Diabetes is a complex disease that can have numerous effects in the body. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a condition where the body’s cells are resistant to insulin. This resistance can have a widespread impact on the nerves and circulation. Oftentimes, those with T2DM will go on to develop nerve damage, known as diabetic neuropathy.
There are several kinds of diabetic neuropathy, but the most common is peripheral neuropathy. The term “peripheral” refers to the furthest parts of the body, such as the hands and feet.
Alongside the neuropathy, people with diabetes can also develop peripheral artery disease. This affects circulation and blood flow, particularly to the legs, which can result in damage to the feet (ulcers, blisters, infections, etc.)
Proper foot care is important when managing diabetes, and there are ways to help take care of your feet. Diabetic socks for men offer comfort and protection to those who need benefits that normal socks cannot provide.
What Are Diabetic Socks?
Diabetic socks are designed with special considerations in mind for men with diabetes. If you have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, or if you simply have diabetes, you can benefit from wearing these socks.
Signs of peripheral neuropathy to be aware of include:
- Sweaty, moist feet
- Blisters, ulcers, calluses, or infections
- Loss of sensation of pain, cold, or heat in the feet
- Changes in shape and size of the feet
- Changes in skin color and temperature in the feet
What Makes Diabetic Socks Special?
If you have peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes, you are at a higher risk for injuring your feet and legs. This is because you may not be able to feel cuts, sharp objects, or blisters forming on your feet. Additionally, diabetes can affect your body’s ability to heal itself; if your feet are hurt, they will have a harder time recovering than normal.
With this, diabetic socks offer extra protection to keep your feet comfortable and safe. They are made with special materials and appropriate designs that promote circulation and wick away moisture.
Normal socks are typically made using cotton, which can become damp with sweat. Diabetic socks use other materials, like nylon, polyester, and other acrylic-based fibers that are gentle on the skin.
These materials also help wick away moisture, keeping the feet dry to prevent irritation and infections. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends wearing moisture wicking socks as part of a proper foot care routine.
Some brands of diabetic socks use bamboo, wool, or copper-threaded fibers to help prevent infections. For example, copper is well-known in the healthcare industry to have antimicrobial effects, making it an ideal material for diabetic socks.
Fit and Design
Many people with peripheral neuropathy also have circulation issues, which can lead to swelling (known as edema) in the legs and feet. With this, diabetic socks are designed to fit comfortably and not restrict blood flow.
Normal socks have elastic bands that help hold the sock in place. However, these bands can become uncomfortable for people with diabetes. If they are too tight, they can cut off blood flow to the legs and feet, causing more damage.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) also recommends wearing socks without seams, because they can rub on the toes and feet, causing blisters.
Diabetic socks are available in many sizes, designs, and colors. You can choose the level of coverage and compression you want, whether it is up to your ankle, calf, or over the calf. Certain brands of men’s diabetic socks also have extra cushioning on parts of the feet that often develop blisters. This extra cushion can help protect the areas of the feet that need it most.
On your search for a new pair of diabetic socks, you may also come across compression socks. Compression socks are designed to press down on the legs and help blood return back to the heart. They are also used to help relieve swelling in the legs and feet associated with circulation issues.
Some brands of diabetic socks also include compression, which can be beneficial to those with poor circulation. You want to be sure that the compression is not too tight, because this can limit blood flow to the legs and feet, which can make foot problems worse. Diabetic socks with compression typically compress the most around the ankles and decrease as they move up to the knee.
What Socks Should You Buy?
When looking for diabetic socks, it can be overwhelming. There are dozens of brands with different designs and materials to choose from. These brands have high ratings and come with a number of features to offer your feet the best protection.
Very light compression socks that promote circulation and provide comfort and support for your tired feet. Circufiber’s medical socks have just the right amount of soft padding without making your shoes too tight. A clinical trial protocol to study the benefits of Circufiber™ socks has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Yale University. The United States Food and Drug Administration has determined that Circufiber™ products that contain Circulight IR™ technology are general wellness medical devices as defined in section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Hugh Ugoli Men’s Loose Diabetic Ankle Socks
These socks are made with bamboo and polyester mesh to promote air flow to the feet to help keep them dry. They also have reinforced toe and heel padding to protect these areas from blisters, and thin seams to prevent rubbing on toes.
Doctor’s Choice Men’s Diabetic and Neuropathy Ankle Socks
These socks have a loose fit, ideal for promoting blood flow to the legs and feet. They are made with zinc, silver and copper fibers in a breathable mesh to allow air flow to keep your feet dry. Doctor’s Choice even offers diabetic socks with aloe infused in the fabric to help keep skin moisturized and soft.
OrthoSleeve WC4 Wellness Socks
These socks are made with bamboo and charcoal fibers infused with silver ions. They also have special-shaped heel and toe pockets with contoured padding to help keep your feet in place inside the sock. The OrthoSleeve socks also provide compression for those who need circulation support.
Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Diabetic and Circulatory Non-Binding Crew Sock
Dr. Scholl’s men’s diabetic socks are made with polyester and spandex in a mesh fabric to wick away moisture and promote airflow. There is also Silvadur woven into fabric with silver ions for antimicrobial effects.
References and Sources:
- Diabetic neuropathy – Mayo Clinic
- Peripheral neuropathy – Mayo Clinic
- Foot Complications – American Diabetes Association
- Diabetes and Foot Problems – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- 7 – Antimicrobial textile dressings in managing wound infection – Advanced Textiles for Wound Care
- Diabetic Foot Self-Care Practices Among Adult Diabetic Patients – Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy
- Protective socks for people with diabetes – Journal of Foot and Ankle Research
Fact Checked and Editorial Process
Diabetic.org is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by hiring experts, journalists, medical professionals, and our growing Diabetic.org community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Erik Rivera and medically reviewed by Dr. Angel Rivera.
Owner, entrepreneur, and consumer health enthusiast.