How to Make Shoes Non-Slip? 15 DIY Methods

We all know that feeling of unease when we wear slippery shoes. Whether we’re at work or running errands, the last thing we want is to feel like we’re going to fall over at any minute.

Slippery shoes are hazardous, causing falls and even severe injuries. Slipping is a common risk that can be mitigated at home by making changes to shoe soles.

New shoes can often be a little slippery when we first start wearing them. This is because the outsoles have not been broken in yet. Weather conditions can also make shoes slippery. If it’s raining or snowing, our shoes are going to be more prone to slipping.

New shoes often make an annoying squeaking noise. Here are some tips to prevent shoes from squeaking.   

Therefore, it is essential to make your shoes slip-resistant. In this article, we will discuss some methods on how to make shoes non-slip. We have provided three types of procedures –

  1. Ways that cause intentional damage to the outsole
  2. Methods that do not damage the outsole
  3. Ways that require a shoe accessory

These methods can be used for any shoe you might wear and not just athletic shoes. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Scuff the Outsoles

Scuffed outsole.

One way to make shoes less slippery on smooth surfaces is to scuff up the outsoles. This can be done by rubbing the outsoles against a rough surface. When the outsoles are scuffed, they will have more grip and be less likely to slip. Scuffing outsoles is particularly effective if your shoes are new.

However, this method should be used with caution. If you scuff the outsoles too much, it will wear down the material and eventually ruin the shoe.

Some shoe soles, such as those with cardboard textures on flats and sandals, might not respond well to this approach.

You can scuff the outsoles using the following materials –


Using sandpaper to scuff the outsole.

Sandpaper can quickly and easily scuff the outsoles of shoes. All you need to do is rub the sandpaper against the outsole in a circular motion. Make sure you rub gently, as you don’t want to damage the material. Keep rubbing until you get a good, even coarse texture.

Make sure you scuff the heel areas as well. Using 50 coarse-grit sandpaper is recommended.

Alternatively, you can also stick thin sandpaper on the outsole. Use a shoe adhesive to secure the sandpaper to the outsole.

Metal Nail Files

Using a nail filer to scuff the outsole.

Nail files are an excellent alternative to sandpaper if you’re looking for a more precise texture. To scuff the outsoles with a nail file, rub it against the surface in a back and forth motion. Again, make sure you do this gently to avoid damaging the shoes.

You can also use an emery board if you don’t have a nail file. Generally, the coarser the nail file or emery board, the better it will be at making your shoe slip-resistant.

Walk on Rough Surfaces

Walking on a rough surface.

Walking on rough surfaces is a natural way to scuff the shoe sole. By walking on rough surfaces, you will wear down the material and create a rougher texture. This method may take time, but it is a less damaging way to scuff the soles.

Keep in mind the rougher the surface, the more grip your shoes will have. The best surfaces to walk on are –

  • Gravel
  • Concrete
  • Chipseal
  • Textured sidewalks or walking paths

Taking off your shoes and scratching their soles by rubbing them on the ground with your hands is also an option. We recommend doing this if your shoes are brand new.

Scoring the Outsole

Using a blade to score the outsole.

Another way to make shoes less slippery is to score the outsole. This can be done by making minor cuts or scratches on the shoe’s surface. When you score the outsole, it will create a rougher texture that will provide more grip.

You will need a sharp object such as a knife, razor blade, or box cutter to score the outsole. Carefully make horizontal and vertical lines across the entire sole. Make sure you do not make deep cuts in the sole. They are only meant to create a texture and increase friction.

We don’t recommend this method for new shoes. There is a high chance of ruining the outsole and making the shoe unwearable.

Use a Traction Spray or Grip Spray

Spraying traction spray on the outsole.

Traction sprays or grip sprays are a fantastic method to increase traction on shoes. They contain chemicals that will increase friction between the shoe and slippery surfaces. Traction sprays are perfect for wet and icy conditions.

Before applying a traction spray, make sure you clean the outsole properly. The surface should be free of any dirt, dust, or debris.

To apply a traction spray, hold the can upright and about 6 inches away from the shoe sole. Spray evenly across the surface. Do not overspray. Let the shoes dry for about 4 hours before using them. Make sure you shake the can well before use.

Traction sprays can be used on sneakers, dress shoes, or winter boots.

However, these sprays are not a long-term solution to make shoes slip-resistant. The chemicals in the spray will wear down over time, and you will need to reapply them.

Use Hairspray

Spraying hairspray on the shoe outsole.

