Funky and cool mobility aids
August 25, 2018 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm a 43 year old goth/punk/retro/grunge queer trans disabled person and would love to find a cane that suits my style. Everything that I can find is either highly gendered or screams elderly or has an impractical handle that doesn't work if you are disabled. Can you hit me up with anything cool in canes and other mobility aids? Available in Canada and not needing to be uber rich would be a bonus.
posted by kanata to Shopping (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am not disabled, so I know nothing about the practical aspects, but ebay has loads of cool looking antique canes. I also found some Etsy shops that sell custom-made canes, so perhaps you could get something that suits you that way.
posted by FencingGal at 8:38 AM on August 25, 2018

There is this one from Gold Violin--still for older folks--but kinda fun pattern. They have some other patterns. My other thought would be to commission a carving on Etsy or a similar site, but that would probably be spendy. The problem is getting something cool, that also is functional. Another thought I had would be to get a fairly "normal" cane and then dress it up with a stick shift knob on the end--like this one.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:39 AM on August 25, 2018

I wonder if you would find a wider variety of themes if you used "walking sticks" as a search term? I know they are not the same thing, but I also think people tend to 'theme' walking sticks more than they do canes.
posted by WCityMike at 8:52 AM on August 25, 2018

This is a little out there of an idea, but maybe try to find industrial design or architecture students at a nearby university and commission them to fabricate something? I bet you could get something really awesome.
posted by KMoney at 9:39 AM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd search ebay and etsy for vintage canes. There are a ton of Victorian-era canes out there, many which would have been functional (if not necessarily as comfortable as older canes).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:43 AM on August 25, 2018

My friend Maranda Elizabeth has a really similar style to you and has shared a lot of photos of their mobility aids. Checking out their website might give some inspiration, and they might be able to give sources for where they got their stuff-- they're in Toronto.
posted by ITheCosmos at 9:45 AM on August 25, 2018

I'm a 42 year old nb queer punk with RA, and I got my cane from . I don't know what you're looking for in a handle. My cane is this one with flames on it so that everyone will know that I'm going really fast.

Depending on what you want, your best option may be to find a cane that works for you as an object and then customize it - paint it, put stickers or tape on it, or put spikes on it if your local transit system is full of jerks. This was basically my backup plan, and may be my plan for my next one when this one dies.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:48 AM on August 25, 2018 [13 favorites]

add to your search the term 'cane cozy' which will also bring up a lot of 'can koozies' which you will have to ignore.
posted by QuakerMel at 9:50 AM on August 25, 2018

Check out BFunky Mobility Canes, they use graphic artists for their patterns. Offset, T-Handle, Folding, Footed Offset styles (ex. Flaming Skull, Red Flame, Steampunk, Serpent Rising Fractal...) and the drop-down lets you switch payment from USD default to CAD, so they should ship to you.

If a folding cane would suit, there are also patterned canes on
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:54 AM on August 25, 2018

Perhaps expand your search terms to "swagger stick" - you'll probably capture some of the more goth options.
posted by porpoise at 10:45 AM on August 25, 2018

I could be way off from what you are asking for but I am involved in a Parkinson's charity and a lot of people with PD prefer trekking poles because they are lightweight, the handles are made of non-slip material well suited to mobility disorders, and last but definitely not least because they look sporty and non-gendered.
posted by rada at 10:56 AM on August 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Maybe get a piece of rebar cut the right length and bend one end, wrap the floor end in duc tape or if punk enough just sharpen. ;-) One piece is not that heave and is strong and certainly counter culture. (the handle probably should have two bends to make the handle centered, should be no problem with a vice.
posted by sammyo at 10:58 AM on August 25, 2018

Walking sticks sold as hiking sticks or trekking poles are neither highly gendered (although the look is "sporty" so may not be your style) nor screaming elderly, I don't know if the handles will work for you.
posted by quaking fajita at 11:24 AM on August 25, 2018

Carbon fiber is the best. My carbon fiber canes are so much lighter than a wooden cane that they are highly superior to use. They have a nice bounce to them, too, if you tap them against something. I strongly prefer the derby handle. The color changing derby-handled carbon fiber canes from fashionable are by far my favorite.

Use an adjustable cane to figure out what length you like best, or follow the instructions at the fashionablecanes site. For your daily-use cane, one that is cut to the right length is nicer. Adjustable canes tend to rattle a tiny bit with each step, something I find all out of proportion annoying. A folding cane is good to keep in your car, but it too is not quite as nice to use as a straight cane that is cut to your best length.

I thought a clear lucite cane would be cool-looking, but sadly turns out to be much too heavy for any significant use. I have a lovely twisted wooden cane made of aromatic cedar that is too heavy for me, though not as heavy as lucite.
posted by chromium at 11:30 AM on August 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

Wow, check out the weird canes at this Etsy shop, GCArtis. They're in Ukraine, so presumably as easy to ship to Canada as anywhere. Some of them are pricey, though.
posted by chromium at 1:20 PM on August 25, 2018

A blackthorn shillelagh would be pretty badass and speaks to my younger, gothier self. There's a bit of variation in the handle end, so not sure what type would work best for you.
posted by missmobtown at 3:36 PM on August 25, 2018

Thanks everyone you've given me some good links and ideas for searching. I like a derby handle (though that Dr House crook cane is tempting) and my ideal one would be buffalo plaid or leather and studs something besides just plain black like I have or tiny flowers. I am dragging grunge punk into the nursing home when I go.

Also ITheCosmos I'm a big fan of your friend and have their book on my etsy list and have bought their zines before via there while searching for disabled stuff on etsy. Reading that link took up my afternoon and so love that you linked that as they have a lot of the same thoughts about disability and poverty I do.
posted by kanata at 5:04 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just want to say, this question came along at exactly the right time, as I'm in need of a cane myself and my style is very similar. I just bought this carbon-fiber one from the shop chromium linked, so we'll see how it goes!
posted by limeonaire at 5:52 PM on August 25, 2018

Then there are Bull Penis Canes...
posted by porpoise at 7:23 PM on August 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Lightweight and handy! Long lasting!
posted by porpoise at 10:12 PM on August 25, 2018

You could go DIY punk aesthetic—Wrap any cane with colored/patterned duct tape.
posted by shalom at 7:12 AM on August 26, 2018

My friend who was unhappy about needing to use a cane got a plain, shiny black one at the local pharmacy and then personalized it with angel stickers. You might consider getting a cane like hers and personalizing it the way that suits you. It should be quite possible to get grunge/goth stickers.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:57 AM on August 26, 2018

To update for any future cane users I ended up going with the carbon fiber dr. House cane with a derby handle. Got it engraved with No More Spoons. Only knives. I do wish the flames went up higher but all in all I love it. Thanks everyone.
posted by kanata at 5:56 AM on December 10, 2018

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