How To Stop Shoes From Squeaking – 9 Surefire Ways

If you need a quick and easy way to stop your shoes from squeaking there are two ways depending on what is causing the squeak. If it is your insoles, use talcum powder or a paper towel under your insole. If it’s your outsole, use some shoe-goo to glue your squeaky outsole.

Continue reading, if you want to further explore more ways to stop your shoes from making noise.

Don’t Let a Case of the Sneak Squeaks Spoil Your Sauce

How To Stop Shoes From Squeaking

We’ve all had to deal with it at some point or another. It comes out of the blue for seemingly no reason at all and makes a mockery of us with every step we take.

I’m talking of course about the dreaded shoe squeak, or as I like to call it, SpongeBob SquarePants syndrome.

It’s just not fair. You’re walking along, feeling fly as hell, drawing eyes like never before, but then, as street noise dies down and there’s a lull in the birdsong, suddenly it’s not eyes you’re catching, but ears.

No matter how you alter your walk, your shoes are squeak, squeak, squeakin’ away, each step a punchline to the joke that you’ve instantaneously become. You may as well throw on a red nose and call yourself Bozo.

Don’t worry, though, my unfortunate friend. I won’t let those kicks make a clown of you. Today we’re going to discuss how you can silence the squeak using super simple methods. Are you ready to claw back some street cred?

Why Do Shoes Develop the Dreaded Squeak?

Pair of shoes walking with title "The Dreaded Squeak"

Before we take action and chase away that mouse that’s taken up permanent residence in your sneakers, it’s important that we understand how it is that noisy son of a squeak got in there in the first place.

A case of the squeaks can only be caused by two things…

1. Friction

If certain components of your shoe have loosened or become dislodged due to wear and tear or ineffectual glue, they tend to rub awkwardly against other areas of the shoe, thereby causing the inimitable creaking and squeaking as you struggle on through the day, praying that nobody can hear your shame.

For instance, certain leather dress shoes use something called a splint, a wooden arch that acts as a bridge that supports the arch of your foot.

If for whatever reason it comes unglued, it will rub against the welt, and, well, you know what that means — welcome to Squeak City, baby! The land of humiliation, population: you.

The friction squeak can also occur if the sections of your new leather upper are rubbing against each other or if your insole is sliding around in your shoe.

Alternatively, you may be experiencing a slightly different form of frictional squeaking that happens when your outsole rubs against a polished floor.

2. Trapped Moisture

The second reason your shoes are suddenly trying to sing Alvin and the Chipmunks’ greatest hits is simply that there’s some moisture hidden somewhere within.

As you strut your stuff down the street, the weight pressurizes the trapped moisture, forcing it to the surface of whatever material it’s caught in. As it seeps out, it sounds a squelchy screech of freedom before it’s sucked back into the abyss.

Even if you’re careful never to step in puddles or even wear your shoes in the rain, build-ups of sweat in your soles are inevitable, which unfortunately means that unless you plan on never getting warm ever again, there’s no way to avoid your squeaky fate.

The Solutions to Your Squeaky Situation

Now that you’re aware of what causes the squeak, it’s time to focus on eliminating it and reclaiming your hard-earned steeze once and for all. 

No longer will you be the butt of your friend’s jokes. No longer will you feel self-conscious when the conversation dies down on your weekend wanders.

You’ve suffered enough. Here are my foolproof solutions to SpongeBob SquarePants syndrome.

1. Talcum Powder Under Your Insole

If you’ve got a serious case of the sliding insoles, your first port of call should be to whip out the talcum powder, remove your insole, and apply a generous sprinkling of the stuff along the footbed.

This will give your insoles the grip they need to finally sit still, and as a bonus, it will help to absorb any trapped moisture in there too.

Non-removable insoles pose a dilemma, but you can still lightly sprinkle some talc around the seams to help ease the problem. Just remember that you’ll have talc on your socks when you take your shoes off.

