FAQ Guides

How to Avoid Slipping on Ice When Walking

Last Updated on November 2, 2022 by Nicholas

I think the easiest way to not slip on ice is to lock your door, grab your favorite blanket, some hot chocolate, a nice tv show, and just wait for the ice to melt. Alas, life is cruel, especially when the wife sends you to get groceries while she is comfortable in bed.

How Do You Avoid Slipping on Ice when Walking?

The shoes you wear as well as the way you walk in icy conditions are equally important if you are to avoid slipping on ice. In terms of walking, you need to take small steps, placing the foot firmly down before putting your weight on it. In terms of shoes, you can either use slip-resistant shoes or, the ultimate solution, ice cleats.

Using Ice Cleats to Avoid Slipping on Ice

Think of how you wrap a chain around car tires to give them more traction while driving in snow. The chains dig into the ice and prevent the car from skidding.

Similarly, ice cleats are made so that they can be worn and adjusted on top of your shoes, preferably, close-toed shoes. Why you would be walking around on ice in sandals, I cannot fathom. Cleats usually consist of spikes at the bottom-end or spring-like spirals around a band. Both grip the ice so that friction between the ground and your shoes increases, which leads to a more stable footing.

The benefit of having removable cleats is that once you are inside, they are easy to remove. You would not have to move around making horrendous clicking sounds on the floor or keep a spare pair of shoes in your bag. These cleats are also very durable and last for a long time.

At times when you are trying to walk outside, you realize that at that moment your foot has slipped on a patch, your leg is in the air, your back lowers towards the ground, and a startled scream erupts from your mouth. Then you are just sitting in the snow, wet and cold. Cleats will prevent this kind of moments from happening.

Cleats might grip the ice, but when it comes to concrete or tiles, it is highly likely you will end up slipping on that. It might happen that you put on cleats and expect that there would be snow and ice everywhere, but then a cleared road comes in your path which you need to cross.

These spikes cannot grip onto a hard floor, and you might end up flat on your back anyway, which is what you were trying so hard to avoid. They are also extremely uncomfortable to both wear and walk-in. You need to relearn how to walk because these cleats require you to keep your feet flat on the ground. You will pretty much resemble a cat trying to walk on its claws. Personally, I also think they make shoes look very ugly.

If you are looking to get some cleats for yourself, Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats would be a good option. They do not weigh down your shoes, have an elastic adjustable band, and are coated with zinc so that the ice does not cause rust.

Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats for Walking on Snow and Ice (1 Pair), Medium
  • Lightweight and affordable slip-on traction cleats to reduce the risk of falls when walking on snow or ice to work,...
  • Made of abrasion-resistant 1.2 mm steel coils with zinc coating to prevent rust; secured to shoes with durable...
  • Provides 360 degrees of traction on cold surfaces for all-direction stability
  • Highly elastic outer band with heel tab slips easily slips on and off of shoes; perfect for pedestrians,...
  • Available in four sizes: X-Small (W2.5-6/M1-4.5); Small (W6.5-10, M5-8.5); Medium (W10.5-12.5, M9-11); Large...

There is also no chance of them breaking in lower temperatures. Since these are also available in different sizes, it is better to buy one size bigger than what you wear in shoe size so that they fit perfectly. Take my word for it, I have used these, and they are the reason my face is not imprinted against a tree.

Using Slip Resistant Shoes

I know that it is fun sliding around on ice, but unless you want to injure yourself or someone else, it would be better to have shoes that minimize the slides. Slip-resistant shoes are designed in a way that protects you from becoming an ice skater. While those moves may look great in the ring, you doing them on a walkway might be a little embarrassing.

These shoes have thick heels that are made of rubber. The underside has tread patterns made on it which allows you to hold onto snow or ice. Deeper treads allow for a better hold.

Again, not falling and breaking your face would be the greatest advantage in getting these shoes. I am sure we all would like our noses and teeth intact. Secondly, you will be able to get to places faster. Instead of slowing down and walking carefully, you can walk at a normal pace without having to worry about slipping.

As the heel is pretty thick, they provide added comfort while walking and act as a pillow for the feet. The best part is, they look like normal sneakers, so you do not have to worry about your shoes standing out.

Although they have a lot of benefits, there some downsides to slip-resistant shoes as well. They are not perfectly slip-proof, they reduce chances of slipping, but not completely eliminate it. You just might end up sliding across your driveway, but hey, at least you will reach the end of it faster than walking.

As the sole is thicker, they might also weigh heavier than normal shoes. Your legs will get tired easier so start going to the gym. Since the sole is made of rubber, there is a chance something sharp can pierce it.

I bet you are now thinking of splurging on slip resistant shoes. These Skechers for Work Men’s Soft Stride Canopy Slip Resistant Work Boot are a great option.

