Not your grandpa’s diabetic socks…

There are some diabetes rules I play by (watching my carbs, for example), but there are many I don’t (see: changing the lancet, rotating pump sites, wearing sensors in the proper place….shoot this list is long). One thing I’ve never been on top of is footwear. I’m a high-heel wearing, toe-shoe running, flip-flops-11-months-outta-the-year type of gal. The other day I passed a kiosk in the mall that sold “diabetic socks,” and I nearly sprinted in the other direction. Their display only showed retirees puttering around in their medical-looking-uber diabetic gear, and that’s simply not my life as a person with diabetes. I’m going running, I’m going to kickboxing class, and I’m going out in my new five-inch heels. And that’s what’s up.

Enter Permara. Permara is a company with a really, really cool fabric technology. They’ve made a renewable antimicrobial protectant that can go on fabrics – in particular socks. Let me put this a different way: they make socks that kill germs. And every time you wash the socks with your whites in cold water with a little chlorine bleach, the germ fighting power is renewed. That’s pretty rad if you ask me. So when their rep contacted me about trying their Akeso “Ultimate Diabetic Socks,” all it took was one whiff of my shoe shelf to say “yes please!”

I did have some questions though. I asked the rep what makes their socks so “diabetic?” And would they make any difference to someone like me – an athlete (who runs in toe shoes) and a Type 1? I’ve sent questions like this to other companies, and the response has always been “uuuh, they’re cotton?” which isn’t enough to convince of anything really. But their rep had this to offer about why the socks are great for people with diabetes:

“The Akeso Diabetic Sock is made from ultra-cotton, the softest available, it has 2x of the renewable antimicrobial, and it features a graduated non-binding leg upper (also available in Extra Roomy),  ventilated airflow mesh upper seamless toes and padded in sole. The FreshGear line is made for athletes that are looking for a performance sock.  The FreshGear socks are a moisture-wicking sock…since the diabetic athlete faces the same challenges with their feet, the FreshGear sock also incorporates many of the features of the Akeso line with the addition of an arch support. Of course the most remarkable feature of the socks is that the antimicrobial power is renewable for the life of the sock.  In order to renew the power, the socks can be washed in a normal whites load with some bleach and the socks will return to their full antimicrobial strength and continue to resist bacterial odors.”

The bottom line: These socks are moisture-wicking, which reduces the risk of skin irritation (this is good for us ‘betics). Plus, the antimicrobial protection kills 99.99% of the bacteria that causes odor (this is good for everyone). And they make all sorts of styles, including toe-socks for almost-barefoot runners like me.

I road tested the socks at a kickboxing class last week and I will be the first to shout it from the mountain top: these socks are crazy comfy. And when I took my shoes off after class, the scent was squeaky clean. So although I’m not ready to dive headfirst into the world of diabetic footwear (especially if it involves looking like a Medicare ad), I don’t see any reason not to protect my feet with the Akeso sock from Permara. We only get one pair of hooves, so it’s worth it treat them well. And as a bonus: the shoe shelf can start smelling a little rosier. Get your own right here.

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I needed some new socks myself and thought, “Why do they call them diabetic socks?” I think for most (T2s, that is), it’s about how tight the socks are on the feet and leg and the fact that they are already experiencing some nerve damage from diabetes. I bought a pack of twelve (and inexpensive ones, too). I could not be happier. They’re not around my ankles and they’re comfortable.

If you need socks that are more performance oriented, Alexa’s Akesos are worth looking into. Another resource would be look for a community sports and diabetic group. These are the T1 maniacs who are into extreme sports like running marathons, ironman competitions and 100 mile bike rides. They are also for the T1 diabetic trying to get in better shape. In my area (Seattle), there is a group called Sports and Diabetes Group NW.

I simply can’t get myself to buy something called “diabetic socks”. First of all, to call them diabetic is politically incorrect. The proper term is “socks with diabetes” (SWD). Second, the socks don’t have diabetes at all, the people wearing them do, so PC or not, the name is inaccurate. Third, I’m too proud to wear something made “especially for me”… it’s like that special dessert that my mother always makes at holidays that I never eat. Fourth, I’m cheap, and I can’t imagine these things anywhere near the price of regular socks.

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