Foot Health and Wellness


The Importance of Good Shoes:


People with diabetes who have neuropathy or loss of sensation may not be aware of whether or not their shoes fit correctly, so their feet must be properly measured and fitted before purchasing shoes. The importance of purchasing shoes of good quality cannot be over emphasized. Often times inexpensive “sale” shoes are of poor quality and poor design and break down far earlier than a more expensive quality shoe.


***Tips for Buying Good Shoes:

  • Have your feet measured periodically because feet can change over time.

  • Shop later in the day because feet swell during the day, especially if one has heart or kidney disease.

  • Have shoes fitted with the socks you’ll be wearing with those specific shoes. That way you will know if they are going to fit properly.

  • Your shoe length should be about the width of your thumb beyond the end of your longest toe.

When you buy a new pair of shoes, wear them first around the house for a few hours before wearing them outside for any long period of time. Then check your feet for any redness or blisters from irritation. If you wear orthotics or specialized shoe inserts be sure and take them with you when you purchase your shoes to make sure your shoe will fit properly with them in the shoes.


***Important Shoe Features for People with Diabetes:

  • Shoes with soft leather can be advantageous because they can stretch.

  • Cushioned soled shoes offer superior shock absorption over rubber or leather soled shoes.

  • The counter, (back), of the shoe should offer stability and not be floppy.

  • Tie shoes or shoes with Velcro straps offer better support than loafers or slip-ons.

  • Sandals may be more comfortable than closed in shoes for people with neuropathy but make sure they have good support and are well cushioned.

***When to Replace your Shoes:

It’s a good idea to alternate your shoes at least everyday so as to let them dry out a bit because of moisture retention. If your feet perspire a lot it is good to sprinkle antifungal powder in them on a regular basis to keep them dry. You should replace your shoes when:

  • The heel starts to collapse or lean to one side or the other.

  • The heel or sole of the shoe starts to wear down on one side or the other.

  • The inner lining of the shoe is worn, leaving a hole that rubs on the foot.

  • A hole develops on the underneath side of the heel or sole of the shoe.


***Other Considerations When Selecting Footwear:

  • Keep it Comfortable. You may love the way a certain pair of shoes looks, but if they don’t feel right you’re putting yourself at risk for blisters, cuts or worse. Look for shoes that are both stylish and comfortable.

  • Don’t altar your normal walking, (gait), pattern. If your shoes make you walk differently than you normally would, be aware that you could be risking damage to your feet, ankles or low back.

  • Be Careful with Sandals or Flip Flops. Flip flops and some sandals offer no support for your feet and don’t offer a lot of protection from debris on the ground. If possible, limit how often you wear this type of footgear and inspect your feet after wearing them just to be on the safe side.

  • Avoid Synthetic Shoe Materials When Possible. If you have diabetes, you should avoid exposing your feet to extremely hot or cold temperatures. Some shoes made of synthetic such as plastic can make your feet very hot or not give good protection from winter temperatures.

  • Do I Need Special or Molded Shoes? Some diabetics do need special or molded shoes with certain foot deformities or conditions. Ask your health care provider for advice.


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