Your Guide To The Best Diabetic Socks (2024)

Table of Contents

  • What Are Diabetic Socks?
  • What to Consider When Buying Diabetic Socks
  • Where to Buy the Best Diabetic Socks
  • Caring for Diabetic Socks

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Who knew that something as simple as socks could help maintain wellness? Such is the case for more than 420 million people living with diabetes globally.

Foot problems are common with diabetes. Nerve damage called neuropathy can cause pain, tingling and numbness in the feet, and that loss of feeling means injury can happen without people realizing it. Issues with foot deformities or circulation can compound the problem—and it’s a big problem. Every 20 seconds, someone in the world loses a limb to diabetes[1]Diabetic Foot Facts . D-Foot International. Accessed 9/8/2021. .

Fortunately, diabetic socks and vigilant care can make a difference.

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Your Guide To The Best Diabetic Socks (2)
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What Are Diabetic Socks?

Diabetic socks are designed specifically for people with diabetes. These socks use padding, as well as different stitch structures, yarns and fibers, to help protect at-risk feet. However, some mainstream socks can meet diabetic needs as well.

“There are different types of socks, both diabetic socks and regular socks, that you need to look at,” says Swapnil Khare, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Indiana School of Medicine. “Many options are available.”

Health Benefits of Diabetic Socks

People living with diabetes can use socks to protect their feet against pressure and help prevent ulceration. Diabetic socks cushion feet and help avoid the friction that can cause blisters and ulcers.

Studies show that 15% to 25% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer in their lifetime, and an open sore can lead to infection and be problematic. In 85% of limb amputation cases relating to diabetes, an ulceration came first. Even more shocking, about 80% of amputations are preventable[2]Otter SJ, Rome K, Ihaka B, et al. Preventive socks for people with diabetes: a systematic review and narrative analysis. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2015;8(9). . And the five-year mortality rate following non-traumatic lower leg amputation is very high.

If you have diabetes, monitoring your feet and having your doctor check them regularly can prevent foot complications. Socks that fit well, don’t rub and keep feet dry can help as well.

Who Should Wear Diabetic Socks?

Anyone who has diabetes can develop foot complications—even those at low risk. So, while all diabetics should be aware of their feet, those with a medium to high risk for foot issues should consider diabetic socks. Even people who haven’t had foot ulcers before can run into problems rapidly.

“It can develop really quickly, even over a weekend,” says Dr. Khare. “It can be as simple as wearing the wrong kind of shoes to a wedding party.”

Socks are an easy and inexpensive way to help prevent life-altering issues.

Diabetic Socks vs. Compression Socks: What’s the Difference?

Diabetic socks are designed to prevent skin irritation and protect the feet. On the other hand, compression socks are designed to combat swelling by moving blood up the leg and preventing fluid retention.

Some diabetic socks do have a component of compression built into the material. People with diabetes who have swelling in their legs may benefit from mild compression therapy[3]Wu, SC, Crews RT, Najafi B, et al. Safety and Efficacy of Mild Compression (18–25 mm Hg) Therapy in Patients with Diabetes and Lower Extremity Edema . Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 2012;6(3);641-647. . Since many people with diabetes experience circulation problems, it may be best to discuss with your doctor whether compression is right for you.

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What to Consider When Buying Diabetic Socks

Socks are not a one-size-fits-all purchase—and that’s especially true for people with diabetes.

“What kind of socks you need really needs to be personalized,” says Dr. Khare. She encourages people to talk to their doctors about what socks will meet their specific needs. Here are a few factors to think about.


No one wants to wear socks that fall down, but people with diabetes should avoid socks that have a top elastic because it can cut off circulation, restricting blood flow to the feet. Instead, opt for stretchy socks with a non-binding top.

Soft Materials

People living with diabetes need to be gentle with their feet. Look for socks made with soft fibers like bamboo or wool. These yarns won’t rub against the skin, and they can help prevent friction that causes blisters.

Moisture Wicking

Nerve damage can impact the body’s ability to control foot moisture, and a damp environment can encourage infection, so consider socks made with moisture-wicking materials. Acrylic fibers can help keep your feet dry.

No Seams

Seams can cause pressure points on the feet. People with diabetes should choose socks made without seams at the toe to minimize risk of blisters that can lead to foot ulcers.


A little extra cushioning is comfortable, but it also has important benefits. Padding can protect the foot from injury, and when made in a light color, padded sock bottoms can signal problems. Even if you can’t feel blood or drainage from a wound, the evidence will show up on your sock.

Where to Buy the Best Diabetic Socks

Diabetic socks can be found at retail stores, medical supply stores, pharmacies and online. Some socks aren’t marketed specifically for people with diabetes but can effectively meet your needs.

“You have to be careful when you’re buying socks,” says Dr. Khare. “There’s no standardization in the market. But the first thing is that you need to wear socks daily—never be barefoot.”

