For many diabetics, it’s hard to find the right pair of walking shoes. There’s no need to fret, though; many of today’s most popular brands offer a wide range of choices that are tailored especially for diabetics. There are also brands that make nothing but diabetic walking shoes (read on for a list of examples).
Whether you like to take a casual stroll through the park, power-walk through your subdivision or go on long hikes in the woods, there’s a shoe out there that’s perfect for your needs. Before your next shoe-shopping trip, check out these tips on how to find the best diabetic walking shoes.
What to Look for in the Best Diabetic Walking Shoes
Look for shoes that give you plenty of room for your feet to move around. If your toes feel snug inside the shoe, it’s time to find another pair. This is especially important if you suffer from blisters, bunions, or hammertoe. You should keep an eye out for shoes with thicker, high-cushion insoles (like gel or memory foam insoles) because they help reduce pressure as you walk and keep your feet feeling great.
Remember: more cushion means more comfort.
Next, you want to avoid shoes that are made from synthetic materials or plastic. Shoes made from leather or canvas are better for diabetics because they let feet “breathe” and help improve circulation. This is something that diabetic neuropathy sufferers should especially consider. Another benefit of leather or canvas shoes is that they are better at conforming to your feet over the lifetime of the shoe, which is something that synthetic and plastic shoes cannot do.
Fortunately, wearers of diabetic walking shoes no longer have to sacrifice style for comfort. More popular brands are adding more options to their product lines every day. Well-known brands like:
There are also brands that specialize in diabetic footwear, such as:
Thanks to these brands, diabetics can now choose from tennis shoes to hiking boots to dress shoes to moccasin-style boots…and just about any other style in between.
What NOT to Wear
There are some shoe styles that are not good choices for diabetics. High heels, flip-flops, slip-ons, and shoes with pointed toes can be worn occasionally, but they should not be anyone’s first choice for everyday walking. Diabetic, or not. High heels do not distribute pressure evenly. Flip-flops offer little-to-no support, and the straps are often thin and can cause irritation, ulceration, or blisters. Slip-ons are not adjustable, which can limit comfort. Shoes with pointed toes are not ideal because they restrict toe movement; a wider, square toe is a better solution.
When it comes to walking shoes, small things can make an enormous difference. Instead of high heels, flimsy straps and shoes with no arch support, diabetics should look for shoes that have things like easy-to-tie laces, shock absorption and adjustable soles. Buckles and hook-and-loop closure straps (i.e. Velcro) are other options that make shoes easy to adjust—and shoes that are easy to adjust mean more comfort for the wearer, overall.
To find out whether shoes are diabetic-friendly or not, look is the packaging. Many brands include icons that indicate when a shoe is approved for diabetics, usually simply saying “Diabetic-Approved.” Other phrases to be on the lookout for include “Medicare-approved,” “HCPCS Code A5500” (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) and “PDAC A5500” (Medicare Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding). Even if you are not enrolled in any governmental healthcare program, this is an effortless way to find the perfect, diabetic-friendly pair of shoes. If packaging isn’t on hand (for online or catalog shopping), you can look for these icons and phrases in the website’s (or catalog’s) product descriptions or in the product page’s bullet points.
If you have questions or are confused about some of these terms, ask an expert. Specialty shoe shops should answer any questions regarding diabetic footwear.
Custom Shoes for Custom Comfort
Many shoe brands can make custom shoes tailored especially for your feet. Ask your favorite shoe shop about what custom footwear services they offer. Chances are, the shop you’ve always trusted has many terrific options available for you to choose from. If you are unable to find a good, local shoe shop, there are many options online to choose from. Simply use your favorite search engine to find companies that can send you a molding material that you mold to your feet, and then send back to them, postage paid of course, so they can make custom shoes specifically for your feet and condition.
Buy a Properly Fitted Shoe
Before you buy that brand-new pair of walking shoes you may want to have your shoe size checked. Unbelievably, many people go around wearing shoes that are the wrong size for their feet. This can spell sad news for diabetics, as wearing the wrong size shoe can lead to poor circulation, blisters, irritation, swelling and infection. Nobody should have to deal with those ailments because of the wrong size shoes.
With all this being said, we have a few recommendations for you to try!
First up is the Ped-Lite Men’s Oliver Boat Shoe. This shoe can be purchased in a Velcro or Lace style. Whichever is preferred.
For women we recommend the Propet Stability Walker. An excellent shoe for everyday tasks!
Be sure to check out our hundreds of other styles. We guarantee you will find a shoe you like!