Best Formed Sock Aids

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best formed sock aids

Most people spend about as much time thinking about their socks as they do putting them on. Before an injury, it’s a quick task most can complete even without coffee. But a hip surgery, back injury, or other immobilizing problem can make completing this seemingly mundane task hazardous.

Formed sock aids can help those with restricted bending ability or other mobility challenges put on their socks without jeopardizing their safety. These tools can take several forms, but all include formed molds that hold your sock open for you to insert your foot. Some formed sock aids have handles that let you pull the sock up over your foot. Others hold your sock open in the fixture near the floor and allow you to slide your foot into the sock.

Like all adaptive equipment, formed sock aids have some limitations. Users must have the eyesight and coordination to properly use the aid. Different sock aids have varied features that may help users with arthritis, limited hand strength, or bending restrictions.

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Sock aids can help you line up your toe seam even better than many medical assistants, ensuring a better fit in the shoe. A better fit can help prevent blisters and reduce your chances of an undetected infection.

Key considerations

Hand powered vs. foot powered

When choosing a sock aid, you need to think about whether you have more strength in your upper or lower body.

Traditional sock aids require you to place the sock on the aid, then pull handles upward to doff the sock onto your foot. They are a good choice for users who cannot bend or have lower-body mobility challenges but also have the strength to pull upward with their arms and hands.

Floor-based sock aids are an option for those who have limited hand strength and mobility but more lower-body flexibility. You place the socks over the formed aid, then move your body to ease the sock onto your foot. If you have significant restrictions for moving your hips, knees, or back, a floor-based sock aid may not be a good choice for you.

Foot size

When shopping for formed sock aids, the size of your foot is a key factor. Many sock aids are built for average-size, unswollen feet. Some work well for those with naturally small feet; others are a better fit for large feet. Keep your natural foot size in mind when ordering, even if your condition hasn’t affected your feet.

If you are, however, suffering from swollen feet, you may need to look for something more specialized. Some tools have wider forms that can accommodate feet enlarged by injury, lymphedema, or swelling.

Individuals suffering from lymphedema or other extreme swelling may wear compression stockings to help manage their symptoms. If your doctor has advised you to wear compression stockings, specifically look for sock aids designed for this function — because many formed molds lack the strength to manage the force compression stockings apply.

Hand strength

Learning to use dressing tools is challenging, even when you have full hand function. But for those with arthritis, amputations, or shoulder injuries, it can feel impossible. If you have a diagnosis or condition that keeps you from using both arms, look for sock aids designed for one-handed use. This style may have thicker handles that allow you to tug the tool asymmetrically without breaking or getting stuck.

Bending restrictions

Therapists frequently recommend sock aids for patients with bending restrictions due to hip, back, and knee injuries that make bending risky. Different sock aid models accommodate varied degrees of flexibility. Tools specifically designed to work with hand limitations may not be as gentle on the lower body — the force to move the sock has to come from somewhere. If you have challenges with both, be sure to look carefully for a sock aid that meets both needs.

Sock type

Not all socks are the same. Strong, angular formed sock aids that are manufactured to handle thick athletic socks or resistive compression stockings may tear delicate hosiery. Look for a tool that works well with the socks you wear most frequently. If you will need a sock aid only temporarily, consider changing your wardrobe for the time being if multiple sock aids are cost prohibitive.


Adjustable length

Every body is different. Even individuals of the same height can carry their height in their legs, torso, or neck. To eliminate the guesswork, many manufacturers offer sock aids that adjust in length. This lets you find the best size for your individual body and lets you adjust later if you regain more mobility. Other companies address this problem by offering sock aids in different sizes.

Comfort grip

Customers with arthritis or other painful hand conditions may have trouble grasping the sock aid’s handles without hurting these delicate joints. Some models include padded, foam, or cushioned handles to decrease your discomfort while donning your socks.

