How Slippery Are Your Winter Boots?

Canadian winters can be harsh! Before you step outside in the cold take a look at what’s on your feet. Although they may look good, your winter boots might not stand up to the icy conditions outside.

A group of researchers at Toronto’s University Health Network have developed a new and innovative way to test the slip resistant ability of your footwear on icy surfaces. They used real people in a lab that simulates winter conditions.  They created a new testing method called the ‘Maximum Achievable Angle’ to score shoes and boots ability to resist slipping. The researchers had people walk in their winter environment and observed at what incline they began to slip. People were tested walking uphill, downhill, on bare ice and melting ice.  They came up with a three snowflake scale to rate different boot models based on their results.

Of the 98 models that they tested only 9 passed their winter slip test. These 9 only received a 1 snowflake rating, meaning they can prevent slipping at an incline up to 7 degrees (the maximum slope of a curb ramp in Ontario).

They also found that the boots that performed the best had one of 2 types of soles. Green Diamond material is a material with green grit embeds in it. Arctic Grip looks smooth, however it has microscopic crampons that grip on slippery surfaces.

Every year more than 20,000 people in Ontario visit the hospital due to injuries related to slip and fall on ice or snow. Of those, some suffer injuries such as fractures that can affect them for several years.

The IDAPT lab has created a list of boots and footwear and their corresponding slip score. This is the first time that such a list has been created, similar to the ones made for winter tires. Unfortunately, 94% of the boots that they have tested do not prevent slip and falls.

To check out your footwear’s ability to resist slipping visit