Diabetic footwear can help people with diabetes. The wrong shoes can cause pressure, blisters, and calluses — all of which can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Replacing diabetic footwear

If you have diabetes, you need to take care of your feet. In addition to regularly seeing a podiatrist, you should replace your footwear frequently. If replacing, check for:

  • The right type of shoe
    Shoes made specifically for people with diabetes are designed with features that promote good circulation and prevent injury. They’re available in high heels and flat shoes like sneakers or loafers. Shoes should be replaced every six months to ensure they are in good condition.
  • The right size shoe
    A shoe that fits properly will support your feet without putting too much pressure on them. Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest size; wear the same socks that you would wear with the new shoes, and ask for help if needed when trying on different pairs of shoes. Your shoes should allow your toes to move comfortably without feeling too tight or constricted. This allows blood to flow through the feet and helps prevent pressure spots from forming in your feet due to constriction from shoes that are too tight or narrow at the toes or heels. If possible, wear thick socks while trying on shoes so that you can see how they feel when wearing them with socks.
  • The right fit
    Insoles
    can make a difference in how comfortable a shoe is for someone with diabetes or other foot problems. Look for insoles that provide cushioning and support while allowing some room for movement inside the shoe.

Choose shoes based on comfort

The best way to find comfortable shoes is by trying them on. It’s important to try multiple pairs on until you find one that fits comfortably and feels right — even if it means going out of your way to visit a store that carries your size or ordering online from a store with free shipping and free returns. You’ll be glad you did when you’re comfortable walking around all day!

Also, avoid high heels in favor of low heels or flats. High heels can be hard on your feet and increase your risk for injury if they don’t fit properly or aren’t sturdy enough for long periods of activity or standing. If you love wearing high heels, make sure they’re at least 1 inch (2 centimeters) high at the front tip — that’s about as high as most people should go without changing their gait mechanics.

Important things that a diabetic footwear should have:

  • Arch support
    Your arches support the weight of your body and help support your ankles. When they weaken, your feet become less stable and more likely to turn inwards or outwards. Diabetic footwear should have arch supports that help keep the arch from collapsing too far or sticking up too far. If you’re unsure whether or not your shoes provide enough arch support, ask someone trained in a proper shoe fitting to look at them and make recommendations about how much additional support they need.
  • Cushioning
    Cushioning helps absorb shock when you walk or run on hard surfaces. Diabetic footwear should provide enough cushioning so that your feet don’t hurt after long periods of wear or high-impact activities like running or playing sports. Without enough cushioning, your feet will get fatigued more quickly and grow sore if they’re not used to being on hard surfaces often.
  • Stability
    Diabetic feet are more prone to injury than others because they have trouble sensing where their feet are in space. To help prevent falls, look for shoes with extra stability features like a wide base and firm heel counter.
  • Waterproofing
    As we age, our skin becomes less elastic when exposed to moisture or friction. People with diabetes are especially susceptible to these problems because their blood vessels can become inflamed easily, causing redness or swelling that makes it difficult to fit into regular shoes comfortably. Look for waterproofing on any diabetic footwear you buy so your feet don’t get wet from sweat or from walking through puddles or streams.
  • Insoles
    Insoles are often the first thing to wear in a pair of shoes. It’s easy to forget about them when you’re doing a shoe repair, but they need replacing too. Insoles are made of leather or plastic, and they cushion your feet from the impact of walking. The material also helps keep your feet cool. If your insoles are worn out, make sure you buy replacements before you buy new shoes.
  • Sole Material
    The soles of your shoes should be made from hard rubber or composite materials like plastic and fiberglass. Soft soles are fine for casual wear, but if you want something that will last longer and be more comfortable for walking long distances, try looking for a pair with hard soles instead. You can usually tell how hard the sole is by how high it sits off the ground when you stand on tip-toes; if there are less than two centimeters between your heel and the ground, then it’s probably not enough to support for long walks!
  • Shoe Material
    Leather, canvas, and canvas-like materials are the most common options for diabetic shoes. These are breathable and flexible enough to accommodate swollen feet, which is especially important for people with diabetes. Many people prefer leather shoes because they’re durable and long-lasting. However, leather can be too stiff for some people with diabetes, especially those with neuropathy in their feet or legs.
  • Canvas shoes have many of the same benefits as leather but are much more flexible. They’re also lightweight and breathable, so they’re great for warmer weather or activities like walking or hiking. When choosing shoes for your needs, make sure they’re made of breathable material so your feet won’t overheat while wearing them.
  • Style
    If you want to wear stylish shoes while still managing your diabetes well, they must fit perfectly. Shoes with laces or buckles will give you more freedom of choice when it comes to styles because they can be adjusted easily based on how tight or loose they feel on your feet.
  • Flexibility
    The main thing to look out for when buying diabetic footwear is flexibility. Footwear that is not flexible can cause stiffness in the joints, making your feet feel sore and achy. The best way to check whether a pair of shoes is flexible is by seeing how much they bend when you press down on them with your hands. Avoid shoes with stiff soles, as these will cause problems for your feet and legs.

Finding the perfect diabetic footwear requires researching your experience and what is most comfortable for you. Focus on the foot health benefits rather than looks, and pick the shoe you feel most comfortable wearing. When you find the right pair, wear them to ensure they fit comfortably and are still supportive of your diabetes needs.

Many companies produce shoes designed for diabetic patients. Also, there are many more companies that produce regular shoes but have a range of products that have characteristics that might benefit people with diabetes. So your choice of footwear doesn’t have to be limited to the specialist manufacturer or mall shop. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about what footwear would work best for you.

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