How To Fix Squeaky Shoes (9 Quick Fixes)

Do your shoes emit loud, embarrassing squeaks with every step? Have pesky squeaky shoes left you looking for solutions? While frustrating, fixing annoying shoe squeaks is possible.

Shoes typically squeak due to friction between surfaces like the sole and upper material. Lubricating these areas with oils or wax can eliminate squeaking by reducing friction. You can also adjust laces to change contact points or add cushioning.

Now that you know why shoes squeak and how to stop it, let’s get into the specifics. Read on as we cover common causes, DIY and commercial lubricants, lacing tips, and more fixes to walk quietly again.

What Causes Shoes to Squeak?

There are a few common reasons shoes can start squeaking:

  • Moisture buildup – Wet shoes that haven’t fully dried can trap moisture inside, which causes friction and squeaking. Sweaty shoes can also lead to moisture buildup and squeaking.
  • Worn outsoles – The bottom of the shoe can become smooth over time, causing it to squeak against smooth floors.
  • Loose parts – As shoes age, glue and stitching can come loose, allowing parts of the shoe to rub together and squeak. This often happens in the sole or heel areas.
  • Stiff new shoes – Brand new shoes or new insoles can be stiff and rub against each other or the shoe interior, causing temporary squeaking. This often goes away as you break them in.

9 Ways to Fix Squeaky Shoes

1. Dry Out Moist Shoes

If moisture is the culprit, thoroughly drying shoes is the first step to stop squeaking. Here are a few methods:

  • Place shoes in a sunny spot or by a heating vent to air dry completely. Stuff shoes with newspaper to help absorb moisture faster.
  • For quick drying, place shoes in the dryer on air fluff setting for 5-10 minutes. Add a dryer sheet to help soften. Avoid high heat.
  • Stuff damp shoes with absorbent powders like baby powder, cornstarch or baking soda overnight to soak up moisture.

2. Loosen the Insoles

If squeaking is coming from the insoles, try taking them out and loosening them up. Bend and twist the insoles to soften them up before placing them back in the shoes. You can also try switching to a different insole if the current one is too stiff.

3. Apply Petroleum Jelly

Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the edge of the insoles or spots where shoe parts are rubbing. This lubricates the surfaces and reduces friction that causes squeaking. Reapply occasionally as needed.

4. Use a Dryer Sheet

Place a dryer sheet between the insole and interior sole of the shoe. The sheet helps reduce friction in new shoes or slippery insoles until they get broken in. Replace the sheet once it wears out.

5. Sand the Outsoles

For brand new shoes with slippery rubber soles, gently rub the soles with fine grit sandpaper. This roughens and scuffs the sole to reduce squeaking on smooth floors. Be careful not to over-sand.

6. Apply Powder

Baby powder, talcum powder, cornstarch or baking soda can help absorb excess moisture inside shoes. Lightly sprinkle it around the insole area and toes where moisture buildup often occurs.

7. Use Leather Conditioner

For leather shoes, apply a leather conditioner to the seams and joints on the exterior. This softens and conditions the leather to prevent squeaking at flex points that have dried out.

For squeaks coming from the shoelaces or tongue rubbing, lubricating with leather conditioner is recommended. Leather conditioner can also be useful for restoring dried out, creaky doors and hinges. Get pointers on opening squeaky doors quietly without disturbance.

8. Lubricate with Oil or Wax

WD-40 or silicone spray can be lightly spritzed on squeaky spots to lubricate shoes and stop squeaking. Rub a small amount of beeswax or candle wax on problem spots for a quick DIY lubricant.

9. Glue/Repair Loose Parts

Check that outsoles, heels and other parts are still firmly attached. Loose parts that are rubbing together can be reglued with shoe glue or strong adhesives like E6000. Clamps can help hold parts in place while glue dries.

For DIY shoe repair, only glue detachments near the edges – let a professional handle more complex fixes.

Quick Fixes for Squeaky Shoes

Here are some fast, temporary fixes for squeaky shoes in a pinch:

  • Wipe petroleum jelly on frictional spots
  • Stick a small piece of moleskin or tape on squeaky areas
  • Apply lip balm on rubbing leather parts
  • Lightly rub spots with bar soap to lubricate
  • Stuff cotton balls or soft paper in hollow parts rubbing together

These won’t last forever but can get you through the day quietly.

