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Diabetic Socks and Performance Running Socks

Updated on September 18, 2010

In addition to having quality running shoes using the right socks can go a long way to making your run a more pleasant experience. Socks are somewhat of an afterthought when buying running shoes and they can completely alter the fit and feel of your shoes for the better.

Diabetic Socks
Diabetic Socks

This article will look at some of the different features of performance sports socks and diabetes socks. If you thought that all socks are the same you might just be surprised by how much thought has gone into performance running socks. The technology and design has come a very long way since the basic tube sock the advances have some in the form of materials that are used and how the socks are put together.

Why you should avoid 100% cotton socks

Many people like to buy socks made from cotton as it is thought to be breathable; however cotton is almost never used in performance running socks. The principal reason behind this is because cotton keeps the sweat and moisture close to your feet, so the longer you are in your shoes the softer the skin will become. The natural movement inside your shoes can cause blisters easier against the moist skin of your foot. Performance running socks and Diabetic socks are made from a blend of synthetic materials such as coolmax which wick moisture away from the foot and draw it to the outside of the shoe to help it evaporate quickly. In fact the top layers of these socks are commonly thinner to help the sweat evaporate faster with some brands also offering additional antibacterial and antimicrobial materials in their socks. these features can also be found in the lining of higher end running shoes like the Asics Kayano.

Getting socks that are fitted to your feet

Fit is a major issue that has been addressed by these specialised socks. Each pair of performance socks will come in a left and right sock that is shaped to fit each foot better. The stitching reflects these considerations and good socks will have minimal seams that won’t be in areas of high wear that are prone to blistering such as the end of the toes and bottom of the heel. The better fit extends to the mid foot where extra elastic is often added around so that the socks can follow the contour of your arches.

The main difference that you will feel between an ordinary tube sock and a good running or diabetic sock will be the fit. Ordinary socks leave many gaps and loose spaces where the material can bunch up and cause wrinkles inside your shoes and increase the likelihood of getting blisters.

Extra Cushioning

A good pair of performance socks will have some added cushioning in the form of thicker padding around the heel and forefoot. In addition to absorbing some of the impact the cushioned parts of the socks will help prevent blistering and shear by filling out the shoes the same way sports inserts do. These extra bits of cushioning will differ depending on the type of activity the socks are designed for e.g. walking socks will have an extra pad on top of the foot to account for the different foot motion compared to running. If desired additional cushioning can be added by way of the appropriate shoe inserts.

Why Diabetics need Special Socks

Diabetics need to be acutely aware of their feet for a number of reasons. Nerve damage is one of the results of having high blood sugar levels and this can cause anything from pins and needles in your feet to sharp pains. The nerve damage and loss of sensation mean that many diabetics cannot feel any pain or pressure in addition to excessive changes in temperature and so could be damaging their feet without realizing. Unfortunately because many diabetics also suffer from poor blood flow the healing time from any infection, injury or small sore will take longer.

Features Specific for Diabetics

Socks for diabetics share many of the same features as performance running socks. On top of the moisture control and reduced pressure from seams is the diabetic socks will always have a non binding top. Most of the major blood vessels that serve your feet pass close to the skin at the front of your ankle. It is crucial for diabetics to avoid socks that are too tight around this area so it doesn’t restrict the blood flow to their feet and effect their circulation.

Though diabetic socks are made available in a wide variety of colours the most effective are white. The lighter coloured socks can help those with reduced sensations in their feet identify and treat any open wounds they may not have felt.

Most standard sizes and cuts will fit a diabetic without hampering their circulation and for those suffering from excessive oedema some manufacturers also offer their socks in a range of widths to suit. If you are in any doubt whether the socks that you have are suitable for your condition you should bring them to your Podiatrist for their recommendation. They should also be able to advise you on some specific shoes for diabetics.

Diabetic and performance running socks are just one part of your footwear combination along with the shoes a proper shoe insert that can be customized to suit your individual feet. Because the way that your feet are positioned will affect the alignment of your body it is worth taking the time to understand some of the products and features that are available in the market. For diabetics in particular, the management and prevention of foot problems starts with something as simple as a pair of socks.

Diabetic Foot Care


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Right onhti-s helped me sort things right out.

    • Knowledge Ninja profile imageAUTHOR

      Knowledge Ninja 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback, The video may be an advertisement (I am not affiliated with their site in any way) but its a good concise summary of the points in the hub.

      Diet and lifestyle choices are definitely a huge factors. Good comment Debby :)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      7 years ago

      Very well written article about diabetic socks and the related video. I know this is an advertisement, but still educational. Perhaps taking care of diet, lifestyle, stress-reduction, exercise and also visit qualified homeopath could help.


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