The term “diabetic shoes” refers to shoes that meet guidelines set by Medicare to describe shoes that have extra depth inside the shoes to accommodate protective foot inserts and that should be roomy enough to not cause skin irritation of deformities such as bunions and hammertoes. Moreover, the shoes have enough room for modifications for people who need them to help prevent foot skin ulcers from developing.
Medicare’s specific language about who is eligible is:
“Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers the furnishing and fitting of either of these each calendar year, if you have diabetes and severe diabetic foot disease:
- One pair of custom-molded shoes and inserts
- One pair of extra-depth shoes”
The key phrase is “diabetes AND severe diabetic foot disease“. Merely having diabetes, even treated with insulin, is not a criteria to qualify for diabetic shoes. To qualify for “severe diabetic foot disease” one must have at least on of the following conditions in addition to diabetes: peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation), a previous or existing foot skin ulcer, a callus that could lead to a skin ulcer or a partial foot amputation.
To qualify as a diabetic shoe, the inside of the shoe must have at least 3/16 inch extra depth more than traditional shoes and have some type of closure method. Many commercially available shoes meet these qualifications including sneakers, causal shoes and even some work boots.
What makes the shoes specifically suited for patients with severe diabetic foot disease is the addition of special shoe inserts to help protect the foot further. These inserts can be either pre fabricated or custom fabricated. That decision is up to the health specialist prescribing the shoes.
Some the shoes I dispense most frequently to my patients include the following:
New Balance 928, 813, 624 or 411
Hush Puppies Gil
Propet Cliff Walker boot
Answer 2 Casual
Mt. Emey 628, 802 or 9501
For conditions that can not be accommodated with off the shelf shoes, some patients require custom molded shoes.
Our office provides both extra depth and custom molded shoes for patients who qualify.