Our amputee gift guide starts with a disclaimer: We’ve never been especially good at shopping for gifts. It’s not that we lack imagination or fail to put forth enough effort. We’ll spend hours poring over digital catalogs, best-product lists, review aggregators, and the like, and we’ll visit as many malls and boutiques as necessary, no matter how distant, to bag the items we’re chasing in whatever colors and sizes are required. But we inevitably find ourselves grateful this time of year for the cliche “It’s the thought that counts,” because we generally come through in the thought department . . . . but not so much in matters of judgment or taste.
Disclaimer #2: By “amputee gifts,” we mean items that are specifically related to limb difference. That’s not to say we think amputees should only get “amputee gifts” instead of “able-bodied gifts.” But there’s some pretty sweet gear out there that is limb-difference-related, and you’re not gonna find out about it at BuzzFeed, Real Simple, Oprah, Town & Country, or anywhere else you might go to browse for ideas. If you’re looking for general gifts, there are a million sites that can give you better suggestions than we can. But for gifts related to amputation, we’ll take on all comers.
One final disclaimer: There are no paid placements or promotional quid pro quos in this article. Everything listed here was recommended to us by a reader, an industry source, or someone in our social media network. And that largely negates the first disclaimer: I.e., we’re not relying on our own faulty gift-giving judgment.
Our list of amputee gifts begins with ideas for people with any type of limb difference. That’s followed by gift ideas for lower-limb amputees, then ideas for folks with upper-limb difference. Each section includes at least one gift idea for children with limb difference. (When you’re done reading this list, check out the sequel: More Holiday Gifts for Amputees.)
Gifts for All Amputees
BlaxBee Clothing Co. recently unveiled its AmpuBee line, billed as “the only dedicated sports brand to offer amputee clothing fully tailored at the point of purchase.” This Scottish company offers track pants, leggings, jumpers, long-sleeve T-shirts, and upper-body base layers customized for your specific limb difference.
AmpuTshirts offers clever designs that celebrate limb difference with humor, wisdom, and inspiration. Many designs are available in variations to match your specific limb difference (upper/lower, right/lift/bilateral), and the catalog includes kid- and veteran-specific offerings. Owner Rex Burruss is a leader of the Amputee Foundation of Greater Atlanta.
There’s no greater gift than well-being, and CBDs can promote it by reducing pain, promoting sleep, and alleviating stress. Get more details in our post about CBDs for amputees. For an awesome stocking stuffer, check FabCBD’s range of flavored full-spectrum oils, Joy Organics’ lavender-scented CBD bath bombs, NuLeaf Naturals’ softgel capsules, or Spruce’s topical CBD cream or lotion.
For the amputee with attitude, we recommend a virtual visit to Gonk and Moody. The company started out peddling clothes and accessories for motorcycle enthusiasts. When an old racing injury required Moody to have a leg removed below the knee, the company expanded into amputee-themed t-shirts, hats, and other merch.
Readers’ roost: Sara Hendren’s What Can a Body Do? examines adaptations to limb loss and other disabilities while imagining a better-designed world for all. To cite one reviewer: “For Hendren, disability is not a problem to be solved or a flaw to be cured. Diverse bodies generate alternative understandings of the built world and should encourage us to question what we accept as ‘standard.’” We expect this thought-provoking book to end up on some year-end best-of lists.
Kids’ corner: American Girl and Barbie both have limb-different dolls available, but neither company needs any extra publicity from us. So we’ll spotlight a couple of lesser-known alternatives. My Diversity Dolls features custom-made toys with all sorts of bodies, including limb difference; a generous slice of the proceeds support anti-bullying campaigns. And Saundra Rose Designs offers crocheted amputee Yoda, Mickey Mouse, and other characters.
