Even if you don't have diabetes, the same considerations make a good criteria for comfy shoes.
Arch support, less friction, more padding, nothing inflexible binding into the flesh....
It was a reattachment of my Achilles on the right in 2008 that had me switching out my shoe wardrobe because I HAD to have some heel in order to push off efficiently.
All flats were given away. All new shoes needed at least an inch or two inches of heel to be walkable for distances.
And, a lot of sneakers cut into the Achilles with inflexible material, so they had to go too.
With diabetes, the first thing of importance is protecting the feet from any kinds of wounds or damage. If a shoe is too big, your foot moves around in it as you walk and calluses begin. Inflexible leather straps can cut into the foot. Crowding can cause ingrown toenails.
Also, because feet might suffer neuropathy and therefore rendered "numb," or "pins and needles," walking on them can be tricky discerning just how you are stepping down, so good support is also important.
It took me some trial and error to find two lines of shoes that, no matter what I choose from them I know it will be true to size and meet all my needs (more on those two brands below).
Yes, you have to pay more for shoes that consider your comfort and safety. The fact is, cheap shoes are easy to get and you can throw them out each season, but well-made shoes that hit all the marks, you will pay $40 and upwards easily. You can also wear them comfortably and more often, as well as longer.
My first rule for my feet is - I never go barefoot except in the shower or pool. At home, I still walk around in slippers or sandals to be sure I don't step on anything from push pins to missed glass after a mishap. That one time you go barefoot can be regretted as feet are not only slow-healing on diabetics, but those wounds can get out of hand to the point of an impending need for amputation.
Now I'll share the brands I can buy in my size, know they fit exactly that size and take into account my needs for comfort and protection, while looking adorable. I also know that they aren't going to be the ridiculous price tag put on "diabetic" speciality shoes.
I've slowly been getting rid of "regular population" shoes and replacing with Bzees. They are my #1 shoe. OMG I love these! No matter what I choose, they know some seriously important things for more mature feet.
Fantastic arch support. Some shoes say they have it, but it's a cursory nod at best, but for those who want to relieve knee problems, back problems, and foot aching, true arch SUPPORT is critical and all the Bzees are a dream!
The photo at the top of this post, I'm wearing a pair that has elastics and giving fabric that is both firm so you don't slide out and adjustable with a velcro strap, but gives every time you step, so your foot isn't being shoved into a rigid surface. Add the arch support and heal and no slip, and I can walk miles and miles and miles in those platforms. The denim fabric goes so good with skinny jeans. Sadly, this particular one is no longer available.
I have this green pair above and the fabric they make these out of is so soft, like butter, but they have elastic to them in a way that keeps them firmly on your feet. They are an utter dream!!!
I am sharing some I have on my wish list so each time I am ready for a new pair and to get rid of the old street shoes - I am ready!
Ankle Boot microfiber $40.98
Knit Camo sneaker $70
Skechers are so awesome that it doesn't seem to be a niche just for problematic feet. Everyone found them comfy and cute, so they have become very popular. If you do a lot of walking, this is your line of shoes!