Proper Footwear and Winter Walking

There is never a more important time of year to pay attention to what you have on your feet.  Winter is a time when you occasionally have to ditch your favorite stylish boots to make sure you have footwear with proper grip that is designed to provide better traction on icy surfaces.  Your feet are your last line of defense to prevent a slip or fall on snow, ice, and wet surfaces.  Making sure you have proper footwear is one of the most important things to consider, and possibly one of the best ways to stay safe. 

Here are a few tips you can consider when choosing footwear.

Selecting the Proper Footwear

  • Tread – Rubber soles are best for avoiding slips on icy surfaces.  Avoid leather soles, high heels, and shoes with open backs.  Proper non-slip shoes typically have durable, anti-skid soles, and patterned or grooved tread for added friction on snow ice, and wet surfaces.
  • Lining – Choose fabric that increases insulation to keep feet warm and dry.
  • Size and fit – Your shoes need enough room to allow for thick socks and be tall enough to protect ankles from the cold.  If needed, wear winter boots to work and change to dress shoes once you are safely indoors.
  • Ice Cleats – Although seldom needed, pull-on ice cleats are easy to use and light weight and greatly enhance traction in the snow.

Winter Walking – Tips to Remember

  • Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will provide cushion should you fall.
  • Wear bright-colored or reflective clothing to ensure drivers can identify you while walking.
  • Always use handrails when walking on stairs or any type of angled surface.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets
  • Determine the safest path to get to your destination and take it.  Do not attempt a short cut to save time.
  • Shuffle your feet and take short steps – it reduces your chances of falling.
  • Walk like a penguin – knees bent slightly, and feet pointed out slightly.
  • Use the wipe off mats at entrances to remove moisture from your shoes.
  • Report potentially hazardous areas/unsafe conditions immediately so action can be taken to correct the issue or keep pedestrians out of the area (i.e., slick areas, wet floors, etc.)