Diabetes is a chronic condition that is known to cause problems in your legs and feet.
Due to this reason, it is important to buy the right diabetic shoes for you to help mitigate any symptoms you may have.
Not only do the proper shoes provide much-needed support and comfort, but they can also help prevent many common diabetic foot problems.
What is diabetes?
There are two common types of diabetes and they are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. When you have type 1 diabetes your body can not produce enough insulin due to your immune system mistakenly attacking the cells in your pancreas that make it.
Insulin is a hormone that is necessary for your cells to take in the blood sugar and convert it into energy. If you have type 2 diabetes your body has developed insulin resistance and no longer uses insulin effectively.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1 diabetes but all forms of diabetes can leave you with high blood sugar levels which can cause problems such as heart attacks, stroke, and diabetic foot ulcers.
Why does diabetes cause so many problems in the legs and feet?
Diabetes can cause a lot of problems in the legs and feet because high blood sugar levels can damage nerves and blood vessels.
Diabetic neuropathy, also called diabetic peripheral neuropathy, is a peripheral nerve disorder that can cause nerve damage and lead to numbness in your feet and legs.
The loss of sensation can lead to foot deformities and you may also not notice a cut or wound that in turn becomes infected.
Problems with balance and coordination can also result from diabetic neuropathy which can increase your risk of falling.
Another problem that can occur in the legs and feet is peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD happens when plaque builds up in your blood vessels and narrows or blocks them and it can cause you to have reduced blood flow in your extremities.
The poor circulation can then result in wounds or sores taking longer to heal and can lead to infections that may need an amputation.
What do I need to look for when buying diabetic shoes?
When you are looking for diabetic shoes, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure that the shoes that are the correct size, fit well, are comfortable, and are closed-toed to provide protection.
You also want to wear shoes that have a wide toe box so that your toes have plenty of room to move around and do not get cramped. It is also important to find shoes that have good arch support and are made of breathable materials to keep your feet dry and cool.
The shoes need to have extra cushioning to help protect your feet when walking or doing physical activities too.
Removable insoles can also be necessary if you want to insert your own store-bought or custom orthotic insoles. Lastly, you want extra depth shoes which means you have extra room if you get swollen feet.
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What are the 5 best diabetic shoes?
There are a lot of different diabetic shoes on the market, some are intentionally made for diabetics while others are comfortable shoes that still can help with diabetic complications in your legs and feet.
The 5 best diabetic footwear we have found are:
Gentle Step Diabetic Shoe
Gentle Step Diabetic Shoes are approved extra-depth shoes for patients with diabetes and suffering from neuropathy. The upper is constructed of lycra to provide comfort in patients with forefoot deformities or lesions.
The heel counter is firm to provide stability and a comfortable fit. The extra depth is concealed in the molded outsole to provide a lower profile and enhanced style.
The toe box is made of lycra material to stretch over foot deformities such as hammer toes, bunions, etc. One strap loop lock provides easy closure. These shoes are latex free.
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- Mid Rocker sole permits easy ambulation.
- Toe upper is made of soft elastic material that easily accommodates deformities and reduces pressure from edema.
- Toe area of sole is smooth to prevent tripping on carpets with shuffling gait.
- Single hook and loop strap fastener for easier closure.
- Firm extended heel counter for rear foot stability.
- Removable therapeutic insole to accommodate custom orthotics.
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New Balance 990v5 Core
The classic-looking 990v5 from New Balance is an ideal diabetic shoe that is covered by Medicare and is available for both men and women.
The suede and breathable mesh upper give you plenty of ventilation for your feet while the toe box is extra roomy in case your feet swell.
The ENCAP midsole provides ample cushioning while also being firm and supportive. They also provide you with an Ortholite removable insole that you can take out and replace with orthotic insoles.
The 990v5 is also available in multiple different widths which is great if you have narrow feet or wide feet. All of these features make the 990v5 core an excellent choice for everyday wear or for running and walking shoes.
- Heritage Style: The 990v5 is an iconic sneaker, built with a pigskin and mesh upper in a classic running silhouette designed to look amazing anywhere from morning run to runway
- Supportive Fit: Venture on, wherever the day takes you, with the New Balance 990v5 lifestyle shoe. An ENCAP midsole combines lightweight foam with a durable polyurethane rim to deliver all-day support
- Helps Protect Ankles: Designed for all-day comfort, these everyday running shoes from New Balance also include dual-density collar foam that offers support and comfort for your ankles
- Built to Last: These New Balance everyday shoes are designed with a durable blown rubber outsole that stands up to daily wear and helps provide comfort in every step
- Made in the USA: Manufactured in the US for over 75 years and representing a limited portion of US sales, New Balance MADE is a premium collection that contains a domestic value of 70% or greater
Orthofeet Chattanooga Shoe
Orthofeet is a company that was created to help people with foot conditions and their different types of shoes in a wide range of styles are great if you have diabetic complications.
The Chattanooga is a women’s mary jane style shoe with a single padded, adjustable strap that uses a hook and loop closure system with velcro.
