Why Do Shoes Squeak?
Why do my dress shoes squeak when I walk? Squeaky dress shoes can be both annoying and embarrassing. There's nothing quite as disappointing as having your favorite pair of expensive dress shoes develop a sharp, loud squeak, emitting from each step that you take.
The actual causes of squeaky shoes can be attributed to a number of problems.
From a troublesome insole to a damaged heel, there are many factors which can cause dress shoes to squeak. In this article, we’ll be looking at why dress shoes squeak by identifying the causes. We'll be presenting solutions for many common problems in order to stop squeaky shoes.
How to Stop Shoes From Squeaking
Try Wearing Them More Often
If the squeak is coming from a relatively new pair of dress shoes, then it's highly likely that they need to be broken in first. Put on your shoes and wear them around the house for a few days before wearing them out. Apply talcum powder and follow our other tips if necessary, but a few hours of breaking-in usually gets rid of any annoying squeaking sounds.
Check Your Heel
Check the heel of your dress shoes to feel if they are slightly loose. If this is the case, apply a drop of contact cement onto each side where the footwear meets the heel, holding it in place for a minute to set. Weigh down your shoe for at least twenty-four hours to give the cement ample time to dry and your squeak will be gone for good.
Insole Friction & Powder
Squeaking can, at times, be caused by friction formed between the soles of your shoes and your insoles. If the liner is removable, remove it and sprinkle some baby powder, cornstarch or talcum powder into the bottom of your shoe. This will absorb the moisture which prevents less motion between the liner and sole, thus stopping squeaking in its tracks.
A powder can be just as useful for shoes which squeak on tiled or wooden surfaces. It can make your shoes slippery if the traction is not good, so take care when applying a bit of powder to the bottom of your shoes to prevent squeaking.
Another simple solution to prevent shoes from squeaking caused by insole friction is simply placing a paper towel or a dryer sheet into your shoes. Fold over a sheet or paper towel and place it between the insole and the sole of your shoe.
Straighten & Smooth Its Tongue
Dress shoe squeaking is often caused by the tongue rubbing against the inside of the shoe itself. Get yourself some fine-grained sandpaper or a nail file and sand the tongue down until it no longer rubs against your shoe. You can alternatively apply athletic tape instead.
Wrap the edges of the tongue of your shoe with athletic tape, effectively getting rid of the squeaking that arises when the tongue rubs against the inner.
Oil Leather Dress Shoes
Leather and synthetic leather shoes will begin to squeak if the natural oils present in the material has dried up. Unconditioned leather develops this problem frequently. Use as little oil as possible, opting for olive oil if possible but vegetable oil will work. You need to take extreme care not to stain your shoes.
Apply the oil with a dry cloth or paper towel and wipe off any excess. It's highly recommended that you put your shoes on a shoe tree after oiling so that they'll assume their original form once dried. Always leave your shoes overnight after oiling before wearing them again.
The most common place where a squeak starts is at the seams of a shoe. This is, therefore, the best place to begin applying oil.
Are Your Dress Shoes Made from Patent Leather?
If your dress shoes are made from patent leather instead of genuine leather, then it is possible that they will develop a squeak due to not correctly assuming the form of your feet. This happens most often with the heel.
Spray the inside and the outside of your shoe with a light layer of water using a spritzer. Inside and out need to be damp but not wet. Then proceed to wear your shoes until they dry and you should be free from your squeak for good. If not, repeat the process until the sound goes away.
If you are in the habit of wearing your shoes without socks, then it's likely that any squeaking arises from excess moisture build-up. Remove the inserts or insoles and leave your shoes to dry for at least 24 hours. Refrain from using a heater or dryer on leather as the leather will crack if the temperature is too high. Instead, leave them in a warm room which is free from humidity.
Another tip is to shove your shoes full of crumpled up newspaper and then leave them to dry. The newspaper will absorb any excess moisture. Replace the newspaper every few hours depending on how much moisture is present and use a shoe horn or shoe tree to help them resume their original form and contours.
Could Trapped Water Be Causing the Squeak?
At times water can become trapped between the layers of leather of your sole or the joins and seams of your shoes. The will result in a terrible squeaking sound which you can only get rid of by giving your shoes ample time to dry. If you do resort to drying them in front of a heater, which may be necessary to get rid of the trapped moisture completely, then apply a conditioning product to protect the appearance and longevity of your dress shoes.
Squeaking from Hard Soles
At times the underside of your shoes will harden due to extended use. This can cause squeaking. If your shoes have been in use for a considerable duration, take some fine sandpaper and sand down the soles of your shoes slightly. Remove any hardened rubber or plastic without sanding too much that the shape itself is affected.
Noisy Shoe Laces
Leather shoes, in particular, are known to develop squeaking when their shoelaces begin to rub against the tongue. Apply leather conditioner to the tongue and shoelace grommets, or try some saddle soap. This will reduce the friction, make the leather supple, and get rid of the squeak caused by noisy laces.
Rubber Sole Spray
Many shoes begin to squeak loudly on linoleum-style flooring and carpeted areas. If your squeak is coming from the bottom of the shoe and sanding down the hardened tread doesn't help, then you can give a rubber sole spray a try. Not only will applying rubber spray to the bottom of your shoe stop your squeaking, but it will also improve traction.
Before rushing off to buy a can of rubber sole spray, first, apply some duct tape to the underside of your shoe and see if it stops the sound. If it does, then a can of spray will definitely stop the squeak.
Keep Your Shoes in Good Condition
Any damage to your shoe can result in squeaking. Dress shoes with loose heels or soles will release an annoying squeak which worsens over time. Shoe glue or any good, strong adhesive, will work wonders to secure your sole should it be loose, while a cobbler should address any other issues.
Stop New Shoes Squeaking
If a brand-new pair of dress shoes begins to squeak shortly after purchasing, then it's best to consult the shoe manufacturers customer support for a return. Dress shoes should not squeak straight out the box. Squeaking is an issue which develops from wear-and-tear and a lack of maintenance.
Most manufacturers will be more than happy to replace your pair of shoes with a new set that doesn't squeak. Be sure to contact your seller before attempting to fix the problem yourself, as this could void your warranty.
Common Footwear Flaws That Result in Squeaky Dress Shoes
At times, cheaply manufactured dress shoes will have a thin layer of black paint present on their soles. This is supposed to help with traction, but instead often causes squeaking shoes. The only answer is to wear the shoes until the paint is worn down or to remove the paint using a piece of light sandpaper.
The soles of your shoes may, at times, also become dried out, resulting in a squeak when walking on highly polished flooring. In this case, an oil-based lubricant such as WD40 applied to the rubber sole of your shoe will resolve the annoyance for good. All it takes is a few applications. Just make sure that you don’t wear your shoes immediately afterward. Give them some time to dry.