There are several types of gliders for walkers available on the market today that serve different purposes depending on terrain or activity.
Bulky and difficult-to-push walkers can be greatly improved by adding a set of glides to allow the senior to move around easier. If a senior finds it challenging to move about with a walker, they may be less interested in using it, and therefore remain sedentary and less active, which is no good at all!
A good set of walker glides can provide additional encouragement and confidence to a senior, allowing them to more easily navigate their terrain and explore their surroundings without a ton of effort.
What is a Glide for a Walker?
A walker glides are a type of foot attachment that goes onto the bottom of a walker leg to replace a standard rubber tip.
Glides allow the walker user to move more quickly on the walker, reducing friction against the floor and allowing for a quicker, smoother walk.
When a senior uses a walker with standard rubber tips, they need to lift up the back walker legs each time they want to take a step forward. Glides eliminate the need for a senior to lift the back legs – all they need to do is give a push!
For many seniors, glides are a more stable option, as opposed to adding additional walker wheels. Having all four feet of a walker be wheels means that the walker requires so little force to get it moving that it can be easy for some elderly users to lose control, which could even result in a fall!
Many elderly seniors feel safer using glides, with offer more control and stability as opposed to making all the walker feet become wheels.
A glide can be installed on most walkers, regardless of manufacturer or model – all that matters is if the diameter of the tube where the glide is attached to allows for it. Most walker glides have universal fits, but you’ll want to measure your walker leg tubing to ensure the size will be compatible with the glides you select.
How to Choose Walker Glides
When choosing a glide for a walker, you should consider what features would work best for your needs based on the flooring the senior will be navigating as well as personal preference.
- Size. The best glides for a walker feature a universal fit, where the glide can fit any type of walker leg (usually specifically for 1″ diameter tubing legs). Double check the glider you select will fit with your specific walker.
- Color. Most walker glides come in boring colors like grey and white, but some come in brighter colors. If you want bright glides that match your personality, look for glides with extra color options. Some seniors may even want walker glides that specifically match their walker bag or basket!
- Easy to Install. Thankfully, most walker glides are generally easy to install and do not require tools, which can be intimidating for seniors who are just starting to use a walker.
- Styles. Walker glide sets come in a few different styles which will be suitable for different needs and different terrain.
- Glide Lock. Some glides have a locking mechanism, which can be handy for seniors who want more control over the movement of their glides.
Types of Glides for Walkers
- Tennis ball glides. Tennis ball glides simply refers to the tried-and-true (plus super cheap) technique of adding tennis balls to the bottom of walker legs to allow the walker to slide gently and easily along the floor. This works especially well with hardwood floors, as they prevent scratches and marks from a walker! The bright color of tennis ball gliders can also help with those who struggle with depth perception, as they’ll be able to see their tennis ball walker feet more clearly. Tennis ball glides also move smoothly across linoleum or tile, but may add a bit too much friction for carpeted surfaces.
- Ski glides. Ski glides are walker glides that are shaped like snow skis! These are the most popular type of walker glide, offering improved mobility for indoor and outdoor terrain. The smooth bottom allows these walker glides to softly glide across flooring. They’re an especially good choice for low-pile carpeted areas, but they also work great on hard surfaces too, even concrete!
- Sneaker glides. Sneaker glides are simply walker glides shapes like shoes or sneakers! They can be a fun novelty item for seniors who like to have a laugh.
Walker Glides vs Wheels: Which is Best?
Walker glides and wheels are both useful when it comes to getting around with a walker, though each one serves a different purpose.
Walker glides can be installed on most standard walkers with no modification required while wheels will actually transform a walker into a rollator.
You can read our full guide to the best walkers and rollators for seniors to get the entire scoop. But basically, walkers feature four rubber-tipped legs, while rollators have four wheel-based legs. Hybrid walkers have two wheels and two rubber-tipped legs!
