Most Winter Boots Aren't Good on Ice


A recent assessment of 98 pairs of winter footwear conducted by WinterLab at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute concluded that most of them were not suitable for stable walking on ice. Only 9 pairs tested on ice or wet ice passed the slip test. They have to develop their laboratory to allow for testing on snow, or snow covered ice.

According to their website WinterLab

 “can recreate typical Canadian winter conditions - sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice covered surfaces, and winds up to 30 km/hour - within the safety of a controlled laboratory setting. Scientists can study winter slips and falls, and the extremes of cold air and wind, without exposing study participants to the risks these conditions pose in the real world.”

They can recreate hills and slopes along with flat surfaces. Their set up is really interesting. The research subject is strapped into a harness which keeps them from hurting themselves when they fall. The walking surface itself can be moved suddenly to simulate a loss of balance, and the scientists then use stop motion photography to evaluate the results. WinterLab will participate in the creation and testing of new winter clothes and footwear to allow products to be better designed to function in snow and ice.

The actual testing of the footwear was done by asking people to walk on a level icy surface. The incline of the surface was gradually increased. The results were evaluated on dry ice and wet ice. You can see the testing results at .The boots were rated with a snowflake. The top-rated boots got one snowflake.

It is crucial to wear winter boots or shoes to avoid falling in the winter. The best of them include the following features:

  • A good tread
  • Soles made of Green Diamond – rubber with grit embedded in the material, or Arctic Grip which is a rubber with little crampons in them

Did you know?

  • Most seniors report that winter limits their activities due to the risk of slip and fall?
  • 21,000 Ontario residents visit the emergency department due to slip and fall injuries on snow and ice every winter
  • Ice covered in light snow is the most dangerous walking surface

Please take care outside in the winter and wear the appropriate shoes outdoors. Carry your office shoes with you. Make sure to clear and salt or sand all walkways around your home to keep yourself and your visitors safe.


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