37.3 million Americans live with diabetes. That's a little more than 1 in 10 of your US friends, neighbors, coworkers, and loved ones.
Half of US diabetics also live with nerve damage caused by peripheral neuropathy. Common symptoms include tingling, numbness, extreme sensitivity and pain in the feet and legs.
Peripheral neuropathy can result in foot ulcers and issues with bones and joints.
If you have diabetes, what can you do to help prevent peripheral neuropathy? Mayo Clinic recommends getting an A1C test at least twice a year, managing blood sugar levels and practicing healthy foot care.
How can you make sure your feet stay healthy? Finding the right socks and shoes is a great start.
Thankfully, there are many great options available. Keep reading to find the best diabetic socks for 2022.
What are the Best Socks for Diabetics to Wear?
From a first glance, diabetic socks might seem like regular socks, but when you look closely you will see special features that accommodate the diabetic foot.
The best diabetic socks should have a good cushion, loose fit and smooth or no seams. They should be easy to put on and take off.
The best socks for diabetic neuropathy shouldn't be too restrictive. They should allow for good circulation and blood flow.
Socks to help with diabetic neuropathy should also be made of soft and comfortable materials, ideally moisture-wicking and breathable.
There are several key features to look for in your diabetic socks for neuropathy that will help keep your feet comfortable and pain free.
Cushion: The best diabetic socks for men and women should have extra padding to offer increased protection to the sensitive foot.
Extra cushioning along the entire bottom of the sock is ideal, but the most important areas are the heel and toe area. These areas are prone to excess pressure when the foot strikes the ground at the heel and lifts off at the toes, which can lead to injuries and foot ulcers.
Stretchy and Comfy: Diabetic socks for neuropathy shouldn't be too tight. The best diabetic socks need to be loose-fitting so that they promote blood flow. They should slide on and off easily without bunching up or squeezing any part of the foot and leg.
Socks with stretch are best as they can expand when the diabetic foot swells throughout the day. Stay away from excess elastic and other constricting materials.
A good way to tell if your socks are too tight is to see if you develop rings or indentations around the instep, ankle or calf after wearing them for several hours.
Remove Excess Moisture: Socks with moisture-wicking technology are a must for keeping your feet clean and dry. If your feet perspire, bacteria and fungi can build up, which also causes odor, and you could end up with ulcers and other issues.
Making sure your feet stay warm and dry is vital in a good pair of diabetic socks.
Soft Material: Socks should be made from soft material that won't irritate your skin. Breathable and comfortable fabric keeps your feet healthy and dry.
Seamless: While seams may not seem like a big deal, they have a role in choosing the best diabetes socks of 2022.
Neuropathy causes one to lose sensation at the feet, which means that even a tiny thread can lead to skin irritation, causing ulcers, sores and other issues. Socks with seams have the potential to restrict blood flow, so it's best to go seamless.
Bacteria Prevention: As mentioned earlier, the best diabetic socks are made from materials that prevent bacteria. Excess bacteria can lead to infection. It's important to use materials with antibacterial or antimicrobial properties
Keep Warm: Extreme temperatures can be hard on the feet. Those with neuropathy are more sensitive to temperature extremes. The best socks for diabetics should keep the feet warm.
Why should diabetics wear white socks?
Seeing as diabetics tend to develop a variety of foot problems, it’s recommended that they take their foot care seriously and wearing white socks can help them do that.
Most diabetics have reduced sensitivity in their feet, which means they may not feel wounds or injuries such as cuts, scrapes, bruises and more. If such injuries aren’t treated, it could lead to infection and complications.
The logic behind white socks is simple: they allow diabetics to easily notice blood or discharge from wounds and injuries they may not feel, and treat them as early as possible.
When should you wear diabetic socks?
If you are diabetic, you may benefit from only wearing diabetic socks when:
- Your feet are frequently moist or sweat often.
- Your foot’s color or temperature changes.
- You experience foot irritation, wounds, blisters, fungal infections or nerve damage.
Still, it’s important to note that even if you don’t experience any of these problems and you are diabetic, it’s a good idea to wear diabetic socks when you’re traveling, spending long hours on your feet and physically active.
How long can you wear diabetic socks?
Diabetic socks are socks with extra and unique features compared to regular socks, so you’ll only benefit from wearing them! This means that anyone can wear diabetic socks and for as long as they want.
If you need diabetic socks, you should wear them daily and change into a fresh pair every day.
Which is better, compression socks or diabetic socks?
It’s best to consult with a doctor to determine whether or not compression socks are a good solution for you.
While both socks have health benefits, they are quite opposite in what they are designed to do.
