As the name implies, diabetic shoes, often called sugar shoes, are special shoes designed to be worn by people who have diabetes. However, anyone who is being prescribed diabetic shoes by their doctor need not despair. Although diabetic women may not be able to wear high pumps or stilettos, there are fashionable, but sensible options available. Hiking and sports shoes are also available so people with diabetes should be able to continue doing the activities they enjoy.
Why Does a Diabetic Person Need Them?
Diabetic shoes are designed to reduce the risk of skin breakdown among people with diabetes. Since diabetics tend to have poor circulation, nerve damage, or misshapen feet, the shoes are specifically created to prevent strain, ulcers, and calluses. Wearing these shoes may also save some people from having to amputate a foot.
What to look for in Diabetic Shoes
If there are conditions present such as nerve damage or ulcerations or misshapen feet, a doctor will need to prescribe the shoe. The doctor will work in conjunction with a manufacturer that will construct the shoes to order. However, if someone is diabetic but has none of the foot complications described above, they should be able to wear normal off the shelf shoes as long as they are chosen with care. However, any diabetic person should consult with their doctor before buying normal shoes. Here is what to look for in normal off the shelf shoes:
- Toebox The toe box should fit the foot, being neither too narrow nor too wide. The assumption may be that the more room, the better, but too much room allows the foot to slide around, creating friction. The toe box should be constructed of a breathable material such as cloth or mesh.
- Laces Velcro laces are best, but if there are no desirable ones available, then the laces should not apply pressure to the top of the foot.
- Tongue The tongue should provide padding so that when the shoes are laced, the laces do not dig into the foot. The tongue should also stay in place, not slide from side to side.
- Heel The heel should be like a cup that holds the foot in place and provides plenty of padding.
- Insole The insole should provide plenty of padding. One may want to consider buying custom insoles that offer additional padding.
- Outsole The outsole should be flexible with good traction.
- Midsole To test the midsole, one should hold the shoe and press the front up and back a little bit to see where it starts to bend. If it bends near the forefoot or toe box, good. If it bends in the arch, it is not good.
Top 5 Routes for "Diabetic Shoes"
- American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society: Shoes and Orthotics for Diabetics This web page is a good overview of what diabetic shoes are and what they are supposed to accomplish. The page also provides other resources for further research on how to care for diabetic feet.
- Healthline: Do I Need Diabetic Shoes? Healthline offers this article to help with the decision on whether or not a person may need to consider diabetic shoes. The post also includes information about the different types of shoes, what to avoid, and where to buy them.
- Medicare.gov: Therapeutic Shoes or Inserts The purchase of diabetic shoes may be covered by Medicare. The Medicare.gov link above is where to find information about coverage under Medicare.
- NicerShoes: 10 Best Diabetic Shoes Reviewed This article lists ten good shoes for diabetics as recommended by NicerShoes. This source also provides additional information about what to look for when choosing diabetic shoes.
- Orthofeet: What is Special About Diabetic Shoes? This article goes on to help describe the impact of diabetes to the feet, as well as the complications caused from those. From there, it looks at diabetic shoes, how they work and their special features.
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