A man tests a way to walk on ice without slipping. It works
There’s a lot to hate about winter: the salt that builds up on the road, or the gray skies, or the approximately 700 people who die of hypothermia in America each year due to lack of proper shelter, or the thousands of car accidents that occur due to icy roads.
Another very real and not very uncomfortable part of winter is walking outside your house without slipping or getting injured. The CDC reports that about 1 million people are injured each year due to slips and falls and that the rate of physical harm from this specific scenario increases “exponentially as temperatures decrease.”
However, there is a way to ensure that you can walk outside in even the iciest of conditions without falling, if TikTok’s experience is to be believed. At the risk of becoming part of someone’s social media gloating group, the hack involves an item you’re probably wearing on your feet right now.
A TikToker named Jojo (@imliterallymexican) uploaded a video where she tested this “life hack,” as she calls it, and the results were amazing.
The video begins with JoJo recording a man standing at the front door of the house. He’s wearing a winter coat and a hat, and takes a pair of socks out of his jacket pocket.
“So, apparently, if you wear socks on the outside of your shoes, you can walk on ice better,” he says.
As any TikTok omniscientist would do, the man then sets out to test this hypothesis. The door then opens to reveal an outdoor balcony, part of a residential street, and a sidewalk covered in a layer of snow.
First, he needs to see what it’s like to walk outside without socks, and explains that even the idea of walking in a regular pair of sneakers is almost impossible. The thin layer of ice made him slip and slide, and if it weren’t for his impressive balance, he would have fallen to the pavement head first.
♬ original sound – 𝐂𝐨𝐬𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐨
Once he returns home, he takes the socks out again and then puts them on top of his sneakers.
“He’s very attractive,” he said before saying “the moment of truth.” He ventures out onto the icy porch again to evaluate whether or not the ice-walking trick is working, but not before tapping the bottoms of his trusty feet for good luck.
He gingerly tests his foot on the pile of ice and then puts his full weight on it, seeming instantly startled.
“Oh no way,” he says.
“truly?” says the registered person.
“No way,” he repeats as he walks down the porch steps with no problem at all — sock hacks seem to be the real deal when it comes to walking on ice.
“impossible!” He shouted again as he wandered down the middle of the street and backed up the porch steps.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Jojo via TikTok comment for more information. Viewers seemed impressed that it worked, leaving one TikToker to come up with a cool trick of their own.
“I’m going to put socks on my tires,” they commented, an idea echoed by another user: “Well, instead of chains or snow tires, we just need Hans to start making tire socks.”
Another person thought of a way to up the ante with a more specific type of shoe, writing: “Has anyone tried cute hospital socks?”
Then there was a user who thought TikTok was coming back to bite the TikToker in the back, saying: “Personal perspective: Your boss sees this, after you said it’s too cold to come to work.”
If for any reason you’re suspicious of social media “hacks” and think maybe this TikToker is trying to trick a group of people into sliding on ice, studies have been done on the practice. The local government of Blackburn in the UK posted a lengthy slideshow extolling the benefits of putting socks over shoes for a safer snow/ice walking experience: “Wearing socks over shoes appears to be an effective and inexpensive way to reduce the likelihood of slipping on icy footpaths. This was The conclusion of a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal that tested the widely known advice.
Watchman She pointed to the same New Zealand study that found this conclusion to be true, and it was also reported in Otago Daily Times.
So why does it work so well? That’s what one Mediation An article published by David Lachman looks into it, and it seems to have something to do with the basic way that ice works. The reason it is so slippery is because there is a “semi-liquid layer on the surface of the ice” that leaves it “free to move like liquid water molecules”. Since “these molecules remain semi-liquid and provide lubrication, friction is not necessary.” So wearing shoes with a rough tread won’t help as much as wearing a pair of socks, which help absorb the almost imperceptible layer of liquid over the ice, allowing people to walk without slipping.
So, if you’re worried about falling on the ice and cracking your head, get out some thick pairs of old socks and put them over your kicks — it’s a scientifically proven way to ensure you don’t end up like this famous outdoor runner who crashed. On the floor immediately after a television interview.
If only they knew about the sock hack.
*First published: January 19, 2024 at 12:00 PM CST
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for The Daily Dot covering trending human concerns, social media stories, and real people’s reactions to them. He always strives to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and relevant facts into these stories to create a viral publication that is anything but mediocre.