The 10 Best Diabetic Shoes for Women
The right pair of shoes can make a big difference when it comes to avoiding diabetes-related foot problems. We asked podiatrists to recommend the best diabetic shoes for women, and we've included good choices for walking, travel, exercise, and work.
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What are the best diabetic shoes for women?
Footwear that is comfortable and protective is an integral part of diabetic foot care—wearing the wrong shoes can increase your risk for foot injuries and developing skin conditions like blisters, foot ulcers, or fungal infections. But the right pair of shoes, combined with good blood sugar control, will help keep you and your feet safe and healthy.
“Diabetic shoes typically have extra depth and thicker insoles which help reduce friction and skin breakdown,” explains podiatric surgeon Rebecca Pruthi, DPM, owner of Foot Care of Manhattan in New York City. “The soles provide arch support and usually contour to the foot.”
Many people with diabetes experience a type of damage to the nerves called peripheral neuropathy. This can cause a loss of sensation in the feet, which can make the development of potentially harmful blisters and calluses less noticeable. If they go undetected, small injuries can escalate into chronic wounds that can even lead to amputations. Therefore, shoes that reduce this possibility are crucial.
Another way to minimize rubbing and calluses is to make sure the shoes are wide enough. “Women’s shoes are typically narrower and tighter than men’s, so women need to make sure they choose shoes that are wide,” says Dr. Pruthi.
And when possible, a full-covered shoe is best. “A diabetic will not be aware if she injures her foot,” says board-certified podiatric surgeon Miguel Cunha, DPM, founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. “A full-covered shoe allows the foot to be protected.” If closed-toed shoes like these aren’t your thing, check out these expert-recommended sandals for diabetic women.
Orthofeet Orthopedic Walking Shoes
A favorite of both Dr. Pruthi and Dr. Cunha (and with over 1,200 five-star reviews on Amazon), these Orthofeet sneakers are stylish and lightweight while also earning top marks for comfort and support. The roomy toe box and wide and extra-wide size options minimize rubbing and friction on the sides of the feet and around the toes, while orthotic insoles offer ergonomic support in the heel, arch, and sole of the foot.
“I am diabetic and had a knee replaced last year,” writes one happy customer. “Walking comfortably is of paramount importance to me since I walk 4-5 miles every day. These shoes fit and were extremely comfortable from the first. I will buy them again.” (Find out whether walking barefoot is bad for your feet.)
KURU Footwear Quantum
“Choosing a shoe with a wide toe box is ideal for a diabetic to eliminate foot rubbing and foot ulcers,” says Dr. Cunha. These trainers from KURU, which come in a medium and wide width, fit the bill. Their patented Kurusole moves and flexes with your foot as you walk, keeping your weight balanced across the foot and preventing any one part of the foot from experiencing excessive rubbing or callusing. (Here are podiatrist solutions to common foot problems.)
Vionic Shawna Bootie
A company that works closely with podiatrists in creating their footwear, all of Vionic’s shoes are designed to alleviate foot issues in a stylish way. These booties offer full-foot coverage thanks to the soft leather upper, which Dr. Pruthi recommends, and they come in five colors to match all your fall and winter outfits. The best part: The laces give these shoes a stylish look, but a secret side zipper makes them a cinch to pull on and off. (Don’t like lacing up your shoes? Try these slip-on sneakers.)
Brooks Addiction Walker V-Strap
Dr. Pruthi recommends shoes with Velcro straps, which ensure a snug, comfortable fit. These walking sneakers from Brooks boast a thick, multi-layered sole that positions the foot in a balanced way, preventing any rolling in or out as you walk, while the outer sole is certified slip-resistant to lower your risk of injury and prevent falls. “I’ve been wearing the Addiction Walker for years, it was recommended by my podiatrist,” writes one five-star reviewer. “I look at all the pretty colored sports footwear and always come back to the comfort this shoe offers. They also hold up very well under heavy use.”
Propét Women’s TravelActiv Mary Jane Flat
$31-$65, depending on color and size
If your job or lifestyle requires shoes for travel or work that aren’t sneakers, look no further than these Mary Jane Flats from Propét, a brand recommended by both Dr. Pruthi and Dr. Cunha. These shoes are available in six colors and three larger widths (wide, extra-wide and extra-extra-wide), the mesh body of the shoe provides a soft, comfortable fit and the footbed can be removed to accommodate custom orthotics.
What’s more, unlike thicker sneakers, they weigh only five ounces each. “I ordered these for my aunt who is 80 and rarely wears her current diabetic shoes with complaints of the weight of them,” says one satisfied customer. “She absolutely loves these!” (Avoid these shoe mistakes that may be hurting your feet.)
Slow Man Women’s Walking Shoes
$24-$34, depending on size and color
“This shoe fits my foot like a dream,” raves one five-star reviewer. “I have neuropathy and diabetes so my feet can be a problem at times. However, with this shoe I had no problems at all walking, standing, or just kicking around town.” Thousands of others agree: As the top-rated women’s walking shoe on Amazon, Slow Man’s slip-on shoes have over 17,000 five-star reviews. The thick, flexible sole offers extra support in the heel and the arch, the boxed toe bed eliminates pinching or squeezing and 21 color options offer something for everyone.
These bright and colorful sneakers are on the pricey side, but have actually been approved for coverage by Medicare as a protective and supportive shoe for people with diabetes. (Medicare Part B covers one pair of extra-depth shoes per year for folks with diabetes.) Credit goes to SAS’s proprietary midsole, cushioning, and heel stabilizer, which lower the chances of developing blisters, the wide width option to decrease rubbing, and the thick upper and tongue for full-coverage protection.
Sketchers Women’s Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe
$40-$45, depending on size and color
The unassuming look of these walking shoes, which come in 16 colors and three different widths, means they look flawless with any outfit. Meanwhile, over 8,000 five-star reviews speak to their comfort and support for women with diabetes. “They feel wonderful and fit my wide feet perfectly,” writes one pleased purchaser. “I am a diabetic and trying to find shoes that are really comfortable is a real chore. I bought a size 8.5 wide and they fit as if they were made for me.”
New Balance Women’s 608 V5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer
$40-$58, depending on size and color
New Balance has been earning rave reviews for comfort, stability, and protection for years, and these 100 percent leather, extra-cushioned cross trainers are no different. “My podiatrist recommended me to purchase New Balance sneakers due to my feet issues,” writes one thrilled customer. “It’s a miracle! I can walk without my feet hurting terribly, I’m able to stand for longer periods of time now and I’ve got plenty of room inside for my toes to wiggle. Bye-bye ingrown toenails and calluses from sides of shoes being too tight and rubbing up against my feet. Love that they’re slip-resistant…no more falls for me.”
Dr. Comfort Lu Lu
Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for use in people with diabetes, Dr. Comfort offers casual options, dress shoes, and more that will support diabetic feet. Available in wide and extra-wide, these diabetic shoes for women come with cushioned gel inserts and can be customized to fit all your foot needs. They may also be covered by Medicare. (Next, read why you should never wear flip flops and why it may not be safe to walk barefoot.)