One thing that we all want with a shoe is not to ever slip while wearing it. While brands might claim that their shoes are non-slip in nature, but we all know how true these claims are, right? So, how exactly would you be able to tell if the shoe you are investing in is worth those bucks and stay true to their descriptive nature?
Well, in this particular guide, we are going to provide you lesser-known insights that would help you pick the right option from the market and evade any slipping issues.
What is a slip-resistant shoe?
Talking about the exact description of a slip-resistant shoe, it is a safety shoe that keeps you from falling on your back or maybe even front. As evident from the term itself, these shoes are actually packed in to prevent the wearer from falling or slipping on oily, wet, or slick surfaces.
The most important thing that tends to set these shoes apart from any standard shoe is the fact that they are created from rubber sole to factor in better traction and grip. These shoes came into existence after OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) mandated the use of this slip-resistant footwear for the workers in several industries.
A typical non-slip shoe is anti-skid, durable, and features a patterned tread to bring in added friction when you walk on greasy, wet, or slippery floors.
How to tell if the shoe I wear is slip-resistant?
When out on a shopping spree for non-slip shoes, decoding if they can adhere to these criteria can be a challenging task. Since trying them out when shopping online isn’t a possibility. So, here is how you would know if the shoe you are about to purchase would be slip-resistant.
Now, this might look like we are stating the obvious to you, but this sure is the right and best method. Before you purchase, make sure you check whether the shoe is slip-resistant by reading through the shoe description.
Running shoes, clogs, as well as similar athletic shoes are among the popular go-to options for service and healthcare industry workers. However, they do not necessarily need to have the anti-slip design implemented into them.
Most slip-resistant styles tend to specify the fact that their outsole adheres to the ASTM F1677 International safety standards. When a shoe passes this standard, it confirms that the shoe can perform well on a range of surfaces that are oily, wet, or dry.
Now, there might be an instance where the shoe has been advertised as an “oil-resistant” one. However, this doesn’t actually mean that your footwear is slip-resistant as well. The concept of oil-resistant refers to your shoes’ upper & suggests that your upper material won’t actually suffer from oil or grease stains.
This in no way tells you anything related to the shoe sole. Further, similar claims like “chef approved shoes” or “restaurant-tested” should be seen with a hint of doubt. These are false advertisements with unbacked statements used purely in the form of a marketing ploy.
Make sure you thoroughly inspect such claims and opt for a slip-resistant shoe that has undergone stringent testing standards as per local or international safety standards.
Identify the Shoe Sole:
In case the shoe you want to bring home doesn’t have any specifications indicated in the description, you must check the sole of the shoe before purchasing a pair. Typically, your shoes are composed of 3 different parts.
The insole tends to run along your shoe’s bottom but on the inner side while supporting your foot’s bottom. On the other hand, the midsole comes on top of the insole to add the cushioning factor. It is generally created from foam to keep it comfortable while being rigid enough for ample ankle support.
However, the one important thing is the outsole, which imparts stability and traction. When looking for a non-slip shoe, the first thing you need to check with the sole is the presence of a sturdy Ethylene Vinyl Acetate or EVA rubber outsole.
It is a portion of the shoe that helps you be in touch with the floor. The sole needs to be a tad rounded on its sides for better hold and friction as you walk. The EVA rubber comprises of a foam-like, synthetic resin that is used for both midsoles as well as outsoles in most branded shoes.
Now, with most shoe types that are prone to slipping, the idea revolves around the fact that flat sole shoes tend to have liquid accumulating underneath, which leads to these accidents.
On the other hand, slip-resistant or non-slip shoes avoid incidents such as falling, tripping, or slipping by integrating a trailing design to allow the water, oil, or any other slippery substance to run away with ease.
Last but not the least, although you need durability, your shoe’s sole needs to be flexible, lightweight, as well as relatively soft. Having access to a flexible and light outsole helps the shoe absorb the shock & avoid any fatigue that might happen.
On the contrary to what you might think, a softer sole would provide you with the best hold on any slippery surface.
