What are the Best Shoe Features for Diabetics
Diabetes can cause a host of different issues that affect your health and daily quality of life. It can definitely be a challenge to find comfortable shoes for diabetic feet.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body’s glucose levels (blood sugar) are too high. This is, in general, due to an absence or dysregulation of insulin—the hormone in the body largely responsible for regulating glucose.
There are two types of diabetes—type 1 and type 2. The bodies of patients who suffer from type 1 diabetes produce no or very little insulin, and those with type 2 diabetes do not respond properly to insulin even when it is present.
How diabetes affects the feet
Individuals with diabetes can experience irregular rises and fall in their blood glucose. This can, in turn, damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to a condition termed diabetic neuropathy. Patients experience tingling, and sometimes pain, but many, unfortunately, end up losing sensation in their feet. As a result, they are less likely to notice cuts, scrapes, and other injuries, which heightens their risk of developing ulcers and infections. Diabetics are statistically much more likely to require amputations due to infection when compared to the general public.
Shoes for people with diabetes
For diabetics, it is best to select a shoe that will minimize any form of injury. Numerous complications can be prevented by wearing the proper footwear. People with diabetes should take extra care and opt for shoes that are comfortable, but also protective.
Here are some features to look for:
- Seam-free stitching – Shoes with rough seams and protruding edges have a higher potential of nicking or damaging the skin. Wear shoes constructed with smooth seams and soft material, such as leather.
- Flexible materials – A diabetic shoe made with a soft and flexible material (e.g. neoprene) will allow the shoe to stretch where it needs to, preventing any unwanted pressure or irritation.
- Orthotic insoles – Shoes with built-in orthotic insoles make a shoe more adjustable (you can choose to wear the shoe with or without the orthotic) and more supportive as well. This is especially critical for patients with overpronating feet (excessively roll inwards) that require more arch support and extra cushioning.
- Velcro straps – This is a feature that is particularly useful for those who struggle with getting shoes on and off. A Velcro strap allows for easy adjustments.
- A non-slip sole – Soles made of a non-slip material (e.g. rubber) can help prevent slips and provide additional shock absorption.
- Extra wide widths – Wider shoes, with that extra bit of room, are great at keeping your feet comfortable and limiting friction. However, be careful. There is a fine balance. You want a pair of shoes that has a decent amount of depth, but shoes that are too loose make way for slips and accidents as you will be more imbalanced and susceptible to falls. Also, consider the kind of socks you will be wearing—thicker socks make for a tighter fit.
Instride Nellie II Lycra women’s
A quick note on what to avoid
Ultimately, you want to stay away from shoes that are ill-fitting, unsupportive and constricting. It is best to avoid any of the following:
- Shoes that are too flat – Flip-flops and flats lack cushioning and arch support. They can contribute to knee pain, hip pain, and foot problems (e.g. plantar fasciitis).
- Shoes that place your feet in risky positions – Shoes, such as high heels, place your foot and ankle in dangerous positions. They do not allow for an even distribution of pressure and leave your feet feeling stressed and achy.
Have some more questions?
If you have more questions about walking shoes, diabetic shoes, and/or orthotic insoles, please feel free to comment below or reach out to us at ergonx.com.au. We would love to hear from you!