Have you ever ordered something you did not mean to buy? I got two pairs of New Balance sneakers last month. I did not realize that I had bought the kind with Velcro straps instead of laces. Man, do I love these sneakers! You will never know how much time you spend lacing shoes until you get the Velcro strap kind. It got me to wondering about other dressing aids that make life easier. If you are struggling with arthritis or other dexterity health issues, this is the article for you.
What are some simple devices to help you put on and take your pants, shoes and socks? The Miracle Dressing Aid™, the Give Me a Hand, the dressing stick, the Soxon, the Sock-Assist, Velcro strap shoes, and the Shoe and Boot Valet Dressing Aid.
Learn how to use each of these assistive devices to put on and take off shoes, pants and socks.
View Our Favorite Activities of Daily Living and Mobility Devices
Three Aids that Help with Pants
The dressing stick is the most commonly used dressing aid to help put on pants. It is a stick with one or more hooks on it. Some even have grab functionality. It does the job, but it is a bit slow to use. That is how we got the Miracle Dressing Aid™ and the Give Me a Hand dressing aids. These are substitutes for two hands rather than just one, which makes them both faster and perhaps easier to use.
1. Put Your Pants on Two Legs at a Time with the Miracle Dressing Aid™
The Miracle Dressing Aid™ is better than the hook-on-a-stick for help putting on your pants. A hook stick helps only with putting on one leg at a time. It is awkward to hold the pants out at leg length, and to aim your foot into the pants hole.
The Dressing Aid is a stable solution that fixes the problems of a dressing hook. The Aid is adjustable, from short to tall, and from skinny to wide. To use it to put on your pants, follow these steps (see pictures):
- Put your pants over your lap
- Put the Miracle Dressing Aid™ over the pants
- Pull the pants through the bottom square of the device
- Wrap the pants around the top square of the device
- Drop the pants opening toward the floor
- Put your feet into the pants
- Pull the Aid up so that it pulls your pants up over your legs
“I used it for the first time this morning! It was amazing being able to get my pants on without assistance. Truly an incredible product! Thank you so much!”
You can use it for problems as simple as back pain that makes it hard to bend over, or as complicated as MS. The company’s customers have had success using the Aid. Some of the diseases they have include MS, Parkinson’s, arthritis, Cystic Fibrosis, joint replacements, accidents, strokes, and cancer recovery. The Dressing Aid is perfect for people with balance issues.
The Miracle Dressing Aid™ is lightweight, adjustable, and requires minimal assembly.
2. Pull Your Pants Up by Your “Give Me a Hand” Straps
The Give Me a Hand dressing aid also improves on the dressing stick idea. Give Me a Hand device allows you to pull up your pants two legs at a time.
The feel of the Give Me a Hand dressing aid is similar to the Miracle Dressing Aid™. Instead of using a boxed frame, the Give Me a Hand device gives you clips and straps to pull up your pants. This is how you use the Give Me a Hand straps to pull on your pants:
- Drape the pants on your lap.
- Attach the clips to the sides of the pants opening.
- Attach the hook to your shirt collar in case throw the pants too far in the next step.
- Throw the pants onto the floor in front of you.
- Pull the pants toward your feet.
- Put your feet into the pants.
- Pull the strap to pull up the pants.
These images are from the video at GiveMEaHand Dressing Aid Instructional Video knee/hip replacement/surgery, by Karen Works LLC. Here is their seller page on eBay.
GMAH (Give Me a Hand) describes their device as primarily being for dressing assistance for the lower body. They suggest that people going through surgery, injuring, aging, other challenges, or who have a limited range of motion can use this device to help put on their pants. “GiveMEaHand requires less grip, dexterity, strength, coordination, and balance than other dressing devices.”
3. Pull up One Pants Leg at a Time Using a Dressing Stick
A dressing stick is one of the oldest dressing aids for putting on pants. It is a stick with hooks at the end. The hooks are covered in rubbery plastic to avoid hurting the user. Many companies make dressing sticks. They are different lengths, and are made of wood or plastic. The fanciest is a stick with a grabber, an S hook and a C hook.
What they have in common is that they are one-thing-at-a-time devices. Both the Miracle Dressing Aid™ and the Give Me a Hand devices replace two hands. The dressing stick replaces one hand.
To use a basic dressing stick to put on pants, follow these steps:
- Hold the dressing stick in one hand, and the pants or shorts in the other.
- Loop the hook through a pants leg hole.
- Pull up a bit so the pants are resting on the entire hook.
- Drop the pants onto foot of the first leg to get dressed.
- Put the foot through the pants hole.
- Move the hook to get leverage to pull the pants up.
- Pull the pants on that first side.
- Use the hook to hold out the opposite side of the pants opening to start the other leg.
- Put the second foot through the pants hole, and pull.
It is a bit of a process to pull the pants. As one side gets higher, you will need to switch to that side to even things up. Once the pants are within reach, use your hands to continue putting them on.
Here is a link to the highest-rated dressing hooks on Amazon.
4. How to Use the Dressing Stick to Pull Up Both Pants Legs at Once
I am not going to keep you in suspense. The way to use the dressing stick to pull up both legs at once is to use two dressing sticks!
Here is a great video showing how to use two sticks to put on your pants: How to Use Dressing Aids, by Cancer Patient Services. The pants portion starts at about 42 seconds in, so I cued up a link to just that spot on this YouTube link.
