Diabetic Foot Wear Guidelines


  • Buy only comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Have a clerk fit them for you. Walk around in them to be sure they are comfortable immediately.
  • Buy new shoes late in the day. Feet enlarge slightly during the day and shoes that fit in the morning may be too tight by noon.
  • Choose shoes with soft leather uppers that can mold to the shape of your feet. Modern walking or running shoes may be beneficial.
  • Check with your doctor before wearing or buying sandals, particularly those with thongs between the toes.
  • Avoid buying shoes with open toes or heels.
  • Have your doctor or podiatrist inspect new shoes to be sure of proper fit and construction.
  • Never wear new shoes more than 2 hours at a time to be sure that they do not rub or cause pressure points.
  • Don't wear any shoes more than five hours at a time. You should have one pair for morning, one for the afternoon, and one for the evening around the house if at all possible.
  • Never wear shoes without socks or stockings.
  • Always inspect the inside of your shoes carefully before putting them on and after taking them off.


  • Never wear socks or stockings of 100% synthetic material. Proper materials include 100% cotton and blends. Wool should not be worn except in winter, and then only if you are sure that they do not irritate your skin. Check with your physician or podiatrist for socks or stockings made specifically for people with diabetes.
  • Never wear socks or stockings with seams.
  • Wear only clean socks, and change them daily.
  • Inspect socks or stockings carefully before and, particularly after, wearing them.

Nancy N. Bell. Feet First. Diabetes Forecast. June, 1997. pp 27-30.
Marvin E. Levin, M.D. On Your Feet- Don't let foot problems be your Achilles heel.