Walker glides are installed on two of the standard rubber-tipped walker legs in order to allow the walker to glide more easily over surfaces.
This is actually pretty handy, because while rollators with four wheels can be too unstable and even dangerous for seniors with poor balance, glides offers a nice middle alternative. Not quite a wheel, but not quite a rubber tip, glides reduce friction just enough to make a walker a bit easier to use for some seniors, without eliminating all of the stability.
It’s also important to consider the environment and terrain where walker is being used most often. Walker glide sets are useful for moving around indoors, as they function well moving smoothly across carpeting, tiles etc. while wheels are best suited for rougher cement or uneven terrain.
If your loved one only uses the walker in their home setting, then either glides or wheels can be chosen without much consideration.
Best Glides for Walkers
1. Walker Coasters
These Walker Coasters are simple, intuitive walker glides that allow the user to easily push their walker over carper, tile, hardwood flooring, doorways, and sidewalks too.
These bright yellow coasters have a bottom shield that prevents the gliders from getting caught on doorways or thresholds, along with a ring that keeps the gliders snug and tightly attached to the walker legs.
2. Top Glides Flexfit Universal Walker Ski Glides
Universal Walker Ski Glides
Colorful and durable ski glides
These glides feature an adjustable design and are ideal for indoor and outdoor use. Plus, they come in several fun color options!
The Top Glides Flexfit Ski Glides are colorful walker ski glides that are durable enough to handle daily use while still being simple to secure onto the walker legs with just a slight push.
Made of extra-thick high-density nylon, these plastic ski glides can handle both indoor and outdoor use without issue.
They feature an adjustable design that allows them to fit perfect to the bottom of almost any standard walker leg, and they’re available in several different bright colors (purple, grey, pink, and white) so they’re easy to see and you can even find the set that best matches your loved one’s personality!
3. Sneaker Walker Glides Best
These Sneaker Walker Glides are perfect for seniors who have a good sense of humor and want to add a dash of color and fun to their walker legs!
Extremely easy to install, these sneaker walker glides simply push over the bottom of most standard walker legs (they can be adjusted to fit up to 1″ walker tubes) and require no tools or assembly.
They come in several fun colors – pink, blue, and purple! Oh, and they even come in a sandal style too!
4. RMS Walker Glide Tennis Balls
Tennis Ball Walker Glides
Classic tennis ball glides for walkers
Using tennis ball glides means you’ll never have to worry about scratching wood floors. Plus, these come in a subtle grey that’s an alternative to standard bright yellow tennis balls.
There’s no denying that tennis balls make for classic walker glides! These RMS Tennis Ball Walker Glides make it fast and easy to attach tennis balls to the bottom of one’s walker.
With tennis ball glides, you won’t need to worry about scratching or damaging sensitive wood floors, as these glides do just the trick.
We also like how this tennis ball glides come in grey, making them a little more subtle than the classic bright yellow ones!
It should be noted that you do need to squeeze the tennis balls a bit to install them, so those with hand dexterity issues or arthritis may need a caregiver or friend to help them install the tennis balls glides onto the walker.
5. NOVA Medical Products Walker Glide Skis
NOVA Medical Walker Glide Skis
Thermoplastic walker ski glides
Made from special-engineered thermoplastic that’s built to last and survive indoor and outdoor use.
These NOVA Medical Walker Glide Skis are excellent walker glides that can be used indoors and outdoors. They’re made from sturdy special-engineered thermoplastic that’s built to last with regular, daily use!
These walker ski glides feature a universal fit that allows them to adapt to nearly any walker ( for models with up to 1 1/8” tube shaft), and don’t require any tools to attach them to the walker.
6. Vive Walker Ski Glides
These Vive Walker Ski Glides are another great set of ski glides!
They too boast a universal fit for walker tubing between 1″ – 1 1/8″ and don’t require any tools to install. They’re designed to allow seniors to easily push their walker over carpet, tile, pavement, some threshold ramps, or concrete without dragging or scraping the walker.
