Abstract This paper presents results of eight experimental tests carried to evaluate the mechanical performance of unconnected "W" stirrups. Reinforced concrete wide beams were tested and their characteristics were idealized to represent column strips in flat slab buildings. The main variables were: the type of shear reinforcement; the shear span to effective depth ratio (a v/d); and the flexural (ρl) and shear (ρw) reinforcement ratios. In general, both the response and the shear resistance of the structural elements with unconnected "W" stirrups was similar to those elements with vertical closed stirrups. Increments of shear resistance of up to 84% were achieved, indicating that they have high potential for use as shear reinforcement in slab-column connections.