You love it when people notice your fashion sense. But your shoes shouldn’t draw attention because they squeak.
Do you feel self-conscious about your noisy shoes? Whether or not you like to be the center of attention, you will be if your shoes creak. You may put up with it for a little while, but the more frequently it happens, the more desperate you may get. This guide will give you tips on how to stop shoes from squeaking.
What Causes Shoes to Squeak?
Did you know that some manufacturers make children’s shoes that squeak as they walk? That feature could come in handy if you want to keep track of your toddler, but it can be aggravating when you’re a grown-up walking around the gym or office.
Squeaking, whether it occurs in a vehicle or a shoe, is often a sign of a problem. It happens when there is friction between two moving parts. The friction creates a vibration, which generates sound waves. You hear the vibration as an annoying squeak.
If the brakes in your car were squeaking, you would get them checked out. You should follow the same guidelines for shoes. Noisy footwear can be an indicator that something isn’t right.
Your shoes might squeak for several reasons. When moisture becomes trapped anywhere within the shoe, it can make a creaky noise as you move. You have a higher chance of having this problem if your shoes have inserts. The same thing can happen if you wear orthotics. The friction between the orthotics and the base of the shoe can make that maddening sound.
Moisture isn’t always the problem, though. Shoes that make noise on hard, slick surfaces may not have enough tread on the bottom. If the soles of your shoes are smooth, they’ll make the telltale sound when you walk on the tile or similar flooring.
Shoes with insoles or slick soles aren’t the only culprits. Heels can squeak too.
If your heel is becoming loose, it could make noise while you walk. An issue like that might need to be addressed by a professional, such as a cobbler. But you can try to tackle it yourself. Squirt caulk or super glue into the loose area. Reposition the heel, and bind everything together with rubber bands.
Any shoe that you wear barefoot can squeak. If your foot is sweaty, it might slide around and make noise. Worse yet, a damp foot can trap air pockets and make an embarrassing rumbling sound when you walk.
How to Identify Why Your Shoe is Squeaking
To figure out why your shoe is squeaking, it helps to know where the sound is coming from. Spend some time trying to isolate the noise.
To do this, try strolling around the room. Stop and rock your foot from heel to toe. If someone else can put their ear to your foot while you’re moving around, you might get a better idea of the source of the sound.
Why is it essential to identify the source? Once you do that, you can target the solutions below to the problematic area.
The Baby Powder Trick
When moisture is the issue, baby powder is the solution. Baby powder is absorbent and can soak up excess wetness, drying out your shoe. If you can’t get a hold of baby powder, try using cornstarch, which you may already have in your kitchen.
If you haven’t identified where the squeak is coming from, you can certainly douse the insides of the footwear with powder. However, you can use it more precisely if you know the source of the sound.
Creaking noises that come from the inside of the shoe are likely to be caused by moisture under the insole. If you can lift the insole, do so. Then, sprinkle powder along the shoe’s inner seam.
Some shoes don’t have removable insoles. In those cases, work the powder into the insole itself, focusing on the edges.
Sometimes, the tongue of the shoe can make noise. If that’s where the sound is coming from, work baby powder underneath the tongue. Then, pry the area where the laces tie away from the tongue and rub the powder into the crevices.
Finally, if you hear squeaking between the base of the shoe and the upper, that’s where you want to add powder. You might want to work it into the exterior of the shoe, between the sole and the top, with a paintbrush.
The powder can be a little unsightly. It isn’t easy to camouflage and can leave white marks all over the outside of the shoe and your sock. This is especially noticeable on dark footwear.
Try leaving the powder in the shoe overnight. That should be enough time to reduce the moisture that’s causing the squeak. In the morning, clean it out and buff the shoe with a dry washcloth.
Don’t leave too much powder inside the shoe. It can form clumps that stick to your socks and get all over your house. Also, too much powder generates friction between the particles, producing a new squeaking sound that you’ll have to get rid of.
The Paper Towel Trick
If your shoes have insoles or you wear orthotics, you could use a paper towel to soak up excess moisture and prevent friction. Use a high-quality paper towel for this. Cheap ones don’t absorb very much liquid. They can also become shredded and torn while you walk.
To use this method, fold a paper towel on itself until it forms a long rectangle that matches the size of your shoe. Then, insert it beneath your insole. If this doesn’t do the trick, you can double up on paper towels.
You might wonder what to do if you don’t have paper towels available. Use dryer sheets or napkins. When you use this strategy, you’ll have to swap out the towels almost daily so that they don’t develop an odor.
Put Them in the Dryer
If moisture is causing the squeak, you need to dry out your shoes. Place some fabric softener on a washcloth, and put it in the dryer with your shoes. Run the dryer on low for about 10 minutes. Don’t leave the dryer running for longer than that, or it may damage your shoes.
Some people worry about putting their shoes in the dryer. If you’re not sure whether your footwear will hold up, try placing them in a warm, well-ventilated room instead. You could put your shoes in the sun too. However, this could stiffen or discolor the material.
Lubricate the Shoes
If your shoes still squeak, consider lubricating them with oil. You can use coconut oil in much the same way as baby powder. Remove the insoles, and apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the shoes.
A little goes a long way. You’ll need to add more oil every time your shoes begin to squeak again.
This method has another benefit. Because coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, it can also help combat foot odor. You can use petroleum jelly in the same way. However, this method won’t fight bacteria.
WD-40 stops door hinges and other things around the house from squeaking. It could help with your squeaky shoes too.
To use this method, squirt WD-40 on a cotton ball. Then, rub it over the seams on the outside of your shoes. This is a great trick to use on artificial leather. You might not want to apply WD-40 to real leather or suede, however. It could damage the material. Apply a small amount to an inconspicuous area to test it out before putting WD-40 all over your shoes.
