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Have you ever noticed, in the “diabetes section” of your local pharmacy, a row of… socks? You may wonder why or if you even need socks specifically made for people with diabetes.
The short answer is that some people with diabetes can definitely benefit, and if you suspect you’re in that group, it’s worth trying them out to figure out what works best for you.
If you’re at risk of complications of the feet that are associated with high blood sugar levels, then you are a candidate for wearing diabetic socks. The most common complication is neuropathy (nerve damage), typically marked by symptoms such as numbness, burning, or sharp pains in the feet and toes, that tend to be worse at night.
If you have diabetic neuropathy and have lost sensation in your feet, it is possible to have an injury and never feel it. Diabetic socks may help prevent injuries and assist with your daily foot care. Regardless of whether you wear diabetic socks or not, it is important to regularly check your feet for injuries, blisters, and infections.
There are many different types of socks made specifically for people with diabetes, largely designed to minimize foot injuries and keep feet warm and dry. Like with any product, finding the right pair means selecting socks that best meet your individual needs.
Here are some characteristics of diabetic socks:
- Seamless. Socks with seams can rub against your skin and cause blisters or ulcers, so most diabetic socks are made without them.
- Moisture-wicking. Keeping feet dry is important for preventing skin infections.
- Breathable. Breathable fabrics help keep feet dry.
- Warm. Diabetes can cause blood vessels to restrict, decreasing circulation to the feet. Fabrics that keep your feet warm help to improve blood circulation.
- Fitted. Many diabetic socks conform to the foot and leg. This prevents loose fabric from rubbing against the skin and causing injuries.
- Padded. Padding in the sock cushions the foot and protects it from injury.
In terms of materials, The
Some people with diabetes experience both poor circulation and edema, or swelling, in the lower legs and feet. A study in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology found that socks with slight compression can improve the edema without worsening poor circulation. Speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about circulation and the fit of your socks.
On the other hand, if you have poor circulation, be especially careful about sock and shoe fit and avoid compression socks. Limited blood flow to your feet can make diabetic foot injuries worse and can slow the healing of wounds.
- Brand basics. These socks feature a pull-on closure and are made with a soft-stretch nonbinding top to ensure they don’t cut off circulation. They also have a free flow moisture management technology that helps keep feet dry, as well as a cushioned bottom to help sensitive feet.
- Fashion factor. They’re available in men’s and women’s sizes, in a wide selection of cuts, including ankle, crew, and thigh lengths. They also offer an “Advanced Relief” option with extra padding at the ankle and sole. Color-wise, they offer white, black, pink, and a gray and white combination.
- User reviews. The Men’s Black Crew Casual Sock received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Overall, most users were very pleased with their experience. User Chris reported, “It’s your basic black sock, BUT it’s a great bargain, and it’s comfy and doesn’t dig into your calf. I wish I found them sooner!” Some users, however, said they thought these socks were too tight and cut off their circulation.
- Cost. A 4-pack of the Men’s Black Crew Casual Sock is $9.99 on Amazon.
- Brand basics. Dr. Segal’s socks use a nonconstricting top band to limit constriction and ensure comfort, and feature a flat-felled seam that prevents rubbing that can cause blisters or foot ulcers. All socks have Terry cushioned foot beds for extra padding for sensitive areas and use a moisture-wicking fabric. These socks use simple unisex sizing: S/M fits a Women’s 6 to 9 or Men’s 7 to 9, and M/L fits a Women’s 9 to 12 or Men’s 10 to 12. All socks are crew cut but come in a variety of colors and patterns to allow customers to have a wide selection.
- Fashion factor. This line also boasts the most versatile and stylish diabetic socks on offer. Instead of just the standard black and white, Dr. Segal’s has socks that feature fun patterns and designs — like multicolored stripes, including cosmic purple, and space gray — in order to not look like a medical sock.
- User reviews. The 3-pack M/L Blue Stripe, Black Stripe, and Space Grey set received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most reviewers said they found these socks extremely comfortable, experienced less pain while wearing them, and enjoyed the variety of options they could select with this pack’s styles.
- Cost. 1 pair of socks costs $15 on Dr. Segal’s website.
- Brand basics. These socks feature a soft Terry padding and bamboo fibers to create an extra soft fabric that helps keep feet dry. They also have a loose, nonconstrictive fit and seam-free design to ensure a user’s circulation is not cut off.
- Fashion factor. These socks have a unisex fit that can accommodate anywhere between a Women’s size 4 and 13 to a Men’s size 7 to 15. You can select between a crew or ankle cut in 4 different colors: white, black, gray, or brown, as well as a specific thickness, either thick or thin, to accommodate your needs.
- User reviews. The 3 pair Padded Sole Sock in white received an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars on the OrthoFeet website. Many users reported these were the most comfortable socks they have tried, with one user remarking they were “pleasantly surprised to see everything OrthoFeet said in their advertisements was true.”
- Cost. A 3-pack of socks costs $24.29 on the OrthoFeet website.
- Brand basics. MediPeds socks have a nonbinding top and a cushioned sole to protect the feet, but what sets this brand apart from others is its CoolMax technology to keep feet dry and its use of Lycra spandex to reduce slipping while wearing. CoolMax is a unique polyester fiber that is not only moisture-wicking, but is also environment-friendly because it’s made from 100 percent recycled textile waste.
