I recently attended a Falls Prevention conference in Orillia. One of the speakers spoke about research that is being done to test boots for their slip resistance in different kinds of winter conditions. The testing is being done by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, at a special winter lab where real people test the slip ability of various makes of boots. Participants walk back and forth on an ice floor while the angle of the floor is slowly increased. Boots are rated based on their performance on the icy surface; not just on cold ice but also on melting ice, walking both uphill and downhill. They test both work footwear that are commonly used by industrial workers and casual footwear that people wear on the streets during the winter.
The rating system is indicated by snowflakes. At an angle of 7 degrees the boot can grip well enough for you to manage walking up and down a curb ramp on an Ontario street. This gives the boot a score of 7, and means the boot passes the test. A score of 7 gives the boot a 1 snowflake ranking. If the boot has a score of 11 (can handle an 11 degree incline) then it will get 2 snowflakes and if it reaches 15 (can manage a 15 degree incline or above), it will receive 3 snowflakes!
90% of the footwear tested did not rank at all. The first year of testing only 2 makes of boots ranked, and these had only a 1 snowflake rating. The second year boot manufacturers got on board and are using this testing to improve the grip ability of their boots. If you would like to see how your boots rank or want to learn more about this testing visit the website www.ratemytreads.com