Hairspray is a quick and easy way to make shoes non-slip. While hairspray may not always be the most effective way to add traction, it is a good temporary fix. Avoid using this method during wet conditions.

All you need to do is spray a thin layer of hairspray onto the outsole of your shoes. Please be sure to avoid spraying it on the upper part of the shoe. Hairspray dries quickly, and it will provide a temporary increase in traction.

Keep in mind that the hairspray can leave a sticky residue on the shoes and the floor.

Use Sand and Spray Adhesive

Applying a spray adhesive before spraying sand.

Sticking sand to the bottom of your shoes is another way to create friction and prevent shoes from slipping. Sand is not effective in wet and snowy conditions.

You can either use play sand or builders sand. Make sure the sand is clean and free of any debris.

To apply the sand, you will need a spray adhesive. Spray the adhesive on the bottom of your shoes, then sprinkle sand over them. Let the adhesive dry for a few hours before using the shoes.

The downside to using sand is that it can be messy. The sand will eventually come off the shoes and end up all over the place.

Use Salt and Rubber Glue

Leather shoes and shoe goo.

Salt and rubber glue mixture create a rough surface that increases traction. This will give your shoes a better grip on a slippery surface. You can also use rubber cement if you don’t have rubber glue.

Make the mixture by mixing equal parts of salt and rubber glue in a bowl. Blend the ingredients thoroughly to avoid lumps. Then, clean the outsole of your shoes with a damp cloth. Let the surface dry completely before applying the mixture.

Next, apply a thin layer of this mixture using a paintbrush on the outsole. Be sure to cover all areas evenly. Then, let it dry thoroughly before wearing your shoes.

Salt and rubber glue mixture is a great method to use on wet surfaces.

Use Puff Paints

Applying puff paints.

Puff paint is a type of craft paint used to create a 3D effect. This product comes in various colors and can be used on different surfaces such as metal, rubber, fabric, and wood.

Puff paint can be used to create designs or patterns on the bottom of your shoes. As the paint dries, it leaves a rough texture, which is ideal for giving your slippery shoes a good grip. Plus, it’s a fun way to personalize your shoes.

Before applying the paint, make sure the surface is clean and free of dust or dirt. We recommend cleaning the soles with rubbing alcohol. Once you clean the surface, let it dry completely.

Then, apply a thin layer of puff paint to the bottom of your shoes. Apply an even layer; otherwise, you will end up with an uneven surface. Let the puff paint dry for about 24 hours before wearing the shoes.

Make sure not to get puff paint on the upper surface of the shoe. If you do, don’t worry. Simply follow this cleaning guide to remove paint from shoes.  

Use Masking Tape

Masking tape stuck in a cross pattern on the outsole.

Masking tape is a great way to increase traction on shoes. They are easy to use and can be applied in a matter of minutes. You can also use duct tape if you don’t have masking tape.

The only thing you need is some masking tape and a pair of scissors. Cut the tape into thin strips, then stick them to the bottom of your shoes. Make sure the surface is clean and free of any dust or dirt. Consider making cross patterns with the tape for best results.

The downside of masking tape is that it is ineffective on wet surfaces. The tape will also wear down over time, and you will have to replace it.

Use a Hot Glue Gun

Small dots of hot glue on the outsole.

A hot glue gun is an excellent tool for making your favorite pair of boots less slippery. It’s simple to use and takes only a few minutes to complete.

First, plug in the hot glue gun and insert a glue stick in it. Wait for a couple of minutes to let the glue heat up.

Then, take your shoes and place them upside down on a surface that you don’t mind getting messy. Using the glue gun, make small dots on the bottom of your shoes. You can also make a criss-cross pattern on the rubber soles. Once you’re done applying the glue, let it dry for about 15 minutes.

Use Adhesive Bandages or Adhesive Pads

Sticking adhesive pads.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make your shoes non-slip, adhesive bandages are the answer. They are cheap and easy to use.

You will need at least three bandages. Please make sure the rubber soles are free from any dirt, or else the bandage will not stick. Attach two adhesive bandages diagonally across the sole and one across the heel. Press down on each adhesive bandage to make sure they are securely attached.

This method is not as long-lasting as the others, but can fix slippery shoes temporarily. The bandages will start to peel off after a few uses.

Use Silicone Sealant

Applying silicone sealant on the shoes.

