Have you ever had your ears assaulted by a high-pitched squeak when stepping onto a smooth, slick floor in certain shoes? It’s not pleasant, but it’s more common than you might realize, especially on specific types of floors.
Since you can’t change the floors you’re walking on, it’s only logical to change the footwear to stop shoes from squeaking on floors. You don’t have to worry—the changes are relatively small, and you can take many steps that won’t damage your shoes.
Some of the methods outlined below can cause minor damage to your shoes’ soles, but most are safe and easy to do. Here’s our top advice for stopping your squeaky shoes from making noise.
Why Do Some Shoes Squeak When Walking?
To fix a squeaky shoe, you must first understand why your shoes are squeaking. Squeaks can happen for multiple reasons and come from various parts of the shoe.
Here are some of the most common reasons for shoes to squeak. Once you’ve discovered the reason behind your squeaking, you can take one or more of the actions below.
When you get new shoes, sometimes the material hasn’t had a chance to settle in yet. This can cause the hard material of certain parts of the shoe to rub against other parts, causing that squeak.
Sometimes, you can’t even see the parts that are rubbing together. It could be inside the shoe, but if your shoes are brand new, this could be the reason for the high-pitched noise.
Ever noticed how the squeak generally appears on certain types of floors that are usually slippery and smooth? In these cases, the friction between your outsole and the floor is likely the reason for the sound.
It often happens between shoes with rubber soles and smooth floors like hardwood or linoleum.
Wear and Tear
As your shoes age and wear down, parts inside the shoe may become loose or worn down. This can cause things to rub against each other, and you may not even realize it’s happening inside your shoes.
If you’ve had your shoes for a while and they’ve only started squeaking recently, this is the likely cause. It’s also more common in shoes with a shank for extra support.
Air Trapped Under the Insole
If your shoes have removable insoles, air can easily become trapped underneath them, leading to a squeak every time you take a step.
In these cases, the sound usually comes from the arch area, and it’s caused by the small air pocket forcefully pushing that air out against the materials of the shoe when you compress it and then the air moving back into the pocket when you lift your foot.
Moisture Trapped In the Shoe
Do you find your shoes squeak more when you’ve been wearing them in the rain? Shoes absorb water much more easily than you think, and the trapped moisture can make your soles more squeaky on smooth surfaces as well as worsen a noisy insole.
Something Stuck In the Sole
If your shoe suddenly starts squeaking for no apparent reason, you may have something lodged in the tread on the outsole.
Pebbles, gum, and other things can cause squeaking noises, or they can damage the shoe’s components and cause them to rub together, creating the sound.
How To Stop Shoes From Squeaking On Floors
If your shoes squeak, take some time to consider which of the above reasons could be causing it. Generally, it’s easy to tell where the squeak is coming from so you can pinpoint the area you need to fix.
But even if you find it hard to tell what the problem is, most of the solutions listed below are easy to do and won’t cause any damage to your shoe. You can simply try each one until you discover that the squeak is gone.
If your insoles are a squeaky problem, it’s usually quite easy to fix them. These solutions use items you can most likely find in your home right now.
Use Baby Powder or Talcum Powder
If your insoles are a little loose, they may move around while you’re walking, leading to squeaky sounds as they rub against the inside of your shoes. Using baby powder or talcum powder is an easy solution.
Remove the insole and sprinkle a light layer of baby powder into your shoe. Once you replace the insole, the powder should help to keep the insole in place more effectively and reduce the squeak-causing friction.
Use Paper Towel
If the inside of your shoes have gotten wet recently, it could be exacerbating the squeaky sound. Instead of sprinkling powder into your shoes, you’ll use a sheet of paper towel or a napkin.
Remove the insoles and place a folded paper towel or napkin into the shoe. Then, replace the insole. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture that could be contributing to the problem, as well as reducing friction between the insole and the bottom of the shoe.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to replace the paper towel every so often, otherwise it might start to smell.
Try Coconut Oil
If neither of the above options work, you can try to lubricate the inside of your shoe with coconut oil. Remove the insole and rub a light layer of coconut oil over the bottom of the shoe—not the insole.
