There are many things that I didn’t realise about disability when I was able bodied, one of those things is the problem with standard trousers when you are a wheelchair user.
You can’t really know what it’s like to sit in a wheelchair for prolonged periods of time unless you do it or you know someone who does, even then you may not know. I am friends with a guy who is a wheelchair user and I guess you don’t discuss what trousers they wear, and so I didn’t know until I too became reliant on a wheelchair.
Trousers are cut so they fit properly when we are stood up, so the first problem is what my wife calls ‘wheelchair bum’. It’s the builder’s bum problem, where the trousers are too low at the back. Then there is the problem of rear pockets and heavy seams, both can leave you sore after sitting for a long period of time. My favourite trousers and really the only ones I wear, are cargo pants and I love them they are the most practical, I wear loose fitting shorts at home but when I go out, it’s the cargo pants.
Accessing pockets when you are sat down is a pain in the rear (pun intended) and these trousers have pockets on the thighs, so I have removed the rear pockets as they have press studs and they are also very bulky. The stitching and seams are very heavy as well, these khaki trousers are meant to be a utility cross military style and so they are well built, this is good for wear and tear, but these seams can be painful after a long period of time in a wheelchair. Many wheelchair users are prone to pressure sores, and so it’s important to make sure you avoid any problems.
So I have been looking on the Internet for some trousers that are the same style but designed with wheelchair users in mind, these are usually higher at the back and have no seams or minimal light seams around the bum. Then the options are huge, they can be Velcro front where the whole front comes away, this is to access things like a stoma, catheter etc.
The problem is that because they are specialised and from smaller companies, like all things to do with disability, they are expensive.
Also, many are not fashionable and look more like (no offence) they are designed for very old people.
I tweeted a request for information on where to buy from and a woman replied, she said she mainly lives in yoga pants now and she said “I just want to feel pretty and get jeans that don’t give sores!”
She said to try http://www.rollitex.co.uk/ a company based in Berlin, they have what I need but they are priced at 79€ which at today’s exchange rates is £54.50 and when you are reliant on benefits, that’s a lot of money for one pair of trousers!
I contacted Rollitex UK and this is an edit of the reply from Guy Harris who runs the Rollitex UK.
The first of the two links below will give you a range of companies offering clothing for wheelchair users and people with disabilities.
I totally understand your position regarding buying premium products whilst living on benefits, and this is the awful side of the disability industry and products.
I tend to find that people either cannot believe how cheap or how expensive our jeans are, depending on where they are coming from. We manufacture in the same factories, using many of the same fabrics as Pepe, Levis, Lee, Diesel and (in the case of the MURADI lines) True Religion. There is more handwork involved in our jeans because of the shaped seat and they are produced in smaller volumes and yet we cost significantly less than these big brands. It is the only disability product I know of (I’ve been a paraplegic for 13 years and think I know the market pretty well now!) which is CHEAPER than the mainstream equivalent. And I’m proud of that. BUT, I totally understand that it isn’t as cheap as Walmart, Tesco, Matalan, etc… It’s a different product and they don’t do wheelchair jeans. And this doesn’t help you. I’m sorry.
I have now owned my trousers from Rollitex for about 10 years, and I can tell you that they were very much worth the price paid. They are still going strong, no damage or signs of wear and so, so comfortable.
I have used them whilst bum shuffling about in a garden border whilst weeding, and I have even bum shuffled along on concrete and they handle it!
Plus the fact that sitting for very prolonged periods of time is more comfortable wearing them!