Slip resistant properties of footwear on ice

Ergonomics. 2004 May 15;47(6):710-6. doi: 10.1080/00140130410001658673.


Current research on slipperiness of footwear has mainly focused on floors and lubricated floors. Slips and falls on icy and snowy surfaces involve not only outdoor workers, but also pedestrians and the general public; and occur in cold regions and in winter season in many parts of the world. However, in comparison with the size of the problem, research on slips and falls on icy and snowy surfaces has been scarce. The objective of this paper is to explore the slip resistant properties of footwear (soling materials, roughness and hardness) on ice. The coefficients of kinetic friction of four different soling materials (synthetic rubber, nitrile rubber, natural rubber and polyurethane) were measured on ice (-12 degrees C). The outsole roughness and hardness were also measured. Results showed that the polyurethane soling did not perform better than synthetic rubber, nitrile rubber and natural rubber on pure hard ice (-12 degrees C). Soling roughness was positively correlated with the coefficient of kinetic friction. The most slip resistant soling material (polyurethane) on floors and lubricated floors may not provide sufficient slip resistance on ice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Equipment Design
  • Friction*
  • Humans
  • Ice*
  • Shoes / standards*
  • Snow
  • Surface Properties


  • Ice