If you can’t find any talcum powder around the house, you can also use baby powder or even corn starch.

2. Paper Towel Under Your Insole

This one sounds kind of silly, but trust me, it works like a charm. Remove your squeaky insoles, place two or three well-shaped paper towels in the footbeds of your shoes, then replace your insoles.

The paper helps to fill out the space in the footbed that was allowing your insoles to skid around and squeak. I’d recommend switching out the paper every few days to stop it from smelling and falling apart.

For a more reusable solution, you could try using some washable materials instead of paper towels. As long as it’s not silk, it should provide plenty of extra traction and fill out the gaps in the footbed.

3. Massage with Coconut Oil

It sounds pretty sensual, but keep your minds out of the gutter, folks; we’ve got a job to do here!

This oily fix is similar to the first two, but instead of kitchen towels and talcum powder, we’re going to rub a tiny amount of coconut oil into the footbed underneath the insole.

You can use other lubricants, but not only will this oil solve your embarrassing squeak, coconut has mild antibacterial properties, meaning it will fight off foot odor — hurray!

You can approach this however you like, but I find by dipping a cotton wool ball in a small ramekin of coconut oil saves you from over lubricating your shoes and substituting that dry creaking for a wet squelching.

Coconut oil should mute your shoes for a few days to a week. Once it flares up again, it’s time to give them another oily rub down.

If you don’t have any coconut oil lurking somewhere in your cupboards, I recommend this Viva Naturals organic extra virgin coconut oil. It’s affordable, great for cooking, and totally organic.

4. Drying Your Shoes Out

The best cure for a squeaky waterlogged shoe is to allow it time to fully dry. You may want to remove the laces and insoles in order to let the air reach the deeper parts of the shoe.

I personally hang my wet shoes to dry in my airing cupboard, next to the boiler. The heat generated by the boiler accelerates the drying process.

Stuffing them with newspaper is another neat trick. It absorbs the moisture straight out of the materials, allowing them to dry faster.

If you need a quicker fix, you can try throwing your soggy sneaks in a tumble dryer, but bear in mind that if you’re not careful, this can damage your shoes, at which point, the squeak will be the least of your worries.

To prevent heat damage, abrasion, and shrinkage, pour a little bit of fabric softener onto a soft sponge, then wrap your shoes and the sponge in a thin towel before placing them in and firing up the dryer.

5. Break out the Sandpaper

The reason your new shoes are squeaking on certain surfaces is that the outsoles are just too dang smooth. Not to worry, though; you can rough them up with a square of sandpaper.

Don’t go wild; you’re not trying to damage your shoes, you just need to fluff the surface a little. 5-10 strokes of sandpaper across each section should do the trick.

6. Dryer Sheet Shakedown

You can switch the sandpaper out for dryer sheets if you’re a little bit squeamish about sanding your pride and joys. It should keep the squeak at bay for at least a couple of days. When it returns, just rinse and repeat.

7. Re-Gluing the Outsole

Let’s say that your squeak is more of a structural issue, and the outsole of your shoes has come loose from the upper.

My advice is to find the problem area and stick them back together with the strongest superglue you can get your hands on. I use Shoe Goo Repair Adhesive for all my shoe boo-boos.

8. Apply Some Leather Conditioner

You may never have heard of leather conditioner before, but it’s a thing, and it’s fantastic to get your laces and leather uppers to quit their whining and revive your silent step.

One cleaning only takes a couple drops of leather conditioner on a soft sponge. Give the upper of your shoes a good once over, making sure to coat any contact points.

9. Visit a Cobbler

I know this isn’t the quick fix you came here looking for, but if your squeak is symptomatic of a complicated structural issue with your shoe, it’s best that you take those squeakers in to see a professional.

Infographic on how to fix your squeaky shoes

Summing Up — Squeaks Silenced!

One of these solutions is bound to be the miracle muting cure you’ve been dreaming of, so say goodbye to that squeak, my friends, and prepare yourself for ninja-silent steps.

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