Diabetic socks Vs compression socks

Are you looking to buy diabetic socks or compression socks to help support the health of your lower legs and feet? Then, you may wonder what the difference is between compression socks and diabetic socks and which ones are right for you. 

At first glance, diabetic socks aren't that much different from traditional compression socks. Often, they incorporate the same mix of features. However, if you are a person living with diabetes, then it's important to know the differences between diabetic and compression socks to know which one is right for you. This blog explores the uses of diabetic and compression socks and how they differ.

Why diabetes patients need to protect their feet

In the United States, roughly 38.4 million people have diabetes. Medical professionals speculate that up to 8 million Americans are undiagnosed, and another 97 million people are prediabetic.

More than 80% of lower-limb amputations come from people who have increased insulin sensitivity, and people with diabetes suffer more from foot problems than those who don't live with the condition. This is because diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels in the legs and feet. This, in turn, affects blood circulation in the feet and legs, which leads to swelling, increased infection risk, and many other complications.

According to the American Diabetes Association, poor blood flow in the feet can cause:

Neuropathy — Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can cause changes in the shape of feet and toes.

Calluses — When not treated, calluses can turn into ulcers.

Ulcers — Neglected ulcers can lead to infections and even limb loss.

Diabetic foot problems

When dealing with diabetes, it's important never to underestimate the condition. While diabetes shouldn't stop you from living a full, happy life, there are certain steps you will need to take throughout your life to manage your condition effectively. If you have diabetes, you need to have your feet examined by your healthcare provider at least once a year. A typical exam includes a visual check of your feet for signs of swelling or small infections and tests that measure your sensation levels.

Uses of diabetic socks

Diabetic socks are specifically designed to fit your feet and conform to the shape of your foot. Most types of diabetic socks have very few seams, while others don't have any seams at all. Unlike traditional socks, diabetic socks don't have any tight elastic, so you won't have to worry about the fabric bunching up under your toes or around the heel area.

The super stretchy diabetic socks, like those you'll find at Viasox, are made from fine-textured fabrics like polyester, bamboo, cotton, and lycra. This, combined with the fact that Viasox socks offer cushioned padding from toe to heel, will help to prevent abrasions against your skin. 

Some of the benefits of diabetic socks include:

  • Proper circulation in the feet

Diabetic socks are designed to help with proper foot circulation by avoiding tightness around the leg and ankle. This ensures that blood flow isn't restricted, which is crucial for people with diabetes who may have sensitive feet or circulation issues. Their looser fit promotes comfort and healthy blood flow, reducing the risk of complications related to poor circulation.

  • Reduced risk of foot problems

For people with diabetes or circulatory issues, these socks can help prevent foot sores, infections, and other complications by reducing pressure on the feet.

  • Overall foot protection

Even though diabetes is a blood sugar-related disease, the nerve damage it causes can be a big problem for your feet. Many diabetes patients lose feeling in their lower legs, feet, and hands. Research shows that about 50% of all people with diabetes have nerve damage to a part of their body. Diabetic socks will help you mitigate the pain and numbness commonly linked to nerve damage and protect your feet from cuts and sores. And, thanks to their extra padding and lack of seams, there is no chance of them rubbing against your skin and causing painful blisters. Similarly, as they are made from moisture-wicking material, your feet will remain dry all day. This reduces the risk of fungal infections and blisters.

Uses of compression socks

Compression socks are made to relieve the pain of your extremities using strong elastics. These socks allow blood to flow back to your heart. 

While some compression socks have similar features as diabetic socks, they often have bands that start at the ankle and go all the way up to the knee. For diabetes patients, this can sometimes provide too much restriction — preventing blood from flowing freely. Plus, some compression socks don't have additional padding on the bottom, which can cause irritation and sores during long walks and other physical activities.

Varicose veins and compression veins


Compression socks are most often used to help people with the following conditions: 

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

DVT occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein in the leg. These clots can be painful and cause serious problems — especially if the clot travels to the lungs. Compression socks can prevent DVT and can also help alleviate pain if you have already had DVT.

  • Varicose veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that appear to be dark purple or blue. They are caused by valves in the veins that cause blood to flow in the wrong direction or to pool. They can sometimes become painful, and compression socks can help to relieve the pain.

  • Leg swelling

Swelling in the lower legs or feet, also known as edema, can happen for many reasons. It can be caused by standing or sitting for too long, problems with blood flow in the veins, or issues with the lymphatic system. Pregnant women often experience swollen legs due to hormonal changes and more blood in their bodies. Other causes can include heart or kidney problems or certain medications that make the body hold onto fluid. Wearing compression socks can help reduce this swelling. These socks work by helping blood flow better in the legs and reducing the pressure in the veins, which helps to stop fluid from building up in the leg tissues.

Diabetic socks vs. compression socks

When considering the differences between diabetic socks and compression socks, there are several key points to remember, especially for those managing diabetes.

Diabetic socks are designed to be non-binding and stretchy to promote healthy blood circulation without restricting blood flow. They often have fewer seams, or none at all, to prevent abrasions against the skin. These socks are typically made from fine-textured fabrics like polyester, bamboo, cotton, and lycra and offer cushioned padding from toe to heel for added comfort and protection. The main purpose of diabetic socks is to ensure proper circulation in the feet, reduce pressure, and offer overall protection to the feet, especially given the nerve damage that can occur in diabetic patients.

In contrast, compression socks apply pressure to the legs and feet to increase blood flow circulation. They usually have bands that start at the ankle and go up to the knee, providing graduated compression that gets tighter closer to the ankle, encouraging blood flow back towards the heart. These socks are beneficial for conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, and leg swelling & pain, including during pregnancy. However, they may sometimes be too restrictive for diabetes patients, leading to discomfort or further complications. This is particularly true for compression socks with higher pressures, such as those above 20 mmHg.

Diabetic socks vs. regular socks

Ordinary socks don't offer many benefits to people with diabetes. There are a lot of cons when it comes to regular socks compared to specialized diabetic socks. 

For one, regular socks almost always have seams in them. The seam at the toe can irritate a major pressure point in the foot, and other seams can also rub against the skin, causing blisters. Regular socks are usually made from cotton, preventing moisture from escaping the sock. If your skin becomes too moist, it will break down quickly. Before you know it, you'll be dealing with a foot infection

What kind of socks are right for you

There you have it — a rundown of the differences between diabetic socks and compression socks. If you are someone living with diabetes and looking for a way to help support the overall health of your feet or to alleviate the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, then diabetic socks could be the right choice for you. Diabetic socks are designed to fit snugly, easing foot swelling without inhibiting blood flow. On the other hand, compression socks are designed to apply graduated pressure so that the blood can return more quickly to the heart. This doesn't mean people with diabetes cannot use compression socks. Viasox offers light compression socks with 12 mmHg pressure, suitable for individuals with diabetes. These socks can help with pain and swelling and may also help energize the legs. The lower compression level of 12 mmHg is often more comfortable for diabetics, reducing the risk of excessive constriction while still providing the benefits of improved circulation.

It's important for people with diabetes to carefully choose the right type of compression socks, considering both the compression level and the sock's material and fit. Consulting with a healthcare provider is always recommended to ensure the chosen compression socks are appropriate for their specific health needs.

If you're looking to buy diabetic socks or compression socks online, then Viasox can help. We have a large range of diabetic and compression socks in a variety of fun colours and patterns, as well as everyday black, white, and grey colors. You can buy diabetic socks individually or in bulk, whatever works best for you.

If you have any questions about our products or would like more information, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you to learn how we can help.