No matter how beautiful a pair of shoes are, if they squeak, you might not wear them so much. You may try to ignore the noise for a while with the hope that the squeaking sound will stop. But, if it continues, you might end up abandoning the shoes.
why do my shoes squeak when i walk?
Typically, the cause of squeaking shoes might be moisture trapped within the insoles or bottoms of the shoes. It may also be that the soles of your shoes are too smooth thereby causing friction with any surface walked on.
No one wants to go around attracting attention with squeaks from their shoes. In this article, we will run you through a list of simple hacks you can use to to make shoes stop squeaking when walking.
Before this, let’s take a look at a few causes of squeaks in your shoes.
Reasons why do your shoes squeak
Having squeaking shoes is one thing, knowing the cause of the squeaks is another. The platform you are walking on makes a huge contribution to the squeaks you hear.
Let’s do a simple exercise. Try walking on different surfaces with the same shoes, you’ll notice different sounds.
However, you cannot blame the floor for the noise from your shoes. Sometimes, it is a result of the damage done to the shoes.
It may also be the effect of water on the shoes. With these facts laid down plain, the question becomes how does one troubleshoot?
Let’s check out three major reasons why your shoes make that squeaking sound.
1: squeak in a pair of shoes that are still new
Did you just get new shoes and they are squeaking? It is probably because the rubber soles of the shoes are very smooth.
This can be very frustrating for new shoes but let’s take some things in retrospect. Do you remember how you used to run and glide over the smooth linoleum floor in your school? That noise that excited you those days is a result of this same effect.
Usually, rubber soles are very smooth when they are new. The smoothness causes squeaky noises, especially when you walk over an equally smooth surface.
The more you wear the new shoes on a rougher platform, the more the rubber wears. Soon, you won’t have to worry about the squeaks anymore.
So what do you do if the squeaks persist and they are unbearable? The best option might be exchanging them for a less squeaky pair. This is because trying to fix them yourself will void the warranty.
On the other hand, if the warranty is passed and the squeak isn’t so bad, fixing it yourself is possible. All you need to do is make the traction better. We will discuss several methods of doing this later on.
2: Old Shoes
Regardless of the age or build of your shoes, they’ll get spoiled at some point. As you wear the shoes, the parts will come loose and the soles will wear.
Soon it will feel like all your shoes will be competing for which will make the most squeaky noise.
The most likely spot for your shoes to begin to come loose if they are cheap or old is the soles. It begins at the front or heel of the outer sole.
This is not to say that you may not experience loose insoles. A loose insole means that the internal pad of the shoes slips over the midsole.
The great thing about loose outer soles or insoles is that they are quite easy to repair. A cobbler should fix this issue at an affordable price.
If you don’t fix them early, your squeaking shoes will keep on irritating you.
On the other hand, you can try out your hands on the shoes yourself. Of course, this is if you are good at fixing stuff.
Still, a cobbler is your best option. You’d be shocked at what they can fix. What else can cause your shoes to squeak?
Sometimes, it is easy to attribute the squeaks from your shoes to their age. What if the shoes are not too new or too old and the soles aren’t too smooth?
Something else must be the problem. At this point, you may have to push yourself to remember if there has been any damage to the shoes.
The most common cause of damage is rainwater. When your shoes absorb water, they tend to make squeaky noises afterward.
It means you need to find a way to get the water out of the shoes. For some shoes, the water may remain between the insole and outer sole for a very long time. This will cause a lot of damage to the shoes beyond just squeaking.
Just so you know, having water in your shoes is not the end of the road for your dear pair. There are so many ways to dry out your shoes and save their life.
We will consider some of these in the next part of this post.
how to make shoes stop squeaking
We have already established the fact that squeaking shoes can be very frustrating. After looking at some of the causes of this problem, it is only natural to seek out solutions. The causes of the squeaks discussed above are not so difficult to fix.
The first thing that comes to mind when your shoes are making noise is to get some leather conditioner.
You can purchase this online or at a physical store. If the noise if from the lace area, then greasing them with some saddle soap will help.
Let’s face the fact, the main challenge when your shoes are squeaking is their soles. The question to answer now is, how do you fix this problem? Here are a few ways below.
Make the traction on your new shoes better
If you just got the shoes and they still have a warranty, you have the option of returning them for an exchange.
What happens if there is no warranty or the stress of returning them supersedes the noise? Roughing up the soles a little bit can be the answer to your problem.
This is because the major cause of squeaks in new shoes is very smooth soles.
How do you roughen up the smooth rubber soles of your shoes?
1. Sand up the soles.
If you decide on this tip, then you should make use of very mild sanding paper. Your best option is “fine-grain sandpaper.”
