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How to Fix Squeaky Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

Squeaky shoes can be an annoying problem many people face. Whether it's new shoes or an old favourite, a squeaky sound with each step can be distracting and embarrassing. Thankfully, there are various methods to tackle shoe squeaks, ranging from temporary fixes to more permanent solutions. In this detailed guide, we'll explore several ways to silence squeaky shoes.

Understanding the Cause

Before jumping into solutions, it's essential to identify what might be causing the shoe squeaks. This noise can result from different sources:

  1. Friction between insole and sole: Loose insoles can rub against the shoe, creating a squeaking sound.

  2. Wetness inside the shoe: Moisture trapped inside the shoe can cause squeaking.

  3. Worn-out soles: Over time, the soles of the shoes may wear down and create friction, leading to squeaking.

Methods to Fix Squeaky Shoes

Let's delve deeper into the various methods to fix squeaking shoes.

1. Fixing the insole’s squeaky noise


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The insole is the shoe's inner part, directly touching your foot's bottom. It uses materials like foam, leather, or fabric. Insoles may be removable or permanently glued to the shoe's interior.

Friction and moisture are among the reasons causing a shoe to squeak. Friction may occur between the insole and the interior sole of the shoe, leading to the squeaking noise. Another reason for the squeak is the wear and tear.

Over time, when the insole's materials degrade, this causes increased friction and makes your shoes squeak. Lastly, sweat or other forms of moisture can create a squeaking sound when trapped between the insole and the shoe.

a. Apply a lubricant

Removing the Insole

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You'll need a thin, flat tool. If the insole glue has worn out, use a butter knife, a plastic prying tool, or your fingers. Next, follow the following steps:

  1. Caution: Always assess before removal. If the insole appears permanently affixed or sewn in, it might be wise to consult a professional cobbler rather than risk damaging the shoe.

  2. Insert the tool: Gently slide it under the edge of the insole.

  3. Lift gradually: Apply gentle pressure, working around the edges.

  4. Be patient: If it's glued, take your time to avoid tearing or damaging it.

Applying a thin layer of baby powder, talcum powder, baking powder, or cornstarch under the insole can absorb moisture and reduce shoe parts rubbing together. Alternatively, smearing a thin layer of petroleum jelly under the insole helps the parts rub against each other more smoothly.

Applying a lubricant

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Follow these steps:

  1. Clean the area: Ensure the space under the insole is dry and debris-free.

  2. Sprinkle lubricant: Apply a thin layer, distributing it evenly.

  3. Replace the insole: Press it back into place firmly.

  4. Test: Walk around to see if you have eliminated the squeak.

b. Replace the insole

Replacing the Insole

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If the insoles are too worn out, it might be best to replace them. Before buying a new pair, consider the following:

  • Matching the shape and size: New insoles must correspond to the original ones, considering the arch type and shoe design.

  • Material consideration: Pick a material that suits your comfort preferences and the shoe's purpose (e.g., sport, formal wear).

  • Fitting process: A proper fit is vital. Ensure no folds or misalignment, which could lead to discomfort or further squeaking. You can solve this by using a dryer sheet under the insole.

2. Addressing the sole’s squeaking noise with adhesive

Issues with the sole can lead to discomfort, reduced shoe life, and, of course, those irritating squeaks. First off, keep those keen eyes peeled for subtle signs – cracks, separations, or anything that seems to have a bit too much freedom. But don't just rely on sight alone; give things a gentle touch. Press and pull to unveil any hidden weak spots.

This step is important because finding loose things early can stop bigger headaches later on. Depending on what problems you find, you might need different fixes. You could try using glue for one thing or even doing some stitching to patch things up.

Gather the following tools for this method.

  • Shoe glue formulated explicitly for footwear will provide flexibility and strong bonding

  • Soft brush

  • Damp cloth

  • Epoxy resin is a strong alternative but may be less flexible

  • Hairdryer or shoe dryer.

Using Adhesive for shoe repair

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Remember to watch out for your skin – some glues can irritate your skin or stick to it. And if you're using glue, do it in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing in any toxic fumes. Next, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the area: Remove dirt and debris using alcohol or a cleaning solution.

  2. Apply adhesive: Use sparingly to prevent overflow.

  3. Press together: Apply pressure using clamps or by wearing the shoe.

  4. Allow to dry: Follow the instructions on the adhesive packaging.

3. Working on leather shoes

Leather can become dry and stiff over time, increasing friction. This ends up resulting in the unwanted squeaking sound. On the other hand, too much moisture can also cause the leather to squeak. Additionally, general degradation may lead to squeaking in various shoe parts, including where the leather touches other materials.

a. Using leather conditioner

Leather Conditioner

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Leather conditioner restores and preserves leather's natural suppleness by reducing friction and enhancing flexibility while protecting against potential drying or cracking. Alternatively, you can use natural oils and waxes, but avoid silicones that might dry out the leather over time. Next, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the leather: Remove dirt and dust using a soft cloth or brush.

