Adding non-slip soles to your socks and slippers

16 Dec

After having made a few pairs of socks, I realized that wool socks are slippery as hell. Sure, it wouldn’t matter much if I wore shoes all day and had carpeted floors but being Korean, we do not wear shoes in the house and guess what? We have hardwood floors (We often visit my in-laws who have marble floors. Can we say deathtrap?). So after all that hard work and fighting with teeny tiny dpns poking me left and right, I have the handknit socks shoved in a bin somewhere. That’s not right and I vowed to do something about it. Oh, that and the fact that I made my mother-in-law some felted slippers and needed some slipper bottoms ASAP. Sure, they sell suede bottoms but considering my total yarn cost for the project was less than $5 (Patons Classic Wool on sale), I don’t think shelling out $40-some dollars for slipper bottoms made much sense. Plus, what about my socks? I can’t go sewing on suede bottoms for socks, can I?

So, I dug around Ravelry and Google to find a lot of  applied “puffy paint” (aka acrylic paint sold at craft stores for $.79). But after more digging, there seemed to be a consensus that they wore off quickly, the puffy/bumpy factor made socks very uncomfortable, and the non-slip element was minimal. Not good.

Lo and behold Plasti-Dip! Easily found at your local hardware store (Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc etc), Plasti-Dip’s originally intended to rubberize your tool (hmmm….something about that last phrase sounds sexual….LOL) handles but one can apply it to the bottom of any socks and slippers for that extra grip. Plus it seemed like a way cheaper alternative (Plasti-Dip cost $6.88 at Home Depot) to Rug backing, which can also be used on slipper bottoms.

Some precautions though: this thing smells exactly like high fuming glue and the can reads VAPORS HARMFUL. Too many hours painting socks in non-ventilated areas will eat your brain. For real.

I bought the can version and “painted” on stripes and dots on the bottom of the slipper with Q-tips (didn’t want to throw away paint brushes cuz once this stuff gets on there, it’s garbage.) but on retrospect I should have just gotten the aerosol spray one. Easier application, less mess and it doesn’t dry up as quickly as the paint on one. I’ll remember that next time.

One more thing: Regia just came out with their brilliant Regia ABS Latex which is exactly what I needed all along. Much easier application (they even sell cute stencils so you can paint on pretty little things) However, it’s new and not a lot of stores carry it yet (a wee bit on the expensive side at $12 each for a 100 ml bottle). For now though, Plasti-Dip it is.

Oh, and if you can’t find any of the stuff I mentioned, try latex caulking (which I believe could be found in any old Walmart/K-Mart/Target etc) as your last resort. Read all about it here


18 Responses to “Adding non-slip soles to your socks and slippers”

  1. Amber December 18, 2009 at 5:40 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience!!! I love to knit socks but having hard wood floors, experienced that same issues with slip-sliding all over the place! Thank you for the good tips!!!

    • yarnphreak December 18, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

      Glad I could be of assistance! 🙂

  2. Loreen Smith February 13, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    Thank you so much for this information. Googled gripper socks and found your site to be most helpful.
    Thanks for sharing. I’m enjoying some of the rest of your tips also. Happy creating!

  3. Elsa December 15, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Plasti-dip – genius! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Bill Ellliott March 31, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Thanks for the information on non-slip products. We used to sell Dritz Rug-Back in our stores. It was a great product. Just paint it on the back of a rug and no more slip! The Rub Backing sound like pretty much the same thing. The other ideas sound like worth trying. My wife is into having throw rugs on hardwood floors. Bad for people who hurry through the house. Again, thanks.

  5. Elizabeth September 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    THANK YOU!!! So happy I found your post!!! I am making some slippers and was looking all over internet for some very good tips to make the soles non-slip. I’ve just ordered Regia Latex on Ebay. Can’t wait to try it out. If it wont’ do it’s job, then, at least you’ve given me more ideas to make it work!!!

  6. Dazzle Baby Designs Boutique September 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Thank you for posting about the different products you found and researched. I look forward to trying out the Plasti-Dip because I am allergic to Latex. So, for all of you crafters, make sure you mention on your product tags and/or online store about any latex products you use on your items. You just never know which customer has an allergy to something or even someone that lives with that customer. Have fun crafting!

  7. Shopping Diva October 29, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    Thank You…Thank You!!!
    The puffy dots are never uniform and look ugly. It takes at least 4 hours on a hot day for the dots to dry and overnight otherwise. I suggest that you put poster board or cardboard inside the shoe so that the spray will not go through to the inside.
    Again, Thank You so much for the advice!

  8. Judy February 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Hi, Thx for the great info! Does the Plasti Dip coating wear off in the wash? Can you put the socks/slippers/gloves that have been treated w/ Plasti Dip into the dryer, or must it be air dryed?

    • yarnphreak February 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      It doesn’t wear off but it does get less “sticky” with heavy friction, like on the bottom of slippers. I would advise against using it on socks, cuz the bumps caused by the Plastidip is uncomfortable and unpleasant to say the least.

      Using the dryer is just fine. I’ve thrown mine into the wash several times and still looks the same

  9. Judy February 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    good to know. Thx! I went to MIchael’s over the weekend and bought Puffy Paint & 3D Fabric Paint by Scribbles , even tho’ I’ve read it wears off quickly, it sounds a bit less uncomfy than the Plasti Dip. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the great blog and tips!

  10. Stefanie Durbin October 11, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Thanks for the great idea~! Your post is definitely the most useful one I’ve found for this purpose. I just went to the Plasti-Dip website after I read your blog and it looks like they have a new product for home use on fabrics that would be perfect for spraying on the bottom of knitted slippers. I’ll try this and try to remember to report back. I’m making some slipper socks for my nephew, and I don’t want him to hurt himself wearing them. 🙂 Here’s the link I just found to the Super Grip Fabric Spray from Plasti-Dip.

  11. Margarita Wickham May 8, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Where can you buy the Regia ABS Latex in the US? I found it on Wise Badger but that’s a UK store.

    • yarnphreak May 8, 2015 at 10:07 am #

      I bought mine from Jimmy Beans Wool but I believe it’s discontinued in the U.S.
      I don’t recommend the product though. It dries up very quickly and I ended up throwing the hardened bottle away before I even got to use it twice.
      Too expensive in my opinion and the rubberizing is on par with regular puffy glue. Definitely go with the Plasti-dip.

  12. Robert C Haley May 26, 2015 at 3:03 am #

    This is really amazing to read the above post. I must say, this is very much useful and needful.

  13. Marian November 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Thanks for the info. I have been looking for something to spray some socks with to make them non skid. My mom is diabetic and has injured her foot. It has been swelling until she couldn’t get her shoe on, so she has been wearing socks to keep warm. The only problem is, when therapy gets her up to walk, I hold my breath that she doesn’t slide down on her concrete floor in those slick socks. This may be the answer to my problems.

  14. Heather May 17, 2016 at 11:46 pm #

    Hi, just wondered if it washes well in a machine, thanks

    • yarnphreak May 18, 2016 at 5:14 am #

      I’ve used them on socks before(which i don’t recommend btw) and they wash & dry just fine. On slippers, it’s the friction from the floors/carpet that you have to worry about much more than the washing machine. I’ve noticed the plastidip slowly degrading/flaking/thinning over long term use, at which point you just reapply and let it dry completely)

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