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94% of all winter boots aren’t good enough to prevent slips and falls: researchers

This one could rival Moosewatch as the most Canadian website ever.

Toronto based research company iDAPT, the research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, has developed a website that offers safety ratings backed by evidence that shows you just how safe -or unsafe- your winter boots truly are.

The bad news is that most everyone’s boots are too slippery for winter weather. Researchers found that 94 per cent of all the boots they tested were not good enough to prevent slips and falls.

Ratemytreads.com has an entire room dedicated to determining how slip resistant your casual and safety boots are. The MAA (maximum achievable angle) test uses real people walking on an icy surface. These volunteers walk back and forth and the angle of the floor is slightly increased as the test goes on. When the test subject starts to slip that angle is seen as the maximum achievable angle, hence the name of the test (don’t worry the test subjects are wearing a harness so no one gets hurt).

“We believe that choosing the right footwear can reduce and prevent unintentional slips and falls. And like all great scientists, we researched to understand more about the problem and tackled it to find a solution. The outcome? The world’s only human oriented slip resistant testing method done in a real winter environment – our Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) Test,” reads the website.

Tests are performed on both bare ice, melting ice, uphill, and downhill to simulate different environments and the hazards associated with them. A grade is then given on the lowest MAA from the four difference test conditions instead of the highest.

In total 98 different pairs of boots have been tested from brands such as but not limited to Baffin, Dakota, and Sperry. Only 9 pairs of boots received 1 snow flake, meaning they were good on a slope of up to 7 degrees. No boots that were tested received more than 1 snowflake. To earn 2 snowflakes the boots would have to be able to handle at least an angle of 11 degrees, and for the perfect score of 3 snowflakes 15 degrees must be achieved.

I checked to see if my beloved Blundstones were ranked on the list, and they were. Sadly they hadn’t received a single snowflake.

From 2009-2010 an estimated 4.2 million Canadians above the age of 12 suffered injuries that were bad enough to limit their daily activities. Statistics Canada says an estimated 4.27 million Canadians aged 12 or older suffered an injury severe enough to limit their usual activities and the leading cause of those injuries were slips and falls. 63% of seniors, 50% of adolescents, and 35% of working age adults were inured by falls.

“I expect that many serious and life-changing injuries will be prevented this winter by people choosing to buy better non-slip footwear,” says Geoff Fernie, the Research Director of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University of Toronto.

iDAPT works along side engineers, scientists, researchers, students, and doctors. The organization focuses mainly on slips, trips, and falls and the possible effects that they can have on a person’s ability to get around and their overall quality of life.

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