University of Victoria

Together we CanAssist.

Modified Shoe Donner


What is it?

Scott extends the handles of the Modified Shoe Donner.This device helps individuals with mobility challenges to independently put on their shoes.

Key features

  • easy to use
  • portable
  • handles that can be adjusted for
  • a comfortable angle
  • extendable handles for those unable to bend easily

Who is it for?

For any person who has difficulties putting on their shoes independently.



A local woman's story

For many people, simple tasks, such as putting on one's shoes, can easily be taken for granted. For others, they present a major challenge.

The Modified Shoe Donner with its handles in the collapsed position.A local woman suffering from Spastic Diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, struggled with this task every day. Because restrictive shoes were too difficult to slide on, her only alternatives were wearing sandals all year round or asking for assistance with her shoes.

In an attempt to be able to put on her shoes independently, she purchased a “shoe donner.” The commercially available device holds a shoe open and in place while the user slides their foot into the shoe.

Unfortunately, the shoe donner was of little assistance: the woman's limited range of motion made it impossible for her to bring her leg high enough to effectively use the product. Additionally, using the shoe donner required a certain degree of coordination. But with reduced foot control, she was unable to slide her foot into the device. Orthopedic shoes also presented a problem as the shoe donner was not designed for highly specialized footwear.

Fed up with her shoe donner and tired of wearing sandals, the woman asked CanAssist for help. Scott, a member of CanAssist's mechanical engineering team, realized it would be possible to transform her ineffective device into an easy-to-use tool.

The handles are fully extended and ready for use.The original shoe donner contained a back leg support that frequently got in the way and was removed. Scott then created and added handles which would enable the client to pull on a shoe instead of having to push her foot down into the shoe.

“The handles that were added are extendable like a telescope, so they collapse and expand easily,” says Scott. “This feature not only makes the donner more reachable and easy to use but by collapsing the handles, it also makes it portable. The handles can also be adjusted for angle.” 

The modified shoe donner is one of the many tools developed by CanAssist that help increase the independence of people with special needs. With the help of the modified shoe donner, putting on footwear is no longer an impossible task.

(This technology was delivered in December 2009.)





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