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Study: socks over shoes prevent falls

Socks over shoes surpass shoes over socks for strolling on slippery city slopes, says a study done in New Zealand. In other words – in the words of the study itself – “wearing socks over shoes appears to be an effective and inexpensive method to reduce the likelihood of slipping on icy footpaths”.

Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams and Patricia Priest did an experiment to test the wisdom of a local winter tradition. The trio, based at the University of Otago in Dunedin, published a report in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

They explain: “There are anecdotal reports that pedestrians who wear socks over the top of their footwear are less likely to slip and fall in icy conditions. Advocates of this practice include our local council (in Dunedin), which advises residents who prefer to walk (rather than drive) in icy conditions to ‘put a pair of old socks over your shoes to increase grip'”…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

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