Diabetes Footwear, The ‘Casual’ Way

Summers in Perth are far too hot and uncomfortable for my liking, so I like to dress as casually and comfortably as possible. I’ll wear thongs almost everywhere that I can get away with doing so. Hell, I can even remember debates against Mum and Dad on the subject of whether or not thongs are appropriate uni attire (of course they are!)

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was given the spiel about wearing enclosed shoes and socks on my feet. And to be fair, foot care is a very serious thing when you have diabetes. Basically, its important to protect the feet from cuts, scrapes and other injuries. Because poor diabetes care can damage the nerves and blood supply to your feet, any injuries or resulting infections could potentially be threatening to the limb. That last bit freaks me out every time, so enough serious talk for now. But there’s a nice, simple summary on Diabetes Australia’s website if you want to read more about footcare.

So, being the stubborn person that I was, I dismissed this idea instantly. I hated the idea of “enclosed footwear.” Besides, I was young. Reasonably healthy. The chance of something happening was extremely unlikely. My mind was made up, and I decided that my thongs would accompany me as I entered my first year of uni. And what a mistake that was.

Walking around a big campus was hard work. It was hot, my feet were sore and by the end of the day I was dying to make it back to the car. I had nasty red marks on my feet, stinging blisters inbetween my toes and uncomfortable friction on my skin just from walking around. But despite how much discomfort I was in, it took me ages before I woke up to my senses and attributed the problem to my thongs.

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After looking around, I ended up finding these. The main difference is a synthetic material strap, as opposed to rubber. This meant less friction against my skin and more comfort when walking around for longer periods. These also have more of a smarter look than rubber thongs (especially those bright, cheap ones!), making them more suitable for smart casual wear. Win win!

So, the morals of my story?

#1: Rubber thongs are rubbish. Throw them out. Hell, people without diabetes shouldn’t even be wearing them.

#2: Don’t give up casual shoes just because you have diabetes. But do make sure they are comfortable and suitable for the activity you plan on doing. There are plenty of more comfortable alternatives available such as my canvas thongs, sandals or slip ons. Its worth looking around. But if you are doing a lot of walking around, shoes may be a better idea.

What’s your favourite choice of footwear that works with your diabetes? Have you had any memorable experiences that you’ve learned from?

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