Diabetic work shoes provide additional workplace protection for diabetics while addressing the foot challenges posed by diabetes, including poor blood circulation, vascular disease, ulcers, diabetic foot pain, and other related foot conditions.

The difference between regular safety shoes and diabetic work shoes is that the former don't cater to the unique needs of a diabetic's sensitive feet, which is why I don't recommend them.

So, what are the best work shoes for diabetics? Having tried out some of these safety shoes myself, I'll share my favorite brands.

In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:

  • What is the Diabetic Approved A5500 label?
  • What are diabetic work shoes?
  • How can I protect my feet?

How Did I Select the Best Diabetic Work Shoes?

Choosing the best diabetic work boots requires careful consideration of several factors to ensure your safety, comfort, and overall well-being. That's why I started off by contacting my long-standing podiatrist, with whom I worked together, to arrive at the choices we reviewed on this page.

Although we had my specific needs in mind while recommending some of these shoes, we also considered the broader community of diabetics and selected shoes that don't only work for me but can also work for most diabetics.

In selecting the best shoes, one of the first things we pay attention to is SAFETY. We considered boots with steel or composite (non-metal) safety toes to protect my feet from heavy objects and potential impacts. We looked at boots with other safety features like electrical hazard protection, slip resistance, and puncture resistance. Also considered are shoes awarded with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance (although we don't see this as mandatory).

Another factor that guided our choices is COMFORT. To arrive at comfortable shoes, we factored in the following:

  • Cushioning: Cushioned insoles or memory foam footbeds that provide shock absorption and reduce pressure on my feet.
  • Wide toe box: Spacious toe box that allows my toes to move freely without friction or compression. This is crucial for preventing diabetic foot complications.
  • Arch support: Boots with superior arch support to promote proper foot alignment and reduce strain on my arches.
  • Breathability: Work boots with breathable materials and moisture-wicking linings that would keep my feet dry and reduce the risk of fungal infections.
  • Ergonomic soles: The more protection and cushioning, the better for diabetics.

We also looked at the MATERIALS used in the construction of the boots. Leather is a durable and popular choice, but synthetic materials may also be suitable. However, we don't recommend artificial materials like plastic and polyester (when used as the primary material) since they won’t let air flow freely within the shoes, which can lead to ongoing infections on the feet caused by sweat and heat building up inside the boots.

Other features we considered are:

  • A5500 labeling: A5500 diabetic shoes cater to the specific needs of diabetics and meet all the requirements to qualify for reimbursement through Medicare and other health insurance providers. One thing I love about A5500 diabetic shoes is that they have extra depth and width. This added interior room would contain and cushion any swelling from an increased blood supply.
  • Weight (I prefer lightweight footwear; your preference could differ).
  • Lace-up, pull-on, or zip-up? Well, I have always been a fan of laced shoes, although I also like the ease-of-putting-on-and-taking-off that pull-on shoes offer. I wouldn't recommend zip-up shoes (even though they may seem more convenient) because the last one I used pinched my skin and could have easily injured my feet.
  • Brand reputation: We focused more on reputable brands.

Who Should Buy Shoes for Diabetes?

Safety shoes for diabetics are recommended for individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes-related foot complications. You may also consider buying diabetic working shoes if you fall within any of these categories:

  • You have diabetes-related foot conditions, such as neuropathy, ulcers, calluses, or poor circulation.
  • You don't only have diabetes but also foot deformities like bunions, hammertoes, or Charcot foot.
  • You have a history of foot issues related to diabetes, such as sores, cracked skin, or infections.
  • You often have swollen feet.
  • You've observed a change in the shape of your feet
  • You've experienced hair loss on your toes or feet.
  • You have numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or change in temperature of the feet.

Best Working Shoes for Diabetics

As someone who has struggled with diabetes for decades, finding the right pair of work boots that provide both safety and comfort has always been a challenge. However, having worked with my podiatrist and tried out several options, I'm thrilled to share our top picks for the best diabetic work boots with additional safety and comfy features.

Skechers Women's Anti Slip Work Shoe
$67.00 $46.98

The Skechers anti-slip work shoe for women is perfect for any career woman, especially if your profession requires you to be on your feet. The sturdy synthetic soles provide lightweight and flexible comfort with a memory foam footbed that feels like walking on clouds. To keep you from slipping or being an electric hazard, this shoe's sole contains slip-resistant properties and electrical hazard protection in case danger arises on the job. These shoes come with a breathable mesh and synthetic upper.