- Fashion factor. MediPeds diabetic socks are available in both men and women’s sizes in crew style, quarter cut (low socks), or calf height. They only come in black or white, but some of the women’s low cut socks do feature a pink toe and heel.
- User reviews. The 8-pair of Black Diabetic Crew Socks received an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Some users reported the socks were too compressive, but the overwhelming majority of reviewers said they were extremely comfortable and warm.
- Cost. An 8-pair pack of Black Diabetic Crew Socks cost $17.00 on Amazon.
Warrior Alpaca Socks
- Brand basics. Have you ever worn an alpaca sweater? Now get ready for that… but in sock form. Warrior Alpaca Socks use alpaca wool, extra-wide ribbing, and a special comfort band so they can easily stretch to promote circulation. Their warmth and compression style also help to stimulate blood flow to ease any pain or numbness in your feet. The company brags that they’re “the best socks ever.”
- Fashion factor. Warrior Alpaca Socks are available in women’s and men’s sizes and offer a few different styles, including crew cut, Terry padded, boot socks, and a wide-calf crew option. Most of these cuts are offered in 5 different colors: classic white and black, as well as green, purple, and blue.
- User reviews. Their Therapeutic Crew Alpaca Socks received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on their company’s website. Most reviewers said these socks kept their feet dry and warm, but some disliked the fabric and reported varying thickness depending where on the foot the fabric lay.
- Cost. These are at the top end of the price range, with a single pair of Therapeutic Crew Alpaca socks running $18.99 on the company’s website.
- Brand basics. Facool diabetic socks aim to ensure no blisters, no irritation, and no binding with their product. They use a soft-stretch large wide calf and top, and mesh ventilation to create a lightweight and breathable sock. They also use a hand-linked seamless toe design to prevent yarn chafing and irritation that can be caused by traditional toe seams.
- Fashion factor. Facool Socks offer unisex sizes in both crew and ankle cuts with a large variety of color options. You can choose from black, beige, white, blue, red, navy blue, or gray to suit your taste and style.
- User reviews. The 6-pair Dress Cushioned Crew Socks in White received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Many users discussed how comfortable these socks were and found them to be helpful in alleviating pain in their feet. Although most reviews were overwhelmingly positive, some users reported they found these socks to be too tight.
- Cost. A package of 6 pairs costs $17.99 on Amazon.
- Where to buy. Amazon.
- Brand basics. Hugh Ugoli diabetic socks feature a bamboo fiber fabric that wicks away moisture on warm days, but helps to keep feet warm on cold days. In addition, these socks have a nonbinding top and reinforced toes and heels to ensure additional comfort for sensitive feet.
- Fashion factor. Hugh Ugoli offer unisex sizes in both crew and ankle cuts with over 40 color options to choose from.
- User reviews. The Women’s Crew Cut Diabetic Socks received an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most users wrote about the softness of these socks and explained they were very comfortable and not too tight. Although some users enjoyed how thin the socks are, others complained that they were too thin.
- Cost. A package of 3 pairs costs $15.46 on Amazon.
- Brand basics. TeeHee uses a signature Viscose from bamboo yarn to create a nonbinding, soft, and smooth sock that stays up with limited slipping.
- Fashion factor. TeeHee creates unisex crew cut diabetic socks. They offer the classic black and white, and also a variety of vibrant colors, such as a neon series.
- User reviews. The Diabetic Crew Socks Multipack in White received an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Walmart website. Most users stated that these socks were extremely comfortable, and they found these to be the most successful in keeping their feet warm.
- Cost. The Diabetic Crew Socks Multipack in White costs $11.99 at Walmart.
- Brand basics. Yomandamor Diabetic Socks use a hybrid material that is 70 percent bamboo and 30 percent elastane material to create a sock that models to your foot and remains stretchy for comfort. Additionally, these socks feature a seamless toe, large wide calf and top fit, and a nonbinding top to reduce the risk of irritation and pressure.
- Fashion factor. These socks come in women and men’s size in an ankle cut. The color options are limited to white, black, gray, and a black and gray striped set.
- User reviews. The Men’s Bamboo Diabetic Ankle Socks in black received an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most users enjoyed the nonslip durability of these socks and expressed that they were extremely comfortable, but others found some issues with the quality of these socks and posted photos of worn-through fiber after only a few wears.
- Cost. The 6-pair set of Men’s Bamboo Diabetic Ankle Socks in Black cost $16.80 on Amazon.
- Where to buy. Amazon.
Although not every person with diabetes needs diabetic socks, some people may find them useful and comforting to wear. People who are experiencing foot neuropathy in particular can benefit from wearing these socks, specifically designed to limit exposure to infection or foot injuries.
In addition to keeping your feet dry and warm, these socks may help with increased circulation and pain alleviation. If you are unsure if diabetic socks are a good option for you, it’s a small investment to give them a try.
Most of the socks featured here received very similar reviews across categories. It may come down to your fashion preferences, such as Dr. Segal’s for lots of design choices or Hugh Ugoli for a variety of colors. Or if you’re budget-conscious, Dr. Scholl’s and TeeHee come in at the most affordable.