As an athlete and as someone who used to work for a global sporting brand, you could say that I know my sportswear technology. As an athlete I appreciate the fact that the right designs, fabrics and ergonometry can shave seconds or even minutes off your time in a race. Living with diabetes makes you also appreciate how important it is to look after your feet and to avoid complications. So today I’m writing about Protect iT’s new range- Toe Tech.

Toe Tech are a range of socks which actually have health benefits for feet as well as scientifically engineered technology, used within the manufacturing process, to provide a sock that performs under pressure. Recently I was fortunate enough to receieve some samples of the new range, which also come in quite a few different colours, and they were unlike any performance sock I’ve tried before. The samples that I received were the classic length, which measure just past your ankle. Which was handy because at this time of year when the weather is still cold, it’s important for me to keep my achilles warm in order to get blood flow to the tendon and prevent any injuries. As I’ve previously suffered with achilles tendonopathy before, so protection and support for my achilles are high on my list of priorities. The first thing I noticed when I put the sock on was how smooth and thin the fabric was. Not quite like a denier but it did have a little of that fineness, but at no point did I feel like the sock would wear or break. Once I had them on I couldn’t believe how light they felt. The Toe Tech socks also have a slight compression fit to them, which meant that they fitted beautifully to the contours of my foot. My foot then glided into my trainers and off to training I went.

During training I usually do my warm up in my trainers, as they provide a more supportive base for high impact movements. But when I’m ready to start running fast I change into my running spikes which are lighter, but also have less padding. Sprint spikes, by design are are very slim fitting, there is no loose fabric as they are designed for speed and need to be as aerodynamic as possible. I’ve found in the past that socks you buy from the highstreet which aren’t designed for performance can bag up around your foot and cause rubbing and blisters. But there was nothing like that with the Toe Tech socks, they slotted into my spikes like a glove and if I’m honest, I forgot that I was even wearing them. Which when you think about it, is actually high praise indeed!

Melanie Stephenson – 24 February 2015


Although many sock manufacturers and retailers make claims regarding the quality and function of their products, very few support these with clinical data. In a recent pilot study, Reed Medical has done just that for the Protect iT Dress/Casual Plus sock.

Approximately 15% of the UK diabetic population will experience a foot ulcer, so it goes without saying then that prevention is a key priority for diabetics.

It is now widely accepted that reducing pressure from under the at-risk areas of the foot is essential in reducing the risk of diabetic ulcer formation and that appropriate footwear is a major factor in ulcer prevention. Socks are increasingly being considered in the foot health care discipline as a first line of defence in lowering the risk of ulceration for an ever-increasing number of people with type 1 and type2 diabetes. There have been many studies that show the effectiveness of different shoe and insole designs in reducing the pressures and forces experienced under the foot, but until now very little research exists investigating the influence of the sock.

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As a Welsh international sprinter and a sufferer of type one diabetes, Melanie Stephenson was keen to find socks that could help both areas of her life. Mel needed to find socks that would keep her feet fresh. She trains very hard and puts her feet through a lot, but needs socks that will eliminate any rubbing or chaffing.

Problems can arise when there is friction between the foot and the shoe, or when the sock is poorly fitted. Socks designed for people with diabetes should act like a second skin, so that they can adapt to every movement and won’t bunch under part of the foot – the fabric ideally should be wrinkle-free.

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Diabetes UK’s ‘Putting Feet First’ campaign aims to reduce the number of needless amputations by 50 per cent over five years. Pharmacists have a role in encouraging patients with diabetes to be particularly vigilant when caring for their feet

If you were to read about a complication causing 6,000 amputations and 4,600 deaths every year, learn that every 30 seconds another person was undergoing the traumatic experience of losing a leg, and, most tragic of all, that 80 per cent of these were preventable, as a healthcare professional you would no doubt be asking how these figures are allowed to persist.

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Diabetes UK’s ‘Putting Feet First’ campaign aims to reduce the number of needless amputations by 50 per cent over five years. Pharmacists have a role in encouraging patients with diabetes to be particularly vigilant when caring for their feet

In a recent article for Pharmacist, Rebecca Stephenson takes a deeper look at the campaign and how therapeutic socks can be a simple step towards achieving that goal.

Read the full article here