Best Diabetic Work Boots: Steel Toe vs Composite Toe Work Boots for Diabetics

Recently the National Diabetes Education Program released some disturbing statistics. The average number of foot and leg amputations due to diabetes is approximately 86,000. While this is upsetting, there is some good news—at least half of these amputations could have been prevented by good routine foot care.

Are you doing all you can do to reduce your risk?

Foot care is the one area where daily effort is well rewarded. None of you, I am sure, wants your activity at work or at home to be slowed down by feet that are injured. Today we are going to discuss a very important part of foot care.

Choosing the right diabetic work shoes

best diabetic shoes for menKey considerations

  1. Length – Make sure there is room for your toes to move. 1.5 to 2cm (1/4 to 3/4 inch) space when standing is about right.
  2. Width – Have space for your toes to lie flat when you stand. Do no let your little toe rub.
  3. Heel fit – A snug fit here is best. The foot should not move up and down at the back.
  4. Fastening – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – The shoe must have one. This will stop the foot sliding forward and keep the shoe on. Lace up, buckle or velco straps should fasten over the instep.
  5. Depth – The shoe upper material must not rest on the toes. You should not be able to see the outline of any of the toes, nor should the leather become deformed by the toes. If this happens, the shoe is not deep enough.
  6. Heel height – No higher and 3cm (1.5 inches) and wider the better.


Top 5 Diabetic Work Boots on the Market Today.

Picture Brand Key Features $$
diabetic steel toe boots Dunham Men's Addison Mid Cut Waterproof Boot,Brown,10.5 4E US
  • Uppers made of premium leather

  • EVA midsole.
Latest Prices.
diabetic steel toe boots Propet Men's Cliff Walker Boot,Black,12 5E US
  • Rubber soles

  • Uppers made of pebbled waterproof leather.

Latest Prices.
diabetic work boots Dunham Men's Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot, Grey - 11 D(M) US
  • Tectonic Tongue crafted from foam flexes.

  • Uppers made from waterproof leather
Latest Prices.
diabetic work boots Dr. Comfort Ranger Men's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot: Chestnut 10 Medium (B/D) Lace
  • Uppers made of leather

  • Features an elastic lace closure which is enhanced with Velcro Strap
Latest Prices.
diabetic work boots Propet Men's M5015 Scandia Strap Slip-On,Black Grain,9.5 M (US Men's 9.5 D)
  • The uppers are made from a textured, lined quarters leather

  • Poliyou air insoles absorbs moisture and odor.
Latest Prices.

Diabetes and Diabetic Work Boots

If you do not have claw or hammertoes, bunions, fallen arches, or other problems with the bones in your feet, you can probably get by with high-quality athletic or walking shoes bought at a regular shoe department.

However, it is important that these shoes NOT have more than a 2-inch heel and that the outer sole be made of soft material. In fact, the best heel height is 3/4 inch or less.

Thin leather soles are almost as harmful to your feet as walking barefoot.

A shoe with laces or a Velcro closure will allow you to loosen your shoes if your feet swell during the day. In fact, shop for new shoes late in the day so you can adjust for any swelling. Most people have one foot larger than the other, so fit your shoes to the larger foot.

Everyone’s feet change over time, so always have your feet measured by an experienced sales person each time you shop for new shoes.

To be sure that you have chosen the right shoes, have the fit checked by a health professional who knows about diabetic foot care.

If you have neuropathy, shoes may feel too big even though they are too small. You may also need a prescription insole for the shoes. Many people who need extra cushioning get by with just a soft flat insole with 1/8–1/4 inch of extra padding. This insole will need to be changed at least every 4–6 months.

Another option is an orthotic insert that can make standing, walking, and running more comfortable by changing how your foot strikes the ground. An orthotic is made from a mold of your foot prepared by a trained foot care professional.

If you Have Diabetic Shoe Problems

Shoe choice gets real tricky if you do have any foot problems. If your problems are minor, you may just need some extra depth in the toe area. But for serious foot problems, you will probably need a diabetic work shoe that is specially molded or that has uppers with material that can stretch.

You may also need special insoles up to 3/4-inch thick. If pressure while walking is a factor, you may need a
rocker or roller outer sole.