Replace the insole, and the oil should lubricate it enough to prevent squeaking when you walk. Make sure to be gentle when applying the layer of coconut oil, or you may find that it seeps into your socks or stains the insoles.
Usually, the problem with outsoles is that they’re too slick and they slip on floors, causing that high-pitched squeak. The solution? Roughen them up a bit so they don’t slip and slide.
This method will cause permanent changes to the outsoles of your shoes, so make sure you’re okay with that before you do it.
Using fine sandpaper—120 to 220—gently rub across the soles of your shoes to create a light texture. Make sure to do this evenly across the surface of the sole so that every part of the sole is equally roughened.
There’s no need to press hard or rough the soles up too much. All you need is a bit more texture, especially if your shoes are quite smooth underneath.
Use Dryer Sheets
If you prefer not to use sandpaper due to the permanence of the damage, you can try using dryer sheets. Dryer sheets contain fabric softener, which lines the outsole of your shoe when you rub it.
This acts as a kind of moisturizer and may help to reduce squeaking. Be careful on slippery surfaces, though. You can also use dryer sheets as an alternative to paper towels under your insoles.
Fix Loose Soles
If your sole is coming loose from the midsole of the shoe, it can cause friction that leads to squeaking. The easiest solution is to fix the broken sole, which should eliminate the sound.
You should be able to glue the sole if your shoe is a sneaker or even an athletic shoe. Dress shoes may need to be resolved by a professional.
Use a Grip Adhesive
You can buy rubber sole spray, which you spray onto your outsoles to give them more texture.
This can help to reduce friction between the sole and the floor, lowering the chance of hearing that high-pitched noise when you walk. You could also use something like WD-40, which will serve the same purpose.
In some cases, the upper or the shoelaces could be causing the sound. It’s less common, but here’s how to fix it if it’s causing your squeak.
Use a Conditioner or Saddle Soap
If the upper materials are rubbing together and causing noise, you could use a shoe conditioner or saddle soap on the upper to soften it and ease the friction. Make sure you’re choosing a product suitable for your shoe’s upper material.
You must apply the conditioner or soap again whenever your shoes begin to squeak. But they should last a while without making noise, so you can expect the conditioner to last you for some time.
Sometimes, the shoelaces can rub against the tongue of the shoe and cause squeaking. You can also apply the conditioner or saddle soap to the tongue of the shoe to soften it and reduce friction and noise.
Not sure what’s causing your shoes to squeak? Try these methods if nothing else has worked so far.
Dry Them Thoroughly
Water damage can lead to squeaking, so it’s essential to dry your shoes thoroughly if you’ve been wearing them in the rain. It’s a good idea to double-check how to dry your shoes.
Some shoes can be placed in the dryer, but others must be air-dried. Others, like leather shoes, need more careful treatment to prevent damage.
The best way to dry any shoe safely is to roll some newspaper into a ball, place it inside each shoe, and leave them somewhere warm but not in direct heat, such as in a cupboard.
The newspaper absorbs the moisture from the shoes. Check back 24 hours later. If the shoes are still damp, replace the newspaper and leave them for another day.
Repair Broken Parts
As your shoes wear out, damage occurs. If you notice any damage to the shoe, repairing it as soon as possible will reduce the chance of the shoes developing a squeak. If you can’t repair your shoes, you may need to replace them.
Use Waterproofing Spray
If you spend a lot of time outdoors in rainy weather, you may consider using a waterproofing spray on your shoes. This will help to lower the chances of your shoes being damaged by the water, which means there’s less chance of them beginning to squeak over time.
Wear Your Shoes In
New shoes may just need some time to wear. As you wear your shoes in, the materials become softer and conform to your foot. The squeak may disappear as the shoe molds to your foot, and the materials ease up.
If you often go barefoot inside your shoes, the friction between the insole or sock lining and your feet could cause the squeak.
Sometimes, wearing socks can easily fix this, which adds a soft layer that reduces friction. Try this before other methods if you’ve been wearing your shoes without socks!
Make Sure Your Shoes Fit Properly
If your shoes are too big and your foot moves around as you walk, it may cause the insole to move too. This can cause squeaking sounds.
You can fix this using the methods above or buy a bigger insole. But it can help to make sure your shoes fit properly when you buy them. It’s also safer for you when you walk!