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Why the Right Footwear is so
Important for Diabetes Sufferers

Did you know that there are over 4.7million people in the UK living with diabetes? Or that 1 in 10 over 40s have Type 2 Diabetes, with Type 2 Diabetes accounting for around 90% of all diagnoses? [1]

But what is diabetes and why is a wide fitting shoe company writing about it? Well, read on!

Simply, "Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose level is too high"[2]. There are two main types, Type 1 and Type 2, which are different conditions, but both serious.

There are also some other rarer types of diabetes too but we will focus on the main types in this article.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes

Both forms of Diabetes are caused by a failure of our pancreas to create the right amount of an enzyme called insulin - which allows glucose to enter our cells and fuel our body - at the right time. This leads to a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream.

With Type 1 Diabetes, your body doesn't produce any insulin at all but with Type 2 Diabetes your body isn't able to produce the right amount, as a result of the body initially building up a resistance to insulin [3], meaning that too much glucose builds up in your blood, leading to further complications, such as the symptoms of diabetes, including:

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.

  • Being really thirsty.

  • Feeling more tired than usual.

  • Losing weight without trying to.

  • Genital itching or thrush.

  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.

  • Blurred vision [4].


Left unchecked Type 1 diabetes can result in much more serious illness and even death, whilst Type 2 diabetes - being much harder to spot - can creep up and affect major organs including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys.

The link between diabetes and wide fitting shoes

So back to how diabetes affects footwear...

Well, many people might believe that Diabetes is caused by being overweight, which could therefore cause foot issues, but this is not always the case. Around 20% of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are of normal weight, and Type 1 Diabetes might well be normal weight, underweight or even overweight. [3]

The problem caused by Diabetes that will impact our foot health, and hence our footwear, is the link to Peripheral Oedema.

Oedema "is the result of damage to capillaries or increased pressure causing capillaries to leak fluid into surrounding tissues and result in swelling" whilst Peripheral Oedema is "swelling from the collection of fluid in the feet, ankles, and legs."[5]

This often happens because one symptom of Diabetes is that it can cause wounds to heal slowly or not at all, meaning that damaged capillaries will remain damaged and continue to leak fluid into tissue. It can also be caused by taking large amounts of insulin as well as many other factors associated with Diabetes. [6]

Oedema can be very painful indeed and cause a lot of discomfort for sufferers, making it difficult to put on footwear, which can limit activity. With diabetes though, nerves are damaged and pain isn't felt, and so ill-fitting footwear that is either tight and squeezes and inches swollen feet, or is too loose and rubs and blisters..

See also our blog about Shoes for Oedema & Lymphoedema

Practices to alleviate Oedema in the feet & ankles

There are many practices that you can try to reduce oedema in your legs and ankles, including elevating the feet above heart level regularly, reducing salt intake, remaining active and not sitting down for long periods of time without some activity, drinking more water and other practices aimed at making it easier for the heart to pump blood fully round the body with blockages.

But if you continue to suffer from Oedema in the feet and ankles, then it is vital that you are able to find well-fitting footwear. Firstly because it is likely that you will have to wear footwear - whether because you work, or have to run errands and be on your feet - or because it is so important to remain active and, as explained above, poorly fitting footwear can cause serious complications for diabetes sufferers.

Where We Come In

Our shoes are designed to accommodate wide, deep and problem feet, with many features to accommodate different issues.

We also understand though that you don't just want wide & deep footwear, but you want to look as well as feel great. So we offer style & comfort in every pair of shoes.

Some of the benefits of DB Wider Fit Shoes for Diabetes Sufferers

In the first instance, our shoes are wider and deeper than High Street shoes, simply meaning that there is more room in them than you would get from typical High Street shoes - to allow for extra width and less pressure on swollen areas caused by Oedema.

A dangerous effect of peripheral oedema is that it also causes loss of feeling in the nerves in the affected area, and so it is important that the sufferer performs daily checks to ensure they have not injured or cut their feet.

For this reason, correctly fitting footwear is vitally important. Our shoes come in a wide range of fittings, from E to 8E width, and many come with removable insoles, adjustable straps, stretch panels or elasticated straps & gussets to ensure that you can get the perfect fit to avoid rubbing and causing blisters and sores.

