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How To Stop Shoes From Squeaking: The Ultimate Guide

There’s no feeling that can rival the confidence you experience wearing your favorite shoes. But what do you do when your favorite pair becomes noisy? That's when you need to learn how to stop shoes from squeaking.

When your shoes start to sound like a chew toy, it’s time to pull out all the do-it-yourself techniques you have in your arsenal. While you may already know the baby powder trick, there are so many other methods you can try aside from this classic remedy.

Don’t ignore your squeaky shoes because it's unlikely to just disappear all by itself. So whatever the cause, how to stop shoes from squeaking techniques is a skill to learn.

Why Stop Your Shoes From Squeaking?

Many people crave to be the center of attention. But when the reason for being noticed is because of squeaky shoes, that’s a different story. Noisy shoes will make you self-conscious. And you may even restrict your movements as a result. Not only will your loud shoes annoy you, but they will also bother people nearby.

Common Reasons For Squeaky Shoes

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Whether you are entering class, walking down a silent office corridor, or on your way to sit down in a fancy restaurant, noisy shoes are a nightmare. Before you determine how to stop shoes from squeaking, it's important to consider the common culprits.

Newness Comes With A Price

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Did you recently purchase your shoes? Your shoes might be squeaking because you have not broken in the material yet. New leather or rubber materials are notorious for making noises. New soles make sounds when they contact smooth floor surfaces. The sound usually goes away after using the shoes on rough terrain or after allowing the rubber to wear off a little.

You should also consider the type of floor you're walking on. The materials in your can interact with floor surfaces differently. Try walking around on various surfaces and observe how your shoes perform.

The Most Common Culprit

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If you're wearing insoles to improve the fit of your shoes or help with foot problems, it may be the insoles squeaking as you walk. If your orthotics and shoes fit perfectly, this problem won’t arise. However, if there is a gap between your insoles and your shoes, the insole will move. And this will cause noise.

Age Old Problems

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You may have a favorite pair of shoes — that pair you’ve worn for years and covered more miles than you can count. Parts of worn-out shoes come undone and crack. This event causes squeaking.

Moisture Is Usually An Issue

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If you have gotten your shoes wet recently, your shoes might make noise. Many shoes swell and develop problems when wet. Soggy shoes also cause your shoes to squeak. For some shoes, it will go away after drying.

How To Stop Shoes From Squeaking

So, now you're ready to learn how to stop shoes from squeaking. There are so many tricks you can try to silence these annoying sounds. Here are some of the most common methods.

Locate The Source Of The Problem

Before you start fixing your shoe, locate where the problem area is. Ask a friend to crouch on the floor as you walk back and forth and rock side to side. Repeat these movements to identify which part of your shoes is causing the noise.

When you figure out the movement that causes your problem, determine which parts of the shoe bend as you make that motion. It will be easier to treat the problem once you know which area needs attention.

Work On Traction

A great pair of shoes slides smoothly on any flooring material. When your shoes squeak on the floor, it may be because some parts of the shoes are sticking and rubbing against each other. Addressing this problem may be how to stop shoes from squeaking.

There are geometrical patterns carved into some shoes, called herringbone, which causes shoes to vibrate. The vibration, which results in a squeak, happens when the air gets stuck in the cracks of the pattern. Usually, the noise occurs at the start and beginning of floor contact. This occurrence is called the stick-slip phenomenon. Here are tips for improving your shoe’s traction:

Sandpaper

Some dress shoes squeak because the tongue rubs on the inside of the shoe. To fix this, you need sandpaper with fine grain. And, even a nail file would work. Use this sandpaper or nail file to sand down the tongue until it stops rubbing on your shoe.

Sanding shoes is a great way to soften the bottom of your noisy footwear. Just be careful not to sand down the soles to the point it loses its shape. Use 120 to 220 grit sandpaper for rubber soles. For leather soles, a 60 grit sandpaper will do.

If you sand your soles, the warranty of your shoes will be void. So keep this in mind. But this is an excellent option if the shoes’ warranty has already passed.

Other Fixes

Another way to fix squeaky shoe problems is to use athletic tape and rubber sole spray. To check if the spray will work, apply duct tape to your shoe’s underside. If the squeaking stops, you can proceed with using a spray. Just apply an even layer to your sole and let it dry thoroughly.

You can also use a dryer sheet to improve shoe traction. Simply rub it against the bottom of your sole, and you’re all set. You might have to do this multiple times, so it helps to have a box of dryer sheets around.

Tighten Loose Parts

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Examine the outer parts of your shoe, including the sole as well as the inner part which includes the insole. These two areas get loose and peel off easily. If both are fine, check the layers between these two parts, including the midsole, and heel wedge, and support. Start by checking the bottom of your shoe and work your way inwards.

Check The Insole

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If the noise is coming from the inside of your shoe, its insole might need reattaching. One way you can fix this part is to glue it. Lift the entire insole if it is already detached. Peel it carefully if it remains partially intact.