Several shoes tend to advertise their shoes as “non-slip” but have an irregular or intricate sole design. It offers no particular guarantee that your shoe would bring in better traction as compared to the one with traditional soles.
So, you need to look for design features like:
- Chevron Sipe Soles: Also popular by the name Ultragrip, these soles are designed for self-cleaning as you walk. It allows you to keep up the highest tread grip.
- Lug or Cleated Soles: Now, these multi-purpose outsoles are generally used for heavy-duty applications in the industries to offer maximum grip along with durability.
- Safety-Loc Soles: These soles are known to offer one of the best tractions on wet and smooth surfaces.
- Aluminum Oxide Sole Grit: These soles are treated with the aluminium oxide material to add to the grip factor. This material is particularly abrasive, easy in terms of application, and offers much-needed artificial traction when you walk on the smooth surfaces.
Look through the Tread:
Another thing that you need to check in your non-slip shoe is its tread pattern. In general, you will see little circles, squiggles, and/or hexagon shapes added to the outsole’s bottom. These patterns are integrated to add in friction that helps you develop a better grip on the floor without actually collecting the water pool underneath.
As per shoemakers, the smaller these patterns, the better your slip-resistance. This added traction helps you prevent any falls or slips. With the right tread design, you can run, pivot, as well as walk without falling.
When looking for a tread pattern to support your walk, go for the shoes with open tread patterns as opposed to closed ones. The enclosed patterns tend to trap water below your feet & might even cause hydroplaning.This very rule is also applicable for shoes that have smooth or flat soles such as slippers, heels, or sandals.
Your shoes’ tread pattern needs to be an interlocked one to help channel the water towards the outer direction from under your foot. It is safer if you avoid patterns in the outsole that feature different shapes along with certain flat edges like squares, triangles, or even hexagons.
These edges work together to lock the water or slippery material in a while, preventing the same from escaping your shoe’s sole. So, ultimately, you are going to slip. Instead, you need to search for patterns that bring in circular shapes.
Given the fact that circles lack any hard edges, it allows oil, water, & other liquids to go through the gaps way easily and eventually channel out. The higher the number of circles in your shoe pattern, the more accurate your shoe grip would be.
Now, we do not say that it’s just the tread that you need to concentrate on. You also need to check the tread dispersal pattern. Every shape added to the tread needs to be spaced about far enough to ensure proper liquid dispersion.
Even with an open pattern, if the tread is too close, it will surely end up with trapped oil and water. The key here is to have a tread pattern that has a minimum of 2mm spacing between each shape. Further, the tread depth is just as important when it comes to experiencing a slip-free walk.
In case your pattern is way too shallow, the grip you need won’t be offered to you in any manner. On the other hand, a tread that is way too deep would be jam-packed with rocks, dirt, as well as other debris material.
The ideal number for tread depth is about 3mm from toe to heel. It allows the liquids to easily disperse without actually sacrificing the traction. Keep in mind that with time, these patterns will surely wear out, and the overall effect would reduce.
In order to avoid such blunders, do notice your tread depth, and in case it goes anything below 2mm, makes sure you start looking for another pair.
Check the Shoe Material
Your non-slip shoe could be created from a range of materials. But, the gist of it should be the fact that the material needs to be versatile, pliable, as well as soft. Shoes with stiff or hard material tend to feature a poor grip. So, the rule here is to keep it softer while building on its slip-resistant capabilities.
When you take a look at the non-slip materials in your shoe, you do not need to bother about the midsole or insole. Rather, you need to focus on the outsole construction. Apart from the design, you also need to pay proper attention to the way this material has been built.
The shoes you purchase from the non-slip gallery combine aspects such as grip, stability, as well as durability. Your footwear can be constructed from materials such as:
Generally, a softer sole would provide you with reliable traction. An ideal choice for your slip-free experience would be a shoe made from rubber, given the fact that it is pliable & offers glitch-free traction in cool and warm weather conditions. Rubber sticks to the surface even when it is exposed to water or oil.
What prevents you from slipping with a shoe on?
