We once had our FAVORITE leather shoes get completely soaked in the rain. They took over three days to dry! And trust us, there’s nothing worse than squeaky shoes!
Not only is it annoying, but it’s also difficult to pinpoint the reason why exactly squeaky shoes make the sound they make!
After a few trials and errors, we narrowed it down to 3 reasons why shoes squeak. Plus, some guides on fixing squeaky shoes.
Let’s get rid of that annoying noise — once and for all!
Fixing Squeaky Shoes
Before anything else, you need to locate the source of the sound.
- Walk around in your shoes.
- Rock your feet forwards and backward.
- Repeat the movements.
- Go slower, then go faster.
- Carefully listen to each step.
It’ll be easier to locate the sound if your foot puts pressure on a specific part of the shoe. Or if you bend your shoe in a particular way. This way, you’ll know which movements are causing the squeaking sound.
It might also not be easy to locate the source of the noise on your own. Try asking a friend to help you while you walk.
But sometimes, your shoes AREN’T the problem. It might just be the surface you’re walking on that’s causing a squeaky sound! If you’ve already walked on different surfaces and notice the same squeaking sound, then it’s high time that you finally fix it though.
For now, below are the top 3 reasons why your shoe squeaks and effective ways to fix each problem.
1. How to Fix Squeaky Shoes: New Shoes
It’s worrying if your brand-new pair is making a squeaking sound. Your first instinct will always be to fix squeaky shoes.
One of the reasons why your new shoes are making noise is because the soles are too smooth.
This tends to happen when you’re walking on a smooth, polished surface. Think concrete gym floors or bowling alleys.
Since new shoes have a smooth rubber sole, the friction between the two surfaces creates a squeaking noise.
The good news is that the squeak will fix over time. As you keep walking, especially on rougher surfaces, the rubber soles will wear off and your feet will feel more comfortable with every step.
If you don’t want to wait, you could exchange your shoes as long as your warranty is valid. After all, it could be a manufacturing defect if your new shoes squeak way too much.
Otherwise, there are faster ways to roughen up your soles. It’s called improving traction on your new shoes.
Materials You’ll Need to Fix Squeaky Shoes:
- Fine-grain sandpaper
- Dryer sheet
- Rubber sole spray
Sand the Sole
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve traction is sanding the sole.
All you need to do is to buy fine-grain sandpaper.
Sandpaper is available from your local hardware store or online. You can also use a sanding sponge for better grip.
- Sand the sole of your new shoes using sanding paper or sponge. Use gentle movements, like you’re smoothing over the soles.
- Stop once the rubber soles are slightly rough to the touch. The goal is to slightly “roughen up” the sole to improve the traction and reduce the noise.
- You can use this fix on a leather sole as well. However, use finer sandpaper as leather can get easily scratched.
- After doing this method, each step should give a stronger grip and have no squeak.
Use a Dryer Sheet
For new shoes, you can use a dryer sheet in many ways.
One, a dryer sheet can act as a layer between the new insole and the shoe.
- Your new insole could be rubbing against the shoe, producing the sound. If so, you can put a dryer sheet between the insole and the shoe to get rid of the noise.
- Two, rub the dryer sheet against the bottom of the sole. It’s the same principle as rubbing the sole using sandpaper.
- Last but not least, dryer sheets are excellent for absorbing odors. You can place a layer of the sheet, then take it out before wearing your shoes.
Spray It With a Grip Adhesive
Another way to improve traction in every step is to use a grip adhesive, such as a rubber sole spray.
- Before buying, check what kind of surfaces you can use the spray on. Especially if you’re dealing with a delicate material like leather.
- Spray a thin coating layer at the bottom of the sole. Let it completely dry before wearing them again.
WD-40 has been around for a long time, and it’s a water-displacing spray you can use in many ways. It’s also known as silicone spray.
- Spray the formula on a cotton swab, cotton ball, or cloth. Apply it on the OUTSIDE SEAMS of the shoes. You can work on the whole outline of the shoes or only on areas that squeak.
- Make sure not to use this on materials such as suede or velvet. An oil-based compound like WD-40 could permanently damage your shoes.
- You can also spray a layer of WD-40 onto your shoes or boots to make them waterproof.
What’s more, WD-40 is excellent for removing dirt from your shoes (ever stepped on dog poop?).
2. How to Fix Squeaky Shoes: Damaged Shoes
Another common reason for a squeaky shoe is due to damages. In most cases, it’s because of water damage.
Were you wearing your shoes in the rain? Or did you step on a puddle recently?
If so, chances are there’s water trapped inside your shoes. Your shoes DIDN’T DRY COMPLETELY, so now it’s making those annoying squeak sounds with every step you make.
In some cases, the reason might be because of the sizing sticker from the manufacturer.
Ever notice those small stickers at the bottom of the soles? If you already peeled it off, there may be some sticky residue remaining on your shoes.
Or you might have stepped on an old gum in the streets. Whatever the reason is, there are several methods to fix these without damaging your shoes.
Materials You’ll Need to Fix Squeaky Shoes:
- Duct tape
- Fabric softener
- Washcloth or sponge
- Something to soak up water (newspaper, rice, etc.)
Use Duct Tape
If the bottom of the soles is making the squeak noise every time you take a step, there’s a chance that something sticky got stuck at the bottom.
As mentioned, you can use WD-40 in many ways. One of them is removing gum from the bottom of your sole.
- All you have to do is spray the formula onto your shoes. Wait for a bit and wipe it away. And that’s it!
- Another handy fix is to take a bit of duct tape and paste it onto your shoes.
- Walk around. Listen to each step if you still hear a squeaking sound.
