How to Fix Squeaky Shoes (And Stop Annoying Others)

how to fix squeaky shoes

Some of us are all too familiar with the sound of a squeaky shoe following us with every footstep.

It’s annoying, it interferes with our peace and the sanity of people around us, and the worst thing that we could do is just let it be and try to get used to it.

The good news is that most of the time this issue can be easily fixed.

That’s why we’re here to teach you how to get rid of that irritating sound once and for all, so keep reading to find out!

fix squeaky shoes with leather conditioner

How to Fix Squeaky Shoes

It can be downright embarrassing when you are walking in a dead silent church and your shoes are making squeaky noises. Let's look at ways on how to fix squeaky shoes.

Why Do New Shoes Squeak?

Bought new shiny shoes and wondering what's that squeaky noise?

Well, oftentimes the reason for this is that the rubber soles are too smooth. Yup, your new shoes need breaking in.

When you're walking on smooth surfaces such as linoleum the smooth rubber will cause the squeaky sounds rubbing against it.

Once the new rubber wears off you will begin to notice less squeaks over time. We will cover methods of how to fix this in this article.

squeaky rubber soles

Why Do Old Shoes Squeak?

If you are dealing with old shoes (especially leather shoes) chances are that they are simply worn out.

Over time, worn out shoes tend to squeak due to loose insoles which are moving inside your shoe. When worn out, the soles in your shoes can get loose making them not fit properly and rocking your feet forward.

A loose inner sole and midsole can lead to sole movements inside your shoe. In this case you might need to go to a shoe repair shop and fit your shoes with new insoles.

old squeaking shoes

Step One: Figuring Out the Root of the Problem

The first thing that you should know is there could be different reasons why your shoes squeak. And not all of them are related to the shoe alone.

Reason 1: There’s Water Trapped in Your Shoes

The most likely reason why your shoes are squeaky is probably that they have water trapped in them. 

Think about this – have you ever got caught in rain and your shoes got completely soaked?

If they didn’t dry completely and thoroughly when they got wet, your shoes could continue making the squeaky sounds for months.

This can be fixed by getting the water out of the shoes, and we’ll talk about ways to do that later on.

Reason 2: The Soles are Too Smooth

One of the most common reasons is the surface that you’re walking on. Smooth polished surfaces tend to make squeaking sounds when in contact with your shoe, most often when the shoes are new.

This happens because the soles and the floor are too smooth and the friction between the two creates sound.

The same thing goes for new insoles that are rubbing against the inside of the shoe.

Fortunately, this can be fixed.

squeaky noise usually comes from shoe parts rubbing together

Reason 3: Your Shoes are Getting Old

Another reason why your shoes are squeaky might be completely different: they are too old. Old shoes start to fall apart and pieces get unattached and start moving around, creating the squeak.

The good news is that you don’t have to throw them away, you can either fix the problem yourself or have it done professionally.

Step Two: Which Part of the Shoe Squeaks?

Before you get to the solving of the problem you should locate where exactly it’s coming from.

You probably already know which shoe is the squeaky one and what kind of movement makes your shoe produce that bothersome sound, whether it’s only when you’re running or when you’re walking slowly.

To figure out where the sound is coming from, put on your shoes and slowly move your feet in all directions.

Once a part of your foot sets pressure on a certain point and you can hear the squeaky sound, you can be sure that that’s where the problem is.

Also, if the shoes bend a certain way and then you hear the squeak, look for the damage on the bent parts.

If you have trouble figuring out the source of the squeaking, get somebody to help you.

Step Three: Solving the Problem Of Squeaking Noises In Shoes

In this part, we’ll show you the ways to fix this issue based on the source of the problem.

Fixing the Damage Made by Water

The key step that you have to take to fix water damage is getting the water out of the shoe, which can be done in various ways.

soaking up trapped water
1. Drying the shoes naturally

The easiest step that you can take is just letting your shoes dry naturally.

Do this by removing every part of the shoe that can be removed and drying them all separately.

Put the shoes down so that the soles are facing up and lean them on the wall and let them stay there for at least a couple of hours.

drying shoes

However, don’t put them directly on the heat source in the room because that could cause them to shrink and fall apart.

Drying your shoes naturally is great if you have time and if they suffered damage recently.

2. Put the shoes in the dryer

If you don’t have the time or patience to wait for the shoes to dry you can always take the faster route and put them in the dryer.

Take your shoes and a piece of fabric dipped in fabric softener and put them together in the dryer for no more than 10 minutes.

Just like putting your shoes near a heat source when drying them naturally can cause them to shrink so can putting them in the dryer for too long.

Doing this will help you get rid of the squeak if you’re careful enough.

Make sure you don't leave your shoes in the dryer too long as it might cause them to shrink. And no one wants tight shoes.

If you want to keep on the safe side you might try using a hairdryer or hanging them next to a heat radiator or a simple heater.

Another simple home solution you might try is stuffing your shoes with newspaper. Keep it in until the shoes are completely dry.

