Why you should avoid leather-soled shoes in the winter

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Davenport, Iowa near St. Ambrose. (Photo credit: TANNEN MAURY/AFP/Getty Images)

For people age 65 and older, medical officials say falling on ice is the top cause of hospitalization and accidental death.

There are ways to protect yourself, according to Dr. David Dierks, the director of Genesis’ emergency departments.  From your shoes to the way you walk.

Your shoes should:

  • Fit properly
  • Supply traction
  • Retain their grip even in cold temperatures

“Rubber remains grippy in colder temperatures, while polyurethane gets harder and more slippery on ice in colder temperatures,” said Dr. Dierks. “Shoes with leather soles are among the most slippery.”

Improve walking surfaces by:

  • Using products to melt ice and increase grip on driveways, sidewalks and stairs
  • Adding commercial grit paint to concrete stairs to help get traction

You can also prevent falls by:

  • Taking small “duck” steps to help keep your balance
  • Wearing studded boots sometimes known as “creepers,” wear golf shoes, or find another type of shoe specifically designed for winter conditions
  • Asking for assistance when crossing an icy walkway
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