along the length of the shaft for added stability as well as comfort. Many people that use these canes say the cane handle “fits like a glove".
Every ergonomic walking stick displays a unique style as well as superb craftsmanship that will last for years of heavy use. More doctors prefer the ergonomically designed canes than any other ordinary handles walking canes, for helping with both carpal tunnel syndrome and the many different kinds of painful arthritis.
Pay Special Attention! The palm grip style and other ergonomically designed canes are specially crafted to fit either the right or left hand. Make sure you are aware of what you are ordering before making your purchase!
The offset cane is known as the workhorse of all canes. This is because it is extremely durable, lightweight, and has a comfortable handle. This style of cane is brilliantly designed to distribute the user's weight along the shaft and directly over the rubber tip. Many of our offset handle canes contain a comfort gel grip which adds an extra layer of comfort. This rubber is a similar type of rubber that is used in writing pens and helps prevent the handle from slipping like many other offset canes in the market.
Materials for Your Walking Cane
While there are a vast variety of materials that can be employed in the making of a walking cane, the two most commonly used are natural wood and carbon fiber.
Wood has been used to fashion walking canes for as long as there have been walking canes. Even with today’s technological advances, the strength, beauty, and “one of a kind” uniqueness of natural materials make wood walking canes a time-honored preference.
Carbon fiber is a man-made material that can support extreme weights and pressures while remaining incredibly lightweight. Carbon fiber is actually lighter than aluminum and is an ideal material for manufacturing a portable yet durable walking cane, even in fold-up or telescoping designs.
Which material is right for you?
It really depends on your personal needs is a walking cane. While a classic wood walking cane may lack some of the durability and flexibility of carbon fiber, it’s hard to beat when fashion and aesthetics are features important to you.
Personalizing Your Walking Cane
Height & Weight
The height and weight of the cane you choose is a key factor for both safety and comfort.
A good cane must “fit” its owner to be effective, especially if it’s being used for support or balance assistance. Too short, or too long is not only ineffective but can be dangerous, leading to accidents or the development of spinal or joint issues.
To determine the correct height (ie: length of cane) you should stand flat-footed on an even surface, with your spine as straight as possible (no leaning). Take the cane in your dominant hand, with your arm straight down and the foot of the cane not quite touching the outside of your foot.
A cane of the correct height should end with the top of the handle even with the bend of your wrist.
You should not have to lean to put weight on your cane.
If ordering online, find a flat surface and stand straight with your arm relaxed at your side.
Meanwhile, have someone measure from the bend of your wrist straight down to the floor. (Wearing your typical footwear).
As far as weight goes, the standard cane thickness is ¾” thick. This thickness will offer the proper support for a man or woman of typical height and weight. “Slim-line” walking canes are those that are less than 5/8” thick, while “Extra Strength” canes are those thicker than ¾”.
How to properly walk with a cane
While “how to walk with a cane” may seem like a pretty obvious answer it does, in fact, change quite a bit depending on the user, and the purpose of the cane.
- For support: Holding the cane on the opposite side that you’re supporting, step forward with both the cane and the foot on the opposite side of it, then bring the leg adjacent to the cane forward. Repeat.
- For balance: From a standing position, move the cane forward a typical step length, allowing it to bear some of your weight, and step forward with the adjacent leg, followed by the outside leg. Repeat.
- For injuries: Starting with the cane on the same side as the injury, move the cane forward, followed by the injured leg. Allow the cane to support your injured side, as you bring your good leg forward.
In all of these situations, be sure to maintain your normal stride length or slightly less. You never want to be “chasing” your cane.
ACCESSORIZING YOUR WALKING CANE
Rubber Cane Tips
Just like putting new tires on a car, a new rubber cane tip will help prolong the life of any walking stick or cane. It will make the cane perform like new by helping grip the ground once again.
There are many fashionable colors for your replacement cane tip, to help bring some style to your cane. Some of these tips have functional options like an integrated ice-gripping tip or a pivoting cane tip base. Other incorporate metal spikes or teeth for added safety in icy weather.
