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Facts about Diabetic Shoes

Updated on October 26, 2015

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Do all diabetics need to wear diabetic shoes?

No. Diabetics who aren't prone to foot problems and do not suffer from foot neuropathy don't need diabetic shoes, but they should still wear shoes that are comfortable and provide adequate protection for the feet. For diabetics with poor blood circulation to the feet, however, diabetic shoes are highly recommended. With insufficient circulation, the body cannot deliver enough blood supply and certain enzymes to the feet, which accordingly causes slow healing of wounds and nerve malfunction, also known as "foot neuropathy." The symptoms of foot neuropathy vary in different patients. Some may develop sharp pain, tingling or a burning sensation in the feet, whereas some others may experience numbness, stiffness or a loss of sensation progressing from the toes up to the legs. Diabetics with foot neuropathy are more prone to foot injuries, recurring foot ulcers and prolonged infections. They need specialized therapeutic shoes that provide extra support and protection for their sensitive feet. This isn't just a matter of comfort, though. In fact, diabetic shoes have proven to lower the risk of foot ulcers, infections, muscle strain and amputation in many diabetic patients.


What are Diabetic Shoes?

Diabetic shoes are therapeutic footwear, specifically designed to provide comfort and reduce repetitive trauma in the foot. Here are some of their typical features and benefits.

Breathable Material
Diminishes excess moisture that can lead to skin infections.
Extra Depth
Provides extra room for insoles, which help absorb shock, reduce foot pain and improve balance.
Firm Heel Counter
Reduces forefoot pressure.
Rocker Sole
Reduces heel and arch pain. Improves blood circulation.
Seamless Interior Liner
Minimizes rubbing and prevents blisters.
Stretchable Upper
Convenient to put on. Easy to adjust when the feet swell.

In addition to off-the-shelf diabetic shoes, there is another type of therapeutic footwear, which are made over a mold of the person's foot. However, these custom-made shoes are usually reserved for only diabetic patients whose feet have lost all sensation or severely deformed.

It's Wise to Consult Your Podiatrist about Diabetic Shoes
It's Wise to Consult Your Podiatrist about Diabetic Shoes | Source

Where to Buy Diabetic Shoes

  • Podiatrist's Office - If you are a diabetic with foot neuropathy, it is wise to find a good podiatrist. While your general physician's main job is to take care of your overall conditions, the podiatrist will pay attention specifically to the health of your feet. A podiatrist's office is probably the best place to buy diabetic shoes, as the foot doctor will be there to advise what type of shoes might be most appropriate for your foot conditions, or what kinds of insoles you may need.
  • Orthopedic Shoe Stores - An orthopedic shoe store is another good place to find diabetic shoes. At most of these stores, there are pedorthists to give you advice. Keep in mind, though, that pedorthists are not like podiatrists; they are orthopedic shoe specialists but not real physicians. If you have severe foot problems, you should seek advice from a podiatrist first before choosing diabetic shoes to wear.
  • Online Diabetic-Shoe Stores - What's really great about online diabetic shoe stores is that they usually offer a wide selection of shoes and sometimes a considerable discount. Yet, here comes the catch; you won't get to actually try on the shoes and see how well they fit. The primary goal of diabetic shoes is to fit your feet perfectly in order to reduce tissue trauma. Walking in diabetic shoes that are not really fitting isn't that much better than wearing regular shoes with no support. So unless you know exactly what types or models of shoes would nicely fit your feet, maybe it's not a good idea to order them from an online store. Sure, you can return them if they don't fit, but would that really be worth your time?

Is It Possible to Get Free Diabetic Shoes?

Yes, it is possible to receive free diabetic shoes. Medicare and a few other insurers cover one pair of diabetic shoes per year. Although most insurance companies do not pay for the entire cost of the shoes, you may still be able to receive partial coverage if your podiatrist gives you a prescription for therapeutic shoes, or your primary care physician confirms that you have a history of diabetic foot problems. Check with your insurance company and improve your foot health today!

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What do you think about diabetic shoes? Have you ever worn them?

