Choosing shoesIt’s a good idea to check the shoes you already have to make sure they’re in good condition and fit your feet well. If your shoes are damaged or if they don’t fit properly then don’t wear them.
Put your hand inside your shoes and check for rough edges and loose seams. Even small seams can cause problems if they rub on your skin. If there is anything at all wrong with the inside of your shoes, which could cause you an injury or blister, choose a different pair to wear. Get the damaged pair fixed or throw them out.
Then check to see if the shoes you have fit well:
- Stand on a piece of paper. (Make sure you’re standing and not sitting, because your foot changes shape when you stand.)
- Draw around your foot.
- Draw around your shoe.
- Compare the drawings: Is the shoe too narrow? Is your foot crammed into the shoe?
Before you put your shoes on every day, turn your shoes (or slippers) upside down and give them a shake to get rid of any small stones or debris. Check the bottom of your shoes to see if anything has pierced the soles, like a drawing pin for example.
Unless you have feet that are misshapen, because of bunions or other problems, you probably won’t need to buy special shoes just because you have diabetes. However, you may have to make some changes to the kind of shoes you wear. For shoes that you will be wearing often, follow these guidelines when you’re shopping.
- Always try your shoes on before you buy them. The best time of day to buy is in the afternoon because your feet will have swollen a little and will be at their largest.
- Try not to buy shoes that you think need ‘breaking in’ or that need to be stretched to fit
- If you can, have your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Your feet can change shape with diabetes so it’s important to make sure you’re always buying the right size shoe. There should be 1cm of room between the end of your longest toe (which may not be your big toe) and the end of your shoe.
- Shoes should be at least as wide as your foot and have a deep and rounded toe area. Choose shoes that have a covered toe, rather than an open toe, to protect your feet from injury.
- Try to choose shoes which have heels no more than 2cm high. Test that the heel is firm enough to support your weight. Hold the heel between your thumb and forefinger – if you can squeeze it and it ‘gives’ then it’s too soft. If you can, choose shoes with a closed in heel.
- Shoes with laces, buckles or elastic can help prevent your feet from sliding about and hold your shoes firmly on.
- Choose shoes with the upper part made from a breathable material, like leather, or specially made breathable fabrics. This helps air to get in and out of your shoes and prevents fungal infections like athletes foot.
- Check the inside of shoes to make sure there are no seams or rough areas which could rub on your skin.
- Cushioned insoles for your shoes can help to protect your feet from pressure. Check that the sole of the shoes is sturdy and made of a stiff material.
- Consider wearing trainers. Trainers are good shoes to choose if you have diabetes. They usually fit well and have thick flexible soles. They are also a great choice for walking or exercising.
If your feet change shape, for example if you develop a bunion, then your best option may be to have some shoes custom made for you. If you need custom made shoes then choose a style that you can wear everyday and do wear them - they’re no good sitting in the hall or in a cupboard! If you do need to get shoes specially made then your podiatrist, nurse or doctor will tell you.
Tips for shoe shopping
Tips for successful shoe shopping!
- Good all round fit
- Wide fitting with closed, rounded or square toes and closed in heels
- Low, strong heels
- Firmly held on with laces, buckles or elastic
- Breathable material
- No seams or rough areas inside the shoe
- Cushioned insoles
- Sturdy soles
Advice for slipper wearers
When you’re at home wear shoes rather than slippers as much as you can, as shoes offer your feet the best protection. However, if you do wear slippers choose a pair that covers the whole of your foot and which give your feet as much support and protection as possible.