By Rehan Iqbal
Due to the obvious hazards that can be found in almost every workplace today, more and more employers are insisting on having non-slip footwear for their employees. Fortunately, numerous companies have started developing safety shoes meant to minimize the chance or risk of injury from accidental falls. This has led to all sorts of classifications and definitions for what type of shoes to wear as well as differences in their functionality.
Unfortunately, all these different designations may be confusing since they’re not really well defined or even enforced by a regulatory agency. That’s why we’ve done the hard yards to tell you exactly what the differences are and what each means for your workplace. If you’re thinking about getting non-slip shoes, then here’s the difference between slip resistant and skid resistant footwear.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Admin (OSHA) may not have defined slip or skid resistance in footwear, there are some slight variations in how people define the two. Generally, safety shoes are designed to prevent any form of slips and falls as rated by a dry static coefficient. This is basically a ratio of the force of friction between two objects such as your shoe and the floor. However, there are many other label designations that the manufacturers and retailers use to differentiate the two types of non slip shoes.
The materials that make up the outsole will also have a significant effect on whether a shoe is more slip resistant than skid resistant. While slip-resistant boots normally have softer soles that are able to grab the surface more firmly, they are sometimes much harder than other parts of the shoes. Skid resistant shoes have a much softer outsole that offers unrivaled levels of friction and resistance. Similarly, shoes may also be rated on their climbing ability which requires much higher levels of traction.
Until OSHA or ASTM defines slip resistant and skid resistant with the capacity to enforce these two definitions, then we have no other option but to go with desired features. If a shoe is labeled either slip or skid resistance, then it’s very reasonable to expect it to work under the circumstances it has been tested under. A good rule of thumb to follow when looking for protection against falls is to find out what the manufacturer’s testing program entails and if it fits your work environment to the tee. If one shoe has been rated as skid resistant for oil and water while the other one says slipresistant, then any of the two shoes should do just fine.
Warnings and Misconceptions
With the recent trends and developments in certain brands, it is of the utmost importance to be on the lookout. Lately, shoddy manufacturers have been using particular marketing terms that provide little to no real information to label their shoes.
For example, some shoes will read restaurant tested and approved whereas they actually have no real rating for skid or slip resistance. In other cases, brands may fill their catalog with terms like patent pending design without actually giving you a clue on what is patented. If a shoe does not have any rating or does not provide enough information regarding slip or skid resistance, then you might as well assume that it has none. Try to find credible brands which have proven themselves as reliable when it comes to all sorts of slippery terrain.