Skechers Men's Work Relaxed Fit Soft Stride Canopy Comp Toe Shoe, Brown/Black - 9 D(M) US
  • Leather, synthetic and cordura mesh fabric upper
  • Lace up sporty casual slip resistant composite safety toe work sneaker
  • Relaxed Fit design for a roomier comfortable fit
  • Memory Foam cushioned comfort insole
  • Rubber Slip Resistant sole is oil resistant and chemical resistant

They have memory foam for added comfort, they are great for gripping onto the ground, and they even protect against electric shocks. My biggest issue in life is cold feet. No matter how many pairs of socks I wear, they are always freezing. When I started using these, even if I spend 5 hours in the snow, my feet are toasty warm, I do not fall on my behind, and that makes me happy.

You may also notice that these shoes, and, in fact, many slip-resistant shoes are made of a combination of suede, textile, and leather. They really look the part with these fancy combinations, but the truth is, they are incredibly difficult to waterproof and protect.

That is why I encourage you to also check out my list of the best shoe protector sprays. While manufacturers can brag for days about the waterproof fabric in their shoes, I can guarantee you that, unless you use a waterproofer at least once a month in the wet season, your so-called water proof shoes will start letting the water come through.

Use Salt and Sand to Cover the Ice

The weather forecast tells you that it is about to snow. You go into a panic thinking about all the shoveling you will have to do. You consider putting your kids to work, but they do not agree even after you say you will pay them.

Please think hard before you have kids! Worry not, there are tried and tested ways that will not only let you avoid shoveling, but also make the sludge easier to walk on.

The first is rock salt. Salt mixes in with the snow and creates a sludge that has a lower melting point. Now, do not go into your pantry and grab the packet of salt you have sitting there. Use that for cooking because you are going to need a lot more.

Run to your nearest store and grab a few of the biggest and cheapest bags you can find. There a couple of things you need to take care of before salting your driveway. If the temperature is too low, the salt will not melt the ice.

There also needs to be some heat from the sun or somewhere for the melting to begin. It is not an instantaneous process, so you will need to show patience.

Secondly, you can also use sand. Sand will not melt the snow, rather act as a layer on top. Since sand is grainy, it will provide a surface with friction which will reduce slippage. The only problem is, you might need to keep throwing sand on the surface as walking over it will cause it to mix in with the snow.

There is also the fact that if it is too cold, the sand will freeze into rock-solid clumps which can be pretty dangerous. The most effective method would be melting the snow with salt, then pouring sand over it.

Scuffing up the Soles of the Boots for Better Grip

When shoes are new and the sole is unworn, they are usually slippery. There are several ways to wear them out such as rubbing shoes on a rocky surface, using sandpaper or a nail file, or just wearing them around so they get used.

While this may help with improving traction somewhat, it is not a foolproof hack. This hack works better for not slipping on normal pavement or concrete, but for a liquid coated surface, it is highly likely that your shoe will still slip because it does not have the proper grooves made for gripping.

Relying on this hack can also be potentially dangerous because when you slip, it is not necessary that you just fall. You could lose your footing and end up twisting your ankle as the ankle is most prone to injury during falls. I can personally attest to this. I was trying to show off by jumping around on ice.

What happened was that on my way down from the jump, I landed wrong and my foot gave out from under me. For the time it took to come to my senses and for my ears to stop ringing, I realized the sky looks beautiful when you are flat on your back. I ended up with a bruised backbone, a lot of embarrassment, and an ankle that was swollen to the size of a balloon.

How to Walk on Ice to Prevent Slipping

Have you seen old people walk? That slow, careful pace with short steps. Start walking like that. Your other option is to walk like a penguin; with your flappers out and shuffling from one foot to another. Joking aside, there are specific things you should do while walking in the snow, if you are not wearing slip-resistant shoes or cleats.

Firstly, move slowly and take short steps. Let me explain this with my extremely limited (mostly googled) knowledge about physics. When we are walking, we are exerting force towards the ground. Since everyone has heard of Newton’s Third Law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the ground exerts force back on us. When our movement is careful, less force goes into the ground, hence the reaction on us is reduced as well. Science, people.

Your second hack is that avoid walking in places that have melting ice. This happens because there is now water on ice which is basically double water. Double water will obviously be slipperier. These are cold hard facts, look it up.

Finally, avoid stairs. I would say avoid stairs in general as well because they are really hard to climb. But if stairs are covered by snow you might miss a step and face an unfortunate accident. Also, avoid any uneven surfaces and potential slopes so gravity does not pull you down.

Another thing you can do is get a sled, a giant dog, preferably a husky, name it Snow, and let Snow take you around the town.

Similar Posts