The Vive Ski Glides also includes a set of two velour glide covers for indoor use, eliminating any risk of scratching or nicking soft wood flooring.
7. Top Glides Steel-Reinforced Walker Tips
These Top Glide Walker Tips aren’t actually glides, but actually feature rubber tips to go on the end of walker legs. They’re ideal for when you want more stability and friction grip against the surfaces you’re walking on, as opposed to smoothy gliding across flooring.
We also are big fans of the color options!
8. Carex Walker Auto Glides
The Carex Walker Auto Glides resemble a classic walker tip, but boast a smooth glide bottom that allows them to function as attractive, discreet walker glides!
These glides boast durable rubber construction to help prevent wear and tear, allowing you to navigate terrain indoors and outdoors too!
Best of all? They feature a unique auto-break option, allowing the user to push down on the walker handles in order to activate the breaks. This allows more stability and control than standard ski glides, but with the same kind of smooth walking capabilities!
9. ‘Click & Go’ Ski Glides
These Click & Go Ski Glides are a nice option for any senior who currently uses an Able Life Space Saver walker. They click right onto the walker and have a thicker bottom than normal, offering extra durability.
The only issue with these ski glides for walkers is that they are only compatible for the Able Life Space Saver walker. So if you don’t have that model of walker, these glides won’t work for you!
Warning: Walker Glides Aren’t for Everyone!
While walker glides can be very handy for seniors who want to get around with their walker more quickly and easily, it is important to note that they’re not a great fit fo everyone! If a senior has extremely limited mobility, being able to move more quickly with reduced friction isn’t always a good thing.
Seniors who really benefit from having extra stability may be better off with a walker’s standard rubber tips on the back legs. While it can be annoying to have to lift up the back legs each time you want to take a step forward, it allows for more control in connection with the walker.
The last thing someone with very limited mobility will want is a walker that keeps moving forward when they want it to stop! Control and stability is everything when it comes to safety.
On top of that, glides aren’t designed to help with uneven terrain. They’re really only suitable for even surfaces.
We hope this guide has helped you choose the best walker glides for yourself or an older loved one!
What do I need to know before purchasing a walker glide?
The walker glide that you purchase depends on the terrain that you’re walking on and the activity that you’re doing. For example, if you’re walking on hardwood floors, then it’s probably best to buy soft glides, so either tennis ball glides or ski glides with a cover. If you are mostly using walker glides on carpet, then plastic ski glides will likely work best. It all really depends on what surfaces you need to use the glides on!
How do I stop my walker from scratching the floor?
You can stop your walker from scratching floors by using a walker glide – we’d recommend a soft glide like tennis balls or ski glides with a cover.
Why do people put tennis balls on walkers?
People put tennis balls on walkers because they work well as informal soft walker glides. Tennis balls allow the walker to glide more easily, thus making it easier to maneuver with through reduce friction.
Why do people put glides on a walkers?
Walkers with glides are easier to move around with. They make it easier for a senior to push their walker across smooth surfaces without requiring a ton of force.
Choosing a walker glide is all about your environment and activity. If you’re mainly using the glides on carpet, plastic ski glides will work best for you. If you spend most of your time navigating fragile hardwood floors, then we’d recommend softer options like tennis ball.
You’ll also want to make sure that any glide option is compatible with the type of walker that you have – some are only compatible with certain types of models! Best of luck in choosing the right one for your needs; we hope these tips help guide your decision-making process!
How do you put sliders on a walker?
Most sliders can be installed on a walker by just pressing them onto the bottom of the walker legs. Usually, no tools are required at all, making sliders very easy to install!
Why do doctors prescribe walkers with glides?
Walking with a traditional cane or crutches puts unnecessary pressure and force onto the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders of the patient. Walkers with glides, on the other hand, reduce pressure in these areas.
Last update on 2022-01-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API