Diabetic shoes: what features should we look for and why should we invest in a pair. Discover why it is worth the investment and some tips from experts on finding the right pair.
Did you know that the average person will walk up around 128,000 km over a lifetime? To put it into perspective, that is enough to go around the circumference of the earth three times. It goes to show how much we rely on our feet. As for diabetics, walking can be painful if you are not wearing the right shoes.
Diabetic shoes have certain functions that other footwear don’t have. They are designed to:
– promote blood circulation
– prevent ulcers
– prevent blisters
– prevent calluses
– provide pain relief
Not all diabetic shoes are created equal and every foot is different so here are 9 tips from experts to help you find the right pair.
1. Generous insole
Insoles sit directly on the sock liner to provide extra cushioning for comfort against blisters. They usually consist of a single layer of foam and can be ordered straight from the shelf or customised. If you purchase one from the shelf, look for an insole with a minimum of 3 layers. Customised insoles are known as orthotics which will require a podiatrist’s consultation.
2. Stiff midsole
Midsoles are shock absorbers. The firmer the midsole, the stiffer and heavier the shoe will be. On the other hand, softer midsoles absorb more shock but have a shorter lifespan than the firmer counterpart.
Experts say to look for a midsole that is stiff through midfoot with toe flexibility. You can do a simple test by flexing the shoe with your hands. The breakpoint should be in the area where your toes would normally bend and not in the middle or rear of the shoe.
3. A flared or wider outsole
For stability, look for outsole that is flared or wide with non-slip pattern thick enough to provide maximum protection.
4. Rocker sole
A rocker sole or rocker bottom is a shoe which has a thicker than a normal sole with a rounded heel. Experts suggest that a rocker sole can play an important role in offloading foot pressure and prevent ulcers from occurring. Speak to your podiatrist to see if this option is right for you.
5. Adjustable fastenings
Diabetic feet often changes shape and size due to swelling so look for footwear with adjustable fastenings such as velcro straps or laces.
6. Wide toe box
A toe box is where your toes rest. There should be enough room to allow movement of your toes. Avoid shoes with a narrow toe which can make your toes feel cramped or confined. You also want to avoid a toe box with too much space otherwise your feet will slide around.
7. Padded tongue
For shoes with laces, check for a tongue that provides enough padding so you still have room to tie up your laces but not too much that it digs into your foot. Experts suggest that a tongue made from leather is preferable. Leathers are known for its hygienic properties.
8. Avoid internal seams
Seams can cause pressure and rubbing of the skin and toes so check the inside of the shoe for seams.
9. Heel counter
A good heel counter controls ankle movement and aids in preventing ankle sprains. Look for a stiff and durable heel counter for support.
In short, diabetic shoes are worth the investment if you want to stay active by preventing complications and increasing blood circulation.
It’s time to put your feet first; invest in a pair today.
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