3. Rub The Shoes with a Dryer Sheet

If you want to make your shoe dry in no time you can always use a fabric

Speaking of rubber soles, this dryer sheet trick to also make shoes less slick works on all kinds of shoe outsole materials. It is also less invasive than the sandpaper method.

dryer sheets

Simply rub the sheet onto the bottoms of the shoes a few times to make them less smooth and less prone to squeaking on wooden or tile floors. Repeat anytime you find your shoe soles squeaking again. 

4. Soak up the moisture from the shoes

If the last two steps fail, you can always get rid of the squeak and enjoy quiet time by filling your shoes with things that are known to soak up water.

One of the most common elements used in this case is baby powder. Just sprinkle it on the inside of your shoe and let it sit for a while.

baby powder can absorb moisture in squeaky shoes

The baby powder is known to soak up moisture and will also make your shoes smell nicer.

Some other things that you can use that are just as effective are cornstarch, rice, newspapers or talcum powder.

They will absorb the water and help you get rid of the squeak.

Making Your New Shoes Less Squeaky

As we said before, there could be two reasons why your new shoes are squeaky: the soles are too smooth or the new insoles rub against the inside of the shoe and create the sound.

5. Rub them with sandpaper

If the soles of your new shoes are too smooth and they make a squeaky sound when you walk on other smooth surfaces, you can rub them with sandpaper to stop the squeaking.

The important thing is to just be gentle and careful not to do too much damage, but other than that this step can easily be done at home. We suggest using fine grain sandpaper to smooth out the shoe bottoms.

sandpaper can improve traction of squeaky shoes
6. Putting a layer between the new insole and the shoe

If the new insole is rubbing against the shoe and producing the squeak you can get rid of the sound by putting a dryer sheet between the insole and the shoe.

an extra thin layer helps the insoles rub more smoothly

This will minimize the friction between the two and get rid of the sound until you wear them in.

7. Make your shoes waterproof

Why would you let your brand new shoes get ruined by water damage if you can simply prevent it from happening?

You can easily stop this from happening by using a waterproof spray.

waterproof spray

A good waterproof spray will not only keep it from dry but it will also let it breathe and keep the dirt and dust off.

The Kiwi Waterproof Spray works well for suede shoes, leather shoes, as well those made from fabric and nubuck.

8. Lubricate your squeaky shoes with a silicone spray

One of the best ways to fix squeaky shoes is to give them some lubrication.

An oil such as WD-40 is good at penetrating materials and might prove very effective at reducing noise in your squeaky area.

silicone spray can stop shoes from being noisy

Soak a cotton swab or a cotton ball with WD-40 (alternatively you can use coconut oil) and apply it carefully on the squeaky area of the shoe's entire outline.

You can also use a grip adhesive such as BareGround to improve your shoe's traction.

fix squeaky shoes that are old

How to Fix Your Old Squeaky Shoes

Fixing old shoes can be tricky, and sometimes it might be best if you just let them go and get a new pair. Here’s how you can make an old shoe less squeaky.

9. Using petroleum jelly as a quick fix

If the parts of your shoes such as the insole, laces, or tongue are producing the squeak you can cover them in petroleum jelly for an instant solution.

This will create a layer between the parts that are rubbing together, lowering the friction and stopping the sounds, but only for a while.

reattach loose parts with super glue
10. Carefully gluing the parts that are falling apart

The source of the squeak in old shoes could also be that some parts are getting detached.

If you notice that you have loose heels, simply get some silicone or super glue, put it in the area between the shoe bottom and the damaged heel. Next, clamp them together with whatever you can find for a couple of hours.

squeaky shoe bottoms can be fixed with saddle soap

This should, hopefully, help you get rid of the squeak.

11. Rub with a leather conditioner

If you are dealing with leather shoes you can use a leather conditioner on the outside seams.

12. Returning your shoes

Another thing that you should know, especially when the shoes are new, is that the squeak could be a manufacturing defect. Sometimes it can be a loose shank or a loose heel falling off the shoe bottom.

So before you get all DIY check the return policy. You can probably exchange the shoes for a pair that isn’t squeaky.

Conclusion: On Fixing Squeaky Shoes

If all else fails, or if you just don’t want to experiment with any of these steps, take your shoes to a cobbler and let them fix the problem.

They are actual professionals and will completely fix your shoe and make it soundless and flawless again. A local cobbler might be your best bet in this case.

And if you think that you can do it yourself feel free to apply the steps that we gave you in this article. Good luck!

You might also like: How to Make Heels Quieter

How to Fix Squeaky Shoes


Are your friends and family annoyed with the squeaky sound from your shoes? Are you embarassed? Here's how to fix squeaky shoes easily.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


    1. Figure out the root of the poblem
    2. Put them in the dryer
    3. Rub them with sandpaper
    4. Putting a layer between the new insole and the shoe
    5. Using petroleum jelly as a quick fix
    6. Carefully gluing the parts that are falling apart
Share this with your friends!
Skip to Instructions