Best Shoes For Diabetics
If you or a loved one experiences diabetes, you will—at some point—experience foot pain or discomfort brought on by complications from diabetes. Peripheral diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) and peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation) are two key diabetes symptoms that can cause pain, tingling, and numbness or loss of feeling in the feet.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help alleviate painful diabetic foot symptoms and prevent future issues. Even simple adjustments, such as choosing more supportive footwear, can make a substantial difference in improving circulation and effectively managing overall foot health.
Orthopedic footwear is a great option for diabetics, especially styles that are designed to address common diabetic foot conditions. The best shoes for diabetics can help you manage conditions and take better care of your feet, while keeping small injuries from becoming full-blown health crises.
The term “diabetic feet” refers to diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the most common type of neuropathy found in diabetics. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy affects your peripheral nervous system—all the nerves outside your brain and spine, including your sensory nerves. Symptoms are often first felt in the feet and legs.
Diabetic neuropathy in the feet can lead to ulcers and sores that do not heal. Seemingly harmless cuts, blisters, and sores can go unnoticed due to loss of feeling. Then they become seriously infected as poor circulation slows down or even prevents healing. In extreme cases, this can lead to amputation of a toe or the entire foot. Other diabetic foot problems include athlete’s foot, calluses, blisters, bunions, dry skin, foot ulcers, hammertoes and ingrown toenails.
Learn more about the symptoms, causes and complications of diabetic feet.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not make or use enough insulin. Without insulin, glucose stays in the body and can lead to high levels of blood sugar levels. Over time those elevated levels can cause nerve damage and a decrease in blood flow, particularly in the legs and feet. The reduced circulation can make it harder for your body to fight infections, leading to cuts and lacerations in the feet that heal poorly.
The symptoms of diabetic foot pain can be more intense at night and include:
Loss of feeling, tingling, or numbnessThis is a common symptom of diabetic neuropathy, which occurs due to nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels. You may feel like you’re walking on cotton, or have a sensation of pins and needles in your feet. Over time, this can lead to a loss of coordination and balance, making it harder to walk and increasing the risk of falls.Loss of feeling, tingling, or numbness
Burning sensationDiabetic neuropathy can cause a persistent burning sensation in the feet, which can be particularly bothersome at night. This can affect the quality of your sleep and lead to fatigue and irritability during the day. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor can help alleviate this symptom.Burning sensation
Shooting or radiating painThis type of pain can be sudden and intense, and may feel like an electric shock or stabbing sensation. It can occur spontaneously or be triggered by touch or pressure. Managing your blood sugar levels, staying active, and taking pain medications as prescribed by your doctor can help reduce the frequency and severity of this symptom.Shooting or radiating pain
Frequent foot ulcersHigh blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your feet, reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to the skin. This can make it harder for your body to heal wounds and increase the risk of infections. Proper foot care, including daily washing and inspection, wearing comfortable shoes, and avoiding high-impact activities, can help prevent foot ulcers from developing or worsening.Frequent foot ulcers
Increased sensitivitySome people with diabetic neuropathy may experience an increased sensitivity to touch or pressure, known as allodynia. This can make it uncomfortable or even painful to wear socks or shoes, or to walk on certain surfaces. Your doctor may recommend medications or physical therapy to help manage this symptom.Increased sensitivity
Cuts and wounds that heal slowly or not at allDiabetes can weaken the immune system and reduce the body’s ability to fight off infections. This can cause even minor cuts or blisters to become infected and take longer to heal than normal. In severe cases, untreated infections can lead to gangrene or even amputation. It’s important to practice good foot hygiene, regularly check for cuts or sores, and seek medical attention if you notice any signs of infection.Cuts and wounds that heal slowly or not at all
Diabetic Feet Facts and Stats
We take a look at some facts and stats you might not have known about diabetic feet.
- Approximately 50% of diabetics will experience some type of foot pain.
- Although nerve damage (neuropathy) is irreversible, consistently managing your blood sugar levels can lower your risk of developing further nerve damage.
- Smoking cigarettes reduces blood flow to the legs and feet, making diabetics who smoke more susceptible to foot ulcers, infections, and amputation.
- You can better manage your diabetic foot symptoms (and help reduce neuropathy pain) by eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that includes fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Moderate daily exercise can help regulate your blood sugar and increase your blood flow and circulation—keeping your heart healthy and your extremities flooded with oxygen-rich blood. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist on the best exercise options for you.
