What Are Diabetic Shoes

What Are Diabetic Shoes featured photo

Diabetes can cause foot neuropathy. This loss of feeling means even the smallest wound can lead to a plethora of complications. A diabetic or someone who knows anyone who has diabetes knows the importance of the right pair of shoes.

Diabetic shoes are specially-made shoes for people with diabetes. These provide relief and comfort for people dealing with foot issues related to it. These alleviate pain and prevent calluses, foot corn, and skin breakdowns. These also enhance blood circulation to the feet.

There are various types of diabetic shoes as well. Which one you should get and what features you should look out for depends on your needs and the foot issues you’re dealing with.

Below, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about diabetic shoes, the features that set them apart from regular shoes, and why they’re essential for diabetics.

What Are Diabetic Shoes?

Diabetic shoes are what their name suggests – they’re shoes specially made and designed for people with diabetes.

Diabetic shoes are designed to help alleviate and address different foot concerns diabetic people deal with. They’re meant to provide relief to some degree so they can manage the pain better.

Diabetic shoes have special features that make them what they are. These special features and characteristics set them apart from your regular pair of shoes.

Before we delve a little deeper into these special features, let’s first discuss why diabetic shoes are important for diabetic people.

Diabetes and feet

Foot problems and issues are common for diabetic people. Unfortunately, amputation has always been a present threat and risk for the longest time for people with severe diabetes.

Diabetes and foot problems have always been linked.

Diabetes is known to cause patients nerve damage or what is medically termed diabetic neuropathy.

Neuropathy is one of the common long-term effects and complications of diabetes. High sugar levels can cause nerve damage and poor circulation. This leads to tingling pain and makes you lose feeling in the affected area.

Though neuropathy can affect any part of a diabetic’s body, it’s most common in the legs and feet.

When there is nerve damage on your feet, this can be a huge risk and could open up another can of even more complications.

When there is numbness in your feet and you can’t feel pain down there, you would not be able to tell if there are wounds on your feet.

When diabetic patients can’t feel or tell that there is some sort of wound, it wouldn’t be treated properly. This means the wounds won’t heal properly as they should. This could be wounds, sores, blisters, cuts, or anything that could affect the feet a person with neuropathy can’t feel and tell.

Diabetes can also cause wounds to heal slowly or it can lead to chronic, non-healing wounds. Either way, when wounds like that are left untreated, this could lead to serious infections.

Infected wounds can lead to dangerous foot ulcers or worse, can lead to amputation of the affected foot or leg entirely.

Why are diabetic shoes important?

Footwear and shoes are very important for anyone who wears them regularly i.e. everyone. But they’re especially important for diabetic people. The right pair of shoes can make all the difference.

With the right footwear, diabetic people can avoid and prevent foot issues and major complications down the road. This is where diabetic shoes come to the rescue.

As previously mentioned, diabetic shoes are designed and meant to alleviate pain and symptoms and prevent complications down the road.

Diabetic Footwear Features

Diabetic shoes are specially designed and manufactured shoes for diabetic people. The best diabetic shoes should include the following features:

  • Soft and protective interiors

Diabetic shoes have soft interiors that will not only protect the feet but will also prevent any chafing or irritation.

  • Flat stitching

The same logic applies to the stitching on the interiors of the shoes. The stitching should be flat and not at all protruding to prevent chafing and rubbing the wearer’s skin as this can cause further irritations.

  • Non-binding uppers

Regular shoes typically have binding uppers that can put pressure on the foot. Diabetic people should avoid this unnecessary pressure.

Diabetic shoes have non-binding uppers that sit comfortably on feet. They don’t put painful pressure on them so as not to further cut blood flow.

  • Extra-depth

The right shoes for diabetic people should have extra depth to relieve pressure on the feet. That extra space would also be able to accommodate thick orthotic inserts.

  • Deep toe box with extra room

Toes should never be restricted inside shoes. A shoe with a deeper toe box will allow room for toe movement and will ease unnecessary pressure on them.

  • Lightweight and cushioned soles

Lightweight yet well-cushioned soles will improve stability and balance. At the same time, it will reduce impact and shock with every landing on the ground without being heavy to walk in.

  • All-around cushioning and padding

Diabetic shoes have adequately padded tongues and collars to give the feet a comfortable room to sit in. The cushioning and padding will provide a protective guard around the feet and will help further reduce impact and shock.

  • Stretchable material

Stretchable overall material ensures the shoes will follow the unique contours of a patient’s feet. This also means a comfortable, pressure-free fit.

  • Special orthotic insoles

Diabetic shoes have special orthotic insoles or inserts that provide added arch support, stability, and cushioning. These are usually specially fitted by a podiatrist.

Types of Diabetic Shoes

Specially-made and designed diabetic shoes aren’t really a must for all diabetics. If there are no foot issues and complications, regular shoes that fit you well and have no history of causing trouble are enough for some.

However, if you’re struggling with foot issues, diabetic shoes might be what you need. Depending on what you’re dealing with, there are three types of diabetic shoes:

In-depth shoes

These are diabetic shoes with a lot of extra depth than your regular shoes. The extra room and depth typically go from 1/4 to 1/2 inches. All that extra depth gives complicated feet enough room without any pressure. The extra space can also accommodate extra thick orthotics.

Healing shoes

If you’re healing from surgery, infections, or complications on your feet, healing diabetic shoes are what you need. These are normally recommended by your doctor or foot and ankle surgeon. Though these come in open-toed and close-toed variations, the former is rarely recommended.

Custom-made shoes

Custom-made shoes are made specifically from a mold of your own feet. This type can accommodate any contour, curve, and deformity that mass-produced shoes can’t. For this type, you first must consult with your podiatrist.

Benefits of Diabetic Shoes

Diabetic shoes and footwear can:

  • Reduce shock and impact on feet
  • Provide wearer with much better motion control
  • Prevent calluses and foot corn
  • Prevent skin breakdown on feet
  • Enhance blood circulation to feet
  • Offer relief and comfort

Does My Insurance Cover Diabetic Shoes?

As we’ve established above, diabetic shoes and proper footwear can be a huge relief for people with diabetes who are suffering from foot neuropathy or other foot issues. The thing is, they often come at a hefty price.

The good news is, however, insurance like Medicare typically covers diabetic shoes and inserts!

For more information on what is covered by the Medicare therapeutic shoe bill and what isn’t, check out this link here.

Most insurance companies will also most likely cover and help pay for diabetic shoes. If you aren’t sure, reach out to your insurance company.

Can People Without Diabetes Wear Diabetic Shoes?

Definitely! Even people not diagnosed with diabetes can go out of their way and wear shoes specifically made for diabetics.

In fact, there are tons of people without diabetes who often wear diabetic shoes simply for the comfort and relief it provides. Even if you don’t suffer from diabetes-related foot issues, you will find relief one way or another.

Even non-diabetic-related foot issues like chronic foot pain and heel pain will achieve pain relief from a pair of diabetic shoes. They’re known to address foot conditions like these as well.

And if you don’t seem to find a pair of shoes that fit you right due to either wide or flat feet, maybe diabetic shoes are exactly what you need right now.


Diabetes can cause other health issues. One of these common side effects is foot problems. Due to foot neuropathy, even small wounds on the feet can lead to infections and a whole lot of other complications.

Diabetic shoes are specialized shoes for people with diabetes. They’re meant to alleviate pain and provide protection from wounds and skin breakdowns that can lead to complications or worse, amputation.

And that has been our guide on diabetic shoes 101. For questions you want to clear up, hit us up right below!

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