I’ve fallen and I… (or: how to add traction to your shoes)

23 April 2009

Like many stereotypical females, I like shoes.  I can’t even remember how many I bought last year.  But I do know that I moved with 2 ikea blue bags and one laundry basket full of shoes and boots and sandals…  Most of them I barely wear, and I’m pretty sure there’s at least one or two pairs I’ve never worn…  But that’s not really the point.

Regardless of how cute they might be, there are just some shoes that you really shouldn’t wear any place that has smooth floors.  Take a few steps too quickly or even just try to turn a corner at a normal pace and WHAM! You’re on the floor with a bruised butt.  Or worse if you try to do something stupid like brace yourself for the fall.  My shoes today fit those perfectly.

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These cute ballet flats are perfect for my work wardrobe.  However, I’ve slipped not once but two times — and a lot of close calls — in these shoes while at work.  The first time I wore these shoes, it wasn’t a pretty site.  It was probably in my first month or so of starting my job, and we were having our annual staff holiday potluck that afternoon.  As I normally do, I went down to the main office to get hot chocolate in the morning.  I came back upstairs, someone from a neighboring lab not far behind me, and proceeded back towards my office.  All of a sudden I begin to slip, so I try to catch myself and ended up in this half-splits, standing splayed position… with burning hot chocolate all over my arm.  Sadly, I wish that my red arm was all I shuffled away with after the incident.  I continued with my day, mildly embarrassed, but all right.  In the middle of the potluck, after wandering around, mingling, and then finally sitting down with some food, I look down and notice something very, very wrong with my crotch.  There was a large hole in my pant.  Apparently during my awkward manuver to not spill my hot chocolate (fail) and not fall (okay, so I managed that one), I split the seem on my pants.  I covered my lap with a napkin for the rest of the meal, and tried to scurry off at the end (again, fail — I got cornered by one of the business office ladies).  Back in my office I quickly grabbed my stapler and darted to the bathroom where I then proceeded in stapling up the large hole.  I decided after that incident, that I wouldn’t wear these shoes to work again.

Well, it shows you well I follow the “never again” motto… I’m wearing them today.  I figured it’d be okay, I’ve worn them out, I’ll be fine.  Yeah, no.  As I was trying to put my lunch in the fridge in my boss’ office and my feet fell right out from under me and I was on my hip in a matter of seconds.  My lunch survived the fall without any damage or even shifting.  I decided then, rather than just give up on the shoes again (for a matter of months of course, until I forgot about falling), I would modify my shoes to try to decrease my chances of falling again.

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So what I did was take my shoe and I found some very coarse sandpaper in our lab.  I then rubbed the hell out of the sole of the shoe.  The best method of this is to match crosshatch patterns as to give the best scoring.  I knew this wouldn’t be enough though…

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So maybe I wanted a little revenge on the shoes…  I took our large knife we use for trimming posters, and scored my sole even further.  Taking the blade at a 45-degree angle, I cut a diamond pattern on the bottom of my shoes.  After that I attacked the heel a bit because it’s made of a harder plastic… and for some good measure I added a little bit of duct tape because someone on the interwebs said that might work.

Has it worked?  Well, mostly.  My heel is still really slick… and through someone else’s near fall, I’ve learned that our floors just have some odd, uber slick patches that I’m going to have to remember.

  • This isn’t terribly helpful, but I do know some shoe stores– like the shoe area of a department store, or a payless– sell adhesive texture pads you stick to the bottom of the shoe to give traction. I’ve used them before and, while not awesome, its pretty handy.

  • Yeah, I think I’ll end up buying something for them at some point. I just needed a quick fix for work and the sandpaper seemed to be the most helpful. The duct tape didn’t really help until I walked around and more of the adhesive side started showing.

    Honestly, I wish more women’s shoe designers thought about more than aesthetics and “cuteness’… I don’t know how many shoes I own that are either uncomfortable or just useless on smooth surfaces. I will say, I did find some really cute shoes at Urban Outfitters that were the same brand as these gray ones (Fairy Tales Do Come True), and they are PERFECT for work. Best soles I’ve found for cute shoes and slick surfaces! I’ve got them in azure blue, and plan on picking up at least one more pair.

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