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Our Ultimate Buying Guide for Walking Sticks - 2024

Posted by Francis Whitehead on May 20, 2024

Text reads "Ultimate Buying Guide Walking Sticks" with man on beach holding a cane

Walking sticks, or walking canes, are one of the most popular mobility aids sold in the world, with a survey stating that 17 percent of men and 25 percent of women use a walking stick for their mobility. However, all the different variants, styles and sizes makes the question ‘which walking stick do I need?” appear in shopper’s heads.

That’s why we’ve written our Ultimate Buying Guide to help you find the right walking stick for you or your loved one.

Do I Need a Walking Stick?

A walking stick is easy to use and doesn’t take up much space in your home or car. It serves as an affordable option for a mobility aid and is usable in various settings. Additionally, they are available in a wide range of colours and designs, enabling you to express your individuality.

While walking sticks are well-used, they can be beneficial for people who:

  • Have a disability or injury that affects only one side of the body
  • Suffer from back pain
  • Have arthritis
  • Are recovering from a stroke or a recent surgery
  • Need extra support for balance and stability

This is because they can improve your balance, ease pressure off your joints, assist you in sitting or standing and help reduce the risk of falls.

They not only have physical benefits, but mental benefits too, as a walking stick can help you to live independently, improve your confidence, and allow you to lead a fulfilling, active lifestyle.

However, it is important to note that a walking stick can only support one side of your body, unless you use two walking sticks. If you have more severe balance issues and your whole body weight needs supporting, a rollator or walker might be better suited to you.

What is the Best Walking Stick for Me?

Now that you’ve decided that a cane is for you, it is time to consider which one is best for you. The best walking stick for you is ultimately one that looks the part, is the perfect height, has a grip you feel comfortable with, and can support your weight.

This is why it is important to consider the specifications of your chosen walking stick before buying.

Choosing The Right Material for Your Walking Stick

Man holding cane

Walking sticks come in a variety of different materials. Let’s find out which one is right for you.

Wooden Walking Sticks

Wooden walking sticks are made from a variety of different woods such as chestnut, ash, hazel, and oak, and are available in a range of different colours.

Traditional wooden canes are still an exceedingly popular choice as they are long-lasting and have a classic, iconic look. They can be sawn exactly to the right length of the user, according to their height.

Top Tip: Remember to take care when cutting the walking stick to the right length as you can’t simply stick the end back on if you have cut off too much. Measure twice – cut once!

For more information, we have a guide on How to Measure for a Walking Stick.

Aluminium Walking Sticks

Aluminium is a material used in a lot of walking sticks because it’s lightweight, yet very strong.

Aluminium walking sticks are either folding or non folding sticks. Both styles are height adjustable with an E clip or spring-loaded ball button push. This allows easy height adjustments, in one-inch increments. This provides an extra degree of flexibility and convenience for the user.

Choosing The Right Type of Walking Stick

There are a few different types of walking stick to choose from, so it’s important to pick one that suits your needs.

Folding Walking Sticks

Folding walking sticks are useful for those that don’t necessarily need to use their stick all of the time, but need something they can store away and carry around with them, should the need for it arise. They are usually made of aluminium, allowing for a lightweight structure that is also extremely durable.

Folding walking sticks come in four or five sections that are held together inside with a long and strong elastic strap. When the user wants to fold the stick away, each section is simply pulled apart with each section folding up alongside the others. When the stick is to be used again, simply free the sections and the stick literally snaps back together!

A range of accessories are available to hold folding walking sticks together when they are not in use. Alternatively, a plastic clip can also be used for this purpose.

Many folding sticks also have a height adjustment capability in the top section of the stick nearest the handle.

Non-Folding Walking Sticks

Traditional, non-folding walking sticks are best suited for those that need to use a walking stick most, if not all, the time.

Non-folding walking sticks are available in a range of materials and handle styles, with height-adjustable or fixed height options.

Top Tip: If you’re looking for a traditional wooden walking stick, then you’ll need to search for a non-folding walking stick.

Choosing The Right Style of Walking Stick

The majority of walking sticks are straight in style with a tip (or ferrule) on the bottom. However, there are a few different shaped stick styles which we have reviewed below.

Swan Neck Walking Sticks

swan neck stick has an angled shaft at the top, close to the handle which moves the position of the handle in relation to the straight section of the stick’s shaft.

A swan neck style stick is particularly useful if the user is unstable on their feet and therefore needs to place a lot of their weight on to the stick.

Tetrapod’s: Quad And Tripod Walking Sticks

Tetrapod sticks comprise of two options: quadruped sticks and tripod sticks.

Tripod walking sticks have three legs and are available in standard or wide base styles.

Using a wide base tripod walking stick means you are less likely to slip or fall during use, meaning you can go about your everyday tasks with peace of mind.

Quadruped walking sticks have four legs and are also available in standard or wide base styles.

A wide base quadruped walking stick provides extra security to those who are more unsteady on their feet, thanks to its ability to support more weight.

Wide based styles have feet that protrude roughly 10 inches up from the base of the shaft, while the feet of the small-based styles are fixed onto a plate near the base of the shaft of the stick.

