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The far ends of the heart are the first to be affected by poor circulation. When it comes to diabetes, it can lead to foot problems.
According to podiatrist Dr Mike Rushton, co-founder and medical director of Forward movement orthoses in St. George, Utah, diabetes affects the feet in two main ways. One is neuropathy, in which people experience anything from “strange sensations in the feet, to no feeling in the feet.” Burning, tingling, or even cold sensations can also occur with neuropathy.
The second biggest problem is “the loss of the threshold of protection,” says Rushton. A person with reduced circulation and sensation could step on an object, cause injury, and not feel anything. “You won’t start to notice it until you’ve already started having problems,” he explains. What would be a small inconvenience – say a stone in a shoe – left for a long time can lead to serious injury.
Rushton has seen this happen with objects as small as a feather or an apple seed stuck in a shoe, or objects as severe as a fingernail that a patient did not feel. “You have to watch the feet carefully,” Rushton says of diabetics. “Wounds are more difficult to heal,” he adds, especially since many diabetics suffer from vascular disease or an abnormal condition of the blood vessels in the feet. In the worst case, injuries could result in amputation.
What’s important for diabetics to look for in their shoes is a roomy fit. Wide shoes with “a lot of depth,” says Rushton, are essential to avoid chafing and irritation that can lead to larger wounds and injuries. The same goes for wide toes and soft shoe interiors and linings. “There are diabetic shoes on the market that have all of these qualities, as well as special insoles that reduce friction on the feet,” says Rushton.
From walking and running to relaxing styles, find the 10 best shoes for diabetics below.
New Balance Made in USA 990v5
Best shoes for diabetics with neuropathy
According to Dr. Rushton, diabetics with neuropathy are particularly susceptible to numbness in the feet. For this reason, it is especially important that they have shoes with a loose fit that will not cause harmful chafing and irritation – which they may not notice. “New Balance makes a fabulous shoe for diabetics, and it’s covered by Medicare,” he says. The New Balance Made in USA 990v5 features an Ortholite insert and a firm yet durable midsole. The toe area is very wide, ideal for neuropathic diabetics.
Skechers Go Walk Joy Women’s Walking Shoes
Best diabetic shoes to stay on your feet all day
These Skechers women’s walking shoes have ultra-responsive cushioning with a high rebound sockliner. Reviewers call them some of the best shoes for standing all day thanks to their lightweight and flexible fit. The breathable mesh upper allows air to circulate, while the soft fabric lining ensures comfort from all angles. In addition, the outsole has a lot of traction, which makes it a great everyday slip-on. Choose between a wide and regular fit.
Adidas Cloudfoam Qt Racer Womens
Adidas Cloudfoam Qt Racer is all about smoothness. It features a breathable, lightweight knit upper and cloud-like cushioning in the outsole. With nearly 8,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, these sneakers won’t go wrong for a run, walk, or brunch.
Nike Zoom Winflo 6 Running
Reviewers say these Nike sneakers have “great arch support” and are “feather light”. They also feature a soft lining, responsive, low-profile cushioning, and a knit upper that conforms to your foot for ultimate comfort.
Brooks Catamount Trainers
Best running shoes for diabetics
Chiropodists agree that the Brooks Catamount sneaker is a top-notch orthopedic shoe for women and a great option for men. The padded tongue and collar provide easy access and comfort once you’re laced up, so diabetics can avoid unnecessary chafing and blisters. The soft mesh lining is designed for breathability, while the sockliner provides sufficient cushioning and responsiveness.
Altra Escalante 2.5 Shoes
Dr Rushton recommends Altra shoes for diabetics as they tend to have “very wide toes to prevent chafing and nice thick soles.” The Escalante 2.5 is top notch, offering neutral support that makes it ideal for exercise and daily activities.
New Balance 577 V1 Men’s Walking Shoe
Best walking shoes for diabetics
With its top marks on Amazon, the 577 V1 walking shoe from New Balance is one of the best walking shoes for men. (Of note, the brand also makes some of the best walking shoes for women.) There is extra padding in the heel for shock absorption and a polyurethane midsole for stability. The hook-and-loop closure allows the wearer to adjust the fit so that it is neither too tight nor too loose, promoting good circulation. And, the shoe is available in several widths.
Hoka One One Sky Kaha Hiking Boot
Best hiking shoes for diabetics
Ranked among the best hiking shoes on the market, Hoka Sky Kaha hiking shoes are excellent for diabetics. Its ultra soft lining protects the feet from irritation and blisters. In addition, the shoe is durable, ultra-grippy and lightweight for easy movement over difficult terrain.
Vionic Relax slippers
Best home shoes for diabetics
Vionic Relax slippers are some of the best slippers for women thanks to their ergonomic and supportive footbed. Also featuring plush terrycloth, a flexible midsole, and hook-and-loop closure for a custom fit, they’ve even made celebrity fans like Oprah Winfrey. Unfortunately, this specific model is not available for men, but while you are here, be sure to check out the best slippers for men as well.
Yibobay diabetic shoes
Best Velcro Diabetic Shoes
Yibobay’s diabetic shoes are extra wide, offering plenty of room for diabetic feet, and particularly popular with older customers. They offer a soft, padded tongue and collar, Velcro strap to help you get the right fit, and memory foam insoles for even weight distribution with every step.