The most important thing when choosing a walking stick is to
get the correct height. The easiest way to discover what height stick
you need is to stand up straight with your arms to your side and measure the
distance from your wrist to the ground, then this is the height you need.
It is important to find out more about the measurements of a walking stick
on a website before you buy because sometimes the measurements shown describe
the total height (i.e to the top of the handle) and sometimes it is the height
from the ground to the underneath of the handle. This could mean a difference
of up to a inch, depending on the handle type.
Some sticks are sold as a one piece, fixed length item and others are adjustable.
The second consideration is the TYPE of handle that will best suit your needs.
There are generally quite a few different styles to choose from, all with their
own special purposes.
Derby walking canes are popular because the Derby style handle is designed to hook
over the wrist to free up the hands when required. Crook handles offer the same benefit,
hooking over the wrist or arm.
Anatomical shaped handles, i.e handles made of a resin or moulded plastic which fit
the shape of the palms are the most comfortable handle type. These types of sticks are
usually sold in a right and a left hand model and usually bought as a pair. They are
best appreciated by people who rely heavily on a walking stick (or two).
Crutch handles provide a reassuring grip, promoting confidence in the user. Crutch handles
are also lighter and generally smaller than other handle types.
The third thing to find out about a stick is the maximum weight it has been
tested to support. Some sticks are stronger than others depending on the materials used
to make the shaft.
Carbide walking sticks are the strongest (and most lightweight) that
money can buy. Other materials used are usually: Aluminium (for hiking poles, collapsible
canes and folding sticks), wood ( Chestnut, Hazel, Beech, Ash and Hardwoods) or Bamboo.
Aluminium is strong and lightweight, wood used for stick making is carefully selected, dried
for a year and treated so is a reliable source for stick making and bamboo is flexible and strong.
Number four. Will the stick be for occasional or frequent use?
This is a very practical question you need to ask yourself to save you money and to get the
perfect stick for you. If a stick is for occasional use (for instance, you may need something to
lean on when in a queue) a foldable or telescopic stick is probably best. It is best to have
a lightweight stick that folds or collapses down to a small size that can be kept in a handbag or
rucksack when it is not needed so that you don’t need to unneccessarily carry around a walking
A flip stick or foldaway seat is a good option if you need a seat when out and about when there
might not be any available (i.e at an outdoor event such as a fair or in an airport). Flip sticks
usually incorporate a seat and a walking stick (with handle) in one, so you have the choice of a quick
seat or stick as required.
If a walking stick is going to be used for frequent use, then a lightweight stick with a comfortable
handle is the best thing, or perhaps even two sticks to evenly distribute your weight and the
pressure on your hands.
The fifth point to consider is where the walking stick will be used. Will it be used around
the house, for going to the shops and out and about, for walks in the countryside or to take away
For use around the home, you will a stick with a rubber ferrule (tip) which provides a better grip
on slippery surfaces than steel or brass ferrules. For general use around town, things to consider are
the same as the previous points already mentioned.
For country walkers and hikers; lightweight hiking polesare an excellent choice as they are strong,
lightweight and most importantly, adjustable. Usually sold as a pair, hiking poles can be easily
and quickly adjusted in height. This is particularly useful for hill walking
because you can shorten both sticks to ascend, lengthen to descend or have them at different heights for
walking across a hill on a steep slope to help keep your balance.
There is a large choice of walking sticks on the market suitable for holiday makers. Any sticks that
are foldable or collapsible compact down to a small size for luggage.
To summarize, the five most important points to consider when choosing a walking stick for yourself or
for someone else are; the height needed, the best handle type to buy, strength and weight designed to support,
how often the stick will be used and where.