Diabetes can reduce the amount of feeling you have in your feet, and also make infections a lot more serious. Put the two together as well, with a lack of noticing something going on with the feet, and you can have a recipe for absolute disaster. So it's pretty good general advice to take care of the feet.
Now, the better control you have, the less likely it is you'll have problems - it doesn't guarantee no problems though. I'd suggest that all type 1s kind of "check in" with their feet now and then to assess their feeling - a massage, walk on some surfaces barefoot, see if you're getting all the feedback you should.
But sensible footwear is ... a sensible idea, in my book. Especially hiking and the like. But it's got to be up to you. I'd probably compromise (in the interest of your own health) and go looking for some kind of shoe that provides better protection for those times you really could do with it.