Shoes are important for all, but they’re especially critical for people living with diabetes. A shoe that fits properly can help protect feet and prevent injury, especially for those experiencing a loss of sensation, known as neuropathy. Neuropathy can prevent a person with diabetes from feeling the pinching and pain of minor injuries that can quickly turn into major problems. The right shoes can help prevent the types of problems that can put people at risk for hospitalization and/or amputation.

Tips and Tricks for Buying Shoes if You Have Diabetes

  • See a footwear specialist for measuring and fitting your shoes every time you buy new ones.
  • Shop for shoes in the evening; your feet swell throughout the day and you want to make sure they’ll fit even when your feet are at their largest.
  • Choose shoes that are lightweight, flexible, and made of a breathable material, such as leather.
  • Ensure your shoes have a shock-absorbing sole to relieve pressure on your feet.
  • Make sure your shoes have a seamless interior because seams can cause irritation and injury.
  • Select shoes with laces, buckles, or Velcro to prevent your foot from sliding around.
  • Check to make sure your shoes have a solid back to provide support.
  • Wear heels that are less than 2 cm high, so they don’t put pressure on the balls of your feet.
  • Ensure there is 1 cm (the approximate length of a thumbnail) of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe when standing.
  • Wear seamless white socks so any injury to your foot resulting in bleeding or a discharge of fluid will be detected easily.
  • Select socks made of natural, breathable fibres such as cotton to prevent sweating which can lead to athlete’s foot.
  • Avoid wearing darned socks as the repairs can cause rubbing and injury.
  • “Test drive” your shoes indoors and take them to a foot specialist to assess the fit.