  2. Apply the conditioner: Use a cotton ball to work in small, circular motions.

  3. Let it soak in: Allow the conditioner to penetrate the leather; this might take a few minutes or several hours, depending on the product.

  4. Buff if needed: If the leather feels greasy after conditioning, buff it gently with a clean cloth.

b. Using saddle soap

Using Saddle Soap on leather shoes

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Saddle soap not only cleans the leather but also conditions it, helping to prevent future squeaks. For this task, you'll need some, which you can find in tins or sticks, along with a damp cloth or a gentle bristle brush for applying the soap. Keep a dry cloth handy to wipe off any excess during the process.

These are the steps:

  1. Wet the brush or cloth: It should be damp, not soaked.

  2. Rub in saddle soap: Work up a lather.

  3. Scrub the leather gently: Apply the lather to the leather, scrubbing in circles.

  4. Wipe with a damp cloth: Remove the soap residue.

  5. Dry naturally: Allow the leather to dry at room temperature.

4. Handling wet shoes

Wet Shoes

Handling wet shoes requires careful attention, as the moisture within the shoe can cause squeaking and other problems such as deformities, odours, or even mildew growth. When a shoe becomes wet, the materials may stretch, warp, or become prone to squeaking.

For shoes prone to getting wet, consider using a waterproofing spray or wax to make them waterproof. Wearing shoes when wet may exacerbate squeaking problems. Allow them to dry fully before wearing them again. Below is a guide on how to dry shoes, focusing on drying techniques, preventive measures, and proper maintenance.

a. Drying naturally

When drying your wet shoes, there are various options you can explore, such as drying them naturally. So try out the following steps:

  1. Remove excess water: Pat the shoes with a dry towel to remove as much water as possible.

  2. Place in a well-ventilated area: Keep the shoes in a place with good air circulation but away from direct heat.

  3. Use shoe trees: Shoe trees can help maintain the shoe's shape as it dries.

  4. The time needed: Drying naturally may take several hours to a full day, depending on the material and how wet the shoe is.

  5. Considerations: Avoid direct heat. Placing wet shoes near a heater or in the sun can cause the materials to dry too quickly, leading to cracking or deformation.

b. Stuffing with newspaper or absorbent material

Stuffing wet shoes with newspaper

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Another option when drying your shoes is stuffing them with newspapers (an absorbent material which draws moisture from the shoe's interior). This method also helps the shoe keep its shape as it dries.

  1. Wipe the shoe: Use a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.

  2. Stuff with newspaper: Gently stuff the shoe with newspaper or another absorbent material like cloth.

  3. Replace as needed: Change the newspaper or material as it becomes damp.

  4. Allow to dry naturally: Let the shoe dry in a well-ventilated area.

c. Using a fan or dedicated shoe dryer

You can also use a fan or a dedicated shoe dryer to dry your wet shoes. This works best by adjusting the fan's speed as speeding up accelerates the drying process. Adjusting the fan's speed can also help maintain the shoe's shape.

  1. Remove insoles: If possible, remove the insoles to dry separately.

  2. Set up near a fan: Place the shoes near a fan or use a washing machine.

  3. Monitor the drying process: Check the shoes regularly to prevent over-drying.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Fix Squeaky Shoes

a) Can you use baking soda for squeaky shoes?

Yes, you can use baking soda to remedy squeaky shoes. Sprinkling baking soda inside the shoe can absorb moisture and reduce the friction, which causes the squeaking. To apply, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into the shoe and shake it to spread evenly.

Leave it overnight, then shake out the excess before wearing it. While baking soda is a common household item, it can offer a temporary fix; it may not be suitable for all types of shoes, especially delicate materials.

b) Does wd40 fix squeaky shoes?

WD-40 can be a quick solution to fix squeaky shoes. Shoe squeaking often occurs due to friction between parts, and WD-40 acts as a lubricant to reduce this friction. Spraying a small amount on the squeaky areas and wiping away any excess can temporarily alleviate the noise.

Still, it might not be suitable for all types of materials, and overuse may lead to the degradation of some shoe parts. So, while WD-40 can temporarily fix squeaky shoes, it's always advisable to consult with a footwear expert or follow the manufacturer's guidance for a long-term solution.

c) Do shoes squeak when they are too big?

Shoes may squeak for various reasons, and being too big can indirectly contribute to the issue. The feet can slide and rub against the material when shoes are too large, causing a squeaking noise. This is especially true if the inner soles are loose or if the material of the shoe itself is prone to making noise.

Additionally, the increased movement can cause wear in areas that normally wouldn't receive as much friction, leading to further squeaking. If the shoe is too big, it would be best to consider replacing your everyday shoes.


Fixing noisy shoes doesn't have to be a complicated task. By identifying the source of the squeak and using the appropriate methods and products, you can walk quietly and confidently once again. Whether applying powder under the insole, gluing a loose sole, or consulting a professional, solutions are available for every type of squeaky shoe. Always handle your footwear carefully, and consider preventative measures such as proper drying techniques and regular conditioning to avoid future squeaks.

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