For people with diabetes, getting enough exercise is almost as important as a healthy diet. And when it comes to finding an easy and affordable form of exercise, it’s hard to beat good, old-fashioned walking.
But before you hit the pavement, you need to ensure you’re wearing the proper diabetic walking shoes. People with diabetes are at a high risk of developing impaired circulation in their feet and nerve damage, and wearing ill-fitting shoes can seriously increase your chances of developing a harmful condition. Since diabetes also affects the body’s ability to heal, even a minor skin irritation can lead to a lengthy recovery period.
Here’s the good news: Medicare covers one pair of diabetic shoes and two pairs of customer inserts per year for adults with diabetes. All you need is a prescription from your doctor, size details from a qualified shoe fitter, and a supplier that is approved by Medicare (hey, that’s us!). To learn whether you qualify for this coverage, click here.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Diabetic Walking Shoes
When choosing a diabetic walking shoe, you will want to ask yourself the following questions:
Are they comfortable?
Make sure that the toe box (front of the shoe) is wide enough for your toes to easily move around. You will also want to look for shoes with good insole cushioning and avoid shoes with interior stitching as they can cause friction that can lead to skin irritation. If you have any protrusions on your feet such as bone spurs or bunions, look for diabetic walking shoes that don’t put pressure on those areas. Another option is to look for high-quality shoes that can be stretched in those tighter spots.
Are they breathable?
Natural fabrics such as canvas, leather or suede are the best choices as they are the most breathable. Breathability is an important factor for people with diabetes to consider when picking a walking shoe as excess moisture can lead to blisters and fungal infections. Shoes with perforations or mesh inserts can also help with this.
Are they easily adjustable?
Diabetic walking shoes should be adjustable to accommodate swelling or the need for extra padding and inserts. Look for shoes with laces or buckles that can be easily loosened when needed. Velcro walking shoes usually provide the most flexibility in this area. On the other hand, open-toed shoes, thong sandals, flip-flops, and high heels are too rigid and don’t provide the necessary protection that people with diabetes require from their footwear.
The Best Walking Shoes for Diabetes
New Balance Women’s Diabetic Shoes
These shoes offer a padded interior for extra comfort and their velcro closure make them easily adjustable.
Dr Comfort Men’s Diabetic Shoes
The mesh tongue adds breathability while the wide toe box offers ample room for movement.
Orthofeet Men’s Diabetic Shoes
The perforations along the sides and toe box of this pair add much-needed breathability.
How to Pick the Best Diabetic Walking Shoes for You
The most important thing when picking diabetic walking shoes is to ensure the size is correct. This will allow for proper circulation. Your feet can change size and shape over time, so most insurance companies and Medicare require you to repeat this step each time you get new shoes. Set up an appointment with your podiatrist to have this done, or use No Cost Shoes’ easy and free service to have a trusted professional come to your home for a shoe fitting.
When you try on your shoes, make sure you’re wearing the type of sock or stocking you would typically wear. You will also want to bring any orthotics and inserts that you will be using with your shoes.
So You’ve Picked Your Shoe, Now What?
While picking a well-fitting shoe is a big part of proper foot care, there are not the only thing you should do to keep your feet healthy and happy. Try to reduce pressure on your feet by alternating your walking shoes every five hours or by giving your feet time to breath. You will also want to promote proper blood circulation by taking the time to extend your toes and move your ankles up and down ever three to four hours. If you notice any sores, blisters or swelling on your feet, alert your doctor immediately. Prompt treatment is critical to prevent minor injuries from developing into potentially life-threatening issues.
Finding your perfect pair of diabetic walking shoes doesn’t have to be a chore. As long as you keep the above recommendations in mind, you will be walking away in a comfortable pair in no time.
No Cost Shoes streamlines the process of getting a insurance and Medicare-covered shoes by sending a prescription to your physician, providing an in-home shoe fitting, and direct billing your insurance.