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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Adaptive Clothing

May 2024 | Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Dressing can be difficult for some individuals with Down syndrome, in part because bilateral coordination and dexterity skills can be challenging for many individuals with Down syndrome. I have shared information about adaptive tops & pants, belts, and shoes & shoelaces below. 


long sleeve shirtTOPS & PANTS

There are (stylish!) options to promote independence with dressing.

Options may:

  • Eliminate the need for fastening or zipping closures, which may speed up dressing and alleviate frustration

  • Provide easy-close alternatives

  • Be available in petite sizes or short lengths

  • Resemble standard clothing including shirts, sweatshirts, pants, jeans, khakis, or other tops and pants


While not an exhaustive list, some examples of tops include:

  • Pullover shirts or t-shirts

pullover sweater with velcro at the neck opening
  • Shirts with magnetic and/or Velcro closures

jean shirt with magnetic buttons

blue dress shirt with velcro closures

  • Attaching Velcro to existing shirts (i.e., over buttonholes)

black shirt with package of velcro dots


While not an exhaustive list, some examples of pants include:

  • Pants with an elastic waist

khaki pants with elastic waist
  • Pull-on pants, jeans, or khakis

pull on jeans with elastic waist

  • Pants with magnetic and/or Velcro closures

jeans with magnetic and velcro closures
khakis with magnetic and velcro closure

The terms in the lists above may be helpful to use in search engines or when online shopping. Prices, fabrics, and availability vary, although options can be found at many common retailers such as Kohls, Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Amazon.

Some specific lines and brands include (listed alphabetically, not in order of preference): 



Two "buckle-less" belt options are: 


woman wearing jeans with belt from BeltBro

Belt from Myself Belts


Many brands offer adaptive styles (prices and availability vary). Some features of adaptive shoes include: 

  • No tying required

  • Wraparound zippers

Billy shoes with wraparound zipper

  • Adjustable straps

shoes with adjustable straps

  • Slip-on

Adidas slip on shoes


The following are several examples of adaptive shoes or brands that make adaptive shoes (listed alphabetically, not in order of preference). Many of these brands also carry wide shoe options.


Rather than buying a new pair of shoes, adaptive shoelaces can be used with an existing pair of shoes. They replace or attach to standard laces and turn lace-up shoes into slip-ons. Options include: 

  • Elastic shoelaces (available at many retailers)

  • HICKIES Laces opens in new window

Hickies Lacing System

Zubits magnetic shoe closures


**Please note: We are sharing information about these products for educational purposes only. The Adult Down Syndrome Center does not receive financial support or compensation for sharing information about these products.


Additional resources can be found in the Self-Care and Hygiene section of our Resource Library. 

Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

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Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.