Custom Diabetic Shoes

Why consider diabetic shoes?

People with diabetes are at an increased risk for foot ulcerations, infections and deformities. Proper footwear is therefore very important in people with diabetes. Orthopedic foot and ankle specialists can help patients choose proper footwear and recommend shoe modifications that protect the feet.

How can custom shoes help diabetic feet?

Custom shoes protect feet more than standard footwear. They do this by reducing pressure by padding pressure points and conforming to deformities that can cause foot ulcers and skin breakdown. They are prescribed by orthopedic foot and ankle specialists and custom made by pedorthists.

How will I know if I need a custom shoe?

If your foot’s shape has begun to change, or you’ve noticed skin breakdown, redness or swelling, you should make an appointment with your orthopedic foot and ankle specialist. Depending on the findings, shoe inserts, wedges, or custom orthotics or shoes may be recommended. When there is concern for ulceration and infection, your orthopedic foot and ankle specialist may recommend other treatments first, including special types of casts and skin care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do custom shoes typically last?
These shoes can last from six months to a year, depending on activity levels. If you notice changes to your foot’s shape or new ulcers or areas of redness, your shoes may no longer fit properly. This is a sign that minor adjustments, new shoes or other treatments are needed.

When should I wear the custom shoes?
The shoes should be worn when patients are on their feet, such as when walking and performing daily activities.
Are custom shoes heavier than normal shoes?
There are many styles of custom shoes. The shoes may look different than regular shoes and sneakers, but they usually aren’t heavier.
Something doesn’t feel right about my custom shoes. What should I do?
If the shoes don’t feel right, you should speak with the professional who made them or your orthopedic foot and ankle specialist, as changes to the footwear may be needed.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find an Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon" tool at the top of this page or contact your primary doctor.