Are All Work Boots Slip Resistant? (Explained For People New To Work Boots)

Quick answer, no. Not all work boots are slip-resistant. Slip-resistant work boots are designed to minimize the risks of slipping from a wet, dusty, or oily surface by causing friction against the floor to give them a firm and steady grip, making them essential for certain kinds of jobs; and sometimes even a lifesaver. 

Keep reading to find out how to know if your work boot is anti-slippery plus a few examples of work boots with this life-saving feature.

What qualifies as a non-slip work boot?

A general rule of thumb is that any boot with a flat or smooth sole doesn’t count as being slip-resistant.

To give a better example of what we mean, imagine pulling the brakes on a car without tire treads: it’s pretty much the same when it comes to boots.

Three things to look at in a nonslip feature in work boots

The main things to look for when you want to identify non-slip boots that’ll give you peace of mind at work are:

  • Rubber soles

A sturdy grip all comes down to the type of rubber you use on your boot’s soles, precisely, the part that touches the floor. The softer and thicker the rubber is, the better it can stand its ground against moisture or oily substances.

  • Open treaded patterns

While most boots have patterns, a non-slip boot’s patterns will be connected from one end to the other with deep grooves to prevent any substance from forming a slippery barrier between the sole and the floor.

Having deep treads it’s going to make your work boots great for winter and work in the snow but for working in muddy job places too.

Something like in the image below

a sole tread showing how deep a non slip work boot sole tread should be in order to keep you safe from slipping and falling
  • Durability

On top of a non-slip boot’s ability to keep your feet steady, it’s essential to opt for boots that provide you with adequate protection to protect your feet from other risks you might face on your job site.

In what industries are nonslip work boots essential?

Sneakers might look cool, but you can’t beat the safety and peace of mind that you’ll get with non-slip boots.

Especially when the slightest slip up could mean the difference between life and death.

Industries where non-slip boots are essential include:

  • Construction & Home improvement
  • Hospitals
  • Mining
  • Oil & Gas
  • Restaurants
  • Cleaning services
  • Food processing
  • Law enforcement 

Is it mandatory to wear non slip boots at work?

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, safe and non-slip footwear must be worn at all times in work environments where employees face the hazards that can cause them to slip.

While it varies between different industries and legislations, employers are obliged to assess safety hazards and provide their workforce with non-slip boots if their job involves dealing with water or wet floors and oily substances. 

One important thing to know if you’re working a self employed is that you can write off your work boots a business expense.

Can you make your normal work boots non-slippery?

If you’re not keen on cashing out on a new pair of non-slip work boots, there are several DIY ways to give your favorite boots a firm grip:

  • Engrave the soles

If your boots have flat soles, engraving them with a diagonal pattern using a knife or razor should do the trick to give your boots more stability and ensure that any liquid flowing between your boots won’t get trapped.

  • Scuff the soles 

A quick and easy way to make your boots less slippery is by scuffing the bottom of your boots with sandpaper, a nail file, or even scraping them on asphalt or gravel.

Doing this will remove your boots’ slippery outsole (especially if they’re brand new) and give them a rough texture to hold better on the ground.

  • Glue sand or salt to your soles

Applying a mixture of epoxy or any rubber-based glue with coarse sand or salt to the bottom of your boots will add a grainy texture that should do the trick to keep them on the ground.

  • Use traction spray or hairspray

Although not a permanent solution, traction spray does a great job at enhancing your boot’s grip and can even give an edge to those old sneakers you have on slippery surfaces.

Another option is to use hairspray, and as weird as it might sound, it gets the job done to keep your foot firmly on the ground once it dries up.

Keep in mind that both of these options should be regularly re-applied since they wear off quickly.

Is slip resistant the same as oil resistant?

While both terms are often used to refer to slip-resistant boots, oil resistance usually refers to the top part of a boot and its ability to withstand stains or damage from oil or oil-based products.

Simply put, an oil-resistant boot is made with materials that prevent its upper part from getting damaged or stained from oil.

5 Most popular non slip work boots models 

We’ve checked out various online stores and gone over customer reviews for the top models that people in the field opt for when they choose slip-resistant boots.


Great For Warehouse Workers

Bringing in a bit of casual with professionalism, these boots from RockRooster have the added advantage of diverting the body’s accumulated electrostatic charge to the ground, making them ideal for warehouse workers who have to deal with built-up static on a day-to-day basis.

2. Dunlop Explorer

Perfect For Oil And Mining Jobs

Excellent for workers facing the extreme conditions of mines and oil fiends, Dunlop’s Explorer packs in a punch when it comes to safety features such as being chemical resistant, fuel resistant, and 100% waterproof, all while keeping your feet warm through the harshest storms.

3. Dr Martens Unisex

look stylish no matter what your job is

Boasting the iconic Doc Martens looks, these boots will make you look stylish no matter your job, all the while getting a grip on things with the added benefit of being heat-resistant to take on the extremes.

4. Caterpillar Diagnostic

Great Choice for construction professionals

Brought to you by the very makers of some of the world’s most durable construction equipment, CAT’s Diagnostic Hi Waterproof boots are designed for every construction professional while taking on any beating coming their way.

5. Ariat Workhog

pull-on work boots for quick & easy access

Packed with a western-look, Ariat’s Workhog boots are meant to get you straight down to business with their practical pull-on design for easy access that’ll feel comfortable even on the most demanding days.

This is just one great slip-on boot out there. Here’s our round-up page where you can find some more great pull-on work boots just like this Ariat Workhog.

Conclusion: So Should You Get Yourself A Pair Of Non Slip Work Boots?

If you want to step foot confidently to your work and give yourself a layer of protection against slippery mishaps, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a good pair of non-slip boots on your feet.

With that in mind, remember to go for work boots that also let you feel comfortable…

…after all, you will be wearing them for a good deal of the day, so make sure to go for a pair that lets you focus on your tasks instead of the woes of a sore foot.

Don’t know where to start looking for comfy boots? Check out the following page where we talk about some of the most comfortable work boots for men and women that you can get either online or in-store!

Team Members Working On This Page

Adrian – Web Master / Construction Professional

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!

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