We’ve all been there. Out and about, often somewhere dead quiet, and having our shoes let out that god-awful squeaking sound. It is embarrassing. You feel like everybody’s eyes are not glaring at you, frustrated that you have annoyed their peace and quiet. When my shoes start squeaking on hard floors, I skulk away pretty quickly.
Thankfully, dealing with squeaking shoes isn’t that difficult. You just need a few supplies and a bit of time. I reckon most of you will have some of these basic supplies in your home too. Let’s take a look at how to stop shoes from squeaking on hard floors, shall we?
10 Tips to Stop Shoes From Squeaking on Hard Floors
There are several different reasons why shoes can squeak. For many, their shoes will be squeaking for a combination of different reasons. So, rather than have you run through diagnostics on your shoes, I figured that it would be better just to give you a complete ‘step-by-step’ so you can deal with all sources of squeaking. This way you won’t ever have to worry about the problem again!
- Wear Your Shoes In
- Dry the Shoe
- Waterproof Your Shoes
- Use Baby Powder
- Glue the Inner sole to the midsole
- Check the outside of the shoe
- Sand the bottom of the shoe
- Use rubber sole spray
- Wear your shoes properly
- Test out your shoes
If you go through these steps, check your shoes each time. The squeaking may have stopped. You probably won’t have to go through all of these steps to ‘correct’ the problem!
- Baby powder
- Tissue paper
- Sandpaper (100 grit is good. Nothing too harsh!)
- Rubber sole spray
1. Wear Your Shoes In
If you have a brand new pair of shoes and they are squeaking, I wouldn’t really recommend that you do anything to them. New shoes tend to squeak before they have completely worn in.
If you walk around outdoors for a few hours, then this should be enough to wear down the soles which could reduce that squeak. Of course, there are other ways to break in a new pair of shoes, but simply walking around outside is probably going to be more than enough for most people.
2. Dry the Shoe
Shoes that get a wet squeak. Fact.
If you come in from the rain and walk over a wet surface, then your shoes will get wet. Fact.
Now, the outside of your shoe has been designed to dry off quickly. So, that part shouldn’t be a problem. However, if your shoes have poor waterproofing, then you need to dry out the inside of them to stop the squeaking.
To do this, remove your shoes (not in public!) and put them by the radiator. If you put some tissue paper inside then it is going to hopefully remove all of that excess moisture.
It may take a couple of days for your shoes to dry completely if you managed to get them really wet inside. It is likely that the squeaking will not stop until they are completely dry, so you will just have to ride it out.
3. Waterproof Your Shoes
This is not something that you can do with all shoes. If you have a pair of sneakers, then you should be skipping this step. I think this step may ruin the aesthetics of them.
You will need to crack out the WD-40 here. This product has a ton of different uses, and they pretty much all boil down to removing water from various spots. As a result, it makes a good waterproofing agent.
You can spray the WD-40 onto the outside of the shoe. The material will then absorb the WD-40 which could, in turn, protect the inner shoe from getting wet.
There are some other waterproofing options on the market for shoes. However, I find WD-40 one of the best methods. It is pretty cheap too.
4. Use Baby Powder
If you regularly wear shoes without socks, then you can expect them to squeak eventually. This is because, as disgusting as it may seem, our feet sweat. When our feet sweat, they are going to be putting moisture into that shoe. The moisture has nowhere to escape to, so it buries itself deep into that inner sole. As you walk in your shoes, your bare feet will rub against that moisture causing a squeaking noise.
While there are several methods you can use to get rid of the squeak, your best option is to grab some baby powder and sprinkle it inside of the shoe. The baby powder will then left the moisture out of the inner sole, completely eliminating the squeaking sound.
Leaving the baby powder inside of the shoe for a few hours should be enough. You can then sprinkle the excess baby powder out.
In the future, try to avoid wearing shoes without wearing socks. Always try to put a fresh pair of socks on too.
5. Glue the Inner sole to the midsole
As you use your shoes, your feet will be bouncing around inside of them. As your foot moves from side to side, it will move the inner sole. This will eventually cause the inner sole to separate from the midsole. This could cause a squeaking sound.
Your best option here is to grab yourself some super glue and glue the innersole back onto the midsole. To do this:
- Gently separate the inner sole from the midsole.
- Peel off any excess adhesive from the midsole and the inner sole.
- Add glue to the bottom of the innersole. Try to ensure that you have some around the edges and in the center.
- Carefully press the innersole back onto the midsole. Glue facing down, of course.
