Accidental slides and falls are some of the leading causes of foot problems and injuries for people of all ages. If you are a clinical expert, you are foodservice staff or have an occupation that expects you to spend most of the time standing, non-slip shoes are an absolute necessity.
Many people assume that if a shoe is labelled “non-slip” or “slip-resistant”, it is true that it can deter accidental slips. However, that is only a misconception. Another off-base conviction is that if the outsole of a shoe features an odd or complex design, it can hold well on slick surfaces.
Well, tread patterns have their contribution to the overall grip of a shoe. However, that is not the only factor that can actually boost its traction. If you are thinking about how to tell if a shoe is slip-free, then you have to steer clear of the stated misconceptions.
Luckily, most footwear brands tend to understand what goes into an ideal slip-resistant shoe, with the best options covering all the bases in terms of grip, arch support and comfort.
Non-slip shoes are probably the perfect footwear to minimize your risk of exorbitant and possibly hazardous mishap. In this article, we’ll get closer to how non-slip shoes differ from regular footwear, and what to look for in a professional shoe, hostile to slip.
What is a Non-Slip Shoe?
Bearing in mind that there is no clear definition of what “anti-slip” means, it can be rather tricky to tell how effective a certain shoe will be on slick surfaces. Nonetheless, there are various design features that help to enhance traction while decreasing slippage.
A non-slip shoe is basically a type of safety shoe. As the name suggests, slip-resistant shoes are designed to keep wearers from slipping on wet, slick or such smooth surfaces. The main aspect that sets them apart from regular shoes is the elastic platform that gives better grasp and foothold.
Proper anti-slip shoes are typically designed with durable, non-skid outsoles and patterned tread for extra friction on wet, oily slippery floors. Read on for more information on how to determine if a shoe is slip-resistant.
The tread pattern is one of the most important features when it comes to slip resistance. This feature alone helps to improve the surface area of the outsole and grip against uneven grounds to avoid slipping.
Many slip-resistant work and athletic shoes include multi-patterned tread to offer traction from every angle. That means you can walk, run, and pivot without stressing about falling.
Certain tread designs can help disperse water when walking on wet floors. It is recommended to go for an open tread pattern because an enclosed sole will trap water underneath, which can lead to hydroplaning. The same case applies to flat and smooth soles such as most heels and sandals.
The tread design of non-slip shoes should be interlocked, channeling water away from the underneath. Avoid patterns that are designed with flat edges because edges can hold water and prevent it from moving out of the sole of the shoe.
For that matter, you will be best with patterns that have no sharp edges. This will allow water, oil, and such slick fluids to flow more easily through openings in the tread. Circular treads, for instance, will also increase the surface area of the sole, ensuring more contact with the ground.
It is, therefore, important to check the pattern on any pair of shoes when buying and while wearing. Over time, the tread will wear down, reducing the traction level and consequently increasing the chances of falls. You may want to replace the shoe- or the sole for that matter- when you notice a significant wearing down of grooves (maybe two or three millimeters in depth).
Shoes generally are composed of three major parts. The first one is the midsole. It runs along the base of the shoe, providing support to the bottom of your foot. It is simply the construction of the shoe’s inner potion that provides cushioning. Mostly, it is made of foam, which is soft enough for comfort, yet rigid enough to deliver ankle support.
The outsole, however, is the most influential part as far as traction and stability are concerned. This is the section of the shoe that bears all the wear and tear, through constant contact with the ground. It dictates how well the shoe can be termed as non-slip.
The outsole offers maximum contact with the ground, particularly around areas such as heels and balls of your feet. As such, it is best to consider those shoes with rounded edges on the outsole. This will not only promote shoe flexibility but will also allow liquids to escape from the sole easily, thereby preventing slippages.
Most shoes that market themselves as “non-slip” tend to have an intricate sole design. However, that only does not guarantee that the shoe will offer better traction than those with traditional sole designs. Instead, you should check for design features such as:
- Safety-Lock Soles: these soles provide the best traction on wet, smooth surfaces.
- Chevron or Ultra grip Sipe soles. These soles work to clean themselves as you walk, thereby enhancing maximum grip.
- Aluminum Oxide Grit: These are soles designed with material that offers the maximum amount of grip. The fact that aluminum and easy to apply makes these soles ideal for the much-needed traction on smooth surfaces.
- Lug or cleated Soles: these are multiple soles that are typically used in heavy-duty industrial applications, ensuring maximum grip without compromising durability.
Slip-resistant shoes can be developed from many different materials. Non-slip shoes should be soft, versatile and pliable. Shoes that are hard and stiff usually have poor grip. The rule of thumb is that the softer the sole of a shoe, the better it is slip repellent capabilities.
When shopping for slip-resistant shoes, you do not have to stress too much on the midsole or insole. Instead, concentrate on the outsole formula. The best outsole should combine durability, stability and traction.
When shopping, you are likely to come across many models being advertised as “non-slip” probably on the box. But do not be fooled. The fact that there is no official standard set for non-slip, most of the labeling is likely to be completely arbitrary. Companies can market shoes as slip-resistance without having any actual proof of that.
With that in mind, there is nothing wrong with looking for the “non-slip” label. Although it is not a guarantee that the shoe will deliver superior traction on wet surfaces, you can alternatively check the outsole and the tread pattern to see if it features the grip that you need.
If you see a shoe that’s marketed as “water-repellent” or rather “oil-resistant”, that does not always mean that particular footwear is non-slip. Oil-resistant generally means that the top construction or material will not suffer from oil or grease stains. Water-repellent, on the other hand, might imply that the shoe will resist water or liquid penetration, which is pretty different from being non-slip.
Other claims such as “chef approved” or “restaurant tested” should also be taken with caution. These are mostly unbacked statements, used purely to induce buyers. Always be sure to properly examine the shoe in question to see if it can hold up to the developer’s claims.