Submit a Comment

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

    Glad you find this info about diabetic shoes helpful, Michelle! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    This is an important thing to consider indeed. I remember my grandma (who already passed away) had to have her toe cut because it was infected and she was diabetic. Thank you for this - very helpful Om.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

    Thanks for stopping by, buckleupdorothy. Yeah, I agree diabetic shoes used to be pretty ugly. In the past decade, many manufacturers have tried to make them more stylish, though. So now it's not at all difficult to find diabetic shoes that have both quality and style. :)

  • buckleupdorothy profile image

    buckleupdorothy 5 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

    Fascinating! Usually people just say "wow, they're ugly" and leave it at that - but if you know the concerns that were considered more important than aesthetics, you really can't criticize them for that... Voted up and shared. Thanks for a great read.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

    @SweetiePie - Yeah, many diabetics who eat well and exercise regularly are able to live long, healthy lives. Type 2 diabetes, in particular, is possible to prevent and not very difficult to control. Glad to hear you're not diabetic even though it runs in your family. Keep doing what you've been doing. Stay healthy! :)

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

    This is helpful info for people are diabetic. You know some people in my family are diabetic, type 2, but I am hoping I never come down with it because I eat relatively healthy, and exercise a lot by walking. However, my grandpa has lived a very long life with diabetes, he is 88 now, and I believe he lived as long as his has because he biked quite a bit.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

    No problem at all. Don't feel bad about it. I actually thought it was kind of funny that you called me "brother." It didn't bother me at all, but I had to correct you so that other hubbers and readers won't get confused! :)

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

    I want to say..very very sorry to you. Thanks to remind me that you are really woman. This was the same case with the fellow hubbers "rmcrayne". I also call her "brother". I really shame. But now I have a new sister, that's you. I hope you want to receive my apology. Start from now...I'll call you "Sister". Thank you very much. God bless you!

    Love and peace,

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

    Thanks for the read, Angeline! I'm not even diabetic, but I kind of want a pair of these shoes for myself. They're supposed to be so comfy.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 5 years ago

    Good to know. Anything to keep the diabetic foot from acting up is worth investing in. Thanks for the useful information and rated up.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    @stephhicks - You surely sound like a healthy diabetic, Steph! Since you don't have any nerve problems, regular comfortable shoes should be good enough to keep your feet healthy. Thanks so much for dropping by. Always glad to hear from you!

    @crazyhorseghost - Ah, that's great! I had never heard about the Vet Admin's policy on diabetic shoes. It's very kind of you to share this info with us here.

  • crazyhorsesghost profile image

    Thomas Byers 6 years ago from East Coast , United States

    The Veterans Administration provides 2 pair of diabetic shoes per year to any veteran with full benefits. If your a vet you should check into it by asking your primary care doctor about the shoes. If you don't have to pay a copay then you qualify for 2 pair of shoes a year.

  • stephhicks68 profile image

    Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

    Very interesting! I have had Type 1 diabetes for almost 10 years, but do not wear diabetic shoes. In fact, I am a runner and exercise most days. I am aware of people with nerve issues as a result of the disease, however. This is a helpful hub! Best, Steph

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    @Cardisa - That's exactly what my mom said! Her doctor recently suggested that she should buy diabetic shoes, so she did and is loving them! She told me they're the best shoes she's ever had.

    @Pamela - You're absolutely right, Pamela. Everyone should take good care of their feet, but for diabetics, it's a really crucial matter. Due to their tendency to infections and slow wound healing, even a small foot ulcer can lead to amputation sometimes.

    @Nan Mynatt - Thanks for stopping by, Nan. I'm glad you found this article helpful.

  • Nan Mynatt profile image

    Nan Mynatt 6 years ago from Illinois

    Thanks for the information and the prices of shoes. I marked you up on this one.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Excellent information for diabetics. I have orthodics in my shoes for a different reason, but the point is I can walk without pain. The diabetic shoe sounds great as so many diabetic patients lose toes or there lower legs. Protecting their feet is essential to their health. Voted up and interesting.

  • Cardisa profile image

    Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

    Hi OM, I need to ask my mom who lives in the US if she wears diabetic shoes. I never really thought to ask until now. A lady I have known a long time wears these really comfortable shoes. She gave me a pair at one time and they were the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn....later I found out that they were diabetic shoes. Thanks for the info.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    @prasetio - Hi, Pras. Yeah, I've heard some people compare wearing therapeutic shoes to getting a reflexology treatment. It's sort of like getting a constant, gentle foot massage while you're wearing them. Sounds good, doesn't it?

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Very informative hub, brother. I had heard about kind of this hub and it often appeared in the advertisement. It's like acupuncture and acupressure in one tool. Thanks for writing and introduce the fact about diabetic shoes. Rated up and useful!