- Allow it to dry over the course of around 24-hours.
There are shoe cements that you can purchase. However, these are costlier than Superglue. Although, they will do a far better job if you constantly find the innersole is separating from the midsole.
If you have a regular problem with moisture in your shoes, then you may want to rewind a little bit here. Before you start gluing the insole, you should let the shoes air out for a couple of days. You can dry the insole close to a radiator. Do not put it straight on the radiator as it will melt the plastic on the bottom making it difficult to reattach.
Some people will also add some tissue paper on top of the midsole before the inner sole is put back in position. Just small scrunched up pieces of tissue paper. However, I do not find this necessary as long as you are keeping your shoes dry.
6. Check the outside of the shoe
As your shoes get older, you may find that the shoe becomes damaged on the outside. For example, many people will notice that the outer sole will separate from the rest of the shoe. Well, it will start to separate. This can cause squeaking as the separated parts rub together. It is especially worse on harder surfaces due to the amount of pressure being put onto the shoe.
Your Superglue will come in handy here. Although, this is a case where I find that shoe cement will work a little bit better. Superglue doesn’t do quite well when exposed to the elements. All you need to do is put some adhesive onto the parts that are separating apart, push them back together, and leave them to set over the course of a day or so.
If you find that a lot of repair work needs to be done to the outside of the shoe, then I suggest that you either replace the shoe or take them to a cobbler. Extensive repair work cannot be done with a bit of shoe cement or Superglue.
7. Sand the bottom of the shoe
If you remember back to step 1, I told you that you would probably need to wear your shoes in. This is because shoes that are ‘fresh out of the box’ will have smooth soles. As you walk around in the shoes, you will eventually rough them up. This provides you with a bit more grip on the bottom of your shoe, and they won’t squeak as much.
The thing is, the more you use your shoes, the more that sole is going to wear down. This means that, eventually, the outside of the shoe will become smooth again. This means that you will need to rough it up.
I suggest that you use some 100 grit sandpaper on the outside of the shoe. Just lightly go over the area and add a couple of scuff marks. This likely will not get rid of all of the squeaking if the outer sole has completely smoothed over, but it should help to deal with most of the problem.
8. Use rubber sole spray
If the squeaking problem does seem to be caused by a smooth outer sole, then you can purchase some rubber sole spray.
Rubber sole spray has been designed to add a bit of grip to the outside of the shoe. You only need to add a small amount to the outside of the shoe (read the instructions of the product you have purchased) and you should be fine.
It tends to be the heel of the shoe and the front of the shoe that will squeak the most. This is where you will want to be concentrating most of your efforts.
9. Wear your shoes properly
If you notice that pretty much every single pair of shoes that you own squeaks, then I am willing to bet that you aren’t wearing them properly. I know everybody knows how to put on a pair of shoes, but do you know how to put on a pair of shoes to stop them from squeaking?
Firstly, you will want to ensure that you pick up a pair of shoes that is a good fit for your feet. If the shoes are too large, then your feet are going to be rocking from side to side which will cause that squeaking sound.
Secondly, you will want to check the quality of the inner sole. If it moves a bit when you touch it, or it is completely flat, then I suggest that you replace it with a better inner sole. Not only will you be a lot more comfortable when wearing the shoes, but they will also squeak less.
Finally, try to ensure that you lace up the shoes properly whenever you wear them. This means ensuring that the tongue of the shoe is not loose and that the shoe is tight on your feet without being too uncomfortable. This will accomplish two things:
- It will stop moisture from getting into your shoe
- It will stop your feet from moving around in the shoe quite so much.
So, basically, you will have eliminated two of the main reasons as to why shoes squeak a lot.
As I said before, you should always ensure that you are wearing a pair of fresh socks whenever you put on a pair of shoes. If you don’t, your feet will sweat. It then won’t matter how tight you tighten them up, and it doesn’t matter what quality of sole you have, they are going to squeak!
10. Test out your shoes
If you have managed to get this far, it is time to test out your shoes! If you followed all 9 steps, then I am confident that you will never have to deal with the squeaking sound again. Just make sure that you keep your shoes nice and dry.
If you still have a squeaking sound on hard surfaces, then it is probably best that you buy a new pair of shoes. On rare occasions, the design of the shoe means that they are always going to be squeaking on hard surfaces and there isn’t really anything you can do about it. You could always speak to a cobbler to see if they could help, but this is probably going to be far too costly for most pairs of shoes.