Gifts for Lower-Limb Amputees
We start with an idea from our friends at Abled Amputees of America. One of their Facebook commenters suggested a boot dryer from Job Site, which can be used as a prosthetic liner warmer (although it’s not expressly designed as such). In a similar vein, you could get a compact towel warmer from Haven—it won’t dry and disinfect your liners like the Job Site product, but it’ll heat them up much faster. And if you’re looking for a low-cost, low-tech way to promote liner care and comfort, try My Liner Buddy, a locking hook to air-dry your liners.
Trekking poles are trending big-time these days among hikers of all body shapes and abilities. The gold standard in this category is Black Diamond, whose offerings range from $60 to $180, but you can pick up a serviceable pair of poles for $30 if you’re not too choosy. Find the price point that fits your degree of trail devotion. For other hiking-related gift suggestions (including socks, sleeves, and boots), consult our hiking hacks article.
Alexandra Boutté, aka Limbitless Sunshine, likes warm-n-fuzzy PJ sets that pair long-sleeved tops with shorts. “They’re great for lower limb amputees to help stay warm in the winter without having to cut off a pant leg or tie in a knot,” she says. Alexandra likes Old Navy’s selection; we also found some pretty cool sleepers at the Company Store, ShopBop, and Hollister.
Another suggestion comes from Sam Rossiello, a bilateral amputee who’s athletically active. He thinks a looped band kit makes a good gift for at-home workouts to maintain hip and glute strength. They also travel easily for anyone who spends time on the road for work, as Rossiello used to back in the pre-COVID days. TB-12 has a full starter set that includes a travel bag. Bodylastics also gets high marks for its full kit; Serious Steel sells individual bands for hips and glutes.
Dipping back into the Abled Amputee comment thread, someone mentioned Rebound Ergonomic Crutches from DonJoy. Built with a spring that propels you forward and reduces your energy expenditure, Rebounds are popular and very well reviewed. Unfortunately, they seem to be sold out at the moment. We searched high and low on the Internet and talked to three different reps from DonJoy customer “service” (if you could call it that), but no dice. In lieu of the DonJoys, you could try some Millennial In-Motions, a pair of Ergobaum 7Gs, or an iWalk 2.0, Or just watch Footless Jo’s crutchapalooza video from last year to get her hot takes on a handful of crutch makes and models.
Kids’ corner: Jennifer Latham Robinson’s coloring books make fantastic gifts for kids with any kind of limb difference, but especially leg amputees. You can read more about Robinson’s career and her thoughts about inclusion in our September/October issue.
Last-minute panic buying? We’ve got you covered.
Gifts for Upper-Limb Amputees
When Microsoft unveiled its Xbox Adaptive Game Controller back in 2018, it made video gaming accessible to hordes of previously excluded players. The Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit takes things one step further, providing a suite of customizable buttons that can easily be programmed for one-handed or no-handed play. It won an Innovation by Design Award from Fast Company.
While we’re on the subject of gaming, the latest entry in RTalsorian Games’ Cyberpunk roleplaying series features an all-arm-amputee squad of Edgerunners. Called Cyberpunk Red, this iteration of the game will be released on November 19. Check the manufacturer’s website to find a retailer.
Apparently the Chef’n EZ Squeeze one-handed can opener has been around for, like, forever, and we just found out about it last month. But we give ourselves a pass, because the tip came from a congenitally limb-different YouTuber who also discovered the item recently and describes it as “a game-changer.” While we were at it, we asked around for opinions about the best one-handed bottle opener and got unanimous feedback: It’s the GrOpener (short for Grab Opener).
Australian adaptive lingerie company BraEasy is having a huge debut year. Their one-handed bra has received kudos from all over since it rolled out last December, including positive notices from Paralympic medalist Elizabeth Wright and New York University disability guru Truett Vaigneur. Last we checked, the bras were on sale; order here.
Kids’ corner: If you want a brand-new children’s book about congenital upper-limb difference, try Molly Wants a Dolly or It’s Me, Zoey. For slightly older titles in this category, we recommend Katie Wells’ two recent books: I Can Still Do Everything With One Arm and I Can Still Work at the White House With One Arm.
Still looking for more ideas? Read More Holiday Gifts for Amputees.