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Choosing appropriate shoes in diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with nerve damage or reduced circulation in your feet, you must carefully choose your footwear.

When purchasing footwear, drawing the outline of the foot's sole on cardboard can help. Allow at least 12mm of walking space.

Most people can find suitable footwear in regular shoe stores. Specialised shoes are justified when functional and structural changes in the foot mean that appropriate footwear cannot be found on the market.

Shoes are selected based on their intended use and the seasons, and there should be options for both indoor and outdoor wear.

  • You can select shoes based on the season and purpose of use, and you should have shoes suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

  • Shoes should be wide enough, long enough and high enough at the tip. They should also offer proper support.

  • Your feet may be of a different size; choose the shoes on the basis of the size of your larger foot.

  • You should try the shoes on in the afternoon when your feet are already slightly swollen. The shoe should have at least 12 mm of extra space in addition to the dimensions of your foot.

  • The recommended heel thickness is 2–4 cm.

  • The fastening should extend far enough over the foot.

  • For example, a snug opening prevents the heel of your foot from coming off of the shoe when you walk.

  • The outer sole of the shoe must be both supportive and flexible. The outer sole acts as a shock absorber and protects your foot on hard surfaces. 

  • Leather is the best material, although some quality sports and leisure shoes include good synthetic materials with good ventilation properties.

  • Ideally, your shoes should have detachable insoles, which can be replaced with a new insole or special bespoke insole.

Updated 30.9.2023