How To Tell If Shoes Are Non Slip?

Non slip shoes are a must if you are working in a food service, whether that is a restaurant or a food processing factory. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may require them for people who work with damp surfaces such as freshly mopped floors, ocean soaked piers, or floors in a barn or a hospital that might be soaked with…whatever.

OSHA demands that employees wear non-slip shoes should they work in an environment where there might be oil, water, grease, or other liquids on the floor. And whatever OSHA wants, OSHA gets.

how to tell if shoes are non slip

What Are Non Slip Shoes?

While most people might think of an ordinary pair of rubber-soled sneakers to be non-slip shoes, there are actually some very specific traits that define a pair of shoes really “non-slip.” First and foremost among them is a sole that is fabricated from a soft rubber that is engineered to deliver even more of a floor grip when put up against moisture, grease, or oil.

What Do Non Slip Shoes Look Like?

Slip-resistance should be indicated on the box or in the online description. Whether it is or not, you must always check out the shoe soles before purchasing a pair. Non-slip shoes need to have a sturdy EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) rubber outsole that is somewhat rounded on the sides.

EVA rubber is a man-made, foam-like resin that is utilized in the manufacture of the outsoles and midsoles of most shoes. The tread pattern should have little squiggles, circles, or hexagons on the bottom of the outsole in order to create friction to prevent slipping.

How Do Non Slip Shoes Work?

It’s the tread that does it. Shoes that have the best friction to prevent slips have deep tread grooves. These deep grooves hinder against any slips and falls as they grip on the floor and, quite obviously, the more grooves that are on your shoes, the more slip-resistant the shoes will be.

For the most part, the friction you get for each tread groove lays somewhere between 0.018 to 0.108. Do keep in mind that all of this is reliant on the condition of the floor that you are walking on.

Is Slip Resistant The Same As Non Slip?

There is no substantial difference between non-slip and slip-resistant shoes. Both types of shoes are engineered to help people while walking or running. They’re even both good for working on varying kinds of slippery surfaces to keep from slipping and falling.

The phrases non-slip and slip-resistant are quite often utilized in the same context. One brand will use “slip-resistant” and another will use “non-slip”. The most vital thing to keep in mind is that both of these kinds of shoes have particularly engineered soles that have great traction to aid in keeping you from slipping.

My personal theory is that brands that mark their shoes as “slip-resistant” are essentially buying “Don’t sue me” insurance. Shoe brands that mark themselves as “non-slip” have more confidence in their product.

What Makes A Shoe Non Slip?

Any shoe that provides you with good traction is considered non-slip. Shoes that have superior traction to others are those that come with deep tread grooves which offer improved friction between you and the floor. They are also generally built out of a softer material that lets you “grip” the floor as you walk. The deeper the tread is, the more slip resistant the shoes will be.

How Do You Know If A Shoe Is Non Slip?

You can see what it says on the box. You can check out the tread. The grooves, as said before, should be nice and deep. Another thing you should look for in a non-slip shoe is a sole that is rubbery and not too hard.

If you are in a brick and mortar store that has a hardwood floor you can test them. (They will probably frown on you actually pouring anything on their floor.) When shopping online, you’ll just have to trust the reviews. Most sites will allow you to run a virtual magnifying glass over the tread.

Can You Make Regular Shoes Non Slip?

You could try wearing down the sole with very coarse sandpaper, emery board, or metal file. Sticking adhesive bandage strips to the sole may work. You could coat the sole in hairspray or a thin layer of paint.

You’d be surprised how much an ankle strap can do. You could put an entirely new sole on or make do with masking tape. Rubber glue and salt will give your sole a nice gritty texture.

Jobs That Require Non Slip Shoes

Restaurant workers are the first to come to mind. People who work on roofs no doubt want something they won’t slip in. People on cleanup crews need something non-slippery. Factory workers who work in a place that processes food or just has greasy or oily machines may benefit from non-slip shoes.

Are Non Slip Shoes Considered PPE?

There is no specific PPE requirement for slip-resistant shoes. As such, this means the employee must pay for them out of pocket.

Does OSHA Require Non Slip Shoes?

OSHA standards require that construction workers wear slip-resistant shoes.

Do Employers Have To Pay For Non Slip Shoes?

