How to Stop Shoes From Squeaking (Less Than £2)

Using WD40 on squeaky shoes

Last updated: October 21, 2021 at 14:26 pm

There are many sounds in this perpetually noisy world that can be irritating. Few are as annoying as squeaky shoes, though. Unfortunately, the noise is with you every step you take, and it’s impossible to get away from.

Luckily, there are several ways to stop the squeak and restore peace to your steps.

Why Do Some Shoes Squeak?

Most often, squeaky shoes are caused by friction. This can be friction between your foot and the shoe or the shoe and the floor.

For example:

If you have a brand new pair of shoes, it might just be that the sole is too smooth. If you rub one smooth surface like leather against another like a polished wood floor or linoleum, then a squeak is almost guaranteed. Luckily, as your sole starts to wear, the problem will resolve itself.

Noise can also be caused by shoes that are old and damaged. This allows parts of the shoe to move and rub against each other. Depending on the level of damage, you may just want to replace the shoes.

8 Ways to Stop Shoes Squeaking

Pop Them in the Dryer

As shoes become more worn, they can split and allow water to get into the shoe. This water can damage the shoe and cause squeaking noises. The best way to fix this is to stuff your shoes tightly with scrunched up paper to make sure they hold their shape and size.

The paper should also help absorb any water. You should then pop them in the tumble dryer and use the heat to dry them out for no longer than 10 minutes. If you don’t have a tumble dryer, you can pop them next to a hot radiator. Once the shoes are dry, the squeak should be gone.

Sand Your Soles

No, not the soles of your feet! As explained above, squeaking can be caused by the soles on new shoes being too smooth. You can gently sand the soles if you want to speed up the natural wearing process that stops the squeak. This will make the surface rougher and prevent the shoes from squeaking.

Use WD-40

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Is there anything it can’t do? If the squeak is being caused by friction where the upper part of the shoe meets the sole, try rubbing a little WD-40 or another lubricant along the join. You can use a cotton wool wall, pad or even a baby bud or old piece of cloth. The lubrication should ease the friction and stop the squeak.

Use Talcum Powder

If the insole is squeaking against the bottom of the shoe, there are a few options. The first is talc. Carefully lift out the insoles and sprinkle talc, baby powder, or even corn flour on the bottom of the shoe. Once you replace the insole, you should find the powder has reduced the friction and eliminated the squeak.

Use Coconut Oil or Vaseline

This is the final suggestion if your insole is the culprit. Remove the insole and genially spread a small amount of a lubricant like coconut oil or Vaseline to the bottom of the shoe. The extra lubrication will reduce the friction and stop the squeak.

Do be careful, though; you do not want your foot to be sliding around inside the shoe, so use it sparingly. Start with a very thin layer and add more a little at a time until you have the desired result.

Use Saddle Soap

If the squeak is caused by your shoe’s tongue rubbing against the laces, then saddle soap is a great option. You don’t have to be part of the horsey set to buy it either. Saddle soap is readily available online.

As with the coconut oil, please don’t overdo it as you don’t want greasy, slippery shoes. Add a small amount to see what effect it has. If it’s still squeaking, add a little more until all is quiet again.

Glue Anything That’s Loose

If your heels are loose or your sole is starting to come away, this can cause squeaking too. Superglue should easily reattach any parts of the shoe that are loose. Ideally, if you have clamps for DIY, use these to hold the part of the shoe together.

If you don’t, then you can wrap elastic bands tightly around the shoe to hold it together until the glue dries.

Use a Tumble Dryer Sheet

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For squeaks caused by the insoles, a tumble dryer sheet is another cheap yet effective option. Take the insoles out and lay a tumble dryer sheet (designed to stop clothes tangling in the dryer) on the bottom of the shoe. Replace the insole, and the sheet should help grip it and prevent it from moving against the bottom of the shoe, reducing the noise it makes.

Stop Shoes Squeaking on Linoleum

As already explained, friction between two surfaces is a key cause of squeaking noises. Anyone who has ever walked on linoleum knows this surface seems almost specially made to squeak. The first thing to do, though, is consider if these shoes usually squeak. If they don’t, then check your soles. A likely culprit is that you have something stuck on the soles of your shoes. Remove the item, and the squeak should stop.

Other than that, sanding the soles of your shoes, as explained above, should create a rougher surface, and prevent any squeaking sound. You can also buy a rubber sole spray. It’s a form of adhesive that makes your shoe sole more sticky and less likely to squeak. You can buy it online quickly and cheaply. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully to get the best results.

Stop Shoes Squeaking with Bare Feet

Most of us wear socks with footwear such as trainers, but what if the squeaking is coming from court shoes or sandals? Tights are a possibility and might stop the squeaking, but they don’t look great if your shoes or sandals leave your toes exposed.

The first option is to check if it’s due to your foot sticking in the shoe. Then, try a little Vaseline of coconut oil as suggested in point 6.

If you’re wearing a full shoe, then the baby powder trick from point 4 may also work well as it reduces moisture which may cause squeaking. However, if the shoes are dark, the talc residue may not look great.

If you’re wearing sandals or open-toed shoes and you’re convinced sweat may be the cause, then one option is waterproofing spray. This spray is designed for suede and other fabric shoes to protect them from the rain. The spray causes water to bead and slide off. If you spray it inside your footwear, it will reduce the moisture the shoe absorbs. This means your feet are less likely to form suction with the insole and make a squeak. As an extra bonus, your shoes will be less prone to staining, leaving them looking great for longer.

One final option is that trapped air is causing the squeak. Air can be trapped in the insole, and it’s released as you step on it. To fix this, try poking a few small holes in your insole. This disperses the air as it’s released and means it won’t be as noisy.

Conclusion

There are few sounds as annoying as a squeak every time you walk. It is understandable not to want to get rid of the shoe as it’s a waste of money. Luckily, the solutions listed in this article will fix most squeaking problems. Take a minute and walk slowly to try and identify which part of the shoe the squeak is coming from.

Once you know what the cause is, be cautious when applying the fix. Over applying grease or talc could make the problem worse or even ruin your shoes altogether. Start small with each fix and only add as much product or sand your soles as much as you need. If you’re careful, you should have silence when you walk while keeping your shoes as good as new.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ writes about living a quieter life, soundproofing tips and recommending the best quiet products here on Quiet Living.

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