Are Your Winter Boots Doing More Harm Than Good?

Snow boots are an essential part of everyone’s winter wardrobe. Not only due they insulate our feet from mounds of cold snow, but they also prevent damaging slips and falls – or do they?

Indoor Winter Weather

For a 2016 study, a team from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network examined nearly 100 pairs of winter boots. Their goal was to gauge just how effective these boots were in keeping people’s feet firmly attached to the ground.

To accomplish this goal, the researchers recruited volunteers to test these boots in the WinterLab, a laboratory which realistically recreates a cold, outdoor Canadian environment. The authors judged the quality of the boots using a three-star “snowflake scale.” One star rankings were assigned to boots that were slip resistant at an angle of seven degrees. If a pair of boots was slip resistant at eleven degrees, it was awarded two stars. Three star rankings were given to boots that fended off slips at fifteen degree angles.

Upon testing these footwear products, the authors came to a sobering conclusion – less than 10 percent of these boots met the minimum standards for a one-star slip resistance grade. Furthermore, not a single pair of goods was of high enough quality to merit either a two star or three star ranking.

Buyer Beware

Geoff Fernie, the research director at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, didn’t hold back when describing the study results, telling the Toronto Star that some boots “were so bad that people couldn’t stand up on level ice without their legs going out from under them like a cartoon character.”

The authors expressed hope that their report will prompt boot manufacturers to offer better products for consumers. In the meantime, they recommend buying boots that feature outer souls covered with gritty material or fibers.

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