The Only Guide to Making Your Shoes Slip Resistant Without Trying So Hard

This guide will teach you how to make shoes non-slip fast. Whether you have a new pair of comfortable sneakers or you want to give the bottom of your old walking shoes a treat, the methods I’ve outlined in this guide may do the trick. 

I want to make one thing clear before we begin: there’s no perfect way to add more traction to a pair of shoes

In fact, the DIY techniques discussed below can enhance the grip of your footwear’s outsoles, but they may not work well in the favor of very slippery shoes.

And if you ask me what’s better, I’d suggest investing in slip-resistant shoes, as it’s far much a better option unlike tweaking the soles to give them an artificial grip. 

Still, it’s possible to make your pair non-slip, although the degree of effectiveness will vary depending on the method you choose.

So if your shoes ever make you feel like you’re walking on an ice rink, here’s how to give them some grip and traction. 

How to Make Shoes Non-Slip So They Have Grip and Traction

A new pair of shoes doesn’t have enough traction to stand up to slippery floors. Its sole unit feels smooth, putting you at the risk of slipping and falling.

However, a task as simple as tweaking the bottom of the shoes will go a long way to make them less slippery.

So here’s what you should do: 

1. Wear and Walk in the Shoes Regularly

There’s no better way to add more traction to your shoes than to wear them regularly. I’ve used this technique on some New Balance sneakers and loafers, and I must admit the results were quite on point.

By wearing the soles down a bit, you make your shoes less slippery and ready to tackle any surface indoors and outdoors.

Some shoes have some bit of traction at the initial stage of unboxing. However, a big percentage has sole units that feel so slippery that they can’t hold up well on smooth surfaces. Therefore, this method is only effective if you intend to walk on rough surfaces like concrete.

Keep in mind that this technique isn’t like sole scuffing. It might take a week or two for the bottom of your new shoes to become less slippery.

2. Scuff the Bottom of the Shoes

Scuffing the sole happens to be an easy and effective way to add grip to your pair of shoes. By creating small nooks and abrasion, you give the footwear a better traction that it didn’t have initially.

And let’s be honest:

Scuffing the soles and heels isn’t rockets science. It requires little effort and only takes a few minutes of your time.

In fact, it’s as simple as wearing your shoes on concrete floors or going for a long distance walk along a path filled with gravel. 

If you don’t want to walk in the shoes before braking in the sole, find a surface with gravel and rub the sole on the floor with your hands. 

3. Use a Sandpaper or Nail File

I like to use a sandpaper that’s coarse enough to get the job done. One with 40 or 50 grits should be enough to give your shoes more grip so that they hold on to slippery floors just fine.

Hold your shoes firm and rub the parts of the soles that make contact with the floor as much as you can. Test the shoes to see if they’re slip resistant. If not, sand them down further until you get an abrasive texture.

You can also use a nail file to get the same effect.

4. Score the Sole

Maybe making shallow cuts on the soles sounds dumb and unappealing. But if you so much care about making them less slippery, this method can be quite handy.

You can use a sharp knife or razor blade to score the sole. Just make sure the cuts aren’t too deep. Shallow cuts, made in a diagonal direction, are better.

Don’t forget to cut the soles in the opposite direction to make a lattice pattern.

What You Can Place on the Bottom of Your Shoes to Give them More Traction

Don’t want to scuff the bottom of your shoes? Or maybe cutting the sole to make lattice patterns for better traction doesn’t seem to make sense to you at all?

No problem.

Below I’ve outlined some products that you can put on the bottom of your shoes to enhance their grip and make them less slippery.

1. Get Some Quality Grip Pads

I’d treat a new pair of slippery shoes with grip pads any day.

Why?

They work so well. 

Unlike the natural feel of your new pair of shoes, the best grip pads are anti-slip in design. They fit fast and easily on the sole unit, and they provide the traction you need to brave any surface.

Adhesive grip pads aren’t expensive. For example, Kiwi Sure Steps Non Skid Pads, which you can trim to just about any size, is the cheapest I’ve ever tried, going for as low as $5.

If you wear heels, go for Dr. Foot Self Adhesive Grips, which goes for not more than $10 online.

I also have a guide on non-slip grip pads here. Don’t forget to check it out if you need more information. 

2. Use Some Traction Sprays

I’m not sure if spray-on coating work better than shoe grips. But you can try them and find out if they work for you.

These traction grip sprays are easy to use, easy to apply, and readily affordable.

But I have two problems with them.

While they may be a reasonable alternative to grip pads, they’re quite expensive. A container may cost up to $30, which is enough to get you grip pads enough for three pairs of shoes.

Second, I don’t think they’re as effective as adhesive grip pads. They do prevent falls, but you may have to apply a coating several times to get a good effect.

Furthermore, traction sprays tend to pick up every piece of lint and dirt. So if you’re not the person that’s into cleaning sneakers regularly, you had better avoid the sprays at all cost.

3. Use Hairspray to Make Your Shoes Non Slippery

If your shoes have a bit of traction but still feel somewhat slippery, hairspray can be a good deal.

Apply a generous amount to the smooth areas of the sole and let it dry. Wear the shoes and walk around to feel the effect of the spray. Add more if the traction isn’t enough and then test your shoes again.

The problem with hairspray is that while it’s a quick fix, it doesn’t offer a permanent effect. You’ll have to apply it repeatedly if you want to get the most out of it.

Also, hairspray won’t be effective in wet weather.

4. Use Salt and Rubber Glue – Or a Masking Tape

A mixture of salt and rubber glue is far much better than hairspray if you ask me. The combination adds a grain like texture on the sole, improving grip and enhancing traction.

To make this work, add the mixture on the soles, let it sit for a few minutes to dry, and then you can wear the shoes.

I haven’t tested the technique myself. But from what I understand, it only offers a temporary effect and it won’t be nearly as useful on very slippery shoes. Check these glues for shoes if you don’t have them at home yet.

You can also use a masking tape instead of a mix of salt and rubber glue. A few rolls of the tape stuck on the sole in an X shape should be enough to give your shoes a quick fix.

My Final Thoughts on Fixing Shoes to Make them Less Slippery

As I said in the beginning, none of these tips will make your shoes 100% slip resistant. If your footwear is extremely slippery, an option like hairspray simply won’t give you the effect you’re looking for.
Using grip pads may be effective.

But scuffing the sole is simply ridiculous. You’re sacrificing the quality of the sole for traction. And while this may work in your favor, you’ve gambled with the soles’ lifespan.

If I have to be honest with you, I strongly believe that the best way to make shoes non-slip is not to buy regular shoes unless you must.

Invest in a high quality pair of slip resistant shoes instead. Non-slip shoes feature special rubber outsole that can challenge wet, greasy, and slippery floors just fine. And with tread patterns that easily removes water from under your feet, such shoes can give you the traction you need to walk on any surface.

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