Medicare will pay for one pair of special shoes per year if your doctor certifies that you need them because of your diabetes. For coverage you will need to have one or more of the following conditions:

  1. History of partial or total foot amputation.
  2. Previous foot ulcer.
  3. Previous callus that could have led to an ulcer.
  4. Nerve damage in your feet or legs with a callus on your foot.
  5. Poor circulation to your legs and feet.
  6. A foot deformity.

No matter what diabetic work boots you buy, it should be comfortable from the moment you first put it on. But take time to break the shoes in slowly even if they fit well. Wear the new pair for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon for 3 days. Then slowly add extra hours morning and evening until you are up to your normal wearing time.

Podiatrists recommend that you have at least two pairs of shoes so you can change at least once a day. When you do change shoes, remove your socks and look for any red spots. If the redness does not disappear in 15 minutes, go to your foot care professional for a shoe adjustment.

The most common cause of amputation is foot ulcers caused by diabetic work shoes that don’t fit.

There are also things you can do at work to protect your feet. Name some of the things that you might do to reduce your risk for injury. (Have the audience discuss ways to prevent foot injuries-review overhead and handout on preventing foot injuries once audience members contribute their answers.

Your feet support you 365 days a year. By taking a little time every day to care for them, you will ensure that they will continue to serve you well for a long time.

Diabetic work boots play an important role;

If you suffer from a diabetic condition, you will agree that the kind of shoes you wear matters a great deal.

It doesn’t matter the kind of footwear it is, it should protect your feet from injuries that often happen in areas such as construction sites, logging, quarries and other zones that pose high injury risk.

But how do you choose the right diabetic work boot?

diabetic steel toe boots

Courtesy: Pinterest

As you already know such injuries can take a longer time to get healed for those people who have diabetes.

More so, other conditions such as moist surroundings can aggravate the situation as they can lead to damage of the nerves, infections and poor flow of the blood in the feet area.

But having diabetes shouldn’t mean that you can’t work or have fun outdoors.

By sourcing for the right work boots for diabetics, you can keep your feet protected and work like just any other colleague.

How do you choose diabetic safety shoes?

Getting good and fitting diabetic work boots is no easy task. It’s not once that a diabetic customer walks to a store to check on safety work boots to fit their needs only to come out disappointed.

But the good news is… There are hundreds of diabetic boots variations on offer in the market today. Actually, you don’t have to skip work or shun fun-filled activities because of fear of injury.

However, you can only enjoy these activities to fullness if you know what to look out when selecting your work of choice.

Should those with Diabetic Condition Wear Steel Toe Work Boots?

Steel toe boots can easily inflict injuries on your feet, and as such, you should always be cautious of the design of the steel toe work boot you opt to wear to work.

Basically, if you’re suffering from diabetes, it’s paramount to ensure the toe area is wide enough to accommodate your feet. You should also ensure you always wear thick socks to protect your feet the inner surface of the work boots.

What to Look out for When Buying Diabetic Boots

According to multiple research, up to 91 percent of people with diabetes do not wear the right protective footwear.

Even more damning, one out of every seven people who have diabetic complications develop major foot problems and some end up loosing parts of their feet from their complications.

Safety toe boot for diabetic.Moisture-wicking lining

Moisture in the toe area can lead to infections that are usually hard to heal in a diabetic person. Ascertain that the boot you are considering purchasing is waterproof and that if some water gets inside , the inner lining can wick the moisture.

Safety toe boot for diabetic.Foam padded collar

Besides protecting your feet from hazards such as nail puncture, slip and being hit by your own tools of work, a work should also absorb the pressure that may result from awkward movement or from carrying of heavy loads such as building blocks. A padded collar helps protect the upper part of your foot even when the shoe laces are made tight.

This means you can work for long duration of time without feeling pressed on the collar area. Since the padding cushions the upper part of your feet from the pressure exerted by shoe laces, blood flow remains smooth all through.

Safety toe boot for diabetic.Extra depth

It’s important for any person who’s having a diabetic condition to ensure their feet are as convenient inside the boot as possible. More room means blood can flow freely and your feet aren’t squeezed the edges of the boot. The best bet to keep your feet comfortable and protected is by buying a work boot that has an extra depth.

There are two kinds of depth to choose from mainly 1/4-inch which is classified as extra-depth and also the 1/2-inch categorized under super depth

Toe box – the more the room in the toe box, the better.Safety toe boot for diabetic.