Non-skid panels

Formed sock aids make it easier to slip on your socks, but sometimes, the plastic forms are a little too slippery. Many feature non-skid panels made of foam or fabric that help keep the sock in place on the tool. This feature is especially important for customers who lack hand strength to pull the handles quickly and smoothly. Look for these panels running the length of the sock aid or near the foot of the hard form so the sock can’t simply slide off the top.

"If your hand strength is extremely compromised, you may need someone to load the sock onto the aid for you. "


You may need some additional tools to make your morning routine smoother. Here are a few items designed for those with mobility issues.

Shoe horns: Comfy Clothiers Metal Shoe Horn
You got your socks on — now what? This long-handled shoe horn helps you take the next step toward an independent morning routine. At 18 inches long, you’ll have no need to risk painful twisting or bending when putting on your shoes. It’s super sturdy, weighing almost twice as much as the average shoehorn. This sturdy construction means you won’t have to worry about bends or breaks. A curved handle helps you get a comfortable grip.

Dressing sticks: RMS Premium Five-piece Knee/hip Replacement Kit with Dressing Stick
When you’re facing surgery, it can be hard to know what you’ll need afterward. Be proactive with this five-piece kit from trusted manufacturer RMS Royal Medical Solutions. It includes a versatile dressing stick as well as a reacher and other valuable tools that can get you back on track in your own home.

Formed sock aid prices

The good news is, you’ll spend less on most formed sock aids than you would on a pack of compression stockings or high-quality socks.

Inexpensive: The least-expensive formed sock aids cost between $9 and $10. Tools in this price range will usually have rope or woven handles that you pull up the leg to extend the sock. Depending upon the design, they may or may not work for one-handed use.

Mid-range: You can find sock aids that rest on the floor for around $15. Instead of sliding up the leg, these tools hold your sock open so you can slide your foot into them. Most are made of plastic. They require very little hand strength, but they may not be a good pick for heavy compression stockings.

Expensive: The most expensive formed sock aids may cost as much as $25. Sock aids in this price range will generally be made from metal — giving them the strength to handle challenging hosiery such as compression stockings. Metal items are not as likely to be adjustable, so they may come in different sizes.


  • Those who suffer from latex allergies should make sure the plastic form and other components are latex-free.
  • If your sock aid has a flanged top, do not fold the lip of the sock over the top. Doing so will prevent the sock aid from releasing the sock as designed.
  • Look for sock aids with rounded edges to avoid tearing holes in expensive compression stockings and other hosiery.
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Those who suffer from diabetes need to be especially vigilant about foot care and socks.


Q. Do I really need to wear socks?
As we age, our skin gets thinner and more prone to injury. This is especially true if you have poor circulation or neuropathy in your feet. Conditions that dull sensation in your feet may cause you to miss your body’s natural cues that would otherwise help you avoid injury. Those unknown, undiagnosed injuries can progress to infection and sometimes amputation. Experts say that wearing well-made, moisture-wicking socks and footwear with closed toes is a major factor in avoiding foot injuries. 

Q. How do you put a sock on the formed sock aid?
Comfortably donning your sock can depend greatly upon arranging it on the aid correctly. Start by slipping your stocking onto the end of the sock aid without the handles. Getting a good grip on the tool can be challenging if your strength is limited, so try squeezing it between your legs if necessary. This lets you use both hands and gives you more control over the process. Pull the sock so the toe is tight against the bottom of the form. Getting the sock as straight as possible on the aid before putting it on cuts down on the amount of uncomfortable adjusting you’ll need to do once it’s on your foot.

Q. How do I get my sock off once it’s on?
If you can’t bend to put a sock on, you certainly can’t bend to take it off. A sock aid won’t help in this case. A dressing stick is a good adaptive tool you can use in areas that are out of reach. Look for dressing sticks with a post that can be tucked under the fabric of the sock or for those with small claws that can keep a grip on the top of the sock to pull it off.

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