Stepping confidently: what are slip resistant shoes?

By Orthofeet Team  /  October 12, 2023 Blog Home

ronWhether you're navigating a bustling kitchen, a sleek hospital corridor, a rain slicked sidewalk, or any other surface that might be slippery or uneven, the need for stability and safety is universal. Luckily, we live in an era when the innovation of slip resistant shoes already exists, helping to keep you on your feet when it matters most. 

So, what are slip resistant shoes, how do they work and who should consider making them an essential part of their everyday wardrobe?

Here’s everything you need to know about the footwear that allows you to walk confidently and securely.

What are slip resistant shoes?

Non-slip shoes, also known as slip resistant shoes, are specially designed footwear engineered to provide exceptional traction and grip on various surfaces. 

They are essential for:

  • People who work in environments where slipping or falling poses a significant risk, such as restaurants, hospitals, industrial settings, or any place with wet, oily, or otherwise slippery floors.
  • Older people, who are typically more prone to slips and falls.
  • Individuals working in environments with uneven surfaces, such as construction sites.
  • Hikers, runners, and people who engage in other sports and can benefit from improved grip and stability on various surfaces.
  • Anyone seeking the peace of mind these shoes provide while walking or engaging in activities on their feet.

What makes a shoe slip resistant?

Slip resistant shoes are typically designed with a few key features: 

Outsoles with tread patterns
Slip resistant shoes feature outsoles designed with specific tread patterns or rubber compounds that increase friction and prevent skidding. These patterns are strategically placed to enhance stability.
Slip resistant materials
The materials used in slip resistant shoe construction are chosen for their slip resistant properties, offering superior grip even on slippery surfaces.These shoes are often designed to resist water, oil and other liquids, reducing the risk of slips in wet or greasy environments.
Compliance with safety standards
In some cases, slip resistant shoes may adhere to industry specific safety standards to ensure they provide the necessary protection for particular work environments.

How do you know if you have slip resistant shoes?

You can tell whether or not your shoes are slip resistant with a few simple steps:

  • Look at the sole. Begin by looking at the sole of the shoe. A telltale sign of slip resistant footwear is a sole crafted from some type of high quality rubber. These materials provide traction, as well as cushioning and durability. Slip resistant soles are also rounded at the edges instead of being completely flat, so that liquids don’t get caught underneath. In addition, the soles of slip-resistant shoes are often thicker than those of standard shoes, especially if they are intended for work purposes. This added thickness contributes to increased support and foot protection.
  • Look at the Tread. Pay close attention to the tread on the shoe's outsole, which should consist of grooves forming a specific pattern on the bottom of the shoe. These tread designs, while sometimes visually appealing, are primarily functional rather than decorative. Look for patterns featuring small hexagons, circles, or squiggly lines, as these designs enhance the shoe's slip resistance by preventing liquids from getting trapped under the soles.As a general rule, a smaller and more pronounced tread pattern indicates better slip resistance.
  • Try the shoes. The most important step is how you feel while wearing the shoes, so test them and see for yourself if they are slip resistant. Walk on a hard surface, such as tile or polished concrete, to check how effectively the shoe grips the floor. If you have the opportunity, try stepping on a slippery or wet surface to see how the shoe performs in such conditions.During your test, pay attention to other factors as well: the fit, support, cushioning and overall comfort of the shoes. Remember that while slip resistance is crucial, comfort is equally important, especially if you plan to wear the shoes for extended periods.
  • Read the product description. Although it’s last on our list, checking the product description or tag is actually the easiest way to work out if your shoe is slip resistant or not. Look for phrases like ‘slip resistant’. These labels indicate that the shoe has undergone rigorous testing to meet slip resistant standards.Most manufacturers will not claim their products as slip resistant without valid certification, as it can have legal implications for the brand.

Who should wear slip resistant shoes?

Slip resistant shoes are often associated with specific occupational environments where slippery surfaces are a potential hazard. These environments include professions such as chefs and other restaurant workers, construction workers, janitors, vet techs, and healthcare workers.

In fact, studies have shown that high rated slip resistant shoes minimized slip incidences by 37% and the occurrence of falls resulting from slips by 49% among Britain’s healthcare workers.

However, the benefits of slip resistant shoes extend far beyond these work settings, making them a valuable addition to anyone's wardrobe. These shoes are not just about safety, but also about convenience and even style, offering advantages that can benefit people in various aspects of their lives.

Imagine a typical day where you're running errands, going to the grocery store, or simply walking down the street. Suddenly, you encounter unexpected hazards like puddles, ice patches, or spilled liquids. In such situations, slip resistant shoes can prove to be a lifesaver. They provide an extra layer of protection against slips and falls, reducing the risk of injury.

In addition, research found that slip resistant shoes can help older people avoid falls and slips. 

According to an article published in PubMed, “footwear influences balance and the subsequent risk of slips, trips, and falls by altering somatosensory feedback to the foot and ankle and modifying frictional conditions at the shoe/floor interface.” 

The article goes on to state that a comprehensive review of the existing literature found that older people should consider wearing shoes with sturdy slip-resistant soles, as well as low heels, both indoors and outdoors to enhance safety. 

The review also found that walking indoors without shoes or in socks and walking indoors or outdoors while wearing high heel shoes have been shown to elevate the likelihood of falls in seniors. Additional footwear design features like heel collar height, sol


What do Slip Resistant shoes look like on the bottom?

There are three main visible design features of the soles of non-slip shoes:Slip resistant sole

There are three main visible design features of the soles of slip resistant shoes:

  1. A rubber sole, often made from EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), which is a synthetic, foam-like resin frequently employed in the outsoles and midsoles of various shoes. This material enhances grip and traction significantly.For work shoes, the sole should also be thicker than normal, to provide improved support and protection.
  2. A well designed tread pattern, featuring elements like squiggles, circles, or hexagons, plays a crucial role in increasing the sole's surface area. This pattern effectively grips onto uneven surfaces, thus acting as a preventive measure against falls and injuries. In addition, the tread's frictional properties not only help secure your footing, but also prevent the accumulation of liquids underneath the sole, thus preventing slips.
  3. The sole is designed with a slight rounding at its edges, strategically designed to prevent the trapping of liquids beneath it. This feature, instead, facilitates the natural seeping out of any liquids encountered, further enhancing slip resistance.

What's the difference between non-skid and slip resistant shoes?

Non-skid, anti-skid, anti-slip and slip resistant are all terms used interchangeably to describe shoes designed to enhance surface grip, provide superior stability and help prevent slips, falls and injuries.

Are all running shoes slip resistant?

Not all running shoes are inherently slip resistant. In fact, most are not. 

The slip resistance of a running shoe depends on its design, sole material and tread pattern. Some running shoes are specifically designed for various terrains, including wet or slippery surfaces, and have slip resistant capabilities.

Slip resistant does not mean compromise

At Orthofeet, we firmly believe in not compromising on anything – be it comfort, safety, or style. Our slip-resistant shoes are meticulously crafted to provide advanced grip, stability, and optimal support for your feet, legs and back. 

We prioritize your health and wellbeing, ensuring that you can stay on your feet comfortably, even when standing all day. Every shoe we design, including those that offer slip resistance, comes complete with specialty features, such as customizable arch support, premium orthotic insoles, ergonomic soles, protective interiors and a spacious toe box, among others. And yes, they are as stylish as they are functional.

Our slip resistant sneakers and work shoes feature an innovative tread pattern and high quality materials that deliver excellent traction on various surfaces, significantly reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Basically, we take care of all things footwear, so all that’s left for you to do is confidently put your best foot (or rather feet) forward and focus on your activity, not your feet.