However much you need a safety-toe to keep your feet safe, it’s detrimental to wear an ill-fitting shoe footwear as it can have ripple effects on your health. A tight work boot will rub against your feet’s skin causing bruises, raw spots, and calluses. These can eventually develop develop into bigger problems such as ulcers.

Do and Don’ts for those who Wear Diabetic Work Boots

best work boots for diabetics

Always wear shoes of the right size.

Loosely fitting shoes can be an impediment to free leg movement and this can result injuries. Too tight work boots, on the other hand, can bruise the skin due to constant rubbing. All these can lead to woulds that can take especially long to heal for a person suffering from diabetes.

Avoid shoes made of synthetic interiors.

Materials such as PVC, artificial leather and plastic do not allow air circulation in the work boot. The resulting accumulation of heat and sweat can pose a myriad of health complications for any individuals and especially those with a diabetic condition.

Keep away from shoes lacking cushioning in the sole and tongue.

The cushions act as a protective layer against friction with the inner lining of the work boot. It doesn’t matter how stylish a work boot is but if lacks a cushion on the tongue and inner sole, then you should avoid it at all expense as it be a source of nagging injuries.

Replace your aging pair of work boots.

As your kicks get wear out with use, their ability to cushion your feet from possible injury points reduce. Right from the outsoles to the inner soles and the lining become weakened over time. This puts you at risk of slips, puncture by sharp objects and bruising of the skin caused by the rugged leather.

Wear socks consistently.

Socks that are Wearing socks with your safety work boots is a proactive first step to safeguarding your feet from developing blisters that may result from constant friction with the boots inner walls.

Socks and stockings reduce chances of getting infected as they minimize moisture accumulation, lessen pressure in the feet and generally provide a comfortable and soft landing for your feet.

Avoid high-heeled work boots.

High heels exert extra pressure on the support points of your feet. Excess pressure on this area can lead to swelling and ultimately give way to calluses. It’s also not an impossibility to have balance issues due to nerve damage.


Common Diabetic Foot Diseases.

Diabetes poses a variant of foot illnesses for those suffering from the condition. Many people do not actually suspect they have the condition until after an advanced stages.

Unknowingly, such people continue wearing the wrong type of safety toe work boots which leads to injuries and foot related complication. This resource outline the most common warning signs that you may have diabetes.

Skin Changes

For many people, color changes of the skin’s pigmentation  around the neck area and on the legs signal the onset of diabetes. The key changes include an itchy and painful feeling on the legs surface, development of brown patches on some parts of the skin and development of patches around the neck area. Other common developments for people with diabetes include styes, Folliculitis and Carbuncles.

  Diabetic Neuropathy

This is a medical condition referring to the malfunctioning of nerves. The condition develops over time and is most common in people who have had diabetes for prolonged duration. In some people, diabetes Neuropathy comes in form of numbness, pain, and tingling.

In others, there are no symptoms at all. It’s quite often for diabetic people to get injuries and infections in their feet since they might not always feed when an injury occurs.

Corns and  Calluses.

Calluses are thick patches of skin that develop due to pressure or constant rubbing. When minute calluses may not have an infect on the afflicted, increase in the thickness often leads to broken of the skin in the affected area and, as a result, exposing that part to bacteria.

Corns and Calluses.Over time, the open calluses can develop to ulcers that make it hard walk and work around the work area. Calluses can be minimized by simply using a pumice stone to scrub the wet foot.

Corns, on another hand, refer to thickening of skin around the top and side areas of the toes. The skin on the afflicted areas, tend to be hard, whitish and painful if pressed down.

Wearing ill fitting work wear, or fitting work boots without socks creates an ideal situation for development of calluses and corns as friction and pressure increases on your foot.

If you are to avoid these complications, then you need to source for the right pair of work boots to suit your existing situations.

  Poor Circulation of blood.

One of the complications caused by diabetes is damage of the blood vessels that furnish the feet. As the condition worsens, the vessels also become stiff- a condition known as atherosclerosis- and this affects the circulation of the blood.

Multiple researches have also established that high levels of glucose in the blood leads to thicken of capillary walls. This progressively affect flow of blood in the feet. Pointers of poor blood flow include numbness, stinging pain and tingling.

 Foot Ulcers

This is a medical condition in which the skin tissue breaks down due to poor control of diabetes. The condition leaves the underlying layers of the body tissue exposed and susceptible to infections and painful injuries.

Visible signs of foot odor is appearance of black tissue on the lower part of the foot.