As said before, paying for non-slip shoes is the employee’s shoes. They may, however, provide non-skid mats. OSHA strongly suggests (not orders) that employers have a shoe policy program that could aid in the funding of proper footwear.

How To Make Shoes Non Slip For Work?

The best way to make shoes non-slip is by making the soles rougher. You can achieve this by walking on rough surfaces such as gravel, pebbles, and tough concrete rocks. What you really want to do is to create pits and abrasions on the smooth sole to give the shoe some traction. So, just go for a walk.

Another thing you can do is rub your shoes against rough surfaces. What you can do is go outside and rub the soles over the driveway gravel. Don’t be too rough, though. You don’t really want to destroy the new shoes you just bought.

How Do You Break In Non Slip Shoes?

It is recommended that you do some moisturizing with cream, oil, or liquid. This is the most effective method. This will make the leather more malleable. What a conditioner will do is promote the leather to slowly but surely mold to your foot.

Make sure to buy new pairs of shoes in advance of when you will really need to use them. For the best of results, you should put on the conditioner and let them air dry. You can then wear your boots about the house for a little while before you take them to work.

Cleaning And Caring For Non Slip Footwear

First, keep in mind that you should never leave your shoes anyplace where they will be exposed to heat or sunlight. This means a dishwasher, washing machine, or hot car. Extreme heat can cause the shoes to shrink or warp. With this in mind, you can follow these steps to clean your slip-resistant shoes:

  • If your shoe or boot comes with a removable insole, first take the insole out before you do anything.
  • Rinse out the shoes or boots completely with clean water to swiftly get rid of any dirt or debris.
  • Utilize a soft cloth in wiping away any dirt and debris still adhering to the shoe surface.
  • If extra cleaning is required, mix together a drop or two of mild dish detergent with water in a pail or sink and then place your shoes in for a soak.
  • While your non-slip shoes are soaking, use a scrub brush to gently scrub any stubborn dirt away.
  • Rinse your shoes out completely and let them dry off thoroughly.

Can You Put Non Slip Shoes In The Washer?

You should not do this because this can cause them to warp or shrink.

Shoe Brands That Are Known For Making Non Slip Shoes

  • Skechers is the first to come to mind when listing quality non-slip shoes. They are not only non-slip but comfortable because many Skechers’ shoes’ soles are made out of foam. This adds a soft and lightweight quality to their shoes. Reebok lets you be you without slipping all over the place. Not only is their non-slip sole superb but “the ones classified as Cushion tactical” are good for those who have to work in hazardous conditions.


  • Many people find they can’t slip in Reeboks even if they try to.


  • Merrell is not bad at all, but perhaps more suited to backpackers. They are the favorite of hikers who like to cover all sorts of terrain. They could be used in a work environment, provided that the dress code is fairly relaxed.


  • Crocs are lightweight and very comfortable as well as non-slip. These slip-resistant and quiet shoes are preferred by people who are on their feet all day. For some professions, you may want to look for a closed-toe model.


  • KEEN is quite the favorite among restaurant workers. The Oxford design creates a professional look while keeping the foot safe. The extra cushioning and moisture-wicking lining add to the comfort.


  • Townfrost is also a favorite with restaurant workers. The makers of this shoe test their products on a surface greased with Crisco. The design and construction of a Townfrost definitely have restaurant workers in mind.

Can You Wear Non Slip Shoes Outside Of Work?

You can, but it’s better if you don’t. If you want your work shoes to last a long time, only wear them to work. The slip-resistant outsole is rather soft and gets worn down easily. Granted, this means if you’re so broke you can’t afford another pair and have to walk to work or commute between work and school, you’re pretty much SOL.

How Long Do Non Slip Shoes Last?

For the most part, slip-resistant shoes can last anywhere between six and twelve months when worn in the average work environment. Some might last longer. Some might not last as long.

This is the reason why a good deal of companies provide their employees with a shoe “subsidy” once or twice a year in order to make sure that they are wearing shoes that are in the very best of condition.


Always remember that whether or not a shoe’s slip-resistance is indicated on the box or in an online description, you should always take a good look at the soles of the shoes before you buy a pair.

It should be soft rubber with deep grooves to provide traction on floors that are moist or slippery. Many athletic shoes are made with a good grip, but that’s with a dry surface in mind. A real non-slip shoe really stands up to slippery surfaces.


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