Don’t slip up! Buy the right non-slip socks
We noticed that there are a few similar looking slipper socks, or non-slip hospital socks available to buy via the NHS Supply Chain and other channels. Looking more closely at the photos online will give you a rough idea of the different sizes, materials and different fits. However, you can’t really tell which ones will be the best value and will, most importantly, be the most effective at preventing patients slipping until you put them side by side and actually try them on.
An investigation was required! So, we lined up three of the top online sellers and made some comparisons to help you make the right buying decision. One of these is our Interweave sock, the other two are from different companies, which we’ll name Brand A and Brand B for the purposes of this research.
Stretch & Size Comparison
Firstly we tested the XL beige hospital sock from Brand A (left) with our Interweave equivalent (right). The XL sock is designed to fit UK shoe size 8-11. The difference in size is easy to spot when they’re side-by-side!
The stretch in the Interweave sock is far superior to the Brand A sock too. Data from the test:
|XL sock||Brand A||Interweave|
Next we compared the XXX dark grey slipper sock from Brand B (left) with our Interweave equivalent (right). The XXX size is suitable for UK shoe size 11-13.
These two were very similar. The Brand B sock cuff is 2cm longer, but the Interweave cuff diameter was wider and in the testing it stretched out further than the Brand B sock. As a result, the testers found the sock much easier to put on. Here’s the data:
|XXX sock||Brand B||Interweave|
In addition, the Interweave sock is much easier to identify sizes, as the size is printed on the sock as part of the non-slip tread. The Brand B sock has no clear size indication, leaving the potential for healthcare staff to puzzle over colour size charts every time they need a pair for a patient.
Result: The Interweave sock stretch and size beats the Brand A and Brand B socks, due to the extra stretch capability and clear sizing.
Non-Slip Tread Comparison
Comparing the Brand B XXX sock with the Interweave XXX sock, the tread length is the same at 28cm. Testing the stickiness of the non-slip tread was done using 3 testers wearing one of each sock on each foot. The outcome was that 2 out of 3 testers found the Brand B sock to have a higher co-efficient of friction than the Interweave sock, meaning that the Brand B socks weren’t as efficient at sticking to the floor surface.
Moving on to the XL Brand A sock vs the XL Interweave equivalent it’s easy to see which sock has the longest tread. The Interweave sock has 25cm of anti-slip tread, and the Brand A sock has just over half that length at only 13cm. Most importantly, the shorter tread didn’t reach the heel, covering only the front of the sole of the foot. The testers found that as the heel is the first point of impact when walking, the sock provides little protection against a fall. This is especially important when fitting slippers socks for patients with limited mobility. Such as stroke patients, who rely on the non-slip tread on the heel to provide purchase with the floor when moving from sitting to standing.
Result: Overall, the testers felt that the Interweave sock was the best option for safety and practical purposes due to the increased non-slip tread coverage.
The third test was to compare comfort levels of the 3 socks.
Comfort in a sock is provided by the thickness of the fabric, the fluffiness of the inner sock and the bounce in the sole. Non-slip hospital socks aren’t designed for comfort, the primary goal of these is to provide safety. However, they do need to be reasonably comfortable for patients to happily wear them both in and out of bed, all day long.
The Brand B sock has a reasonable level of inner sock fluffiness and provides a medium level of comfort when worn. The Interweave sock is slightly thinner fabric with a light layer of fluffy inner sock. However, the Brand A sock provides the warmest, fluffiest inner sock and the bouncier step.
Result: The testers rated the Brand A sock as the most comfortable.
In conclusion, if you are buying non-slip socks for safety reasons to prevent a fall, such as for hospital patients, recently discharged hospital patients at home, elderly people, or people with dementia, then the top Non-Slip Tread Comparison result (Interweave) would be your best bet.
However, if you are buying non-slip socks for comfort and warmth, you could either opt for the Comfort Comparison top result (Brand A) or shop online for one of the many online shopping options for cosy, warm, furry slipper socks.
Finally, if fitting the sock over swollen feet is an issue, such as in the case of people with dementia or patients with a foot or toe infection then the top result of the Stretch and Size Comparison (Interweave) is your ideal choice. On a related note, when buying any slipper socks, bear in mind that if the feet are sensitive or swollen that it’s advisable to buy a larger size than normal.
The Interweave non-slip hospital socks are available in 3 different styles; single tread (with tread just on the sole of the foot), double tread (tread on the sole and the top of the foot – ideal for people who find it difficult to pick their feet up) and fall prevention (just like the double tread but in bright colours to highlight the extra risk to nurses and carers). Each style is available in a wide range of sizes.