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Your Best Breakdown of The Most Reliable Walking Canes

by Jessica Hegg October 26, 2016

walking canes by vive

Walking Canes have been helping people get around since the 17th century.  The design has progressed, but the concept is simply the same.

So why is it so hard to find quality information on cane styles all in one place?

You hop on Google, and search for “cane," you're immediately….lost. The options are unhelpful and overwhelming: half the sites are talking about sugar instead of walking canes, and the other half are showing you more types of canes than you ever knew existed.

Fortunately for you, we’ve broken it all down in a comprehensive, easy-to-read buying guide to help you decide which type of cane is right for you.

1. Folding Walking Canes

foldable canes

Also known as  Collapsible canes, are hugely popular 

  • Designed to fold up into a convenient, travel-friendly size and made with durable lightweight aluminum.
  • The interior of the cane contains a sturdy elastic rubber cord that allows for the cane to disassemble for storage
(perfect for storage in suitcases, purses, or shoulder bags)
  • It has a wrist strap for easy carrying, and can be height adjusted from 30” to 36”.
  • The slim, contoured handle is easy to grasp and comfortably fits multiple grips.
  • This cane is ideal for individuals with good stability, but in need of extra support from time to time

folding cane by vive

***We recommend this style to those who may need support while on the go.  If you're looking for something with a little more stability, the quad cane below may be a better option :)

2. Quad Canes

The quad cane is equipped with a 4 pronged rectangular base

  • The wide surface area of this base provides ample support for those who are looking for more stability by helping to distribute weight evenly.
  • Stands freely when not in use

This is super handy! There may not be anything more frustrating than attempting to balance your cane against a table, chair, or even the wall...knowing it's most likely going to tilt over when you least expect anyways.

  • The quad cane stands on 4 non-slip rubber feet good contact and grip with the ground.
  • The extra grip handle provides more comfort for the hand and wrist and you shift your weight.
  • Adjustable height for custom sizing, or easy sharing.  The base also can be rotated accordingly for both right or left-handed users.
  • These walking canes are ideal for those who need more support, more frequently

quad cane by vive

***We recommend these walking canes if you suffer from dizziness or a weakened lower body.  The wide base creates a reliable support that makes getting around easier.  

3. Offset Canes

The  Offset cane features a unique design.

  • Unlike other styles of walking canes, the angled handle helps to evenly distribute the user’s weight to prevent slipping or missteps.
  • This design helps to give the cane added stability and takes strain off of the wrists
  • The cane handle is angled in a way that contours to your body’s natural symmetry.
  • Of course, these walking canes are height adjustable (from 29” to 38”)
  • Accompanied by a convenient wrist strap for easy transporting. 

offset cane by vive

    ***We recommend this style of walking canes for those who need a little extra support, who have less than average independent stability, but not totally reliant on walking aids

    Also, if you have issues related to dexterity, carpal tunnel, or arthritis. The contour handle design is far more comfortable, and easier, to grip than normal cane handles.

    These cane styles are the most commonly used today and cover the majority of walking limitations.

    However, if you are looking for something more specific we recommend researching canes by the different parts.  Take a look at the different options below to help you find your custom cane that covers all your needs.

    Parts of a Cane:

    Now, let’s break down the cane and focus on some individual features. If you are going to be using a cane, it is also important to know the different styles of handles and cane tips available to you. Learning about these features will help you to make a more educated decision on which features will benefit you the most.

    Walking Cane Handles

    There are an incredible number of cane handle styles to choose from. It is important to find the right cane handle, as this will determine the comfort and stability of your cane.

    Keep these questions in mind in order to select the perfect cane handle:

    • How often will you be using the cane?
    • Do you have any existing pain in your arm, wrist, or fingers?
    • How is your balance?

    Ergonomic Handle:

    An ergonomic cane handle is relatively slim and easy to grip. It molds to the shape of your hand, helping to reduce stress on the wrist and fingers. This handle is wonderful for sufferers of arthritis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

    Knob/Ball Handle:

    These cane handles are popular because of their stylish look. There is typically no padding or grip incorporated into the design, making it more of a walking stick than a typical cane. These handles (or lack thereof) provide limited support and are best for light use by individuals who don’t have dexterity problems.

    Crook Handle:

    This is the classic cane handle – rounded at the top and almost resembling a candy cane. While this simplistic style is alluring, the lack of padding and support can make it difficult to grasp and use for extended periods of time.

    elderly couple walking together

    Walking Cane Tips

    The cane tip is located at the bottom of the came where the shaft meets the ground. This is a crucial part of the cane as it is what actually makes contact with the ground, and is responsible for providing traction to keep you from slipping. This item experiences considerable wear and tear over time, so it is important to find one that is durable and resistant.

    Keep these questions in mind when deciding on which tip would work best for you:

    • What terrain will you use your cane on the most?
    • How much stability do you need?
    • Will you need your cane during any activities?

    Standard Cane Tip:

    The standard tip is made of reinforced rubber that is designed to promote both grip and stability. Good standard cane tips are typically made of dense rubber. These tips are typically included with most purchased canes.

    Tripod Cane Tip:

    This unique cane tip is designed to fit onto most standard-sized canes. Its tripod base covers more surface area than conventional tips, increasing the support it provides by dispersing weight over a greater area.

    Pivoting Cane Tip:

    The pivoting tip is designed for use on uneven or slick surfaces. Its flexible design allows the cane to completely grip the ground on angled surfaces, giving you a sturdier base to apply pressure to.

    Ice Cane Tip:

    Specifically designed for use during winter, this tip is made of reinforced rubber and features an ice spike on the bottom. The pick helps to grip into the ice, increasing traction and reducing the likelihood of slipping. Most of these picks are designed to fold up into the tip when not in use, allowing you to use the cane normally once you have finished maneuvering over icy patches.

    Final tips on selection...

    Regardless of which cane you pick to be your newest partner in crime, remember these last tips!

    • Take your time
    • Evaluate your situation
    • Explore all options

    It shouldn't be a hard decision, but it is certainly an important one.  Taking the time to look at all your options is always recommended.  You may find that you require specific features for better stability or comfort so take your time when making the final decision. 

    Jessica Hegg
    Jessica Hegg


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