Diabetic footwear is obviously designed specifically to address foot conditions that are particular to persons with diabetes, such as skin breakdown caused by poor circulation, foot ulcers, numbness, or diabetic neuropathy. But what differentiates diabetic shoes from regular shoes? To understand the difference between diabetic shoes and regular shoes, we must first ask ‘what are diabetic shoes and what are their special features’?
Special features of diabetic footwear
Diabetic footwear must contain specific features and be designed and constructed in a way that alleviates the foot conditions to which diabetics are prone. The best shoes for diabetics include the following special features and qualities:
● Protective interior that is made from soft material, and stitching that doesn’t protrude so as not to cause irritation.
● Non-binding uppers that insure that there is no pressure on the foot. In contrast, regular shoes often cause pressure in the forefoot area or the back of the shoe as they are often constructed from firm materials and in a way that might irritate bunions, the toes, or back of the heel.
● Extra depth design that provides a pressure-free fit and can accommodate thick orthotic inserts.
● A deep toe box that provides extra room for toe movement and avoids pressure on the toes.
● Lightweight, cushioning soles that facilitate mobility and stability, and reduce impacts on the foot.
● Stretchable uppers might be the ideal solution for conditions caused by severe diabetes or neuropathy. These stretchable shoes conform to the contours of the foot and help eliminate pressure points.
● Special orthotic insoles that provide arch support, reduce pressure on the bottom of the foot and offer good cushioning.
For a more in-depth discussion on each of these features, please see our article “What is special about diabetic shoes?”.
Advantages of diabetic footwear
We can now see that the construction and design of shoes for diabetics offer some very attractive advantages. In addition to providing pain relief and enhanced levels of comfort, diabetic footwear can also help do the following:
- Provide better motion control
- Promote circulation
- Prevent skin breakdown
- Prevent the formation of calluses
- Reduce the occurrence of foot problems in high-pressure areas of the foot.
Yet another benefit that is also worth noting is that diabetic shoes are often covered by Medicare, under the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Bill enacted in Congress back in 1993, and by other insurance programs.
Why can’t I just wear comfortable, regular shoes if I have diabetic neuropathy or other foot problems related to diabetes?
The simple answer to this question is another question: why take that risk? Many of the foot problems caused by diabetes can turn into more serious health complications, but they can also be prevented. It is just common sense to take measures that promote better foot health and overall health, i.e., wearing the right footwear. This is especially true when this footwear is often covered by insurance.
Where can I find the best shoes for diabetics?
While style and selection for diabetic footwear might have been a concern in the past, it isn’t any longer. Whether shopping for diabetic shoes for men, diabetic shoes for women, a particular type of shoe to address a specific foot problem, such as shoes for swollen diabetic feet, or shoes for diabetic neuropathy etc., you can find a wide selection of top-quality diabetic shoes at Orthofeet. They come in a variety of styles, colors, widths and sizes and you can try them risk free for 60 days. If you’re not completely satisfied, return them within the 60 days and receive a full refund.
Do I need diabetic socks too?
For additional comfort and protection of diabetic feet it is recommended by podiatrists to wear diabetic socks as well. Feel free to read our article on why diabetic socks are needed for more information. Orthofeet’s diabetic bamboo socks come with special features, such as a loose and non-constricting fit, a unique seam-free design, an excellent moisture wicking system, and a white bottom that help detect lesions at the bottom of the foot.
Can people that don’t have diabetes wear diabetic shoes?
Of course! In fact, it is quite common for non-diabetics to purchase diabetic shoes precisely because they provide so much comfort and support. They are also great for foot problems that are not necessarily related to diabetes such as heel pain, ball of the foot pain, blisters, flat feet, wide feet etc.