Only 8% of Winter Boots Are Slip Resistant, Studies Show

November 30, 2016

winter bootsA team of researchers from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network recently developed a brand new test to evaluate the validity of “slip resistant” footwear on icy surfaces.

They used real people in a simulated winter environment to test the slip resistance of 98 different winter boots and found that only eight percent of the footwear types actually met the minimum slip resistance standards.

In other words, most winter boots on the market don’t prevent slips on ice and snow.

In 2012, 666 fatal on-the-job injuries in the U.S. were directly associated with slips, trips, and falls. In fact, these types of accidents cause 15% of all accidental deaths. Slipping on ice is a major hazard for anyone living in a cold climate.

In Canada, an estimated 20,000 Ontarians visit the emergency room every year as a result of falling on ice or snow. A recent report published by Toronto Public Health revealed that over 40% of Canadians between the ages of 35 and 59 and 60% of those between 60 and 85 admitted that they leave their house less often in order to avoid the winter weather.

More than 145 million adults currently include walking as a part of their physically active lifestyle. However, as highlighted by the statistic above, many people are afraid to walk around outside in the wintertime.

“A lot of elderly people choose not to go out,” said Dr. Geoff Fernie, the Research Director at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. “So they get no exercise and they get depressed and isolated.”
Because of this new test, however, consumers will now be able to consider slip resistance ratings before purchasing winter footwear.

“This is another example of how research at Toronto Rehab provides practical help to prevent accidents and disability. I expect that many serious and life-changing injuries will be prevented this winter by people choosing to buy better non-slip footwear,” said Fernie.

According to Fernie, the study, which was published on, was intended as a consumer research tool and a motivator for winter boot manufacturers to improve the performance of their products.

“We wanted to protect the consumer to an enormous degree and bring more competition to the industry, so they pay more attention to something beyond what [boots] look like,” said Fernie.

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