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Understanding the Difference Between Diabetic and Regular Footwear

Diabetic Footwear helps prevent the continued wear of the feet and helps to decelerate the breakdown of the plantar fascia. You may be wondering, what is diabetic footwear?

This article will help you understand what diabetic footwear is and how it differs from regular footwear.

What is Diabetic Footwear? 

Diabetes causes various health and physical ailments to those who suffer from it. One of the primary side effects of diabetes is moderate to severe nerve damage.

Diabetics often experience and suffer from nerve damage to their feet. This causes them to lose feeling as well as lose blood flow to their feet.


This condition is known as peripheral or diabetic neuropathy. This condition starts relatively mild at first but can progressively get worse. This could later develop into ulcers and varicose veins.

To prevent these things from occurring, Diabetics must take preventative action by extra good care of their feet. This begins with proper diabetic socks and special orthopedic footwear.

How Does it Differ From Regular Footwear?

Diabetic footwear is specially designed to assist with blood flow to the feet. It also helps protect the foot against injuries to the toes and the bottom of the foot.

Diabetic footwear is often paired with specialized orthotic inserts to protect against sores and provide arch support, heel support, and metatarsal support where needed.

Normal shoes do not protect against sores and damage to the extremities. The best diabetic footwear provides both protection and support. Normal footwear only provides minimal protection from the elements and is a device used to separate the foot from the ground.

You can increase protection and comfort by prescribing and recommending diabetic inserts and diabetic shoes for your patients.

What Shoes Are Best For Diabetics? 

Diabetic shoes should not be bulky or restrictive. Diabetics need to have plenty of room for their feet to move and breathe, including a high and wide toe box, as well as adjustable closure options to accommodate edema.

The best shoes are lightweight and have superior stability. They should have substantial midsole/outsoles to protect your patients’ feet from the uneven surfaces they walk on, and ideally be slip-resistant, too.

Selecting Your Diabetic Footwear

There are generally two categories of diabetic shoes. These include walking shoes and casual shoes.

Walking shoes resemble an athletic sneaker, and should have a high and wide toe box, be available in multiple widths, and have removable spacers or depth to accommodate inserts and provide a superior fit. They should also have a very rigid sole and a reinforced heel counter.

Casual shoes may resemble shoes like men’s or women’s dress styles, boat shoes, or casual or closed-toe sandals. When selecting a casual shoe, you will want to look for many of the features listed for the walking style and look for a footwear provider that specializes in diabetic or orthopedic footwear, such as SafeStep.

The best shoes for diabetic patients should have breathable uppers, and superior motion control and support. Support is not a common feature in most shoes, therefore it is paramount that you look for specific orthopedic/therapeutic footwear brands.

As a general rule of thumb, Diabetics should avoid high-heeled shoes, most sandals, and open-toed shoes as most of these styles do not provide proper support and may restrict blood flow and edema.

Get Your Diabetic Footwear Today

diabetic footwear

Diabetic footwear is an essential part of every diabetic’s preventative care routine. Foot care helps prevent serious issues that can lead to serious health conditions including surgery or amputation.

Fortunately, our staff at SafeStep has a variety of footwear options for your needs. We have an extensive catalog available on our website.  Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have.