Conventional winter-safety footwear devices, such as crampons, can be effective in preventing slips on icy surfaces but the protruding studs can lead to other problems such as trips. A new hybrid (rough and smooth) rubber outsole was designed to provide high slip resistance without use of protruding studs or asperities. In the present study, we examined the slip resistance of the hybrid rubber outsole on both dry (-10°C) and wet (0°C) icy surfaces, in comparison to three conventional strap-on winter anti-slip devices: 1) metal coils ("Yaktrax Walker"), 2) gritted (sandpaper-like) straps ("Rough Grip"), and 3) crampons ("Altagrips-Lite"). Drag tests were performed to measure static (SCOF) and dynamic (DCOF) coefficients of friction, and gait trials were conducted on both level and sloped ice surfaces (16 participants). The drag-test results showed relatively high SCOF (≧0.37) and DCOF (≧0.31) values for the hybrid rubber sole, at both temperatures. The other three footwear types exhibited lower DCOF values (0.06-0.20) when compared with the hybrid rubber sole at 0°C (p<0.01). Slips were more frequent when wearing the metal coils, in comparison to the other footwear types, when descending a slope at-10°C (6% of trials vs 0%; p<0.05). There were no other significant footwear-related differences in slip frequency, distance or velocity. These results indicate that the slip-resistance of the hybrid rubber sole on icy surfaces was comparable to conventional anti-slip footwear devices. Given the likely advantages of the hybrid rubber sole (less susceptibility to tripping, better slip resistance on non-icy surfaces), this type of sole should contribute to a decrease in fall accidents; however, further research is needed to confirm its effectiveness under a wider range of test conditions.
- Hybrid rubber sole
- Slip and fall