it's stitched on, but it's much better than a standard topy. a standard topy will become smooth very quickly, which makes it no better pretty bad on ice. a commando has lugs which provides way, way better stability on snow and ice. this is why LL Bean Boots work so well, the rubber grips on various pointsthe single worst shoes I ever had for winter wear were RM Williams Craftsman Chelsea boots with smooth rubber soles. smooth sole on smooth surface = invitation for disaster.