A silicone sealant is a type of adhesive that is used to attach two surfaces together. It is typically used in construction or home improvement projects. However, it can also be used to make shoes non-slip. Silicone sealant, when dries, becomes a rubber-like substance that increases traction.

Please make sure you clean the rubber sole, or the sealant will not stick. After cleaning the sole, apply a thin layer of the sealant. Make a criss-cross pattern with the sealant for better results. Allow the sealant to dry for about 24 hours before wearing the shoes.

This is a more permanent solution than the others, but it can be a little messy to apply. Periodic touch-ups may be necessary.

Visit a Cobbler and Have Them Re-Sole Your Shoes

A cobbler inspecting the outsole of the shoe.

The last and most permanent solution to making your shoe slip-resistant is to have a cobbler re-sole them. This involves removing the old sole and attaching a new one.

The cobbler will also adjust the heel and other aspects of the shoes so that it fits better. Re-soling your shoes can be expensive, but it’s a good investment to prevent accidental slips.

Invest in Grip Pads

An adhesive grip pad attached to the toe area of the shoe.

If you’re looking for a non-damaging way to make your shoes less slippery, investing in grip pads is a good option. Grip pads are thin pieces of rubber or plastic that adhere to the bottom of your shoe. This will create friction and prevent slipping.

Applying grip pads is simple. All you need to do is clean the bottom of your shoes with a damp cloth. Let them dry completely. Then, remove the adhesive backing of the grip pad and stick it to the outsole. Press down on the grip pad firmly so that they stick well. Leave the shoes for at least 12 hours so that the grip pads can adhere to the outsole properly.

Grip pads come in various shapes and sizes, so make sure you get the right ones for your shoes.

If the grip pad starts to peel off over time, you can use a shoe adhesive to reapply them. Just make sure you remove all the old adhesives before applying the new layer.

Use Ice Grips

Shoe outsole with ice grip.

Ice grips are a type of shoe accessory that is used to provide traction on slippery surfaces. They work by clamping onto the heel and sole of your shoes and have tiny spikes that dig into the ice. This gives you a better grip and prevents you from slipping and falling.

Ice grips are ideal for use in icy or snowy conditions. They can also be used when participating in winter sports.

Use Ankle Straps

Black shoes with ankle straps.

The smooth soles of the shoes are not always responsible for making them slip on smooth surfaces. If your boots fit loosely, you can quickly lose your balance and slip. This is a common problem for footwear such as clogs, heels, and sandals.

This is where ankle straps come in handy. An ankle strap is a shoe accessory that wraps around your ankle and attaches to the shoes. This provides a tighter fit and prevents the shoe from slipping off your foot.

There are different types of ankle straps available on the market, such as Velcro, elastic, and buckles. Choose the style that best suits your needs.

This method is more beneficial for women, especially if their job requires them to wear high-heeled shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Make Shoe Non-Slip

How to make shoes non-slip on ice?

The best way to make anti-slip shoe bottoms for ice is to use ice grips. You can also consider using silicone sealant.

How to make shoes non-slip for restaurants?

To make shoes non-slip for restaurants, you can scuff the outsole, and use adhesive bandages, masking tape, grip shoe pads, and puff paints.

How to make slippers less slippery?

If you want to make your slippers less slippery, you can use any of the non-damaging methods. Slipper soles are not as strong as a shoe sole, so you should avoid scuffing or scoring them.

How to make tennis shoes non-slip?

If your tennis shoes are slipping on the court, then it is time to purchase a new pair of tennis shoes. If you want to add grip to the old shoes, taking them to a cobbler is the best option.

However, you can try attaching grip pads and masking tape to make your tennis shoes non-slip.

How to make Converse non-slip?

Many of the above-mentioned methods can be used to make Converse shoes non-slip. However, using anti-slip for the bottom of the shoes is a good and easy way to make shoes slip-resistant.

Another quick fix is to use an anti-slip spray for shoes. If you don’t have this, spray the soles with hairspray until they feel sticky, then let them dry. This temporary solution increases the shoe’s stickiness, helping to prevent slips. However, the hairspray method requires re-application after each wear. Always test a small area first to ensure no damage to the shoe.

The Bottom Line

Wearing non-slip shoes is essential for safety, especially in icy or wet conditions. Using one of the methods described in this article, you can make a slippery pair of shoes safe to walk in.

Please make sure you test out the method you used before relying on it during an emergency.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you.

Also, take a look at our blog post “How to Make Big Shoes Fit” for tips on making oversized shoes fit better.

Thank you for reading!

Leave a Comment