Top Tip: A bonus advantage of this style of stick is that it stands up on its own, which is particularly useful if the user is prone to dropping their stick.

Walking Sticks with Built in Seats

Stick seats are cleverly designed canes with built-in seats, useful for those who want to take a rest when out and about.

Stick seats are available in a variety of different styles, for example:

Folding Stick Seat

A folding stick seat is around 5 inches in depth, made from material slung between two upside-down U shapes. The two U-shaped stick sides open up to provide the seat.

Perching or Walker Stick Seat

A perching/walker stick seat is a more traditional style of seat stick which folds out to provide a bicycle-style seat to perch on for short periods of time. For example, the Flipstick is a popular and innovative twist on the shooting stick, available in a wide range of colours.

These types of sticks are perfect to take on long walks and hikes, for when you might want a short break in between.

Choosing The Right Handle Style for Your Walking Stick

Elderly hand holding cane

There is a wealth of different walking stick handle styles to choose from, each with their own advantages - it’s all about finding the style that’s the right fit for you!

Crook Handle Walking Sticks

Crook handle walking sticks have a traditional curved shape that can simply hook over the arm when not in use. This is usually the shape you think of when you picture a wooden walking stick, not too dissimilar to a shepherd’s crook!

Derby Handle Walking Sticks

Derby handle walking sticks provide a more elegant yet supportive handle that can also hook over the arm when not in use. Classic Canes offer many of this style in a wide array of vibrant and expressive designs!

Fischer Handle (also called Arthritis Grip) Walking Sticks

Fischer handle walking sticks offer a comfortable design that helps to distribute weight and pressure across the palm. These have been specially designed for people who have arthritis in the hands.

Ergonomic Handle Walking Sticks

Ergonomic handle walking sticks offer an orthopaedic design for either hand that provides comfort and support, making them also well-suited for those with arthritis.

Petite Handle Walking Sticks

Petite handle walking sticks, as the name suggests, are for people with smaller hands. They’re similar in style to the Derby handle, just on a smaller scale.

Walking Stick Accessories and Replacement Parts

After you’ve decided on your chosen stick to purchase, it’s good to consider some accessories you can buy to extend the life of your stick further,

Walking Stick Ferrules

Ferrules are the tips which fit at the end of the walking stick and touch the ground. Some sticks have metal tips, but the majority have either PVC or rubber ferrules, which tend to provide the best grip on the ground when in use. They are clever little things, ferrules, they tend to have a metal disc inside to ensure that the end of the shaft of the stick is not damaged if the rubber or plastic on the outside wears through.

Ferrules do wear through quickly and therefore should be checked often for signs of wear and replaced when necessary.

Walking Stick Straps

Walking stick straps are usually fitted by removing the ferrule and sliding the elastic strap up along the length of the shaft of the stick, some attach via poppers onto the shaft of the stick. The user places the walking stick strap over the wrist, helping to ensure that they do not drop the stick if they let go of the handle. It also helps to keep the stick close by if the user needs to reach into a handbag or a pocket.

Walking Stick Holders

There’s also good selection of walking stick holders which provide a prop for when the stick is not in use.

The walking stick grip attaches to the stick shaft, allowing the stick to be balanced on the edge of a table or worktop when not in use.

The Bridgit stick holder allows for a walking stick to be hung over the back of a chair or handrail, or from a table or countertop.

The stick holder is useful for those who use a wheelchair or wheeled walker. The walking stick rests in the lower cup section of the holder and clips into the top part of the holder, securing it in place and keeping the stick nearby when not in use.

Walking Stick Bags

Folding walking sticks are great, but they can be difficult to keep closed in their folded position when not in use.

This is why a walking stick bag is ideal, keeping the stick compact, easy to slip into a pocket or bag and ready for use. Alternatively, a plastic clip achieves the same effect.

At Ability Superstore, we stock a vast range of walking sticks and we’re constantly adding new suppliers.


In conclusion, there is a wealth of options to choose from when purchasing your next walking stick. However, it’s important to consider some factors before you decide on which one will be perfect for you.

Buying a Walking Stick infographic

Everything you’ve seen here is available here on our website, and if you have any questions about any products featured please feel free to get in touch. We will be more than happy to guide you in the right direction! With our team of experts, you can be sure to receive trustworthy experience and guidance.

Kate Makin, Ability Superstore's Occupational Therapist

Kate Makin, OT

Kate Makin qualified as an occupational therapist (OT) in 2001 with a BSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

As a registered occupational therapist (OT), Kate is a science degree-based, health and social care professional, taking a “whole person” approach to both physical and mental health and wellbeing. This enables individuals, of all ages, to achieve their full potential and lead as independent life as possible.

For Kate’s registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, click here.

Throughout her career, Kate has worked in many different clinical settings, in both the public and private sector. Kate has been running her own independent occupational therapist business since 2009. She is passionate about disability aids and adaptations, with a specialist interest in postural management and seating.

As Ability Superstore’s resident OT, Kate is on hand to offer professional advice and answer any queries.