What Are Slip Resistant Shoes?

Cropped view feet of model wearing the Men's Carlo Sneaker in black.

If you’ve ever worked in a setting that requires slip-resistant shoes, you know that they’re built a little differently from other types of sneakers. The slip resistant outsole material, tread pattern, arch support, and overall design of the shoe sole contribute to a shoe’s ability to protect you from slipping and falling.

However, the workplace isn’t the only setting where you may want to wear a comfortable work shoe that can help you avoid an unfortunate slip. That’s why you can now find slip-resistant shoes designed for fashion as well as function.

This guide will explain what slip resistant shoes are and explore the many reasons why you might want to consider adding a pair to your shoe collection.

Cropped feet view of model wearing Men's sneakers with crew socks in camo.

What Are Slip-Resistant Shoes Made Out Of?

Slip-resistant shoes can come in the form of a heavy-duty slip resistant boot or more casual styles. Truly slip-resistant shoes have the following construction features:

  • Rubber outsoles – The outsole is the part of the shoe that touches the ground when you take a step. In slip-resistant shoes, the slip resistant rubber outsole should be made from durable rubber. This gives it more gripping power on slippery surfaces. The rubber should also be somewhat pliable. If it’s too firm, there won’t be any give if you do start to slip.
  • Tread patterns that reduce slippage – The tread pattern is also critical to maintaining a slip resistant shoe and providing superior traction. It should be designed in a manner that channels water away from your feet instead of trapping it between the tread. This allows your feet to maintain a grip on slippery surfaces.
  • Waterproof or water-resistant material – The upper part of non slip shoes should protect your feet from seeping moisture. This is less important than the tread design for slipping but still a key component of comfort.

All of these features help prevent you from slipping and falling if you’re walking over wet or oily surfaces.

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How Can You Tell if Shoes Are Slip-Resistant?

Many shoes claim to be slip-resistant or anti slip shoes. However, shoes that may actually help prevent slips and falls have specific tread patterns on the bottom. If you flip over a pair of slip resistant footwear and examine the tread and grooves, you should see hexagons, circles, or another shape that allows water to escape.

Slip-resistant shoes also typically have groves throughout the sole that further help keep water out from under your shoes. 

Lastly, slip-resistant shoes should not have a completely flat sole. Some rounding is necessary to prevent water trapping. Look for shoes that have a sole that curves inward under the arch.

When Should You Wear Slip-Resistant Shoes?

Slip-resistant shoes should be worn in situations where it’s likely you’ll be walking over wet, oily, or otherwise slippery surfaces. For individuals who work in certain professions, this can include on the job. For instance, the following types of workers typically favor a slip resistant work shoe:

  • Restaurant servers or kitchen workers
  • Nurses and other healthcare professionals
  • Cleaning professionals
  • Factory workers
  • Grocery store employees

It’s important to note that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) sets specific standards for the shoes or sneakers you’re required to wear in some professions. You should always follow the guidelines and requirements of your employer for workplace safety.

Workplace rules for slip-resistant shoes are in place for your protection. According to the CDC, “slips, trips, and falls are the third most common type of non-fatal workplace injuries in the United States.” Simply wearing the right slip-resistant footwear might help prevent on-the-job injuries.

Outside of work, there are other times you may want to slip on a pair of non-slip shoes. If the weather is wet, but you just want to wear a casual shoe that looks chic with your favorite jeans, slip-resistant shoes can fit the bill. 

Model wearing the Men's TRVL LITE Slip On.

Can Slip-Resistant Shoes Be Fashionable?

Yes! Slip-resistant shoes for casual days can be stylish. If you’re planning to be out in slippery conditions or just want a little better tread on your everyday pair, you can check out our new Fenix men’s low top sneakers which are made to withstand any situation or try a simple pair of Alpargatas made for outdoor adventure. These shoes feature:

  • Slip-resistant treads
  • Water-resistant uppers
  • Sturdy rubber outsoles
  • Several fashionable color choices

If you want slip resistance and a little more warmth, then a pair of water-resistant, stylish boots might be the perfect option—they’ll look amazing paired with your favorite jeans and a warm coat. Plus, they’ll keep your feet toasty, even on strolls outside in wet, chilly weather.

Be Safe and Stylish with TOMS

In some professions, OSHA requires that you protect yourself with a good pair of non-slip shoes. However, slip-resistant shoes aren’t only a good choice for the workplace. There are plenty of daily situations where you can benefit from wearing shoes that prevent you from slipping, sliding, and falling.

The good news is that you can enjoy the safety of slip-resistant shoes without sacrificing style. At TOMS, we know that fashion is important to you. Our new Alpargata Resident is a sneaker-slipper hybrid with a high traction outsole and can be found in both our men’s slippers and women’s slippers collections. From boots and sneakers for men, we offer several options for slip-resistant shoes you’ll feel good about wearing, including easy on-off men’s slip on sneakers. If you’re wondering what the difference between walking shoes vs. running shoes for your work life, we have the answers to that as well. 

Reviewed By Andrew David Stewart

Andrew David Stewart is the Manager of Digital Marketing at TOMS and has been working in the digital marketing and social media world for 6 years. Andrew is a lover of nature and the outdoors, and is passionate about telling stories through digital media.

Sources: 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Personal Protective Equipment-Foot Protection. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.136

CDC. Slip Resistant Shoes. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/newsroom/feature/slipresistantshoes.html