Pros:
  • Comfortable enough for you to wear all day long
  • Breathable
  • Durable so doesn't wear off that quick
  • True to size
Cons:
  • Some people claim it has poor cushioning
Main Features:
  • Electrical hazard tested for safety
  • Memory foam cushioned inside sole
  • Casual slip-resistant sole
  • Soft mesh inside for breathing
  • Synthetic upper with a stretch-laced front look
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/25/2024 01:56 pm GMT

AIGU Steel Toe Shoes for Men and Women
$39.99

The AIGU steel-toe shoes are a great way to take on the tough jobs at your work confidently. You can be reassured by knowing that each shoe will support you for hours on end, and they meet safety standards worldwide.

The steel-toe shoes are a low-key, no-frills choice for strong, hardworking people who don't need to draw attention with flashy designs or elaborate laces. They might not be the prettiest work shoes on the block, but they are tough enough to brave whatever you throw at them. Not to mention how comfy they are! Don't tell anyone but this stuff is so light it's like walking on air.

Take them home today to tackle all of your toughest job needs!

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/25/2024 01:59 pm GMT

KCVTD Steel Toe Safety Work Shoes for Men & Women

These steel-toe shoes for men have extra depth and are built with advanced fly needles. The slip-resistant sole makes it feel like walking barefoot, while the breathable design keeps you soothed all day. These sneakers for men & women also have anti-piercing protection to keep your feet safe from danger and an insole that can protect you from injury during a tough workday. They are made from durable material and padded to soothe plantar fasciitis pains.

With lightweight footwear and bulletproof Kevlar, these steel-toe shoes are perfect for your comfort while working. You'll stay light on your feet and have the protection you need no matter the job.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Dr. Scholl's Women's Drive Slip-Resistant Sneaker

Proudly sporting a sleek, all-black composition with embossed text at the heel and toes, this sneaker fits any occasion! Tested to meet the toughest standards against oil and slip-resistant education, you don't have to worry about your step. There's also an ultra-comfortable gel cushion that absorbs shock from tough city streets with every step you take, so it feels like butter on your feet! And while we're talking about how comfortable these are - slip resistance + indoor protection = perfect shoes.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Propét Men's Seeley Construction Boot

A working man doesn't need to sacrifice comfort for construction or style for steel-toe protection. The Propét® Men's Seeley Construction Boot is both fashionable and functional. This boot will keep you going all day with its cushioned insole, anti-fatigue design, safety toe composite to guard against injury, and a serious grip rubber sole on the bottom that won't let you slip in wet conditions. And just because this shoe was designed as a work glove doesn't mean it can't also be your weekend look!

Above all, it's A5500 Medicare-approved!

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

JACKSHIBO Lightweight Steel Toe Indestructible Work Shoes

I know, I know. You already have five pairs of work shoes back at home. But I will tell you why none come close to the JACKSHIBO Lightweight Steel Toe Indestructible work shoes. They're comfortable and breathable, so your feet don't get all sweaty or smelly while you work all day long - which is important if you find yourself on your feet for hours a day with only short commute breaks in between. The high-quality steel toe cap won't let any crazy accidents happen. And it's got a built-in puncture-resistant Kevlar sole that lets you walk around with peace of mind, knowing that those thick rubber souls are protecting your feet.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Other Ways You Can Protect Your Feet From Complications Related to Diabetes-related Nerve Damage

There is not always much that can be done to prevent complications related to diabetic nerve damage. However, the prevention of diabetic issues may require a change of lifestyle that includes living with diabetes and making healthy choices.

Working with your doctor or podiatrist may also help you establish a plan for preventing complications related to diabetes. Your doctor or podiatrist may recommend that you wear shoes that have more space in them and can accommodate your swollen feet. These should also offer safety, approval A5500 labels which allow for slip resistance. Work shoes should also come in different styles and should allow room for wide insoles if needed.

Other ways to protect your feet are options such as wearing diabetic socks or buying insoles or insert that provides arch support and absorbs shocks. Before wearing your socks you can use protective foot cream to moisturize your feet.

Different Types of Diabetic Work Shoes

Depending on your needs, your endocrinologist may recommend the following type of shoes:

Healing Shoes

Healing shoes are recommended if you are recovering from a foot sore or a surgery and can be either an open or closed sandal. Closed-toe healing sandals are more preferred because they provide great protection to your feet.

In-depth Shoes

In-depth shoes are a type of diabetic shoe that are more deeper than regular shoes. This extra space makes room for inserts to give extra depth and stability. It will also help with foot conditions like hammertoes and calluses.

