Working direct with manufacturers and public and private institutions and companies, Satra Technology Centre plays a key role in research and development to improve the slip resistance of footwear and floor surfaces. Thirty years ago Satra designed and built the first prototype laboratory-based slip testing rig and developed the corresponding test method.
The slip rig can be set up to test on an ice surface, and Satra has conducted fundamental research into the characteristics of slip between footwear and ice in a number of forms (frozen, frosted and smooth). While it is incorrect to claim that footwear can be made non-slip, it is certainly the case that research and testing has allowed the global footwear industry to improve the slip resistance of footwear.
The risk of slip is present in a vast array of situations the whole year round and the development of slip resistance leads to the question when does slip resistance pose a comparable hazard to slip. Satra has conducted research focused on the balance between translational movement (footwear sliding in a straight line across the floor surface) and rotational movement (footwear rotating left or right on a floor surface). Footwear requires a high translational coefficient of friction to minimise the risk of slipping, but low rotational friction to reduce the risk of leg and joint strains and breaks. If you can imagine a shoe sticking to the floor, if the strength of this ‘stick’ is so strong that it prevents the wearer from rotating the sole, then any sudden twist will put all the strain on the wearer’s limbs and joints and not the usual friction/slip point between sole and floor. The potential injury could be just as severe as that caused by a slip.