A common question we get is “what size (or length) of shillelagh should I get?”.
As a rule of thumb the following lengths are provided for urban “walking stick” style wear, based on the height of the user.
- 5’-5’8” 31-34 in or longer
- 5’8-6” 34-36 in or longer
- 6” or taller 36-42 in (for a walking stick length)
We recommend a slightly longer stick for off road / country rambling
- 5’-5’8” 34-36 in or longer
- 5’8-6” 36-38 in or longer
- 6” or taller 38-42 in (for a rambling staff length)
Traditionally a walking stick was as long as the height of a man’s belt level for use for everyday walking. This is close to what modern physiotherapists recommend (which is: that a stick should be at the height from the person’s wrist above the ground). This means that the stick will comfortably touch the ground at all points during the walking cycle with the arm only slightly flexed.
Shorter staves were fashionable for a time, but provide less support when walking (their popularity in urban settings may be that shorter shilelagh will wear less on urban or cobbled streets, however most Claymore Shillelagh come with a brass ferrule which will take a lifetime of wear).
For country shillelagh , staves were usually considerably longer.
This is because in climbing up over an obstacle a longer staff would still have length to reach the ground and provide balance (and sometimes on rough ground the nearest thing to balance against is some distance away). For this reason country shillelagh and rambling staffs were traditionally cut to about navel or bellybutton level, but often were considerably taller.
As a rule of thumb it is better to have more shillelagh than less, as shillelagh suit themselves well to a “ring” grip, where the staff is carried in the ring made between thumb and pointer finger.
Extra length also means the staff provides extra motive power throughout more of the walking cycle, helping maintain endurance across country. In this regard there really is no such thing as “too long”- Ski poles or Nordic walking poles are often well up to the users chest height.
For endurance on country walks staves should push you off against the ground, making contact behind you to help propel you forward, like having a third limb pushing you along.
Walking this way means even a relatively short ruffian will get benefit from a full length shillelagh, (and will coincidentally conceal the length of his staff while walking).
Naturally, Claymore Shilellaghs can be cut to your exact size preference if requested.