You can purchase some from the hardware store around the corner. When you do, simply run it over your shoe soles very lightly.
The idea is making the soles slightly rough not destroy them. This is why we suggest you go for a grit paper that is between 120 and 220.
You can use this tip for leather soles and rubber soles. The only difference is that for leather soles, you need to be gentler. A 60 grit paper is sufficient to get good results.
2. Spray the soles with some grip adhesive.
This option requires using rubber sole spray. With this, you can get better traction for your shoes.
Look for a spray that will work for both leather and rubber soles so that you can use it for different shoes.
The spray is great for multiple surfaces, it all depends on whether you can follow instructions or not.
Usually, the spray comes with application instructions. All your need to do is follow these instructions and ensure that you coat the sole evenly with the spray.
After this, allow the soles to dry. Soon, you won’t be having squeaking shoes, that is if traction is the problem.
3. Make use of a dryer sheet.
This last tip is about the easiest on the list. Dryer sheets are used for several purposes which is why we suggest that you always have a box close by.
To fix your traction problem, simply rub the sheet over the sole of your shoes. This should get you some roughness and reduce the squeaking.
We will still see a few other ways to use dryer sheets for your shoes in this post.
Fix loose parts
As your shoes get older, you are bound to have a few loose parts. Two major parts of your shoes pose this challenge and they are simple to figure out. The loose parts are either inside or outside the shoes.
Both layers are separated by a couple of layers such as the midsole, the support, and the heel wedge.
However, experience shows that the most likely part of your shoes to peel off is the outermost layers. Let’s take a look at how to sort these out.
The moment your sole begins to detach from your shoes, it begins to make a frustrating squeaking sound.
Not just this, it also begins to clap in a way that attracts unwanted attention. No one wants accompanying applause as they walk into a room or gathering in this manner.
This cause of squeaking shoes is not so difficult to fix though the attachment around here is quite weak.
With some super glue and pressure, you can reattach your shoe sole. The pressure can come in the form of weight or external force.
When doing this, make sure that you apply the glue to areas where you notice the bottoms are coming apart.
Stuffing your shoe with a few rocks might help hold down the top to the sole.
If by chance, the source of your shoe squeaks is inside the shoes, it is probably your insoles giving way.
As unbelievable as it sounds, the loose pad inside your shoe can make squeaky noises. This may be a result of the pad rubbing against the separating midsole. There are two ways of fixing this:
- Hold the insole down with some glue.
- Ensure that the friction between the insole and midsole is reduced or eliminated.
The first option requires lifting the insole completely. Since the insole is likely detached, this should be quite easy.
If the insole is still hanging on, try to peel it out carefully until you have it all out. For dress shoes or sneakers, take out the laces completely the pull out the tongue. This should give you a clearer picture of the problem at hand.
Now apply your superglue between the insole and midsole. Leave it for a while to get tacky before dropping the insole. Add a little weight or pressure to stick it in place.
If your problem is friction, then a little baby powder will do the magic. Simply raise the insole and sprinkle some of the powder.
Coconut oil or petroleum jelly can also get rid of the friction. Make sure you apply very little oil using a wad of cotton.
If you are wary about any of these methods, then putting a dryer sheet beneath the insole will do justice. Dryer sheets don’t just work for squeaking shoes, they kick out odor from your shoes.
Sort out the water damage
Now, this is the major challenge most people face when their shoes are squeaking. Most of the time your shoes are squeaking, this is the cause.
What is the first thing you do when you notice that your shoes are wet? You need to take the shoe apart as much as you can then open the shoe up.
This means you’ll remove the laces and open the tongue. If you notice that the insole of the shoe isn’t glued, remove it as well.
After doing this, allow your shoe to dry naturally. You can also take the option of applying artificial heat.
The next line of action is stuffing the shoes with some newspaper, baby powder, or rice. Any of these elements will help you soak up the moisture in the shoes.
A dryer sheet is also helpful in this situation. All you have to do is place the sheet in the shoes and put them in a warm place.
If none of these works and you are sure that your shoes are able to withstand some heat, a dryer should help. Simply pop the shoes into the dryer for a while and they should be fine.
Preventing your shoes from making noises
Now that you know the causes of squeaking shoes and how to fix them, how do you avoid them? It is great to know the causes of the squeaks and be able to fix them. However, wouldn’t it be nice if your shoes never made squeaks?
Here are a few tips to help you avoid squeaks:
The most likely option when you have squeaking shoes is letting them go. What if you love the shoes so much?
Check for the possible cause of the squeaks and fix them using any of the hacks discussed above. On the other hand, why go through all the trouble when you can avoid it easily?
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.