In addition, lace-fastening shoes offer the most secure fitting and can be the best way to reduce rubbing as far as possible.

Secondly, our shoes are designed to be as smooth internally as possible, with few internal seams and even styles with seam-free toe boxes, so there is reduced likelihood of rubbing against painful areas or worse, causing sores and open wounds which do not heal, leading to further possible complications in Diabetes sufferers.

On top of this you'll find a host of other features designed to offer style & comfort for wider feet.

Please note that if you have diabetes and a narrow or regular width foot, our shoes are NOT suitable as the foot will move around causing sores and rubbing. It is important that you visit a professional to check the fit of the shoe to know your correct width requirement.

Make an appointment at one of our gold star stockists or visit a qualified podiatrist who will examine your feet and give you expert advice about the most suitable footwear for you.

Our Stretch Range

Our Stretch styles include house shoes, day shoes and boots with boots stretch fabric panels cleverly used within the design to stretch to the shape of your foot. This allows extra room without rubbing and are designed to give a slimmer look.

Supremely comfortable, our Stretch range really are shoes that hug your feet and the shoes below are seam-free and supportive and are without heels, which can put too much pressure onto the toes.

JULIET is an easy-to-wear, Healthy Footwear Guide Approved style with a "pull back" strap for a securer fastening and lightweight shock absorbent sole that can be worn with tights or bare feet, making it exceptionally versatile.

ARABELLA is a pretty Mary-Jane style shoe in our flexible leather effect stretch fabric, with a D-ring strap to adjust to your perfect fit, "pull back" strap for a securer fastening and lightweight shock absorbent sole.

WALSALL is a new style with leather heel, Air Bubble sole, soft stretch front panel and touch fastening strap with a decorative button.

Classic Casuals Range

Our classic casuals or just that - classically styled casual shoes. They include many of our best-selling styles, and it's easy to see why. Supremely comfortable and with a range of features for wide feet.

HEALEY - Our all-time best-selling shoe is the ultimate in comfort, available in our widest fitting and opens wide for easy access.

Intricate stitching detail and cut-work make GARLIC an extra-feminine style, with a pretty touch-fastening strap that allows for easy access and adjustability.

ERIN is the perfect spring shoe! The neat cutout detail make it almost a sandal, but with the benefit of built-in heel support.

All our classic casuals feature our Air Bubble Technology Sole to make you feel like you're walking on air! Browse all Classic Casuals now.

Canvas & House Shoes

Our canvas & house shoes are light as a feather and made with soft textile uppers for comfort on sensitive feet.

JURA is a favourite classic style in soft canvas, pretty to wear with skirts and dresses too. It features an elasticated strap that extends to fit and stretches gently to allow extra room.

LATISHA is our new take on our classic style, both feminine and comfortable in an attractive polka dot print, with supportive back stiffener and light enough to wear indoors as a house shoe.

BICKTON is a feminine style house shoe in soft, stretchy suedette fabric with adjustable strap fastening for the most comfortable fit. Built in back stiffener provides support whilst a hard-wearing sole makes BICKTON suitable for outdoor wear too.

We also have shoes suitable for people with diabetes across our other ranges too, even including dress shoes, so you can be sure of style and comfort whatever the occasion. Browse our full range of wide & deep fitting ladies shoes, sandals and boots now.

Wide & Deep Fitting Shoes for Men

Of course, men suffer from diabetes and need wide shoes too and we have a huge range of wide-fitting men's shoes, many of which have features making them ideal for people with diabetes.

JOEL is a modern take on a classic lace-up design with punching detail, great for easy fit adjustment. Also includes our dual-density lightweight sole with built in "grip zone".

SHANNON is one of our best-selling men's styles. A smart yet lightweight shoe that is flexible and comfortable. With a supportive lace-up design this style is perfect for more active lifestyles.

Stylish, easy-to-wear HAILSHAM has a seam-free toe and secure lace-up fastening. Available up to size 14 this style opens up wide to allow for easy access and gives greater adjustment.

Men's House Shoe DANIEL is both functional and practical, with a single touch fastening strap in soft, comfortable velour. Machine washable to 30℃.

In addition to these, browse our full range of wide-fitting men's shoes here.

Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature and should not be taken as a diagnosis. All questions and concerns should be directed to your Doctor, Podiatrist or other health advisor.