“Pride goes before the fall.” So, too, does footwear without anti-skid protection. In an age where safety is a major consumer concern, slip-resistant shoes are becoming increasingly popular for people of all ages because they’ve been proven to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls. For seniors, though, these shoes are a must: Because seniors tend to have more risk factors for falls than other adults, they are more likely to suffer a fall-related injury.
Years ago, slip-resistant shoes resembled clunky clodhoppers that no one would want to be caught dead in. But the demand by insurance companies today that employees in restaurants, hospitals, and manufacturing facilities wear slip-resistant shoes has spawned a wide selection of styles and designs that are both fashionable and skid resistant. Seniors who try slip-resistant footwear quickly discover that in addition to added comfort, these shoes can help prevent trips and slips, whether it’s around the house or out in public.
Benefits of Slip-Resistant Shoes
- They’re safer than socks, slippers, or going barefoot. A report published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development on optimizing footwear for older people at risk of falling found that the many seniors living at home who wore slippers indoors had a significantly greater fall risk score. Walking in bare feet or wearing just socks without shoes increased the risk of falling the most, by up to 11 times compared with walking in sneakers.
- They help feet get a firmer grip on the surface. According to Occupational Health & Safety, people fall due to a lack of friction or grip between the shoe and walking surface. Proper slip-resistant shoes have a higher coefficient of friction (COF) than normal footwear and are specifically designed to improve friction at the shoe/floor interface.
Finding a “Sole Mate”
Occupational Health & Safety offers helpful tips on buying slip-resistant shoes. Here are some of the things you should look for:
- Insoles: Extra cushioning and impact padding can be helpful if you spend a lot of time on your feet or walking on hard surfaces.
- Lining: Mesh fabric can help remove moisture, keeping feet dry and cool.
- Midsole: Look for shoes with more cushion, greater arch support, and an ergonomic design that decreases foot, leg, and/or back pain.
- Tread: Flat shoe soles may be problematic. Instead, look for treads that allow more rubber to grip the floor.
There are numerous steps that seniors can take today to reduce the chances of taking a dangerous spill. Slip-resistant footwear is one step toward minimizing your risk of falling. Getting a firmer grip on the ground beneath you can help reduce your fear of falling and give you more confidence to enjoy life, wherever you go.