There are cane tip designs that many people are looking for including low-profile rubber cane tips, or smaller sized cane tips for a more discreet look, The steel inserted cane tips that have steel washers inside to make them some of the longest-lasting cane tips on the market,
Large base cane tips have a wider cane tip base for extra support, while non-marking, Fortello rubber cane tips won’t leave black marks on white kitchen floors. This is very important when walking on white tile floors where a standard cane tip can leave black streaks.
For convenience or added flair, a cane strap ensures that you can let go of your cane without having to lean it up against something and having it drop to the floor.
A good cane strap should offer the utmost in comfort, support, style, and selection.
Most offer a button snap installation which allows you to install the strap without having to remove the rubber tip. Sometimes removing the rubber tip can be a tough process so it’s best not to have to deal with the hassle.
Many of these cane wrist straps come in fashionable colors and soft high-quality materials such as suede leather. They are perfect for anyone interested in adding some flair to their cane and also wants the freedom to use both hands when needed.
A strap is an affordable accessory and something every cane user should have.
While most walking cane retailers don’t work directly with insurance companies, some insurance providers will reimburse you for the cane if it’s recommended for you by a doctor or other health professional. Be sure to contact your insurance company and confirm this before purchasing your cane.
Buying a new cane, one that fits your frame, stride, and personal needs can be stressful and confusing, especially if this is your first time needing one.
We hope that, by providing this guide, we have answered some of your questions and alleviated some of that stress.
Our goal is to do whatever we can to help you choose the right cane so that you may continue to enjoy your mobility and safety!
Using a larger cane base or tip can greatly increase the stability and support offered by your walking cane.
Some, like the SafeTBase, allow canes to stand alone, providing a hands-free solution and convenience when you need to attend to something important that requires the use of both hands.
This high-grade rubber used in the Fortello tips will not mark your floors. High-quality large cane bases and tips are a popular accessory, and available for almost any cane user who desires additional support and convenience.
Walking canes are fairly maintenance-free devices, with little extra care necessary to keep them in working order. However, taking the time for some routine care will help your cane last longer and perform its best.
How to Clean Your Cane
Like most things that see frequent or even daily use outside, your can is going to periodically need cleaning.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to clean a cane. A microfiber cloth with mild, soapy water will usually do the trick.
Wood canes have special finishes that can be damaged by harsh soaps, chemicals, or detergents. So, when cleaning a wood cane avoid using any of these products to prevent damage to the finish. Use a wood polish, cleaner and conditioner like Howard's Feed-n-Wax Wood Preserver to clean, polish, and protect your cane.
For the best cleaning solution, we recommend Howard's Orange oil. Gently wipe the cane with this cleaner to remove dirt, stains, and build-up for a cleaner cane that looks its best.
Cane storage is very important for both the life and performance of your cane.
Store a cane upright on a cane stand when possible, or some kind of a rack or shelf. Avoid leaning the cane against a wall as this can cause warping on some canes over time.
Store a cane in a cool and dry place away from excess heat, cold, water, or sunlight.
General Cane Maintenance
There are just a few things to be mindful of when maintaining a cane.
Be sure to change your rubber cane tips and grips as needed. They won’t perform as well once the rubber wears down or becomes uneven.
Worse, a worn-out rubber tip can expose the slick point of a wood or metal cane causing it to slip on some surfaces.
Take the same care with any other accessories for your walking cane and make sure to replace them as they wear down so your cane performs its best for many years to come!
To provide cane users with a fashionable option when in need of a walking aid.
Fashionable Canes is a family-owned and operated business based in Largo, Florida that developed out of a love of walking canes. When we started our business in 1999, many canes looked drab and boring.
At that point in time, there were only a handful of fashionable walking canes available. So we made it our mission to search the world for more fashionable choices for walking cane users.
Our strong dedication to our mission of having fashionable choices for a functional product has made us the leader in fashionable walking canes. This dedication has given us the ability to offer the largest selection of fashionable walking canes anywhere else in the world.
It is our pleasure to be able to help people feel comfortable and walk with pride when using one of our fashionable products. A reliable, fancy cane is an investment in your health and your safety.Given the beauty and functionality of these high-quality walking canes, it is no wonder that so many of our customers turn into collectors.