The premium orthotic insoles feature an Arch Booster system that can be added or removed for optimal support too.
They feature a mesh stretchable upper that surrounds a wide toe box while the ergonomic sole gives you excellent traction.
Finally, these casual shoes also come with spacers that can be added for the perfect fit or removed to provide extra depth making them an ideal orthopedic shoe.
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- PLANTAR FASCIITIS? FOOT PAIN? KNEE PAIN? FLAT FEET? - Orthofeet’s Ortho-Cushion system offers the ultimate solution: Premium orthotic insoles, arch booster and multiple cushioning layers provide pillow-like support that works wonders to enhance comfort and help ease pain on the foot and heel, all the way up your knees, hips, and lower back.
- EXCELLENT STABILITY, EASE OF WALKING & PERFECT FIT - Lightweight ergonomic soles with a mild rocker design and superior cushioning enhance stability, improve the ease of walking, and add spring to your step. The wide range of widths along with multiple fitting spacers allow you to reach a perfect fit.
- SENSITIVE FEET? DIABETES? ARTHRITIS? NEUROPATHY? - Soft, stretchable knit fabric uppers with extra foam padding ease pressure on the foot and provide superior comfort and protection for sensitive feet. Wide toe-box offers extra room for toe movement and alleviates pressure on bunions and hammertoes.
- BUNIONS? HAMMERTOES? MORTON’S NEUROMA? SWOLLEN FEET? - A wide & roomy toe box along with an extra depth design offer a comfortable, non-binding fit and ease pressure on bunions, hammertoes, Morton’s neuroma & swollen feet. ORTHOTIC FRIENDLY: Removable insoles (¼” thick in the forefoot area) provides ample space for custom made orthotics.
Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit
The same premium orthotic insoles that are used in the Chattanooga style shoe is also used in this one and feature antimicrobial fabric and foam, extra cushioning in the heel, and arch support that can be adjusted using their Arch Booster system.
The interior of the shoe is smooth and has some padding to help avoid any friction or blisters too.
These athletic shoes are not only good for diabetics but also help with a slew of other foot issues such as bunions, heel spurs, hammertoe, and plantar fasciitis to name just a few.
Skechers Women’s Go Walk Massage Fit Seascape
The GO WALK line from Skechers are all great shoes if you have diabetes but the Seascape is our new favorite. It features a Massage Fit insole that gently massages the soles of your feet with every step.
Their HYPER BURST midsole has a resilient foam that provides the ultimate comfort for your feet too. These shoes are also slip-ons in case you have any issues putting on or tying your shoes with laces and cleaning them is very easy as they are machine washable.
The outsole features a dual-density rubber for excellent foot stability and traction too making them perfect if you worry about falls due to diabetes and features a breathable fabric to keep your feet cool.
What is the best way to take care of diabetic shoes?
If you do get them wet, make sure you dry them thoroughly before wearing them again.
It is also important to rotate your shoes so you are not wearing the same pair all the time as this can cause them to wear out faster.
One of the most important things to remember is to replace your shoes every 6 months or sooner if they start to show signs of wear and tear so your feet always have cushioning and support.
Are there any ways to prevent diabetic foot problems?
Yes, there are several ways to prevent diabetic foot problems and keep your feet healthy which we will detail for you.
First and foremost, proper foot care starts with maintaining your blood glucose levels within your target range by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, and taking medication as prescribed by your doctor. It is imperative to keep your feet clean by washing them daily with warm water and mild soap and to dry them thoroughly.
You also need to inspect your feet daily for any cuts, bruises, foot sores, or blisters and if you do find any wounds, clean them immediately and apply a bandage.
Wearing clean, dry socks and shoes that fit well and protect your feet at all times is also crucial to preventing injuries and deformities.
You also need to cut your toenails straight across and file any edges to help avoid ingrown nails and any infections. Finally, you need to see your doctor or podiatrist (foot doctor) regularly to have a diabetic foot exam for any problems.
Diabetic shoes offer many benefits to your feet and legs if you suffer from diabetes.
The best diabetic shoes we have found are listed above although you need to also do your own research to find the shoes that are right for you.
Wearing diabetic shoes helps to prevent foot problems by providing support, cushioning, and stability and also helps to protect your feet from injuries and keep them clean and dry.
If you have any questions regarding diabetes, foot problems, or what shoes are best for your medical conditions, please talk to your doctor, podiatrist, or health care provider.
References and sources:
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Chris is one of the Co-Founders of Diabetic.org. An entrepreneur at heart, Chris has been building and writing in consumer health for over 10 years. In addition to Diabetic.org, Chris and his Acme Health LLC Brand Team own and operate Pharmacists.org, Multivitamin.org, PregnancyResource.org, and the USA Rx Pharmacy Discount Card powered by Pharmacists.org.
Chris has a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation and is a proud member of the American Medical Writer’s Association (AMWA), the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the Council of Science Editors, the Author’s Guild, and the Editorial Freelance Association (EFA).
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