Three Aids that Help with Socks
The dressing stick we just looked at for pants is also good at taking off socks. It is not that great at helping you to put them on. Therefore, we will look at taking off socks first, and then we will move on to some other aids for putting socks on.
5. Remove Socks with a Dressing Stick
To remove socks using a dressing stick, hook the sock and push. Imaging using the hook as your thumb, and the stick is your arm. Here is a demonstration video. It is the second half of the video showing how to use a dressing stick to pull up pants. The sock demonstration starts at 60 seconds in. This link is cued to that sock removal demonstration spot.
To pull off socks using a dressing stick:
- Hook the downward facing hook into the top of the sock.
- Push the stick to push the sock downward.
- Keep pushing until the sock is removed.
6. Use Soxon or Sock-Assist to Put Your Socks On
Most sock aids are plastic, which provides the tensile strength to hold the sock open while you slip it on. The Sock-Assist is a good example of this type of device. It is a plastic open half box with straps.
The Soxon is a similar device but it is covered in a soft fabric. It is a little nicer to handle, but it is the same idea as an uncovered sock aid. The Soxon creates an opened sock for you to slip onto your foot.
Both the Soxon and Sock-Aid require the same steps for putting on your socks. The pictures are from the Soxon instruction video.
- Place the Soxon in your lap.
- Pull the sock over the device toward you, the same direction as if putting the sock on your foot.
- Place the strap around your wrist to retrieve the Soxon should it fall away from you.
- Use the straps to lower the sock to the floor near your foot.
- Slip your foot into the opening.
- Pull on the straps to pull the sock over your foot.
- After the sock is on the foot, keep pulling the straps to pull the device out from the sock.
These images are from the video Soxon – Helping You Put On Socks – Dressing Sock and Stocking Aid Hospital Direct, which was posted by Hospital Direct.
Three Dressing Aids that Help with Shoes
I went from disappointed to giddy when I discovered I had accidentally ordered Velcro rather than laced sneakers. I will show you why I like them so much. We will also look at some devices to help put on and take off shoes.
7. Velcro Straps Make the Shoes Easier to Wear!
Until I ended up with two pairs of Velcro strap shoes, I did not understand the appeal. Now I do. Let me share this with you.
My New Balance sneakers are no different than any other lace up shoe. I have bunions, so I like to keep the toe area loose. I do not want my feet floating around in the shoe, so I keep the tops of the laces tight. It can take anywhere from 10 to 45 seconds to lace up, depends on how much extra bunion room I need on any given day.
The Velcro version of the same shoe has two straps. One is at the forefoot, the other at the instep. I slip on the shoe. Then I pull the two straps to a light closure. I leave the bunion strap loose, and then re-tighten the forefoot strap. This is SO fast. I get the flexibility I need while wasting absolutely no time on adjustments. That is why I love these shoes.
I got the New Balance 577, which is one of several Velcro strap shoes you can get from New Balance. Go to the New Balance site to see their Velcro strap shoes.
Skechers offers the Men’s After Burn Memory Fit – Final Cut with Velcro strap closures. Skechers’ women’s Velcro shoe is the Women’s Envy – Glisten Here. The black Women’s Envy is probably the least “sneakery” shoe in the Velcro strap world. View the Velcro shoes on Skechers’ site.
Propet offers the Cross Walker LE Strap that also comes with two Velcro straps.
8. Get Some Shoe Assistance from the Shoe and Boot Valet Dressing Aid
I have to say upfront that I think the Shoe and Boot Valet will work fine for many shoes. It is just that I think its use is a bit exaggerated for helping to put on laced shoes. I will put the video demonstration below, so you can decide for yourself.
The Valet is a modified “grabber.” It is a handle and pole. At the end is a grabbing arm the squeezes when you squeeze the handle lever. Therefore, it gives you the ability to grasp items that are about 1.5 feet away from your reach.
Just above the grabber at foot level is a U-shaped hook. Put this around your leg to stabilize the Shoe Aid as you use it.
To use the Shoe and Boot Valet Dressing Aid to remove shoes, do the following:
- Hold the valet behind your leg
- Put the U-Hook around your calf.
- With the bottom box on the floor, lift your heel so that the shoe heel rises into the U-hook.
- Use the U-Hook to hold the shoe in place as you lift your foot out of the shoe.
To use the Shoe and Boot Valet Dressing Aid to put shoes on:
- Place the valet over the back of the foot opening.
- Squeeze the grabber onto the shoe back.
- Put your foot into the shoe.
- Use the grabber to hold the shoe in place as you push your foot into the shoe.
- Unlock the grabber to remove it from the shoe.
The Shoe and Boot Valet works on many kinds of shoes and boots. However, I do not think it works with lace shoes as well as the demo would imply. My lace shoes are laced too tightly for me to put my foot inside a laced-up shoe. In the Shoe and Boot Valet demonstration, the user puts his foot into a laced up shoe. Whether this works for you will depend on how tightly your laced-shoes are tied.
The video Shoe and Boot Valet Dressing Aid is from All-States Medical Supply.
People Also Ask
What is a hip kit? A hip kit is a standardized set of shoe and sock assistive devices. Doctors recommended it to patients getting hip replacement surgery. Hip surgery patients should use a kit — or devices similar to the ones in the kit — to avoid leaning forward after the surgery. The usual hip kit contains a reacher, a sock aid, a dressing stick, a shoehorn, and a long handled sponge. Some also contain elastic shoelaces that allow you to transform laced shoes into strap-closure shoes.