Slip sliding away: Most winter boots have no grip

Posted at 11:19 AM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 07:19:06-05

(RNN) – Here’s the cold hard truth.

Most winter boots are no help at all if you’re looking for traction on slippery sidewalks.

In Canada, where they know something about ice and snow, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute developed a rating system for winter boots and the results will send a shiver down your spine.

“We have tested 198 different types of footwear in total and found 19 percent of 198 we tested in 2017 got one snowflake compared to only 10 percent of 100 boots tested previous year,” the institute’s website says.

One snowflake is the absolute lowest rating a boot can get. Eighty-one percent didn’t even get that.

The institute tests all sorts of boots.

“We test both work safety footwear that are commonly used by industrial workers and casual footwear that people wear on the streets during the winter,” the website says.

The ratings for the various styles and brands are available on

The institute determines the ratings by having people walk up a slippery slope of ice in a laboratory.

If the boots can grip on an incline of at least seven degrees, they rate one snowflake. They get two snowflakes if they can climb 11 degrees, and three snowflakes for 15 degrees.

Researchers say manufacturers are starting to develop better ice-gripping soles. The number of boots getting a one snowflake rating nearly doubled over the last year.

But with eight out of 10 boots not earning even a basic rating, it’s still a slippery slope when shopping for a good pair.

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