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Diabetes Health Center

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Find the Right Shoes for Diabetes

Experts discuss the best shoe options to avoid foot problems linked to diabetes.

Shoes for Diabetes: Choose Shoes Wisely continued...

For diabetic women with good foot health and no foot deformity or only minor ones, even high heels are fine. "They can certainly wear a fashionable-style shoe for short periods of time, maybe when they're not going to do a lot of walking," Giurini says. He suggests that they save high heels for the office and wear sneakers to and from work. If they slip into heels for a business presentation, they should consider wearing comfortable shoes before and after, he adds.

But women at higher risk for foot problems should eschew the high heels. "A diabetic patient who has some significant loss of sensation, poor circulation or has things like hammertoes and bunion, have to be much more careful," Giurini says.

McGuire advises patients with impaired sensation to steer clear of high heels and narrow dress shoes because they can't feel the pain and stress that such shoes place on the forefoot and toes.

Which shoes are not good for anyone with diabetes? Flip-flops, Giurini says. "They expose the toes [to injury], they're not very supportive, and the strap that goes between the toes can cause a blister or irritation."

"I'm not a really big fan of rigid leather-style shoes," he adds. "They don't give, so that if there's a blister or irritation, there's no opportunity for the shoe to expand."

As for Guanci, he takes foot safety a step further by wearing protective water shoes during swimming. Going barefoot exposes feet to injury, so wearing slippers in the house is also a good idea.

Diabetic Shoes

If diabetes patients do develop minor foot deformities or impaired sensation and circulation, it's smart to move from conventional footwear to buying comfort shoes or diabetic shoes, according to Giurini.

These shoes are marketed under various brands, such as CrocsRx, P.W. Minor, Drew, or Easy Spirit.

"A diabetic-style shoe is characterized by being made of soft leather, has a deep toe box, has a rounder, wider toe box that can accommodate things like hammertoes and bunions," Giurini says.

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