Are running shoes non slip: 4 factors To Concern

So, you have invested in a good pair of trail running shoes, tied your laces properly, and got everything to hold your feet in place for the race. But yet, your last fall might have made you wonder if your outsole’s traction acclaims being nonslip too.

So, are running shoes non slip? The answer is yes and no. Some brands have a separate line of nonslip athletic shoes, and some don’t. The ones that bear will always have the slip-resistant label, denoting that they have been tested as per standards. In contrast, the other running shoes will have an outsole that makes them close to being slip-resistant.

But many factors make running shoes slip-resistant and carry equal importance. Read on to know what actually makes your running shoes slip-resistant and for how many months.

Are running shoes non slip? What are nonslip shoes?

Not all running shoes are slip-resistant, and only a few brands feature them. They either claim to be slip-resistant or have properties that make them one.

But what are nonslip shoes? Nonslip shoes are explicitly designed to prevent slips and falls. They have a special outsole with a specific design, shape, material, and durability. All this makes it grip on slippery surfaces and wet conditions. 

It’s not just the outsole; the overall shoe is supportive, breathable, and durable enough to hold your feet more than the liquid.

Some running shoes, for instance, New Balance nonslip shoes, claim to be slip-resistant. Such shoes have that nonslip label on the packaging and description. And they go through certain standard tests that meet the ASTM standards. 

But most non-labeled running shoes have lugged outsoles, construction, and cushioning. And that is what makes them very close to being slip-resistant. Yes, I am mentioning slip-resistant and not nonslip, as the term nonslip is not even real. Keep reading to uncover this fact.

How to tell if my running shoes are nonslip: 4 factors

Yes, the only proper way to test whether your shoes are slip-resistant is through standardized tests. Such tests need labs and machinery for performance. But since it’s not always possible to check the coefficient of friction at home, how can you tell if your running shoes are nonslip at home? Here’s what I prefer:

1. Look for labels or signs in the description

If your shoes are tested for slip resistance or claimed to be nonslip, they will have a slip-resistant label on their packaging. So, always look for the symbol on the packaging and sole of the shoe. If you don’t find the label, read the description and check if they are.

The description will reveal if the outsole aligns with the ASTM (the American Society for Testing and Materials) guidelines and was tested on different substances.

If the description speaks for slip resistance, you can trust the brand and don’t need any other form of testing for claiming.

2. Examine your Outsole

Say, your running shoes lack the slip resistance label or signs in the description.

It means that your shoes are not slip-resistant and might only have a chance of being so.

Since the outsole contacts the floor first, you must inspect it carefully to determine if the shoe is slip-free. Here’s what to check:


I can’t stress much the fact that nonslip shoes have to have EVA or rounded PU outsole to be called nonslip. And this can easily be found in the description of the shoe. Both are naturally waterproof, durable, have good traction and are soft and lightweight to handle slips. Also, the material should be thick enough than a typical shoe to bear the stress.

Moreover, some nonslip shoes will have a dash of stickiness on the outsole.

Tread pattern

If your outsole is flat and not rugged, it will hold water and become slippery. So, nonslip shoes have this particular tread pattern for resisting and employing friction. The pattern can be of any geometry. Mostly, it’s hexagonal, rhomboidal, circular, or squiggly lines.

But if the outsoles have enclosed treads, the liquid will have nowhere to go out. In that case, the shoes will become slippery, so you won’t call them nonslip shoes. Ideally, your treads should have a space of 2 mm between each tread.

So, look for an interlocked tread design on the outsole to confirm slip resistance. The smaller the design, the better.

Deep grooves 

The grooves that you see on a tire help provide friction during brakes. Similarly, nonslip outsoles have deep grooves. This prevents liquid from staying inside the sole and provides flexibility and stability for staying upright.


Slippery shoes have flat-shaped outsoles which allow less contact with the ground and can’t displace fluids. Nonslip shoes have rounded outsoles to solve this problem. So, ensure your outsole is rounded and not flat.

non slip shoes

3. Construction

It’s not just the outsole; the overall construction of the running shoe plays an important part in determining if it’s slip-resistant.

Firstly, your foot needs to stay stable and intact and has to have the right amount of cushioning. Materials like EVA used in the midsole provide the right cushioning you absorb shock and prevent slippage.

Secondly, check the description to see if your shoes are water-resistant and waterproof. Though it may not guarantee anti-slip properties, nonslip shoes come with it to help cope with wet conditions. For instance, look for materials like Gore-Tex®, PU leather, and other types of sealant in the description to see if they are actually water-repellent.

You also need to check the width and strength of your toe box. It should be spacious and durable enough to absorb impact during slips. Most other regular nonslip shoes have steel-toe caps because of this purpose. Though nonslip running shoes might not have them, the toe boxes are always stiff, spacious, and made with durable materials to withstand pressure.

Lastly, the overall shoe should have arch support, breathability, and padded collars to be slip-resistant.

