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Ergonomics. 2016 May;59(5):717-28. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2015.1084051. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Slip resistance of winter footwear on snow and ice measured using maximum achievable incline.

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a iDAPT, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - University Health Network , Toronto , Canada.
b Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.
c Health and Safety Laboratory , Buxton , UK.
d SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre , University of Salford , Lancashire , UK.


Protective footwear is necessary for preventing injurious slips and falls in winter conditions. Valid methods for assessing footwear slip resistance on winter surfaces are needed in order to evaluate footwear and outsole designs. The purpose of this study was to utilise a method of testing winter footwear that was ecologically valid in terms of involving actual human testers walking on realistic winter surfaces to produce objective measures of slip resistance. During the experiment, eight participants tested six styles of footwear on wet ice, on dry ice, and on dry ice after walking over soft snow. Slip resistance was measured by determining the maximum incline angles participants were able to walk up and down in each footwear-surface combination. The results indicated that testing on a variety of surfaces is necessary for establishing winter footwear performance and that standard mechanical bench tests for footwear slip resistance do not adequately reflect actual performance. Practitioner Summary: Existing standardised methods for measuring footwear slip resistance lack validation on winter surfaces. By determining the maximum inclines participants could walk up and down slopes of wet ice, dry ice, and ice with snow, in a range of footwear, an ecologically valid test for measuring winter footwear performance was established.


Slips and falls; gait kinematics; product safety; user testing; winter footwear

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