If you own dress shoes or sneakers, unlace them and pull the tongue out. This step will make it easier for you to lift the insole and put glue wherever it is needed. Use a popsicle stick or gloves and wait for the shoe glue to get tacky before you weigh it down. Let it dry for at least 24 hours and check if it has held the shoes properly. Avoid wearing your shoes for the next 48 hours.

Another way to fix this problem is to let the insole slide seamlessly instead of grinding against the midsole. You can use a dryer sheet or regular paper towel folded lengthwise and place it under the insole. Not only will this help with the squeaking, but it will also help to eliminate odor.

Test The Sole

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If your sole is to blame, you may notice a clapping noise as you step. The sole is also the weakest part for most shoes. Fortunately, it is easy to reattach. Just apply glue into the gap where the sole has come undone and clamp it tightly. You can also stuff your shoe with heavy objects such as rocks or a shoe tree to hold it in place.

Make Sure The Heel Is Intact

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You might be having problems with your shoes because the heel is hanging loose. To fix this, put superglue around the heel and hold it tightly using a clamp until it dries.

Check And Fix Water Damage

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Sometimes, getting water in your shoes is inevitable, especially during the rainy or winter season. If your shoes had just gotten wet, dry them as soon as you can.

Disassemble your shoes. Start by removing the laces entirely and opening the tongue. Remove the insoles and dry them with heat using a hair dryer or let them dry naturally in the sun.

Then, stuff your shoes with anything that soaks up moisture such as newspaper, baby powder, or rice. Dryer sheets also work well. Leave the shoe in a warm place. You can hang it in a laundry room, near a fireplace, or place it upright in the corner of the room.

You can also put your shoes in a dryer. Be careful not to leave your shoes in the dryer for more than 10 minutes to prevent heat damage and shrinking. It also helps to add a small amount of fabric softener on a washcloth or sponge and toss it in with the shoes.

If you have leather shoes, be more careful. The damage will worsen if you use a blow dryer, or worse, put them in the dryer. To avoid cracking, simply remove the soles, stuff with crumpled newspapers tightly, and keep them away from direct heat for at least a half day.

Other Popular DIY Techniques

Here are other easy methods for how to stop shoes from squeaking.

Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is an excellent alternative for shoe conditioning oils. If the insoles cause the squeaky shoes, remove them. Rub a thin amount of coconut oil on the inside of your shoes. Then, reattach your insoles. Coconut oil does wonders to lubricate the insoles, so they don’t move around as much. You need to reapply the oil to your shoes if they start squeaking again.

If the squeaking noise comes from the outside of your shoes, you can apply coconut oil on the outer parts. The result is that your shoes become more lubricated. You can also put coconut oil on the tongue of your shoes if your problem is your laces. But keep in mind that experts do not recommend coconut oil for suede.

Petroleum Jelly

If the insole rubs against the inside of your shoe, put a small layer of petroleum jelly under your insole. This jelly helps the insoles rub smoothly against the bottom of your shoes’ interior. This step eliminates the squeaking sound.

Saddle Soap

Shoelaces can cause problems for leather footwear when they rub against the tongue of the shoe. To fix this, apply a thin layer of saddle soap to the tongue area. This step moisturizes the leather and calms the noise that results.

Baby Powder

Baby powder is not just for diaper rashes. It is also one of the most popular household items for how to stop shoes from squeaking.

Noise results from moisture getting trapped in places where the shoes rub against each other. Simply put talcum or baby powder under your inner sole to stop this problem. These powders absorb moisture quickly. If your shoes do not have removable soles, add the powder around the insole. You can also use baking powder or cornstarch.

Paper Towel

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Fold a couple of paper towers lengthwise until it fits inside your shoes. Position the paper towel under the insoles to prevent it from moving around, especially when you are running. If you do not have paper towels, you can also use dryer sheets or napkins. Make sure to change these sheets frequently to prevent foul odors from accumulating.

Water-Displacing Spray

Products such as WD-40 are a must-have for show maintenance. If you want options that contain natural ingredients, you can make your own multi-use lubricant by mixing three parts of olive oil or sunflower oil with one part water in a spray bottle. You can also use acetone and vegetable oil.

Get Help

If you want to know how to stop shoes from squeaking and none of these tips seem to work for you, seek advice from a professional shoe repairer.

If your shoes are newly bought and still under warranty, you can return them to the store. Should the store refuse to take them back, contact the manufacturer and explain the problem thoroughly. Send your shoes in an insured package and ask for a reimbursement.

Say Goodbye To Squeaky Shoes Forever

Shoes are the finishing touch to any outfit, and at the very least keep your feet comfortable and injury free as you go about your day. But not when they're squeaky! You should only hear this irritating noise on basketball courts. Before trying the tips above for how to stop shoes from squeaking, know the return policy of your shoes. This information is important because fixing them yourself can make them ineligible for replacement or a refund, even though the problem was initially a manufacturing defect.

If you have tried every tip listed above and nothing works on how to stop shoes from squeaking, your shoes may finally need replacing. Until then, these tricks can help you walk with confidence without worrying about those humiliating squeaky sounds.

Have you tried any of these techniques on a squeaky shoe problem? If so, tell us how they worked in the comments below.

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