4. Test on different surfaces

If you are still not satisfied with your naked eye for details, it’s time to test your running shoes to see if they can resist slips.

Wear your shoes and carefully walk around on concrete surfaces, puddles, and oily floors. If you find them comfortable, stable, and supportive enough to let you walk without falls, chances are they have slip resistance.

How to make your running shoes become nonslip?

Now you know the science behind slip-resistant shoes. So, converting your regular running shoe into a nonslip is possible. 

Doing this won’t provide the same level of traction as your original pair of nonslip running shoes. But it will help you cater to instances where you might need one:

Shoe grips or traction bands 

Adding an anti-slip shoe grip or traction band to the bottom of your sole is one of the most professional ways to compensate for the reduced traction under running shoes. 

They are easy to stick with built-in adhesives or bands and are available everywhere. 


  1. Clean your running shoes well.
  2. Wait for them to dry. Then, grab the shoe grips that suit the size and type of your running shoe, and remove the peel to expose the adhesive.
  3. Stick the pads to your shoe’s sole or tie the elastic around it if it’s a traction band.


  • Cost less
  • Easy to install
  • Works on almost every shoe


  • Adhesive might leave a permanent mark or damage on the outsole. 


  • Always clean your shoe before and after installing the band to restore a high shelf life.
  • Remember to dry your shoes well before adding the grips, or else the adhesive might lose its property.

Hot glue layering

So, we’ve seen this a lot on Instagram. When it comes to adding permanent layers to any product, a hot glue gun is very flexible.


  • Simply take your hot glue gun over the outsole of your clean, dried running shoe and prepare yourself to make the pattern.
  • Start from the top of the sole, and make a zig-zag pattern in the first portion.
  • Repeat the same for the entire sole and let it dry.

Pro tip: You can even watch a video to see what kind of patterns you need to make, or just copy the ones making the tread of your favorite running shoe. 


  • Very easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Less time-consuming


  • Reduces aesthetic looks
  • It might damage or burn the outsole if the hot glue doesn’t suit the sole’s material.
  • It might not give the ideal traction in all cases.


  • Always do a patch test to see if your glue suits the sole.
  • Use gloves and be careful not to burn yourself.
non slip shoes

Traction sprays 

Traction sprays, as the name would suggest, are made with sticky formulations. For instance, urethane prepolymer, sugar, diphenylmethane-diisocyanate, and other organic materials. Yes, they help them work like a hair spray. 

But, despite being made from sticky materials, traction sprays are not sticky to use and offer a good deal in holding the shoe to the court.


  1. Clean and dry your shoes.
  2. Shake the spray can well for use.
  3. Spray the outsoles of your running shoes evenly.
  4. Allow to dry for around 3 minutes.
  5. Re-apply as needed.

Pro tip: You can also use it reversibly if you play in a stagnant area like courts. Just spray it over the court and allow your shoes to glide on it a few times. I’d recommend spraying and leaving your shoes overnight for the best results.


  • Comes in pocket-friendly packaging, so it is portable.
  • Easy to use
  • It can be sprayed on dusty soles.
  • Removes dust and dirt off the soles too.
  • Inexpensive 


  • You have to spray frequently after or before your running activity and wait for it to dry.
  • It might not work on all surfaces and shoes.


  • Don’t inhale the product. 
  • Avoid eye contact.

Nonslip Vs. Slip-resistant.

For years and years, just like you guys, even I have been thinking that there’s another term called nonslip shoes. Such shoes are meant to have the highest degree of traction, claiming to be slip-free on many surfaces. But can anything be slip-free? 

No! Though slip-resistant shoes are thought to have slightly lower traction than nonslip shoes, they don’t claim to prevent you from slippage. They only reduce the likelihood of falls.

Plus, there are no separate standardized tests for slip-resistant and nonslip shoes, so the fact is pretty clear. Nonslip and slip-resistant are terms used interchangeably. But in reality, there’s no such thing as a nonslip shoe, as nothing can stop you from constantly having slips. 

Slip-resistant shoes have to pass certain tests to be called slip-resistant if they claim to be so. And various slip-resistant machines are used to verify slip resistance with standardized methods. 

For instance, some measure slip resistance based on how much force allows the outsole to cause slipping. In contrast, some machines measure the coefficient of friction. And the coefficient of friction denotes the resistance between the walking platform and the sole material moved over it. 

Here the machine checks the coefficient of friction in different conditions (wet, dry, wet-contaminant) surfaces, where the average value for slip-resistant shoes is 0.3 (1.0 is highly slip resistant). And the actual coefficient of friction is always tested on unworn shoes, as it tends to change with wear, course friction! But I found no separate tests for nonslip shoes.