- If you don’t hear a thing anymore, then it means the problem was on the bottom of your shoe.
However, if you still hear the squeaking sound, you’re probably dealing with water damage. Try the following methods instead.
Dry the Shoes Naturally
If you have the time, the easiest way to fix water damage is to let your shoes dry naturally.
- Remove all parts of your shoe. This includes the laces, insoles, etc.
- You’ll need to dry these separately. This way, there won’t be a damp part in your shoe, and it will dry faster.
- Place the shoes leaning AGAINST the wall. Leave it for a couple of hours or the whole day, depending on how significant the damage is.
- If possible, dry it at room temperature. The best would be to dry it underneath the sun.
Putting It in the Dryer
If you don’t have time to wait around for your shoes to dry, put your shoes in the dryer.
Be wary of this fix and make sure your shoes will be able to withstand the heat. Otherwise, the high temperature from the dryer may cause permanent damage to your shoes. It might be better to dry them using other shoe drying methods.
- Dip a piece of sponge or washcloth into a fabric softener. This will help remove any odors from your pair of shoes.
- Put the sponge inside the dryer, along with your squeaking shoes. Change the settings to Air Dry and the lowest temperature possible.
- Remember not to put your shoes inside for too long. The drying time should be less than 10 minutes.
Sprinkle Baby Powder
Another effective method is to fill up your shoes with substances that soak up moisture. This will save you time so that you can get rid of the annoying squeak faster.
But note that this WON’T WORK for water damage. It will only work for damp shoes.
One thing you can use is baby powder. Sprinkle baby powder along the inside of your shoes, then let it sit for a while.
Baby powder will soak up all the moisture. It can also get rid of any odor from your shoes.
As an alternative, you can also use talcum powder or cornstarch.
You’ll be surprised of all the different uses these powders have!
It’s possible to target specific areas. Check which part is causing the squeak noise, such as:
- The tongue of your shoe: Powder the tongue under the shoelaces with baby or talcum powder.
- Inside of your shoe: Lift the insoles and sprinkle baby powder along the inner seams. If the insoles are non-removable, rub the substance onto the edge of the squeaky shoe base.
- The base of your shoe: Air cushions are the culprit (most likely). Sprinkle and spread the powder into the base on the seam or air bubble.
You can also use other materials such as newspaper or rice.
For newspaper, bunch up the paper and fit it in your shoes. Press it all the way into the toe area and leave it to dry. Doing this should help get rid of the noise.
3. How to Fix Squeaky Shoes: Old Shoes
Let’s face it. Your shoes might be getting a little too old.
In the case of old shoes, they could have loose, dangling parts. Some parts might have gotten peeled off or ripped.
Sometimes a better solution is to save your money and spend it on a brand new pair of shoes instead of thinking of one or more reasons to keep them.
However, your shoes might have sentimental value. Or it’s only damaged in some parts.
In that case, you can bring it to a cobbler. These people are professionals, so they can patch up your shoes in no time.
However, if you want to fix your squeaky shoe on your own, try the following tips.
Materials You’ll Need to Fix Squeaky Shoes:
- Petroleum jelly or coconut oil
- Super glue
- Saddle soap or conditioning oil
Apply Petroleum Jelly
The petroleum jelly solution works if certain parts of your shoes are making squeaking sounds. This includes the insole, laces, or tongue.
The sounds are caused by friction when the parts rub against each other. For this reason, adding petroleum jelly will make them rub more smoothly against each other.
- Put a thin layer of on the problematic parts to deal with the source directly. This will reduce the friction and will stop the sounds.
- As an alternative, you can also consider coconut oil.
However, keep in mind this is JUST a quick fix. Once it dries up, your shoes might squeak again no matter how much you tackle the source with this substance.
Reattach Loose Parts
Examine your shoes for any parts that have come off.
Typically, it’s the soles or heels that are the most vulnerable. In some cases, it’s a loose insole.
- For this, you can use super glue to reattach loose parts, such as the bottom of your shoes.
- If it’s the insole part, unlace the squeaky shoe completely and pull the tongue out. Then, lift up the insole and glue it down using a strong adhesive.
- Then, add some weight onto your shoe while the glue dries. You can also clamp the shoe to keep it tight.
- If your shoes are expensive, it’s better to take them to a cobbler to avoid further damages to any part of your shoe.
You don’t want to create another shoe problem if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Use Saddle Soap
Another way to fix squeaky shoes is to use saddle soap.
Shoelaces are often the culprit when it comes to leather shoes. The laces could rub against the tongue and create squeaking sounds.
This substance is a type of cream for cleaning, conditioning, and protecting leather.
- Rub a small amount of it on the tongue the lubricate the part of the shoe that squeaks and makes a noise. Then, buff using a dry cloth.
- As an alternative, you can also consider conditioning oil.
- Make sure it’s designed for your shoe type. For example, for a leather shoe, you should use a leather conditioner.
- Take note that this cream or oil will fade over time. If you don’t want to hear a peep, you’ll have to reapply it every now and then.
We hope this post gave you an idea of how to fix squeaky shoes so you won’t have to suffer the same fate.
Having squeaky shoes can be embarrassing or annoying (or both!). But the good news is that it can be fixed.
To figure out the problem, just locate the source and reason of the squeak and noise. From there, follow these tips to fix your squeaky shoe!
On another note, if you’re dealing with heels, take a look at our article on How to Quiet Your Heels for a complete guide.
If all else fails, take your shoes to a repair shop. Those people will be able to fix the problem for you.
July 12, 2021 – updated external links, removed affiliate links
June 15, 2021 – added changelog, fixed article format, updated internal linking, optimized content