Diabetic socks are a special type of sock designed to improve blood circulation and prevent foot problems if you have diabetes.
Diabetes can often cause poor circulation and nerve damage, especially in your feet, which leaves you at risk for developing foot ulcers making diabetic socks an important part of your wardrobe.
In this article, we will discuss the features to look for when buying diabetic socks, the difference between diabetic and compression socks, and the best brands of diabetic ankle socks on the market today so you can have healthy feet.
What are diabetic socks?
Diabetic socks are special socks that help protect your feet if you have diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus.
There are two reasons you may need diabetic socks and they are diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Diabetic neuropathy is when long-term high blood sugar levels from diabetes cause nerve damage that affects your feet and legs.
The common symptoms of it include the loss of feeling in your feet, pain, and tingling.
The numbness in your foot could cause you to not notice a cut or sore that can turn into an ulcer and get infected, which is the most common reason for diabetic lower limb amputations.
Peripheral arterial disease, also known as peripheral vascular disease, is when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels that go to your legs and feet due to plaque buildup that causes poor circulation.
It can cause leg cramps, pain when walking, and wounds on your legs and feet that take longer to heal than normal.
Both diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease are the reason you need to wear diabetic socks if you have diabetes but there are several features of diabetic socks that distinguish them from regular socks including:
Moisture wicking material
Diabetic socks are usually made of special breathable materials that also wick moisture away from your feet helping keep them dry and comfortable.
Having dry feet also helps to prevent diabetic foot problems like athlete’s foot and fungal infections.
By having a non-binding band at the top band these socks do not inhibit your blood flow with a tight elastic band around your ankle or calf to prevent swollen feet and provide additional comfort.
Since diabetic socks do not have any seams they are less likely to cause blisters or irritate your skin as ordinary socks can cause friction on the seams if you have sensitive feet.
Diabetic socks often have extra cushioned soles and sometimes even in the forefoot to help protect your feet and provide extra comfort.
Warm if necessary
Some diabetic socks are made to be extra warm if you have poor circulation in your feet or legs and for when you are exposed to colder temperatures.
The best diabetic socks have a combination of these features and are also comfortable socks to wear.
They do not need to be too tight or too loose and need to fit well without being binding to avoid any friction and irritations.
Even though they are specifically made for diabetics, many of the different pairs of socks still come in different sizes, colors, and styles to help accommodate different tastes.
Do I need to wear diabetic socks if I have diabetes?
If you are a diabetic, special socks for diabetes are not necessary although they are recommended.
Even if you are at low risk for diabetic foot ulcers, diabetic socks can help to improve your foot health by preventing fungal infections, blisters, and calluses.
If you have diabetic neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease, diabetic socks are a must to help prevent foot ulcers that could lead to infection and amputation.
What is the difference between diabetic socks and compression socks?
Compression socks are a type of hosiery that helps to improve circulation in your legs and feet.
They are usually used to relieve pain and swelling from conditions such as varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and after surgical procedures.
Compression socks are not the same as diabetic socks even though they both improve circulation and have some of the same features.
Diabetic socks are designed specifically for if you are diabetic and have some additional features like a seamless construction and extra padding.
What are the best brands for diabetic socks?
Many different brands make diabetic socks but the best 5 companies we have found include the following:
The Dr. Comfort brand was originally founded in 2002 to provide diabetic footwear and has since expanded to include a line of diabetic socks.
Their diabetic socks are designed with a non-binding top, moisture-wicking material, and extra padding for comfort. All of their diabetic socks use nano bamboo charcoal fibers for odor and moisture prevention and they are also antibacterial too.
They also have a seamless construction to prevent blisters and come in several different styles. These socks were not only constructed for neuropathy and circulation issues but can also help your symptoms if you have edema too.
OrthoFeet is another company that was founded to help create shoes for numerous different conditions including neuropathy, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and flat feet among many others.
Their socks offer moisture-wicking bamboo yarn and Terry padding for extra cushioning.
There is a ventilated mesh upper for breathability and a loose, non-constricting fit on the top binding along with a smooth toe seam.
These amazing socks are also available in a unisex fit with a wide range of sizes.
Designed by an actual doctor, Dr. Segal’s diabetic socks are the most fashionable with a wide selection of designs.
They possess all of the features listed above to make a quality diabetic sock including a flat felled seam to avoid any abrasion from it.
The real differentiation between Dr. Segal’s and other brands is their variety of designs.
These unisex socks come in whimsical fashion such as arrows, stripes, and other various designs which allows you to showcase your personality while still preventing diabetic foot complications.
Debra Weitner diabetic socks are no frills with solid colors and a variety of different lengths from ankle socks to crew socks.
One feature that allows them to stand out is they also offer socks with grippers on the bottom to help avoid falls if you only wear socks around the house.
They provide all the same features we look for in a diabetic sock but have a best price guarantee on their site along with free shipping.
The most recognized name in foot care in the United States for their inserts, soles, custom orthotics, and other items is Dr. Scholl’s and it comes as no shock that they also offer diabetic socks.
Dr. Scholl’s socks are available in both men’s and women’s sizes to ensure the best fit and are widely available at such sites as Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
Their diabetic socks also feature TempRite technology to keep your feet cool, DS Dry fibers for their moisture-wicking ability, and an Invisiseam for a seamless fit.
How do I care for my diabetic socks?
Diabetic socks, just like any other type of sock, need to be washed after every wear whether you performed any physical activity or not.
They can be machine-washed in cold water on a delicate cycle and tumbled dry on low or hung to dry.
Be sure to check the care instructions on your diabetic socks before washing as some brands may have specific recommendations.
It is also important to never iron diabetic socks as the heat from the iron can break down the fibers of the sock.
Also, regularly check your socks for signs of wear such as rips, broken seams, or holes, and dispose of them if you find any to help prevent any foot injuries and complications.
When it comes to diabetic socks, there are a plethora of different brands that offer a variety of features.
The most important things to look for in diabetic socks are a non-binding top, moisture-wicking material, extra padding for comfort, and seamless construction to prevent blisters.
The brands we listed above are all trusted names in foot care that offer diabetic socks for both men and women.
To care for your diabetic socks, be sure to frequently check your pair of socks for signs of wear and tear and wash them after every use to help prevent any diabetic foot complications.
If you have any more questions about diabetes and what to wear to avoid any complications, please talk to your doctor, podiatrist, or health care provider.
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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 Chris Riley and medically reviewed by Dr. Angel Rivera.
Erik Rivera is a co-founder of Diabetic.org and has been an e-commerce Entrepreneur for over 10 years since he retired from Special Forces after graduating from the Naval Academy. He also is the founder of Health Ramp Services, a company that brings new medical device companies to market. He has founded several digital businesses and has had a number of successful exits in e-commerce as well as software. His OnePet business is a leader in the online Pet Care space by creating and delivering high quality products and services for pet owners.