Ideally, you should have your feet checked by your doctor annually—or more often if other problems arise. Your doctor may prescribe anti-seizure medications, anti-inflammatory medications, and antidepressants to help with pain management.
There are also lifestyle changes that may help control your symptoms, including physical therapy to build strength in the lower legs and feet. In some cases, surgical treatment may be needed to remove dead tissue or to stop an infection from spreading in the feet. Sometimes, stents can be placed to encourage blood flow.
No matter your treatment plan, an at-home foot care regimen is an integral part of giving diabetic feet the care and attention they need.
Because the symptoms of diabetic feet vary in intensity from person to person, it’s important to collaborate closely with your doctor to establish the best treatment plan for your needs.
Examine feet dailyCheck your feet daily for blisters, sores, bruises, redness, swelling, or cracked and peeling skin. It’s important to inspect your feet regularly to catch any problems early. Use a mirror to check the soles of your feet if you can’t see them clearly. If you have trouble bending over or seeing your feet, ask a family member or a healthcare professional for help.Examine feet daily
Wash your feetWash your feet with lukewarm water and mild soap every day. Avoid soaking your feet and dry them thoroughly—especially between your toes. Use a soft washcloth to gently clean your feet, but avoid scrubbing too hard. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly, including between your toes, to prevent fungal infections. Apply talcum powder or cornstarch to your feet to keep them dry.Wash your feet
Moisturize your feetMoisturize your feet to prevent cracking, but try to avoid getting moisturizer in between your toes because this could cause fungal growth. Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to your feet daily to keep your skin hydrated and prevent dryness and cracking. Avoid applying moisturizer between your toes to prevent moisture buildup that could lead to fungal infections.Moisturize your feet
Cut your toenailsCut your toenails straight instead of curved. Then use a nail file to file down any sharp edges: Trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. If you have difficulty trimming your nails, ask a podiatrist to do it for you. Use a nail file to smooth out any rough edges and avoid using sharp objects to cut your nails.Cut your toenails
Put on clean, dry socks every dayPut on clean, dry socks every day: Wearing clean, dry socks can help prevent infections and keep your feet comfortable. Change your socks daily or more frequently if they become damp or sweaty.Put on clean, dry socks every day
Wear socks made of cottonWear socks made of cotton or material that draws moisture away from your skin: Cotton socks are breathable and can absorb moisture, which helps keep your feet dry. You can also try socks made of acrylic, polyester, or other synthetic fibers designed to wick moisture away from your skin.Wear socks made of cotton
Avoid socks with thick seams or tight bandsAvoid socks with thick seams or tight bands that could cause pressure, irritation, or friction: Look for seamless socks that won’t rub against your skin or cause irritation. Avoid socks with tight elastic bands that could restrict circulation or leave marks on your skin.Avoid socks with thick seams or tight bands
Wear shoes that fit wellWear shoes that fit well and provide comfort and support. Shoes that provide shock absorption or added padding can also reduce pain from diabetic neuropathy, especially if you have bone or joint pain. Ensure that your shoes fit snugly but still have enough room in the toe area to avoid corns and calluses: Choose shoes with a wide and deep toe box that provides enough space for your toes to move freely. Look for shoes with good arch support and cushioning, especially if you have flat feet or high arches. Avoid high heels or shoes with pointed toes, as they can cause pressure points and lead to foot problems.Wear shoes that fit well
Avoid going barefootAvoid going barefoot: Walking barefoot can increase the risk of cuts, bruises, and infections, especially if you have diabetic neuropathy. Wear shoes or slippers indoors and outdoors to protect your feet from injury.Avoid going barefoot
What is diabetic foot pain?
Diabetic foot pain refers to discomfort, pain, or other sensations experienced in the feet as a result of diabetes-related complications. It can occur due to nerve damage (neuropathy) or poor circulation in the feet.
What causes diabetic foot pain?
Diabetic foot pain is primarily caused by two factors: peripheral neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Peripheral neuropathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the nerves, leading to numbness, tingling, and pain. PAD, on the other hand, involves poor blood flow to the feet, resulting in cramping, pain, and slow wound healing.
What are signs of diabetic feet?
