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6 Best Work Boots for Diabetics

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(Last Updated On: April 20, 2019)

Best Work Boots for Diabetics

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When it comes to work boots, it’s important to do your research—especially if you’re diabetic.

Those with diabetes are more likely to develop foot problems, such as neuropathy, poor blood circulation, and in extreme cases—infection (healthline.com).

Because of this, those with diabetes need to be more selective in their footwear. Work boots protect your foot from a lot of wear and tear, so it’s essential to choose the right shoe.

Best Work Boots for Diabetics

Whenever you put on your work boots, you know it’s going to be a long day. Work boots are meant to protect your feet from more than the average amount of stress, and if you’re diabetic, they need to be infallible.

Those with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing neuropathy, as well as blood circulation issues in the foot (healthline.com). Neuropathy is the occurrence of nerve damage, which may cause “tingling, pain, burning or stinging sensations, weakness in the foot…when you injure your foot, you may not even feel it due to loss of feeling” (thediabetescouncil.com). If you can’t feel your injuries, you may unknowingly make them worse before getting medical assistance.

When it comes to poor blood circulation, if you have a shoe that rubs against your foot and causes blisters, these open wounds may become infected. Because diabetics are more likely to have poor blood circulation, healing that infection is much more difficult (nicershoes.com). According to the American Diabetes Association, every year “600,000 people with diabetes get foot ulcers which can result in over 80,000 amputations.”

Needless to say, if you’re diabetic, finding a shoe that fits well, and adequately protects your foot is a must. In this article, you’ll find some suggestions for the perfect diabetic work boot, as well as some lightweight options.

Ideally, you’d want a shoe with a toe box that isn’t too loose, or too tight. The toe box is the tip of the shoe where the toes go. If the toe box is too tight, this may compromise blood circulation. If it’s too loose, the toes experience too much friction, and create sores, which may lead to infection if left untreated (nicershoes.com).

A good shoe for a diabetic is also adjustable, so look for shoes with Velcro, buckles, or laces (healthline.com). You will also want a shoe with good arch support and padding. Your feet should be able to breathe in the shoe so, avoid shoes made out of plastics, and go for canvas, leather, mesh, cotton, or suede materials (healthline.com)

If you have any questions about which shoes to buy, please consult with your physician.

Quick Comparison

Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace
Propet Men's Cliff Walker Boot
Merrell Women's Jungle Moc Slip On
Orthofeet Proven Pain Relief Comfortable Plantar Fasciitis Orthopedic Diabetic Flat Feet Shreveport Mens Outdoor Shoes
Propet Women's Ridgewalker Boot
Dunham Men's Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot
Product Name
Women's Vigor Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Work/Hiking Boot by Dr. Comfort
Men’s Cliff Walker Boot by Propét
Women’s Jungle Moc Slip On by Merrell
Shreveport Men’s Outdoor Shoes by Orthofeet
Women’s Ridgewalker Boot by Propét
Men's Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot by Dunham
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
J55996
W3599-001
Price
from $119.00
from $37.54
from $60.60
from $129.95
from $47.32
from $87.00
-
Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace
Product Name
Women's Vigor Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Work/Hiking Boot by Dr. Comfort
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
Price
from $119.00
Propet Men's Cliff Walker Boot
Product Name
Men’s Cliff Walker Boot by Propét
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
Price
from $37.54
Merrell Women's Jungle Moc Slip On
Product Name
Women’s Jungle Moc Slip On by Merrell
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
J55996
Price
from $60.60
Orthofeet Proven Pain Relief Comfortable Plantar Fasciitis Orthopedic Diabetic Flat Feet Shreveport Mens Outdoor Shoes
Product Name
Shreveport Men’s Outdoor Shoes by Orthofeet
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
Price
from $129.95
-
Propet Women's Ridgewalker Boot
Product Name
Women’s Ridgewalker Boot by Propét
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
W3599-001
Price
from $47.32
Dunham Men's Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot
Product Name
Men's Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot by Dunham
Breathable
Padded
Model # (click for proof of A5500-approval)
Price
from $87.00