Fortunately, there’s a variety of options when it comes to purchasing diabetic socks, and some are relatively inexpensive. When you’re shopping for diabetic socks for men, a three-pack of crew socks made of cotton and acrylic can cost as little as $5. If you need diabetic socks for women, a five-pack of bamboo ankle socks can be found for about $15.

Diabetic socks are also available in unisex options. Costs vary depending on material and quantity, but one pair of knee-high unisex socks made of cotton, nylon and silver fibers can cost about $25.

Caring for Diabetic Socks

With care, most diabetic socks can last about six months. Wash them in a mesh laundry bag and let them air dry. You can also dry them on low heat. Inspect your socks regularly for pilling or signs of wear. Any holes or rips could harm your skin and are a sign it’s time to dispose of the socks.

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Your Guide To The Best Diabetic Socks (2024)


Should diabetics wear thin or thick socks? ›

Government sources recommend cotton and wool socks for diabetic patients to help keep feet dry. 4,5 They also reinforce the need to wear socks at all times. Many do not make specific fabric recommendations, but they do suggest that people avoid tight socks.

What socks are good for type 2 diabetes? ›

People living with diabetes need to be gentle with their feet. Look for socks made with soft fibers like bamboo or wool. These yarns won't rub against the skin, and they can help prevent friction that causes blisters.

What's the difference between compression socks and diabetic socks? ›

Diabetic socks aim to protect the feet and reduce the risk of injury or irritation. Features that help achieve this include being seamless, moisture-wicking, and padded. Compressions socks are tighter-fitting socks that apply gentle pressure to the legs and feet to help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Do neuropathy socks really work? ›

Do compression socks help manage neuropathy? The short answer is yes! Brands like OrthoSleeve are recommended choices when it comes to peripheral neuropathy due their ability to improve blood flow thereby alleviating symptoms that accompany this condition.

Should diabetics wear socks to bed? ›

Wear socks without seams. Avoid tight-fitting socks and garters. Wear socks in bed if your feet are cold at night. Do not use a hot water bottle or heating pad on your feet.

Why should diabetics wear socks to bed? ›

High blood sugar from diabetes can cause damage to the nervous and circulatory systems. Those with diabetic nerve damage can experience decreased sensation in their feet—making their feet prone to injury. Using diabetic socks can help keep feet dry, enhance circulation, and reduce the chance of a foot injury.

Why can't diabetics wear compression socks? ›

Contraindication: arterial insufficiency

There are certain conditions where people with diabetes should not wear compression. If you have been diagnosed with severe arterial insufficiency, a diabetic compression sock may not be the right treatment for you.

What are the best diabetic socks for sweaty feet? ›

If you're looking for a diabetic sock that has maximum breathability, Yomandamor's Cotton Diabetic Socks may be your best option due to the cotton and elastane blend of these socks. They're made of just enough cotton to keep them cool on your feet but not so much that they'll get bogged down with sweat and moisture.

Can diabetics wear black socks? ›

Diabetic socks will keep your feet warm and dry to avoid blisters, ulcers, and fungal infection. You should also avoid wearing dark-colored socks because you may not notice blood or discharge from a wound on your foot.

Who should not wear compression socks? ›

If the top of the stocking at the thigh or calf is too tight, it can create a tourniquet effect. This actually blocks or slows your blood flow. You shouldn't wear compression socks if you have severe peripheral artery disease (PAD) because it makes the blood vessels in your legs narrow, reducing your blood flow.

Does Medicare pay for compression socks for diabetics? ›

Nope. Medicare and most medical insurance plans do not cover compression or diabetic socks. Even with a prescription from your doctor they are a non-covered service.

Why are diabetic socks so tight? ›

fitted: Many diabetic socks conform to the foot and leg. This prevents loose fabric from rubbing against the skin and causing injuries.

Why are there no toes in neuropathy socks? ›

On the other hand, toeless socks:

Allow for greater freedom of motion. Keep feet cool in warmer months. Won't exacerbate bunions, ingrown nails, and hammertoes.

Does walking barefoot help neuropathy? ›

Patients with neuropathy should wear shoes that fit properly. Protect your feet by not walking barefoot. There is no cure for neuropathy. Treatment goals are to slow the progression of the disease while maintaining foot health.

Should you walk barefoot with neuropathy? ›

It's absolutely essential that any injuries are caught and treated promptly. Otherwise, an infection can develop and progress. People with peripheral neuropathy should wear properly fitted shoes and avoid walking barefoot to prevent injury.

Why do diabetics need seamless socks? ›

Diabetic socks are designed to be seamless inside to prevent rubbing, which can cause sores and foot ulcers. Non-elastic binding. Diabetic socks are designed without elastic to be non-binding. This feature helps prevent issues for those with poor circulation.

What is a diabetic sock? ›

A diabetic sock is a non-restrictive, but close fitting sock which is designed to alleviate pressures on the foot or leg. Typically sufferers of diabetes are the most common users of this type of sock. Diabetes raises the blood sugar level, which can increase the risk of foot ulcers.


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