It’s important to know the signs of diabetic feet so you can get the care you need in a timely manner. You might have diabetic feet if you experience the following:
– Changes in skin color or temperature
– Swelling in feet or ankles
– Leg pain
– Slow healing foot sores
– Ingrown toenails, or toenail fungus
– Dry skin and cracks in the foot, especially on or near your heel
– Unusual or persistent foot odor
How do I care for diabetic feet?
Your diabetic feet need attention and care, every single day. If you take good care of your feet, you can prevent small issues from turning into more serious problems. To make sure your feet are getting the care they need, do the following every day:
– Wash and dry feet. Apply lotion or petroleum jelly after drying your feet to prevent dry skin. Dust your clean, dry feet with non-medicinal foot powder before putting on socks and shoes. This keeps the feet dry and prevents moisture buildup.
– Inspect your feet daily. Check your feet for sores, bumps, bruises, scrapes, or cracked skin. Also check for temperature changes, redness, or tenderness in the skin. Reach out to your doctor if you notice any sores or issues. Early detection is key.
– Maintain your toenails. Check your toenails every day. Keep them trimmed and clean. Don’t let toenails grow into the skin of the toe, as this can cause ingrown toenails and infection.
– Wear supportive footwear and clean socks. Wear well-fitting shoes, and never go barefoot. At home, wear hard-soled slippers to prevent sores or injury from stepping on small objects or uneven surfaces. Change your socks every day.
Why wear orthopedic shoes for diabetics?
Wearing orthopedic shoes for diabetics is crucial due to the specific foot care needs associated with diabetes. Diabetes can lead to nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation, making the feet more vulnerable to injuries and complications. Orthopedic shoes are designed with features that address these concerns and provide optimal foot support and protection.
Orthopedic shoes for diabetics offer several benefits. Firstly, they have a wider toe box, allowing ample room for toes and reducing the risk of pressure points or friction that could lead to foot ulcers or sores. Additionally, these shoes often have cushioned soles that absorb impact and reduce pressure on the feet, minimizing the risk of developing wounds. The materials used in orthopedic shoes are typically soft and breathable, reducing irritation and discomfort for individuals with sensitive or neuropathic feet.
How can I prevent diabetic foot pain?
To prevent diabetic foot pain, it is important to maintain good blood sugar control, practice proper foot care hygiene (regularly inspecting and cleaning the feet), wear appropriate footwear, avoid smoking, manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and receive regular foot examinations by a healthcare professional.
I just received a pair of your shoes and my feet are sore/hurt after wearing them. Why is that?
Some customers experience tenderness when they first start wearing a new pair of KURUs. That’s ok! Your body may need time to adjust to the new levels of anatomical support you experience with our patented KURUSOLE technology.
Our shoes are also designed to mold to your unique foot shape, which takes a bit of a break-in period.
To help mitigate this, we suggest you follow our break-in procedure, including wearing your KURUs for a couple hours per day around the house in the first couple of weeks as they break in and form to your foot.
In our study on foot pain across America, we found that out of the 6,030 participants who took part in our survey and experienced foot pain, approximately 11% revealed that they also had diabetes.
When selecting diabetic shoes, there are several key features to keep in mind. These features are specifically designed to address the unique needs of diabetic feet and promote optimal foot health. These key features work together to ensure maximum comfort, protection, and support for your diabetic feet.
Level shoesAvoid shoes that are entirely flat as well as those with high heels. Ideally, foot pressure should be evenly distributed across the footbed.Level shoes
Soft insolesSoft insoles will help with cushion to enhance comfort.Soft insoles
Wide toeboxGive your toes more room to spread out to avoid developing conditions like hammer toe, bunions, corns, or calluses. A generous toe box can also improve your balance, and help maintain proper alignment of the ankle, knee, hips, and spine.Wide toebox
LightweightHeavy shoes can lead to discomfort and make it difficult to spend lengthy periods of time on your feet.Lightweight
Well-fittedOrthopedic shoes for diabetics can help with loss of circulation to the feet to help prevent numbness and tingling.Well-fitted
At KURU, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to shoe design. We believe that shoes should be shaped to fit the natural contours of your feet, which is why we create every pair in three distinct support layers, not just an insole.
Our revolutionary ergonomic design starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support that includes shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES. The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.