The aim of diabetic socks is to prevent irritation, protect your feet and prevent moisture and pressure, in a non constricting fit.
The aim of compression socks is to keep swelling and fluid retention at bay by pushing the blood up the leg, prevent blood clots and protect the feet from infections and sores.
Diabetic socks are not tight-fitting like compression socks, which are typically recommended to diabetics with circulation problems and swelling.
Our List of the Best Diabetic Socks of 2022
1. Extra Roomy Socks
A great solution for those who need a little more space from their socks due to a wider foot, ankle, or calf. The Extra Roomy socks are easy to pull on and won't squeeze calves or feet.
The Extra Roomy Socks are made from breathable fabrics with moisture-wicking technology that keep foot odor away.
Wearers won't even feel the seams in these socks thanks to their inverse linking design. This means they are completely smooth and seam-free on the inside. So if you see little threads on both sides of the toe area, it's not because they are fraying.
The Extra Roomy Gray Socks are designed to provide extra cushion, protection, and comfort for men and women with diabetes.
Extra Roomy are available in a multitude of colors to match any wardrobe: charcoal, white, dark brown, light gray, and dark gray. These socks are available in sizes small to extra-large.
2. Padded Sole Socks
For those looking for the ultimate padding and protection, the Padded Sole Sock gives the cushion and comfort you can expect from the best diabetic socks. Just as it sounds, the sock us designed with a thicker material along the entire length, including the heel and forefoot. What’s more, the color of the sole is white which allows the wearer to identify open wounds quickly and easily when they occur.
The mid-calf length slides on and off any size foot and calf. The Padded Sole Sock is also made from rayon making it super soft and gentle against the skin. It employs moisture-wicking technology for a healthy foot environment. Dress these socks up or down, just leave a little extra room for the padding in your shoe.
The two-toned sock uses interlocking technology to provide a seam-free design. Welcome in soft comfort and keep friction blisters away with the BioSoft Padded Sole Sock.
The Padded Sole Socks are available in staple colors: white, charcoal, and dark brown.
3. Casual/Dress Socks
If you are looking for increased comfort and protection, but don’t like the thickness of most diabetic socks, the Casual/Dress Socks are the answer. They are functional and versatile, and easily fit in most dress shoes for men or women. They're still cushioned but are thinner than other casual socks.
Since they are a little thinner, the Casual/Dress socks work well during warmer seasons. Their midcalf length is perfect for those who don't want any gaps between slacks or long pants and their socks.
These machine-washable socks are made from soft, moisture-wicking materials. Like other diabetic socks, they're anti-microbial, making sure your feet stay healthy.
The white sole will help you track changes to your feet, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy foot and keeping tabs on your diabetes.
Take your pick! Casual/Dress socks are available in charcoal, white, dark brown, light gray and dark gray.
4. Low Cut Socks
The best diabetic socks don't have to be crew or dress height. These Low Cut Socks offer a discreet way to wear the best socks for diabetic neuropathy.
Rayon materials and brushing techniques make the fibers of these socks soft and comfortable. The seamless construction makes them friendly to diabetic feet and will not irritate the skin.
These socks are cushioned but still thin and will fit comfortably in dress shoes, sneakers and flats.
The Low Cut Socks are great for those times you don't want a sock showing halfway up your shin. They are designed with a non-slip silicone at the heel to ensure they don’t slip, as well as a slightly higher heel tab, providing extra protection in the heel area.
The Low Cut Socks are available in black and white, perfect for any wardrobe and shoe.
5. Foot Warmer Socks
Podiatrists always recommend protecting your feet and never be barefoot, even when you are at home. But sometimes, you just want to relax on the sofa or to stay in bed and you don’t really need to wear shoes or slippers.
For these times, we recommend the Foot Warmer Socks. They are made with super soft plush material to keep feet cozy and comfortable. Designed with stretch fabric, these socks fit over any foot shape and will expand even when your feet swell. And to ensure feet are kept dry, clean and fungus free, the sock fibers are made with Dry-Plex technology.
Keep Your Feet Healthy
Wearing the right socks plays a big part in keeping feet healthy. If you have diabetes, you can take additional steps to stay on top of your foot health.
Daily Foot Checks
Check your feet every day. If you can't see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask a loved one to check them out for you. You could have a small cut or blister you're unable to feel, especially if you have neuropathy.
Your feet should be clear of cuts, scrapes, or blisters. If you notice any of these things on your feet, make sure they're healing properly. Always contact your doctor right away if something on your feet is different or shouldn't be there.
