Crocs made their debut at a Florida boat show in 2002. These shoes may not be terribly fashionable, but they are certified by the U.S. Ergonomic Council and the American Podiatric Medical Association. In 2008, they were added to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s diabetic shoe program.
The RX line — Croc Relief, Croc Cloud and Croc Silver Cloud — were specially designed to eliminate plantar pain and achy feet, says co-founder Lyndon V. Hanson III. “They also help people with injured feet, bunions, and diabetes,” he adds. “You’ve got a lot of inner support, heel cups and massaging heel nubs, and arch support. They’re ideal for people with foot problems.” At face value, Crocs sound like a great buy for people with diabetes, but that’s not the full story.
Are the benefits overstated?
Dr. Bob Baravarian MD of the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center told Web MD that the term “medical shoe” leads people to believe they can get better support from Crocs than a regular shoe, which isn’t necessarily the case. “It’s not as good as an orthotic or a medical type shoe,” he clarifies. Furthermore, Crocs are not designed for long-term wear, he says. According to Dr. Baravarian, “It’s a good shoe for going to the beach, kicking around the house, going to the corner market, but they’re not made to be worn at Disneyland all day long.”
Antimicrobial claims were unfounded.
In 2011, the EPA forced the manufacturer of Crocs to pay $230,000 for making false claims about their shoes. Advertisements claimed that the shoes were “antimicrobial” — which was simply not true. Sandra Stavnes, director of EPA’s technical enforcement program in Denver, said: “We’re seeing more and more consumer products making a wide variety of antimicrobial claims. Whether they involve shoes or other common household products, EPA takes these unsubstantiated public health claims seriously.”
Can Crocs cause toenail fungus?
Not only are Crocs devoid of any antimicrobial benefit, but they are also rumored to contribute to foot fungus! According to Rodale News, a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology blamed Croclite plastic shoes for causing toenail fungus in gardeners. Since the plastic is not breathable, it traps in moisture and bacteria. Also, since wearers are typically not wearing socks, their feet are more exposed to environmental fungus and microbes.
The Bottom Line on Crocs and Diabetes:
Despite the fact that Crocs have been blamed for deaths on escalators and creating potentially dangerous levels of static electricity in the workplace, there may be some merit to Crocs for diabetics. Joy Pape, a board-certified diabetes nurse educator, brings up a few good points in one of her editorials. Crocs are roomier than stilettos and provide more protection than sandals. However, they do have an open heel, which can allow pebbles or other items to get into the shoe and cause damage. Furthermore, Crocs are no replacement for special shoes prescribed by a health care professional. We believe the only true way to protect your feet is to check your soles daily, keep your shoes sanitized and see a podiatrist regularly.