We know the best and most comfortable shoes for diabetics cushion and support your foot to promote a natural posture and gait, while putting your body …Show More
We know the best and most comfortable shoes for diabetics cushion and support your foot to promote a natural posture and gait, while putting your body in the best position to heal itself from common painful foot conditions. The genius is how KURUSOLE hugs your feet while providing the perfect blend of heel, ankle, and arch support. Unlike anything else, the patented power of KURUSOLE dynamically flexes with every step to redirect force and protect your feet.…Show less
Finish your day with more energy when KURUCLOUD is under your feet. Featuring precision geometry and a unique blend of lightweight, …Show More
Finish your day with more energy when KURUCLOUD is under your feet. Featuring precision geometry and a unique blend of lightweight, performance EVA foam—KURUCLOUD gives you a silky-smooth stride that feels like you’re flying. KURUCLOUD absorbs shock and pressure with every step, making for some of the best walking shoes for diabetics thanks to the smoother stride.…Show less
Our ULTIMATE INSOLES use advanced foams that harness your body heat to custom mold to your heels, arches and forefoot for full-length support and …Show More
Our ULTIMATE INSOLES use advanced foams that harness your body heat to custom mold to your heels, arches and forefoot for full-length support and ultra-comfort in all the right places. ULTIMATE INSOLES provide added support that help protect sensitive skin by reducing friction and rubbing. Conquer your day with custom comfort from heel to toe!…Show less
We know the best and most comfortable shoes for diabetics cushion and support your foot to promote a natural posture and gait, while putting your body in the best position to heal itself from common painful foot conditions. The genius is how KURUSOLE hugs your feet while providing the perfect blend of heel, ankle, and arch support. Unlike anything else, the patented power of KURUSOLE dynamically flexes with every step to redirect force and protect your feet.
Finish your day with more energy when KURUCLOUD is under your feet. Featuring precision geometry and a unique blend of lightweight, performance EVA foam—KURUCLOUD gives you a silky-smooth stride that feels like you’re flying. KURUCLOUD absorbs shock and pressure with every step, making for some of the best walking shoes for diabetics thanks to the smoother stride.
Our ULTIMATE INSOLES use advanced foams that harness your body heat to custom mold to your heels, arches and forefoot for full-length support and ultra-comfort in all the right places. ULTIMATE INSOLES provide added support that help protect sensitive skin by reducing friction and rubbing. Conquer your day with custom comfort from heel to toe!
Fine, We’ll Tell You Our Secret
What makes KURU different? Every KURU shoe comes with built-in patented KURUSOLE tech—a foot health game changer.
While other shoes are flat on the inside, KURUSOLE is shaped like your foot to hug and prevent fatigue and pain.
“The Shoe I’ve Always Wanted. Type 1 diabetic with foot pain and neuropathy, knee and ankle problems from years of exercise, and born with bunions! These shoes fixed all my problem areas. Immediate relief and no rubbing or blistering. First shoe that really fit my feet, and they look stylish without the orthopedic “astronaut” look. I don’t want to take them off when I get home! I am a customer for life! This is the only shoe for me. Thank you Kuru!”
“Wow, Real Comfort For A Pair Of Diabetic Feet. Concerned about the initial investment outlay of these Kuru shoes? My advise: Don’t be! I bought my first Kuru a couple years back, and wore it out (best investment ever in daily exercise walks, very comfortable) so I bought a second, and yup, same comfort was the determination, even years later so invested into my most recent third pair…Guess what? Im gonna buy a 4th pair without qualm real soon!”
“Number One Best Of Shoes I have Ever Worn! Since about 6 months ago, I was desperate to find a shoe that, at the end of the day, my feet weren’t killing me. I tried multiple high-end shoes, each promising “happy-feel-good” feet, but to no avail! I friend suggested Kuru’s, saying she now owns 4 pair, and she’ll never own any other shoe-brand again. So I started with woman’s Quantum size 8 wide. I’ve got arthritis in both feet, multiple hammer toes, diabetes. Once they arrived, onto my feet they went, and OMG!!! NO PAIN at end of my day!!!! Having suffered foot pain for so long, then suddenly NONE, my feet felt as if they’d gone to heaven (well, almost!). I now own 3 pairs of Kuru’s, and my husband has purchased a pair of men’s Quantum wide, and he swears these are the best shoes he’s ever worn, too! Thank you to the creators of these fantastic shoes!!!!”