Not Too Dry
Feet that get too dry can crack, which leaves more risk for infection. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer to your feet as often as you and your doctor decide necessary, to keep your feet healthy.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to how often your feet may get dry. Skin dryness varies with each person, climate, and season. Talk to your doctor about a daily foot routine that works best for your situation.
Tidy Nails are Happy Nails
Keep your toenails trimmed. Never cut your nails too short. It is best to cut them to the shape of the end of your toes. Don't cut them straight across or curved down the sides. If you can't reach or see your toenails clearly, arrange to have a podiatrist clip them. You should keep these regular appointments.
Never attempt to clip your own toenails if you have difficulty seeing them or reaching them. This could cause you to accidentally cut your skin, leaving you susceptible to infection.
Barefoot is Not Best
If you have diabetes, you should wear good-fitting socks and shoes at all times. If you don't like wearing outdoor shoes in the house, invest in a pair of slippers with arch support and cushioning.
Going barefoot can cause stubbed toes or cuts. This, as we know, leaves you at risk for infection.
Sitting Down? Feet up!
Keep your feet elevated to encourage good circulation. If you're sitting down, elevate your feet on an ottoman, chair, or stack of pillows. Wiggle your toes and move your feet while they're elevated. Keeping good circulation helps fight off neuropathy.
And Don't Cross 'Em
Crossing your legs for long periods of time decreases blood circulation. Remember to keep your legs uncrossed as much as possible, to promote better blood flow.
Don't Take Matters into Your Own Hands (or Feet)
If you notice corns or warts on your feet, don't try to remove them yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn your skin.
Instead, call your doctor. Your medical professional will be able to prescribe the best treatment for your situation.
Make sure to keep your exercise foot-friendly. This looks different for everyone. Check with your doctor to see what kinds of physical fitness are best for you.
Fresh and Clean
Wash your feet daily with warm water and soap and make sure the water isn't too hot.
After you clean your feet, pat them dry and apply lotion to the bottoms only. Lotion between your toes could lead to infection.
Get Into a Groove
Foot health practices are much easier when they become routine habits. Try to establish a foot routine.
Check your feet when you're getting dressed in the morning and again before you go to bed. Also, write podiatry appointments on your calendar and arrange a way to get there if you can't drive yourself.
The Right Shoes
Wearing shoes and socks that fit well is vital to good foot health.
Diabetic shoes are not like ordinary shoes and are designed with unique features to keep sensitive feet protected, comfortable and pain free.
Look for shoes from brands that offer solutions for foot conditions, including diabetes. The best diabetic shoes are meticulously designed with innovative features to offer maximum comfort and protection. A premium orthotic insole, thick cushioning, a soft and gentle seam free interior, wide toe box and much more are special features that are best for diabetics.
Finding the right shoes is half the battle, but getting them to fit your feet perfectly is another challenge.
Most shoe brands only offer the standard width and a narrow silhouette, which most times do more harm than good. A good orthotic shoe brand will offer extended widths, up to extra extra wide, to accommodate wide or swollen feet, as well as bunions and hammertoes.
The same goes for your socks. Find the best diabetic socks for you by paying attention to fit and materials.
Make sure the socks you're wearing pair well with your shoes. Thinner (but still cushioned) socks are better for dress shoes. Thicker socks are more appropriate for sneaker-style shoes.
What's the Point?
Avoid shoes with pointed toes or a slim shape. Those with diabetes should also avoid high-heeled shoes and shoes without support.
Try instead to find shoes with built-in orthotic support and padded cushion. Shoes that feature straps or laces will be easier to adjust to your comfort level and fit. Note that shoes with straps in multiple places offer a custom fit to any foot shape. The more straps, the better.
In this day and age, you don’t have to compromise on looks and it is possible to find fashionable orthotic shoes that are also healthy for your feet. After all, you shouldn't have to choose one over the other.
When To Worry
Staying on top of your health is important. Sometimes, you shouldn't wait to address changes or symptoms with your doctor. According to the CDC, you should contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Color or temperature change in your feet
- Foot pain, tingling, or burning
- Cracked or dry skin on or around your feet
- An ulcer, blister, sore, corn, or any other type of foot sore
- An ingrown toenail
- Hair loss on your legs, toes, or feet
- Any type of fungus-looking infection (like Athlete's foot)
- Yellow toenails
- Foot shape changes over time
- Any loss of sensation: hot, cold, touch
- Pain in your legs or cramping in your buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity
- Cramps or pain in legs, calves, thighs, or backside while engaging in physical activity
Leaving any of these symptoms untreated could lead to serious complications. It's important to address any of these symptoms with your healthcare provider immediately.