SlipResistantWorkBoots_Header – slip resistant work boots for working in the cold

The Sole of Slip-Resistant, Durable Work Boots

The Right Outsole is the Foundation for the Best Work Boots

When looking for work boots, especially for working in the cold, you probably look at material, features, ankle height and insulation. But when was the last time you considered the outsole? Outsoles are the part of the boot that make the most contact with the environment you work in, so they keep your boot from falling apart and are your first line of defense against slips. 

Cold Contact and Temperature Swings

Working in the cold brings challenges that aren’t found on other job sites. Regular work boots aren’t designed for the cold. Outsoles are made of rubber which reacts poorly to cold contact and moving from warm to cold temperatures. The outsoles will crack and harden. This reduces the grip and lowers the slip resistance, so the boots aren’t as safe. It also decreases their life span and durability.

Our RefrigiWear® and Vibram® outsoles are specifically designed for working in the cold. That means cold contact and repeated temperature changes won’t break them down. They’ll stay intact and keep you safe so you can focus on the job. 

SlipResistantWorkBoots_BootsOnConcrete – slip resistant work boots on cold concrete, tread showing


The style of tread isn’t for looks (though some do look pretty cool). The tread pattern and lug size (the individual pieces of the tread) determine how the boot grips the floor/ground and how other components, like water, flow through the tread.

Smaller tread generally does better on slicker surfaces with water or ice. Larger/wider tread does better with contaminants. RefrigiWear outsoles mix tread patterns, with larger lugs on the perimeter of the outsole and a finer tread in the middle. This allows our boots to handle as many conditions as possible while maintaining slip resistance.

The material compound of the tread matters for grip, too. Vibram® IceTrek™ has an additional engineered factor to its compound that gives it a grit component. This pairs with the tread to offer more grip on slick surfaces. 

SlipResistantWorkBoots_BootsBeingCleaned - slip resistant work boots, dirty, being cleaned with a hose

Slip Resistance Ratings

Slip resistance is the indicator of how well the tread material and pattern work together to keep you on your feet. The industry standard for slip resistance testing is the Mark II test. To perform the test, a section of the outsole is cut out and used to slide against a tile surface. The outsole is tested against the tile when it is dry, wet and with an oily/wet mixture applied. The test measures the “coefficient of friction” – or CoF – to determine the outsole’s slip resistance.  A CoF measurement of 0.50 or higher on a dry surface is considered "slip-resistant." 

Not only score do all RefrigiWear® boots score above 0.50, they are significantly higher and approach 1.0. We wouldn’t choose an outsole that performed just at a satisfactory slip-resistance level. We want you to have confidence that your boots are protecting you. That is why we make outsoles that score so high.    

Goodyear Welt vs Cementing

The way the boot is constructed factors into its durability and its weight. Lighter weight boots cause less fatigue on the job. There are two main ways of attaching an outsole to the upper portion of the boot: Goodyear Welt and cementing.

  • Cementing is when a super-strength industrial glue is used to adhere the outsole to the upper. This is a durable form of construction that also keeps the boot lighter weight.
  • Goodyear Welt is sometimes referred to as the “traditional” work boot construction. This is when the outsole is sewn directly to the upper. Though this adds even more durability to the boot, it also adds weight and a wider profile to the outsole of the boot.

We offer several boots with Goodyear Welt construction: the Barrier, the Platinum, and the Classic. All other boots are constructed with cementing. 

Our Boots

We offer a range of outsoles on our boots that have different tread patterns and slip-resistance levels. Our outsoles are engineered to perform in both indoor cold (where most contact is with cold cement floors) and outdoor cold (the self-cleaning, cleat designs help here). The combination of engineered compounds and tread designs are unique to our footwear. You won’t find outsoles like ours anywhere else. 

Outsole Type: Anti-Slip RefrigiWear

Offered on these boots:

 PolarForce® Max | Tungsten Hiker | Frostline® Hiker | Extreme Freezer Boot | Extreme Freezer Pull-On | Extreme Pac Boot | Iron-Tuff® Hiker 

Outsole Type: Anti-Slip RefrigiWear

Offered on these boots:


Outsole Type: Anti-Slip RefrigiWear

Offered on these boots:

Ice Viking 

Outsole Type: RefrigiWear® Hybrid Traction

Offered on these boots:

 Extreme Hiker

Outsole Type: Crack-resistant athletic rubber outsole

Offered on these boots:

Pedigree Pac Boot

Outsole Type: Anti-Slip RefrigiWear

Offered on these boots:

PolarForce® Hiker | Crossover HikerWomen’s Black Widow

Outsole Type: Vibram® Montana with IceTrek® outsole

Offered on these boots:

 PolarForce® Max | Tungsten Hiker | Frostline® Hiker

Outsole Type: Vibram® New Bifida with IceTrek® outsole

Offered on these boots:

 Ice Logger™ | EnduraMax™