Do you feel a little unsteady in your current shoes? Lots of situations can make you lose your footing, from spills to icy sidewalks.

Slip and fall accidents send over 1 million people to the ER every year. Whether you work in a slippery environment or simply want more stability, finding shoes with good traction can help you keep your footing.

Keep reading to learn what to look for in shoes to ensure good traction.

Outsole Material

The soles of shoes include different layers, but the outer layer, called the outsole, is where you want to focus your attention. It has the most impact on your stability and traction.

Outsoles range from hard and stiff to soft and flexible depending on the material used. A softer outsole gives the best traction because they’re better able to grip the ground. Hard, rigid outsoles can’t get the same amount of grip.

Rubber outsoles are often good for traction. They tend to offer more slip resistance than other materials if they become wet.

Tread Pattern

Looking at the tread design gives you clues about how well the shoes will perform in slippery conditions. A wet surface, whether it’s covered in water, oil, or another liquid, is often the cause of slip and fall accidents. Some tread patterns are better than others in handling those liquids.

To stay on your feet, you want the liquid to move away from your shoes, not be trapped under them. When water gets trapped under your shoes, it creates a hydroplaning effect, similar to the way your car can slip on wet roads. If the shoe has an enclosed tread where there’s a solid border around the tread, it traps the liquid and makes the shoes more slippery.

Interlocking tread patterns that go all the way to the edge of the outsole offer the most slip resistance. The interlocking design creates a channel so the liquid can move away from the shoe, giving your outsole better contact with the ground.

Tread Shape

The shape of the tread patterns can affect how well the shoes resist slipping. Shoes with the best traction tend to have circular tread patterns. They help push liquids away better than tread with squared patterns.

Tread Depth and Spacing

Pay attention to the spacing between tread patterns to evaluate traction. If the patterns are too close together, it doesn’t give the liquid anywhere to go. Wider gaps help create a better channel to move liquids away from your shoes.

Deeper tread also tends to help with slip resistance. When your tread pattern is deep, it creates more space to help disperse any liquids you step in.

Keeping an eye on your tread depth over time is important. You might buy shoes with deep tread patterns, but over time the outsoles wear down and decrease the depth. This can cause your shoes to lose traction over time.

Finding Shoes With Good Traction

Wearing shoes with good traction helps you remain steady in everyday and extra slippery situations. Inspect the outsoles of shoes carefully to find a pair that grips the ground and gives you the traction you need.

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