If you have issues with squeaking coming from a slippery shoe sole, a simple rug can help grip the sole and muffle noise on smooth floors. Learn more about using rugs to fix squeaky floors of all kinds.

When to Seek Professional Repairs

If DIY methods aren’t silencing squeaks, or shoes are structurally damaged, a professional cobbler or shoe repair pro can help.

Signs you may need a pro:

  • Visible cracks or tears in the sole or leather
  • Loose or detached soles or heels
  • Permanent creases/wrinkles indicating poor fit
  • Complex fixes needed beneath insoles

A good cobbler can replace soles, reattach parts, stretch leather and more to quiet your shoes.

Preventing Shoe Squeaking

To help prevent squeaks before they start:

  • Let shoes dry fully between wears
  • Rotate shoes regularly to evenly wear soles
  • Clean dirty soles that can slip on floors
  • Condition leather routinely to avoid drying/cracking
  • Replace old insoles that compact and misshape
  • Consider adding sole grip tape to worn slippery soles

Proper shoe care goes a long way in preventing noises down the road.

Can Squeaking Be Permanently Fixed?

It depends on the cause. For new stiff shoes or moisture issues, squeaking can often be permanently fixed with some breaking in and drying.

But shoes with worn soles, dried out leather or failing glue likely won’t be permanently fixed with DIY tricks. These require repairs by a pro.

Even then, heavily worn or damaged shoes may continue squeaking lightly despite repairs. At that point, replacement is the only permanent fix.

Learn about quieting a squeaky dryer with some easy DIY fixes.

Squeaky bed frames can also benefit from reinforcement of joints by a skilled pro. Read this guide on fixing a squeaky bed for DIY tips.

For more on whether landlords are responsible for fixing squeaky floors, check out this article. And get tips on using WD-40 to stop wood squeaking here.


Shoe squeaks typically occur when inflexible materials like leather and rubber rub together as you walk. Lubricating the friction points with wax or specialized sprays reduces noises. Adjusting laces and wearing cushioned socks also helps minimize squeaks.

Key Takeaways

  • Moisture buildup, worn soles, loose parts and stiff new shoes are common culprits of shoe squeaking.
  • Thoroughly drying shoes, lubricating with petroleum jelly, and using powder absorbers are effective DIY fixes.
  • For stubborn squeaks, repairs by a cobbler may be needed to replace soles, glue parts and restore shoes.
  • Prevent squeaks by rotating shoes, replacing old insoles and conditioning leather routinely.
  • Badly worn, damaged shoes that still squeak after fixes likely need to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the quickest way to stop shoe squeaking?

Applying a small amount of petroleum jelly or lip balm to the insoles and interior sole edges can help lubricate and quickly eliminate squeaking. The lubricant minimizes friction between surfaces that are rubbing together and creating noise. Reapply as needed until shoes are broken in.

Why do my shoes only squeak on certain floors?

Shoes tend to only squeak on very smooth, polished floors like tile, wood or laminate. On textured floors like concrete and carpet, shoes grab better and don’t slide around in a way that causes squeaking. The smoothness between the shoe soles and floor surface allows friction that creates the sound.

Can putting shoes in the dryer damage them?

Leaving shoes in the dryer too long on high heat can potentially damage them. The heat could cause glues to soften and leather or canvas materials to shrink or crack. Use the air fluff or no heat setting for 5-10 minutes only. Stuff shoes with a towel or dryer sheet to prevent damage from tumbling.

Is it OK to use WD-40 on shoes?

WD-40 is safe for use on all shoe materials except suede and leather. The chemicals in WD-40 can damage suede and dry out leather. For leather shoes, use a conditioner instead of WD-40 to lubricate. Make sure to spray WD-40 only on targeted squeaky spots, not all over.

When should I just throw out squeaky shoes?

If DIY fixes and professional repairs still aren’t silencing shoes, it’s probably time for a replacement pair. Shoes with major structural damage like detached soles, cracked leather or fabric tears that affect fit aren’t worth the cost or effort to salvage. Severely worn tread that affects traction is also a sign it’s time to retire squeaky shoes.


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