Stick To It

English country estates like the fictional Downton Abbey provided weekend guests with shooting sticks to lean on while they took potshots at pheasants. To wit, a British company has reworked the vintage portable seating concept and created the Flipstick, a foldaway walking stick that comes with a convenient shoulder bag. A push button locks its triangular plastic seat in place on a four-part aluminum folding stem. Despite being light to carry, the walking stick can support someone weighing 230 pounds. Choose from seven colours – funky Day-Glo pink, perhaps? Or discreet black? Use it in lineups, museum or gallery visits, while watching the grandkids play soccer or during a country ramble. Be cautious though. Since you prop against it rather than sit on it, you need good balance to keep it steady. $74 to $79, depending on user height,

Whether the need for stability and support arises from an injury or aging, the handsome Chatfield cane from Winnipeg’s Top & Derby delivers security in style. Walking sticks used to be fashion accessories for dandies like Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, but designer Matthew Kroeker, 38, and colleague Ben Grynol noted many contemporary canes seemed boring and clinical. “We wanted to create something that used premium materials and bright colours to give personality to the cane,” Kroeker says.

An ergonomic aluminum handle lends an air of sophistication; a coating of smooth black, blue or red silicone keeps the Chatfield from toppling when propped against a wall or table. The shaft, made from Ontario-sourced walnut, has a similarly coloured “shoe” inspired by sneaker treads. This tip, moulded from thermoplastic material, keeps the cane from slipping on a variety of surfaces.

The International Industrial Designers Society of America saluted Top & Derby’s first foray in upgrading design in the home health-care industry, with a 2014 International Design Excellence Award (IDEA), earning the Chatfield cane a permanent niche in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. $129,