It’s medically referred to as hallux valgus.  It is characterized by a bony projection that occur at the base of the big toe. It becomes progressively worse if the swelling is pressured by the shoe. Though bunions are not directly caused by diabetes, they pose a health risk to the affected individual.

Key signs of bunions include;

  • Hard, callused red skin.
  • The skin is sore where bunion occurs.
  • Changed shape of the foot.
  • Swelling on the big toe joint.

Hammer toes

A hammer toe is a situation where any given toe bends abnormally especially at the middle joint. This condition affects individuals who wear ill-fitting work boots. Most of the times, the condition affects the toe next to the big toe.

Fungal Infections,

Dry Skin

Ingrown Toenails.

Ingrown toe nails can be caused by wearing improper foot gear- wearing either too tight shoes or overlay loose ones. The condition often afflicts the big toenail by causing inflammation which progressively inflict the adjacent skin.

The condition, commonly known as onychocryptosis, can lead to infection of the bone of the big toenail which can lead to discomfort and amputation.

Diabetic Shoes

If you have a diabetic condition, you need to wear shoes that provide great protection and unsurpassed comfort on your feet. Among other features, diabetic shoes should be engineered such that they feature protective interiors, offer anatomical arch support as well as cushion your feet and thus improve mobility and minimize chances of getting injured.

Top 10 Diabetic Shoes

Image Brand Overview Latest price
Title:New Balance Men’s MX608V3 Cross-Training Shoe.

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Title:Hush Puppies Men’s Gil Slip-On Shoe

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Title:Orthofeet Sprint Comfort Orthopedic Plantar Fasciitis Diabetic Mens Sneakers Velcro

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Title:Skechers Sport Men’s Afterburn Strike Memory Foam Hook-and-Loop Sneaker

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Title:Orthofeet Jackson Square Comfort Orthopedic Diabetic Walking Shoes For Men

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Title:Champion Men’s Gusto Cross Trainer

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Title:Propet Men’s Life Walker Strap Sneaker

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Title:Comfort Carter Mens Casual Shoe

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Title:Rockport Men’s M7100 Milprowlkr

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Title:Propet Women’s Mary Jane

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5 Key Considerations When Buying Diabetic Shoes.

One way to manage diabetes is wearing the right foot wear. This is because diabetes leads to neuropathy, a condition in which there’s reduced sensitivity in the feet. It’s recommended that before you head to the stores to buy yourself some shoes, to do some background research on what to look out for. Here are 5 primary factors that you must get right as you buy a pair of shoes ideal for a person with diabetes.

  1. Breathability of the shoe

If you have diabetes, it’s paramount that you keep your feet dry so as to minimize the risk of fungal attacks and bacterial growths. The right shoe, thus, should be made of materials that wick away moisture and also allow the feet to breathe.

  1. Well cushioned midsoles

Choosing well cushioned shoes is a mainstay procedure of caring for diabetic feet. Adequate cushioning absorbs the shock as you walk or stand and also provide support to the feet.

  1. Roomy toe box

As already pointed out, those who have diabetes are likely to suffer from neuropathy and this means that if the toes are pressed by the shoe, they are likely not to feel it. As a consequence, they may end up suffering injuries and blisters.

A good diabetic, shoe, thus should create room for toe waggle freely without getting pressed or injured.

  1. Orthotics or inserts

Accommodative orthotics are made from soft materials and generally offer additional support to the feet as well as cushioning the lower feet area. They provide a soft landing especially for feet suffering from diabetic foot ulcers and calluses.

  1. Hard soles

Diabetic shoes should not only distribute your weight evenly but also act as a destabilizer. That’s why the shoes should be hard and thick to provide these metrics.

  1. Adjustable closure

The closures create room for any swellings on the feet. This safeguards your feet from being pressed and probably getting injured.

  1. Shoes with low heels.

High-heeled shoes create added pressure on the balls of the feet. That’s why people suffering from diabetic conditions should opt for shoe with low heels.

  1. Low arches

For people with low feet, low arches minimize the pressure applied on the feet. This means you can walk for long hours and stand without feeling pressed on the feet.

Parting Shot

Diabetic shoes may not be as stylish as you may want but at the end, they help keep your feet safe and your health in top condition.

As always seek your physician’s opinion before settling for a given shoe pair. By doing so, you’ll largely live a normal and disease free life.