Though some still debate that nonslip means shoes with sticky rubber outsoles and are designed for work. At the same time, they believe that slip-resistant shoes lack such soles and are only recognizable from their intent and tread pattern. Thus, the exact answer to this question is still a mystery. Still, initially, I summed up what experts say.

non slip shoes

When should you wear nonslip running shoes?

According to a study done by the Centres for disease control and Prevention, it was seen that slip-resistant footwear showed a 67% reduction in slips compared to those without.

That’s why, in some conditions, you don’t even have a choice in deciding to wear nonslip running shoes. So, when should you wear nonslip running shoes? Here’s what I recommend:

Most nonslip running shoes are tested for wet and slippery surfaces. So, don’t start your jogs and runs in the snow, wet weather, and moist terrains without a nonslip running shoe. It will reduce the coincidence of slippage, and the waterproof layer on such shoes will keep your feet and shoes fine.

Even if the weather or surface isn’t that wet for frequent slippages, you can’t risk even an inch slip if you have injuries or shin splits. So, ensure you wear your nonslip running shoes for daily wear or regular athletic activities, as prevention is better than cure.

If you plan to hop on a trail running expedition, you don’t know rugged or uneven the terrain would be. So, it’s always better to hop on into slip-resistant running shoes for safety.

Nonslip running shoes aren’t counted as a standard in most workplaces like other nonslip footwear. 

But I’d recommend getting one if your job involves running and safety simultaneously. For instance, Emergency/First responders (firemen, paramedics, etc.), sports coaches, event staff, couriers, etc., all require nonslip running shoes for stress-free work.

How often should I replace my running shoes for optimal slip resistance?

Did you know? Your shoes start losing their coefficient of friction when worn down. And studies have shown that the friction performance in worn shoes reduces by 25% compared to new shoes. 

So, how often should you replace your running shoes for optimal slip resistance?

Generally, average running shoes last around 300-500 miles. But slip-resistant ones take around six to twelve months. Although the duration depends on how you wear and care for your shoes, this is the average I have seen in slip-resistant running shoes like Vans.

Are Athletic Works Shoes Nonslip?

For those who don’t know, Athletics Works are part of Walmart’s private label for sports and athletic products. So, by being work shoes but low cost, are Athletic Works Shoes actually nonslip? No, not every time.

I have seen that the shoes look good and feel secure, like a high-end brand, but are not for the rain. Like, they are comfortable wearing work shoes all day but aren’t as protective as a nonslip. But their water shoes do have the added traction needed for secured landing.

Are Nike Running Shoes Nonslip?

Nike doesn’t have a separate line for nonslip shoes, but there are some models which you can count as slip-resistant because of how they are built. 

For instance, Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7. Because of its traction-loving features, you can run around 800-5,000 meters in it. I name them slip-resistant for their waffle-patterned outsole. It gives an increased grip on urban plains. They also have two Air units, cushioned midsoles for comfortable strides, and a meshed upper for added breathability.

Air Zoom Structure Triax, Air Zoom Elite 8, and Air Pegasus Zoom 34 can also be counted in the list because of similar features. 

are nike running shoes non slip

Are Adidas Running Shoes Nonslip?

Unlike Nike, Adidas running shoes do have a separate line for work and nonslip shoes. And yes, they also have running shoes with slip-resistant features if not labeled.

The Five Ten Kestrel, Terrex, Codechaos 22, ZG23, and Busenitz Vulc series have a cool category of hiking, trainers, golf, and biking shoes. Here, each outsole pattern and midsole tell a different traction story.

For instance Busenitz vulc 2. They were originally designed as skateboard shoes but had a vulcanized nonslip sole. And an abrasion-resistant toe region. Both give them a slip-resistant feel.

But one of my favorites amongst the entire list are the Terrex Soulstride Flow GTX trail running shoes. I’ll give 10 points to their Lightstrike midsole. It changes the whole look. The midsole, paired with the Continental™ Rubber outsole, GORE-TEX technology, and engineered mesh upper, actually gives makes them look more slip-resistant with style. 

Are Vans Nonslip Shoes?

Yes, you can count Vans in the nonslip category. And there are many reasons for that. Let’s start with the outsole. Being skateboard shoes, Vans have a diamond-rhomboid vulcanized rubber outsole. And yes, that actually ticks the mark for slip resistance. The rubber outsole has that mere gummy texture for keeping it intact on the floor and sulfur for toughness.

The midsole also has a triad of foxing taped layers which adds more to the grip of the shoes. And yes, they are good on various surfaces and wet conditions. However, they might not be suitable for all types of work. And the tread remains undamaged for around 5-6 months.


Running shoes are not always labeled as slip-resistant or nonslip. They do have properties that make them slip-resistant and are also available in the work shoes category.

You can always check if your running shoe is slip-resistant by noticing the label, description, outsole, construction, and surface tests.

Running shoes lose their slip-resistant properties after some months and can be made slip-resistant again using the methods described in this blog.

However, some companies, like New Balance, feature a separate line of slip-resistant athletic shoes.

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