Saddle soap or leather conditioner can make your shoes more pliable. If tight leather is causing the squeak, this method could help.
Pay attention to the area near the laces. As the laces rub on the shoe material, they could make noise. Applying saddle soap here may moisturize the shoe enough to stop the squeak. If your suede shoes squeak, purchase a leather conditioner that’s made specifically for that material.
The DIY Oil Trick
You can stop your shoes from squeaking even if you don’t have special products. A blend of oil and water can make your shoes more pliable and less likely to creak.
To make this, put three parts of olive oil and one part water in a spray bottle. Shake it, and then spritz the shoes. You can massage the spray into the leather to condition it.
Another option is to blend vegetable oil with acetone, which is an ingredient found in nail polish remover. You shouldn’t use nail polish remover, though. Look for a product that contains only acetone.
Mix 90 percent vegetable oil with 10 percent acetone. Test a small area on the shoe before you spray the mixture all over it. You can also use this lubricant on squeaky items throughout your house.
Break-in Your Shoes
Women’s shoes may squeak when they’re too small, especially before you break them in. You can make the leather more pliable and less likely to squeak by wearing the shoes around the house with socks.
Another technique for breaking in shoes involves spraying them with water until they’re moist. Then, slip them on your feet. Wear them until they’re completely dry. When you do this, the shoe molds to the shape of your foot. It’s less likely to squeak when it follows your contours.
The spritzing technique won’t work on synthetic materials. If your shoes aren’t made of real leather, try to pinpoint the exact location of the noise. Put some moleskin foam or padded stickers on the insides of the shoes in the spots where the sound is coming from. Doing this should stop the nuisance for good.
New shoes could squeak because they have a manufacturer’s defect. If that’s the case and you attempt to repair the problem on your own, you might void any warranties. Try exchanging new shoes for another pair before messing with them, if possible.
Use Candle Wax on Buckles
Clogs, Mary Janes, monk shoes, and some other types of footwear have buckle closures. If the buckle rubs against the leather, it could create a squeaking noise.
Candle wax can stop the sound from happening. Pure beeswax may be the best material to use for this purpose. However, you can try using clear or neutral-colored wax from any candle.
To use this method, rub the wax along the buckles, paying close attention to the area between the metal and the leather. The wax reduces abrasion, minimizing the vibrations that make squeaky sounds.
The Liquid Silicone Trick
Silicone spray works like WD-40 for squeaky shoes. However, the product may be less likely to damage your shoes than oil-based lubricants. Silicone also repels water, which may protect your shoes from future damage.
If you’re using a spray silicone, use it sparingly. Aim it at the areas where you hear a squeak. Let it dry before you wear the shoes. You should use this product in a well-ventilated area.
Fixing Slick Soles
We mentioned above that you could slip a dryer sheet underneath the insole if that’s the source of the squeak. You can also use a dryer sheet on the exterior of the shoe if that’s the problem.
When you have slick soles that make music as you walk, you can rub the bottoms with a dryer sheet. You’ll probably have to do this every time you wear the shoes because the residue wears off as you walk.
Another option for making your smooth soles quieter on shiny floors is to coat the bottoms with rubber cement. Make sure that you wait for the rubber cement to dry fully before you walk around.
If you have sandpaper at home, you can use that to scuff the bottoms of your soles. Doing this will soften them up so that they don’t squeal on shiny floors.
Can You Fix Squeaky Boots?
Because the leather is often the offender when it comes to squeaky boots, it makes sense that tall boots might squeal more than regular shoes. If the boots are squeaking around your leg or ankle, try to soften the leather using a conditioner.
Boots are often worn in inclement weather, which exposes them to moisture. It might take a while for them to dry out. The trapped moisture can make them more likely to squeak than sneakers or other shoes.
You can use any of the methods above to dry them out. However, you might not want to put them in the dryer.
Another option is to stuff the boots with paper towels after you wear them. A combination of sprinkling them with baby powder and packing them with an absorbent cloth can prevent them from making noise when you wear them.
Check the bottoms of your boots too. The heels or soles could be making the noise.
What About Squeaky Sneakers?
Sneakers can squeak for the same reasons as other shoes. To prevent this from happening, make sure that they don’t get too sweaty. Wear appropriate socks every time you use the shoes. Allow them to dry out in between uses.
If you go to the gym every day, you might consider purchasing two pairs of sneakers and switching them daily. Doing this will give them a chance to air out. Using baby powder and stuffing them with paper towels can also help.
When you’re running around on a gym floor, you may not be able to stop your sneakers from squeaking. However, the noise should gradually dissipate as you wear in the soles.
Should You Take Your Squeaky Shoes to a Professional?
You might wonder whether you should try the DIY methods of stopping shoes from squeaking or take your footwear to a professional. A cobbler can help you when nothing else has worked.
If you decide to go this route, wear your shoes to the shop. The repair person may be able to identify the squeak better when your shoes are warmed up.
Approximately half of squealing shoe problems are linked to the shoe’s structure. If the sole, heel counter or shank is defective, a professional may have to disassemble the shoe to fix the squeak.
One-piece rubber soles can end up with air pockets inside of them due to the manufacturing process. A professional may be able to detect this. If your shoes have air pockets, they may not be fixable. You might want to return them for a different pair.
If you have a favorite pair of shoes, you can extend their lifespan by taking them to a professional. They’ll be renewed so that you can wear them with no squeaks. Eventually, however, all good things must come to an end.
Even your favorite pair of shoes may need to be replaced after you’ve worn them for years. Sometimes, you can’t do anything about your squeaky shoes, especially if they’re old. You may decide to keep wearing them anyway or swap them for a new pair.