When shopping for non-slip footwear, you need to know how this slip-resistant feature works. It actually depends on how well the sturdiness and softness of the shoe sole are balanced along with the tread pattern.
With the right balance of all, you get access to the best grip regardless of the surface you walk on.
What makes up for an ideal non-slip shoe?
Apart from the anti-slip sole, several other components make the shoe a non-slip one. There are multiple ways in which the non-slip shoe variants can be set apart from their competitors.
Your ideal slip-resistant shoe shall feature:
- Soft, durable, and lightweight EVA outsoles made of rubber
- Padded collars
- Features a non-slip tread pattern
- Stain and water-resistant uppers
- Orthotic footbeds along with top-notch arch support
- Cushioned midsoles to ensure maximum comfort
- Versatile, flattering design
- Adequate space in the toe box
Whether you are a nurse, doctor, dental hygienist, dentist, barista, server, or any job that needs you to be on your toes, you need a shoe that keeps you clocked-in perfectly without actually making you fall on your back. When wearing this shoe, you will be at peace, knowing that you can prevent any accidental injuries.
Not just that, another benefit of wearing a shoe that doesn’t make you slip is the fact that your heels, toes, feet, calves, as well as ankles, are free of discomfort and pain throughout the day. Not just that, the orthotic support on the arch will help you take care of any foot conditions that have been prevalent for a long.
Why are slip-resistant shoes important for workers?
As per the CDC, trips, slips, & falls are 2nd most common fatal injury that happens in a workplace. Also, such accidents can lead to unwanted leave from the workplace that goes on as long as 10 days on an average.
Having access to protective footwear or non-slip work shoes is surely vital to prevent any debilitating injuries such as torn muscles, strains, sprains, fractures, or dislocations. A well-designed non-slip shoe can helps you maintain the right traction & balance when walking on slippery surfaces.
Folks that work in departments such as construction, logistics, or emergency services might require slip-resistant safety footwear. Heavy-duty shoe soles and toe boxes with weight-resistant design can keep the workers safe as they opt for heavy-lifting tasks or move around fast to save a life.
Apart from this, many slip-resistant shoes help reduce the chances of electrical hazards on any wet surface.
When should you wear your non-slip shoes?
Ever had a bad accident when you slipped badly and hurt your back? Well, a non-slip shoe would help improve safety and stability across a range of floor-types and situations. Most joggers, hikers, or runners tend to opt for such non-slip shoes every time they go outdoors.
People, especially the ones with higher chances of falling and slipping, would surely benefit from the use of slip-resistant shoes to be implemented for daily tasks such as walking around, going to the mall, clothes shopping, and so on.
Apart from this, non-slip shoes are ideal for workplaces that are known to have oily or wet surfaces like hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and so on. In fact, many places have now mandated the use of such shoes to ensure a reduced risk of workplace accidents.
To ensure you are at your safest when going out, make sure you always choose a slip-resistant shoe. You never know when you might come across a situation where you have to cross through a slippery slope.
Now, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. While your slip-resistant shoe might help prevent you from falling in slick or normal conditions, they actually do the very opposite when you walk in snowy conditions. Snow can pack into your shoes’ grooves or tread patterns.
It could prevent the shoe from forming the right grip while increasing the risk of falling. The very same rule is applicable for mud-based roads as well. In case you have no option but to walk on these pathways, the key is to take a break regularly and clean the mud or snow from midst your footwear tread.
As you do this, you ensure that the traction isn’t lost and your walk is just as safe as it would have in normal terrains.
Slip Resistant Tests
To check whether the shoe is slip-resistant, your shoe needs to have passed these testing standards, which include:
- British Pendulum Skid-Resistance Tester
British Pendulum Skid-Resistance Tester
The bottom line
With the right shoe by your side, you can get rid of added stress on your feet and ensure that you are safe all the time. Whether you love to jog regularly regardless of the climate or work at a place that brings in risky pathways, having access to a non-slippery shoe is the key. So, this birthday, gift yourself the best non-slip shoe while keeping in mind these factors for a regret-free purchase!
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.