Squeaky shoes can be more than annoying — they can be downright embarrassing. Walking down the aisle in a quiet auditorium, entering a serious staff meeting, finding your seat in a silent testing facility. Luckily, if you have a favorite pair that won’t stop squeaking, it’s possible to silence them for good.
First, isolate where the squeaky noise is coming from. If you need to, have a friend put her head close to the floor while you walk to help you isolate which part of the shoe is making the noise. Rock your feet forward and back and from left to right, advises WikiHow. Once you know what part of the shoe is squeaking, sprinkle that area with baby powder, corn starch or baking powder. This will help to absorb noisy moisture and reduce noise from two parts of the shoe that may be rubbing together.
If it’s the inside of the shoe that squeaks, lift the insoles and sprinkle powder along the inner seam. If the insoles are non-removable, rub the powder into the edge of your shoe base. If the tongue of the shoe squeaks, powder that area under the laces, according to WikiHow. If the base of your shoe is squeaking, massage the powder into the base at the seam since there are probably air bubbles.
Sometimes leather conditioner can work. Just rub some leather conditioner into your shoes, and then buff with a dry cloth. If they are suede shoes, be sure to use special suede conditioner and not regular leather conditioner.
You can also try swabbing your shoes with WD-40, according to ThriftyFun.com. It can be more effective at removing squeaks than leather conditioner, but you do need to apply it very carefully to prevent damage to your shoes. Spray one of these lubricants onto a cotton swab or cotton ball. Rub it into the outside seam of the shoe, working along the squeaky area or its entire outline. This YouTube video shows this tip at work.
If they are new shoes, the squeaking may be caused by a manufacturing defect and you may be able to return the shoes, according to WiseGeek.org. In this case, if you try to fix the squeak yourself, you may void the warranty in the process.
If the squeak is due to a loose heel, or the bottom of a shoe has come unglued from the top of the shoe, sometimes a tube of silicone caulk can help, WikiHow says. Carefully squirt some caulk into the hole, and let the shoe dry with rubber bands around it overnight, which will help keep the two parts of the shoe tightly together while the caulk dries. If the shoes are coming apart from wear and tear, it may be time to get rid of the shoes. And if they are new shoes, particularly expensive ones you don’t want to damage, your best bet may be to take them to a cobbler.
A cobbler also may be the solution if you just can’t fix a squeak yourself. Though shoe repair shops seem few and far between in recent years, a good cobbler will be able to isolate a loose shank inside the shoe or other hardware problem you just can’t fix on your own.