Custom-made Shoes

To make sure that you'll be comfortable with a perfect fitting diabetic shoe, you can get a pair of diabetic shoes custom made for yourself that will be created from the pattern of your foot. This is specifically useful if your foot has any kind of deformation. Unlike regular diabetic shoes, the custom ones would be pricier than the ones available in the market.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet?

People living with diabetes have a higher risk of suffering from foot problems such as corns, heel spurs, or other foot deformities. Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage in your feet, which could make you less aware of injuries. If left untreated, these problems could develop into a more serious foot problem called neuropathy.

This, in return, ends up causing harm to your feet because nerve damage can cause your feet to become numb so that you don't feel any pain or any other feeling. Feet that are numb can get injured and damaged, as you won't feel an ill-fitting shoe, any blister, or a pebble in your shoes.

Diabetes can also lead to poor blood flow all over your body which means that not enough blood will flow through your feet and legs which will slow down the process of healing of an infection or an injury on your feet. Infections end up not healing and result in the death of body tissue which can end up causing a limp in your feet.

The nerve damage can also lead to other issues with the joints and tissues of your feet which is known as Charcot's foot.

When you can't feel anything in your feet, you will continue walking even if your feet are hurt or injured which can lead to other issues like Bunions, hammertoes, Plantar fasciitis, and other foot conditions.

This is why it's important for people living with diabetes to have good shoes that provide support and protection for their toes and arches. Work boots and work shoes are especially recommended because they protect both the top and bottom of the foot while standing or walking all day long on hard surfaces such as concrete floors. 

Conclusion

If you're looking for comfortable, supportive work shoes that are also appropriate for those living with diabetes or other foot problems, the above list is there to help. Whether you wear a size 6 or 12 shoe in women's sizes (or whatever your size is), these slip-resistant shoes will be sure to keep your feet feeling dry and cool all day long as well as offer plenty of arch support. I can't wait to hear what type of pair best suits your needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Diabetic Approved A5500 label?

The A5500 label is a symbol of approval from the American Diabetes Association. Work shoes that are approved by the ADA and labeled as diabetic shoes with this symbol are safe for someone living with diabetes.

What are the most comfortable slip-resistant shoes?

The most comfortable slip-resistant shoes are those that have an anti-slip sole made of rubber and the lining is made of leather to ensure your feet stay dry and cool all day long. While these shoes are comfortable, they're also appropriate for people living with diabetes. All pairs of shoes below have great arch support as well.

When looking at your shoe size, some people may be tempted to purchase them in a half-size smaller than their normal foot size believing it will provide more support or safety. But the truth is you want your feet to have enough room so they're not too tight on your toes when wearing socks or stockings. Plus, if there's no wiggle room within the toe box of the shoe then all sorts of problems can arise such as pinching and blisters which could lead to serious infections!

What are the benefits of slip-resistant diabetic shoes?

Research has shown that slip-resistant diabetic shoes are safer for those living with diabetes. Work shoes that reduce the risk of falls, such as those that are certified by the A5500 label, provide a greater level of safety and quality in a shoe than non-slip shoes. These shoes are not only safer but also more affordable. Work shoes on the A5500 label also come in different styles which makes them easier to find!

The benefits of slip-resistant diabetic shoes are that they reduce the risk of slipping and falling by nearly one-third.

Are Dr. Comfort Shoes slip-resistant?

Dr. Comfort Work Shoes are slip-resistant and have a wide insole which is helpful to those with diabetic feet or orthopedic problems, who may need more space for their foot inside the shoe. They also offer full coverage shoes as well as many styles and colors of dressy heels that are appropriate for workwear occasions if you do not want your go-to pair of sneakers on days when you must dress up. Dr. Comfort Work Shoes can be found online through various retailers such as Amazon. So it should be easy to find what type of style suits your tastes best even without leaving home!

Does New Balance have slip-resistant shoes?

Yes! New Balance work shoes have a slip-resistant design that will keep you from slipping and hurting yourself. Work shoes can be found in many styles and colors, including their steel toe industrial line which comes with a durable sole to provide slip-resistance and is approved by the A5500 label.

New Balance work shoes are also diabetic-friendly so they may help diabetics manage foot pain caused by neuropathy or other conditions that lead to swelling of the feet. New Balance offers a wide range of sizes for men, women, and children as well as orthotics insoles which you can purchase separately if needed!

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

View All Articles