#1 – Women’s Vigor Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Work/Hiking Boot by Dr. Comfort

Dr. Comfort Vigor Women's Therapeutic Diabetic Extra Depth Hiking Boot Leather Lace
  • The classic craftsmanship and sophisticated style of Dr. Comfort are desirable for anyone...
  • Dr. Comfort Gel Insert Included. Extra depth (7/16") for removable inserts.
  • Unique Elastic Laces with a Velcro Strap - Lightweight walking / work shoe. Should NOT be...

About Dr. Comfort

Founded in 2002, Dr. Comfort seeks to “help make life easier for people living with diabetes and other conditions affecting the feet” (drcomfort.com).

Their shoes have padded heels to reduce irritation, padded tongues to prevent friction and improve fit, a wide and protective toe box to reduce the risk of injury and pressure, a leather lining to keep the foot dry, and a firm heel designed to provide support. Dr. Comfort leather shoes comfortably shape to your foot, and their non-skid, long-wearing soles ensure that these shoes are here to stay (drcomfort.com).

Click to view all top-rated slip resistant work shoes on Amazon.

Review

The Vigor Therapeutic Work/Hiking Boot is made of breathable leather and demonstrates the “classic craftsmanship and sophisticated style of Dr. Comfort” (drcomfort.com). Designed as a therapeutic shoe, there are many protective and comfort features included.

A Dr. Comfort Gel Insert is included with purchase, and you can remove the insert for extra depth. The elastic laces and Velcro strap makes this shoe adjustable, so that blood flow is not impeded. There are also multiple width options available when purchasing this shoe (drcomfort.com).

Please note that this shoe should NOT be used for construction work.

Pros
  • Padded interior (Gel Insert included)
  • Breathable leather
  • Multiple width options
  • Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved
Cons
  • Not to be used in construction work
  • Not APMA approved
  • Expensive

#2 – Men’s Cliff Walker Boot by Propét

Propet Men's Cliff Walker Boot
  • Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 diabetic shoe
  • Flexible ankle boot in pebbled waterproof leather featuring nylon mesh lining and...
  • Sealtex waterproof technology

About Propét

Propét first began in 1985, and has been driven by its mission to “offer quality footwear for hard-to-fit feet or feet in need of special care.” To date, Propét is best known for its “TravelWalker collection—popular for their comfort and versatility—and its line of therapeutic footcare products approved for Diabetic footwear” (propetusa.com).

Click to view all top-rated Propét boots on Amazon.

Review

The Men’s Cliff Walker Boot is made of breathable, weather-resistant leather, with a speed lacing closure designed for easy on and off. The Sealtex waterproof bootie construction will keep your feet warm and dry—an important for any quality diabetic shoe. This shoe also has a padded EVA midsole (propetusa.com).

The removable footbed allows for extra depth if needed, making this a very versatile shoe that can easily go from work to trail. This shoe is Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved, meaning it is recognized diabetic footwear, and it may be partially covered by your insurance. Please consult with your physician if you have any questions.

Pros
  • Breathable leather
  • Padded interior
  • Waterproof
  • Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved
Cons
  • Price varies by size
  • Not APMA approved

#3 – Women’s Jungle Moc Slip On by Merrell

Merrell Women's Jungle Moc Slip On
  • Aegis antimicrobial treated lining and synthetic upper
  • Merrell Air Cushion heel
  • 3mm lug depth

About Merrell

Founded in 1981, Merrell takes a “no compromise” approach to their shoemaking, and have “added American cowboy boot technology to the Italian boot manufacturing process” (merrell.com) Their ¼-inch thick heels ensure that their boots last a decade. When it comes to shoe design, Merrell abides by their four core values—comfort, durability, design, and versatility.

Click to view all top-rated Merrell slip-ons on Amazon.

