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How to Roughen Up the Soles of Your Shoes

by Melissa King, studioD

A new pair of shoes usually boosts your confidence -- until you embarrass yourself by slipping and nearly falling on a shiny-smooth floor. Many shoes, including high heels and dress shoes, have smooth soles that don't grip the ground well. The soles will naturally roughen over time as you wear them, but if you don't want to wait that long, speed up the process by roughening them up yourself.

Rub a sheet of medium to coarse sandpaper over the soles of your shoes to roughen them up. If you don't have sandpaper, run the soles over the sidewalk, bricks or other rough pavement.

Use the points of scissors to cut one or two large X shapes into the soles of your shoes. Make one cut near the toe area and the other on the heel. If your shoes still seem slippery, cut a few smaller X shapes around the larger ones.

Apply adhesive nonslip pads to the soles of your shoes. These pads have a rough surface that grips the ground as you walk. Wash and dry the soles of your shoes before applying the pads.

Spray the soles with a light coating of hairspray. Don't spray too much, or your shoes might stick to the floor.

Have sole protectors applied to your shoes. You can usually purchase these from cobblers, shoe-repair shops or the store where you bought your shoes. Sole protectors guard shoes from damage while making them less slippery.

Items you will need
  •  Medium to coarse sandpaper
  •  Scissors
  •  Nonslip pads
  •  Hairspray
  •  Sole protectors


  • Wearing your shoes frequently will help roughen up the soles, but it's best not to wear a pair for more than two days in a row. Wearing the same pair daily will reduce the life of your shoes.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images