A good pair of dress shoes from a quality craftsman will always be non-slip, in all regards. However, the non-slip nature of any given pair of shoes weighs on several factors. From the interior to the inner sole, the heel design, and the traction, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind.
Here we’ll be taking you through each aspect of what makes a pair of dress shoes non-slip. Keep these tips in mind and you can be sure of great value, faultless functionality, and a good match to your personal style.
The Disadvantages of Dress Shoes Which are Not Non-Slip
When you look at the non-slip functionality of any dress shoes, you need to look at two things—the traction and non-slip fitment of the inside of the shoe itself. Inadequate traction makes walking on hardened surfaces quite uncomfortable, while a poorly fitting shoe will result in blisters and skin irritation.
If the innersoles of your dress shoes are not of a high-quality and careful construction, they will cause your foot to slip around inside of your shoe. This is extremely taxing on your skin.
The only way to remedy this problem is to wear thick socks, which breaks the uniform, style-conscious lines of a formal or semi-formal outfit. No one wants to have their pants leg reel up, ever-so-slightly, to reveal gaudy, winter socks. This, in turn, also creates another problem.
Your feet will sweat excessively when wearing inappropriate socks, in addition to being quite uncomfortable in a form-fitting leather, or faux-leather shoe. The rigid design does not make leeway for bulky socks, nor do most brands make provision for adequate breathability.
Any dress shoes which carry an elevated heel need to have a high-cut heel seat. If the heel seat does not have a high enough cut, then the additional space supplied between the heel and foot, in shoes of a stepped design, will cause your shoes to slip off. This is not a problem when wearing flat shoes, however the higher the heel, the higher the cut of the heel seat and positioning of the top line.
Furthermore, keeping in mind the need to potentially walk in inclement weather, wet floors, or areas that are more prone to slippage, it’s important that you be able to trust that the shoes will be able to allow you to get where you need to go without slipping. This aspect will be discussed more in the next section.
The Differences in Dress Shoes for Men and Women
Dress shoes can be extremely different between men and women. For example, finding non-slip options for men can often be easier than those for women. This is largely because the styles can differ quite wildly in general. Men often wear flat shoes, or ones with a minimal heel while women may prefer to opt for heels, though there are flat dress shoes available for them as well.
For women who don’t mind toning down the heel to achieve an easier non-slip design, there are several great options out there that can work. However, it can get tricky finding heels that fit the same non-slip needs. Typically speaking, the best non-slip options are going to have a thicker heel. That way padding can be added to the bottom to assist with keeping the shoes from slipping on the ground.
When the heel is raised above the rest of the foot, this creates more of a need for non-slip inner linings as well. Because of that, it’s wise to find shoes with excellent inner-traction. That way your foot isn’t slipping around and causing problems to the skin.
Next, we’re going to provide some good tips on finding the ideal non-slip dress shoes for many different shoe styles.
How to Identify Good Traction and a Rugged Design
An intricate design does not guarantee good traction and a non-slip shoe construction. When checking the bottom to determine if you, in fact, have slip-resistant shoes, you need to look at numerous factors. Here are some of the top identifying factors to check if a shoe is non-slip:
- The smaller the lugs, the better the slip resistance
- The softer the sole, the better the slip resistance
- Rubber soles have the best slip resistance, while mixed compounds vary
- A high volume of leading edges gives superior traction
- An enclosed tread giving no water escape shows that a shoe is not slip-resistant
The tread on the underside of the outsole of a shoe needs to carry a pattern which gives it grip on a slick floor. The best way to ensure this is for the tread to use a pattern that disperses moisture away from the underside of the shoe. An interlocked geometrical pattern which allows for the escape of water (not enclosed) is the best guarantee of good traction. A good tread pattern will also grant the most surface contact with the tread itself.
A great way to test the traction of a pair of shoes, once you have them before you, is to pour some soapy water or an oily substance onto a hard surface. Most poorly manufactured shoes will not pass this test. Dress shoes with good traction will present you no trouble walking on even wet, hard surfaces.
Another key characteristic to keep in mind when analyzing the traction of a prospective new pair of dress shoes is what method is used to affix the sole to the shoe.
Welted and other forms stitching normally indicate a higher quality, and thus a longer lasting shoe, however, this comes at a much higher cost. Most manufacturers who have taken the extra steps of stitching their soles and shoe together will normally have ensured that the under sole has good traction as well.
They can also be eventually resoled if need, which is not possible with cemented shoes. This is not to say that shoes which are cemented, or held together with adhesive, are not a good choice. The price is often far lower than their counterparts, while the traction can be, at times, superior.
Characteristics of Non-slip Inners
The soles of any non-slip shoes need to be specifically designed to be non-slip and this counts for both the under sole’s traction and the non-slip nature of the inner design. The inners of most dress shoes are removable, which can create quite an uncomfortable obstacle if the shoes are not form fitting.
Dress shoes need to carry a snug fit, with both the toe section and wider area towards the heel having to match the contours of your foot. With too much “wiggle room,” the friction results in uncomfortable complications.
Pay attention to the support around your ankles. If your dress shoes are not rigid enough around the heel and ankles, this will cause sweating and irritation, while also ruining the overall streamlined visual appeal of the shoes themselves. You need to choose a pair which gives firm support to your heel and ankle, while never being rigid enough to indent the skin or affect your movement.
If your insoles are removable, then be sure that they fit snugly back into place or you could end up causing yourself a great deal of discomfort. Insoles can often wear down over time, contorting and no longer holding their place within your shoe.
Should this occur, it would be best to replace them with an orthopedic insole. Orthopedic arch supports and heel pads are also available for those times when you have the perfect fit, except for in select places.
Don’t Always Trust the Label
At times, you will find shoes where it is clearly stated that they are slip-resistant, while they carry poor to negligible slip resistance if any at all. Simply stating “slip-resistant” is highly ambiguous. It makes no definite statement as to how slip resistant the dress shoes are.
Always take the extra time to evaluate the tread, fitment, shape, and additional factors such as how secure the heel cap is, as well as how high the heel seat is cut, to ensure the best possible comfort and a truthful non-slip design.
It can be easy to forget all the aspects of our shoes that can make or break the level of comfort we have in them. This is especially true with dress shoes because there is such a keen attention paid to the outer look rather than the level of functionality they have to offer.
While you’re shopping for dress shoes, make sure you check both the inner and outer portions for good non-slip quality. Using the tips you have received here, you’ll be set well to find shoes with non-slip features both for the bottom of your feet and the bottom of the shoe as you walk. Once you’ve found the perfect pair of shoes, you’ll be able to look good and feel comfortable in them.