Review

The Women’s Jungle Moc Slip On is the perfect lightweight work shoe. It’s made of leather and has a breathable mesh lining. The Merrell air cushion in the heel “absorbs shock and adds stability” (merrell.com).

Additionally, this shoe has formerly received the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. However, Merrell has voluntarily elected not to renew their three-year agreement with the APMA. This Seal of Acceptance is awarded to shoes that “have been found beneficial to foot health and of significant value when used in a consistently applied program of daily foot care and regular professional treatment” (apma.org) This mean you can be sure that this shoe is ideal for the diabetic foot.

Pros
  • Breathable leather and mesh lining
  • Padded interior
  • APMA Seal of Acceptance (formerly – see description above)
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Price varies by size
  • Not Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved

#4 – Shreveport Men’s Outdoor Shoes by Orthofeet

Orthofeet Proven Pain Relief Comfortable Plantar Fasciitis Orthopedic Diabetic Flat Feet Shreveport Mens Outdoor Shoes
  • Orthotic support - Premium orthotic insole, included in the shoe, with anatomical arch...
  • Easy Gait - Ortho-Cushion System of lightweight sole with air cushioning softens step and...
  • Non-Binding, Extra Depth Design - Soft, non-binding upper with extra depth design and wide...

About Orthofeet

Orthofeet was first established in 1984 with the mission to help anyone with certain foot conditions or illnesses to lead a “mobile, pain-free life.” Orthofeet’s orthotic shoes are “biomechanically engineered with unique comfort features to offer the very best solution for sensitive feet and other physical ailments affected by foot problems or poor posture” (orthofeet.com).

All Orthofeet shoes include anatomical orthotic insoles that are meant to relieve heel and foot pain, reduce pressure on the bottom of the foot, and provide arch support for flat feet. They are great for sensitive or at-risk feet (orthofeet.com).

Click to view all top-rated Orthofeet shoes on Amazon.

Review

The Shreveport Men’s Outdoor Shoe is a great lightweight work shoe made of breathable leather and a non-binding, extra-depth design that provides extra room in the toe box of the shoe. The interior of the shoe is padded with foam, and includes a premium orthotic insole to provide your foot with proper arch support and limit the amount of friction from within the shoe (orthofeet.com). This will prevent any infection-causing wounds, and keep the foot properly aligned.

Pros
  • Breathable leather and mesh lining
  • Padded interior
  • Open toe box
  • Lightweight
  • Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved
Cons
  • Price varies by size
  • Not APMA approved

#5 – Women’s Ridgewalker Boot by Propét

Propet Women's Ridgewalker Boot
  • Suede and mesh upper with padded collar and tongue
  • Waterproof bootie construction
  • Molded counter support and rubber toe bumper

The Women’s Ridgewalker Boot is made of suede and mesh, making it the perfect breathable shoe. It has a padded collar and tongue, and an EVA midsole with a high-traction rubber outsole for further cushioning (propetusa.com).

Like the Men’s Cliff Walker Boot, this shoe includes the Sealtex waterproof bootie construction in order to keep your feet warm and dry (propetusa.com). It’s also Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved, meaning it is recognized diabetic footwear, and it may be partially covered by your insurance. Please consult with your physician if you have any questions.

This versatile shoe is great both at work, and on the trail.

Pros
  • Breathable suede and mesh
  • Padded interior
Cons
  • Price varies by size
  • Not APMA or Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved

#6 – Men’s Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot by Dunham

Dunham Men's Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot
  • Waterproof boot featuring multicolor upper and adjustable circumference
  • Lace-up vamp
  • Removable molded EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) and Memory Foam footbed with Stability Cradle

About Dunham

Dunham has been around for a long time. Founded in 1885, Dunham began in Vermont when two brothers, George and Charles Dunham, began selling handcrafted boots to outdoor pioneers looking to “survive the rigors of New England” (rockport.com). Dunham has been providing quality, sturdy shoes ever since.

Click to view all top-rated Dunham boots on Amazon.

Review

The Men’s Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot is made of full-grain, breathable leather, and has a rubber outsole. A fiberglass stability shank is embedded into the midsole to provide arch support and create a smoother, more natural stride. There’s also a Removable molded EVA and memory foam footbed for advanced cushioning (rockport.com).

With sturdy seams, strong laces and a rubber-reinforced toe guard, this versatile shoe is good for both work and the trail.

Pros
  • Breathable suede and mesh
  • Padded interior
  • Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved
Cons
  • Price varies by size
  • Not APMA approved

About Medicare/HCPCS Code A5500

First, a look at diabetic footwear codes in general.

Diabetic Footwear HCPCS Codes

According to Medicare, shoes which fall under Diabetic Footwear include HCPCS Codes A5500 – A5514 (click to view definitions of each code within the range).

Click here to learn more.

HCPCS Code A5500 Definition (in case you’re interested)

“HCPCS code A5500 for For diabetics only, fitting (including follow-up), custom preparation and supply of off-the-shelf depth-inlay shoe manufactured to accommodate multi-density insert(s), per shoe as maintained by CMS falls under Diabetic Footwear” https://coder.aapc.com/hcpcs-codes/A5500.

How Do Shoes Become A5500-Approved?

Shoe manufacturers submit a coding review application to the Pricing, Data, Analysis and Coding Contractor (PDAC) and the Durable Medical Equipment Coding System (DMECS). This process is cumbersome and lengthy (summarized here).

To receive A5500 code approval, in short, shoes must be considered as depth.

Depth Shoe Definition

  • Has a full length, heel-to-toe filler that when removed provides a minimum of 3/16″ of additional depth used to accommodate custom-molded or customized inserts
  • Is made from leather or other suitable material of equal quality
  • Has some form of shoe closure
  • Is available in full and half sizes with a minimum of three widths so that the sole is graded to the size and width of the upper portions of the shoe according to the American standard last sizing schedule or its equivalent.

The shoe may or may not have an internally seamless toe.

Is there an up-to-date list of all A5500-Approved Shoes?

Yes!

The DMECS database allows users to search by manufacturer, product name, classification (e.g. Diabetic Shoes), and more to find shoes that match their criteria.

We used it extensively when researching and reviewing shoes for this article.

Best Work Boots for Diabetics
Links to the DMECS database

Conclusion

Just about any shoe on this list would be a good choice for a diabetic. They have their own qualities—some being lightweight, some sturdy, and some appropriate for a long hike, as well.

In the end, I like the Propét shoes the most. Both sets of Propét shoes on this list are sturdy, well-made, and one of the two is Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 approved. Not only will they last a long time, but they’re recognized as being beneficial to diabetics.

Click to check out the Women’s Ridgewalker Boot and the Men’s Cliff Walker Boot by Propét.

Other Work Boots We Like

Dr. Comfort Men's Protector Black Steel Toe Diabetic Boots
KEEN Utility Men's Detroit Mid Soft Toe Work Boot
Skechers for Work Women's Workshire Peril Steel Toe Boot
Brand
Dr. Comfort
Keen
Sketchers
Product
Men's Protector Black Steel Toe Diabetic Boots
Men's Detroit Mid Soft Toe Work Boot
Work Women's Workshire Peril Steel Toe Boot
Price
from $169.00
from $69.99
from $54.89
-
Dr. Comfort Men's Protector Black Steel Toe Diabetic Boots
Brand
Dr. Comfort
Product
Men's Protector Black Steel Toe Diabetic Boots
Price
from $169.00
-
KEEN Utility Men's Detroit Mid Soft Toe Work Boot
Brand
Keen
Product
Men's Detroit Mid Soft Toe Work Boot
Price
from $69.99
Skechers for Work Women's Workshire Peril Steel Toe Boot
Brand
Sketchers
Product
Work Women's Workshire Peril Steel Toe Boot
Price
from $54.89

Sources & Additional Reading

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