How to Prevent Leather Shoes From Squeaking

Leather shoes are a popular choice for both men and women because they look good and can be worn in various locations. However, one common problem with leather shoes is that they often squeak when you walk in them.

This squeaking noise can be very annoying and embarrassing. Whether you are at work or out with friends, the last thing you want to hear is the squeaking sound of your leather boots.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to stop leather boots from squeaking. The first step in stopping leather shoes from squeaking is knowing why they do that in the first place.

In this article, we will give some tips on how to prevent leather shoes from squeaking. We will also discuss why do leather shoes squeak in the first place.

How to prevent leather shoes from squeaking infographic.

Why do Leather Shoes Squeak?

Wet Insoles

A pair of shoe insoles.

One of the main reasons leather shoes squeak is because there is moisture inside them. Sweaty feet, rain, or snow can all contribute to this moisture.

The water gets absorbed inside the insole of your shoes. When you wear wet shoes and walk, the water is squeezed out, creating a squeaking sound.

If you don’t remove the water and dry the shoes thoroughly, the squeaking will continue to disturb you.

Tight Shoes

Wearing tight shoes.

Another reason why leather shoes squeak is that they are too tight. Tight shoes put pressure on the leather, making them rub against each other. This rubbing creates friction and results in squeaking noise.


A pair of brown leather boots.

Friction is one of the main reasons why leather shoes squeak. As you walk, the outsoles of your shoes rub against the floor, causing this irritating noise. Your boots will squeak more on smooth surfaces like tile or wood floors.

Squeaking also occurs due to the friction between shoelaces and the tongue. If the laces are too tight, they will rub against the tongue and create a squeaking noise.

Brand New Leather Boots

Brand new leather boots.

Many people complain that their brand new leather boots squeak. This is because they are not broken in yet and do not fit the shape of your feet. Eventually, leather will relax and mold to the shape of your foot.

Wearing them more will stretch the leather and stop the squeaking. New boots can make a lot of noise, but this is usually only a temporary problem.

Design of the Shoes

A pair of brown-colored shoes.

The design of your shoes can also contribute to squeaking. Some shoes, such as welt leather shoes, have a wooden splint between the foot’s arch. This wooden splint can often cause a squeaking sound.

Shoes with brogueing or decorative stitching are also prone to making noise when you walk in them.

Rubber Outsoles

Shoe outsole.

Rubber outsoles on your leather shoes could also cause the squeaking noise. Outsoles made of rubber make noise in two ways –

  • When the rubber outsole comes into contact with the smooth floor.
  • When the rubber sole rubs against the leather. 

The first step to preventing leather boots from squeaking is determining their cause. If you understand why a leather shoe makes noise, you can prevent it from happening in the future.

The sound produced by various components of the shoes necessitates a unique solution. As a result, we’ll use different strategies based on the source of the noise. Don’t worry; they’re all quite basic and require very little time.

How to Stop Leather Shoes From Squeaking

Dry Your Wet Boots Thoroughly

Wearing leather boots.

The first step to stopping leather boots from squeaking is to remove the water. If your boots are wet, you need to dry them thoroughly before wearing them again.

The simplest way to do this is to stuff them with acid-free papers. Acid-free papers are made of non-acidic cellulose fibers, which is what makes them safe to use in your boots. These papers will absorb the water and help stop the boots from making noise.

The newspaper will also work, but it is not recommended because the ink can transfer to your shoe.

Make sure your boots are properly dried from both the inside and outside before wearing them.

We have a dedicated guide on taking care of leather shoes that get wet that will help dry your shoes thoroughly.

Always Wear Socks When Wearing Leather Boots

Wearing dark brown shoes with black socks.

Wearing socks with leather shoes is a must. Socks absorb sweat and skin oils from your feet, preventing shoe soles from getting wet. Not only will leather shoes last longer, but they will also stop squeaking.

Socks also help to create a barrier between your feet and the shoe. This will reduce the amount of friction and stop the shoes from squeaking.

Always wear socks made of natural fabrics like wool or cotton. These socks are breathable, absorbent, and soft against your skin. Avoid wearing socks made of synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. These materials do not absorb sweat and make your shoes more likely to squeak.

If you don’t want to wear socks, we recommend applying some foot powder to your feet before putting on the shoes.

Wearing shoes without socks is a leading cause of shoe odor. Check out our list of top 11 essential oils for eliminating shoe odor.

Use Talcum Powder or Baby Powder

Applying talcum powder on suede shoes.

Another way to stop leather shoes from squeaking is to apply talcum powder or baby powder. These powders are great at absorbing moisture and sweat, preventing them from getting on the soles of your shoes.

Also, talcum powder (or baby powder) will help reduce friction between interior parts of the shoe, which will stop shoes from squeaking.

Sprinkle a small amount of powder into each shoe. If you have removable insoles, you can sprinkle some powder between the interior of your squeaky boots. Let the powder sit for 30 minutes.

The powder will make a mess inside your shoes if they are wet from the inside. Hence, it’s a good idea to wipe down your shoes before wearing them.

Talcum powder or baby powder is not a long-term solution as you’ll have to reapply it after every few wears.

Use Dryer Sheet

Dryer sheets.

If you don’t have any talcum powder or baby powder, you can try using a dryer sheet. It’s an excellent way to stop leather boots from squeaking because dryer sheets fill up the tiny spaces between the insole and the boot. This will reduce the amount of noise that is created when you walk.

Dryer sheets have enough absorbency to prevent moisture buildup on the soles of your boots. It also leaves behind a pleasant, clean scent that will refresh your feet throughout the day.

Remove the insoles from your boots and place a dryer sheet between them. Replace the insoles into their original position to keep everything in place.

After every few wears, you’ll need to replace the dryer sheets as they will lose their ability to absorb moisture. Leaving the same dryer sheet in boots too long may cause the shoes to smell bad.

If you don’t have a dryer sheet, you can use a paper towel.

Rough Up the Rubber Outsoles

Rubber outsoles with grooves.

If the rubber soles on your shoes are causing the noise, you can try to rough them up.

Start by cleaning the outsoles with a damp cloth. This will remove any residual dirt and grime. Then take sandpaper and rub it against the outsoles. You don’t have to apply a lot of pressure, just enough to roughen up the surface. You can also use a wire brush to lightly scrape the rubber soles.

This will create a textured surface that will reduce the squeaky noise caused by contact with smooth surfaces. Rough rubber outsoles will also prevent your shoes from slipping on slick surfaces.

Roughing the rubber sole is the best way to prevent squeaking in a new pair of leather boots.

Check the Heels of Your Boots

Inspecting shoe heel.

If your boots squeak when you walk, there’s a good chance that the heels are loose.

The heel of your boots is attached to the sole using an adhesive. Over time, the adhesive wears out and makes the heels come loose. This causes a squeaking noise to occur whenever you walk.

To prevent leather boots from squeaking, you need to fix the heels on your boot. Take some glue and apply it to the heel of your boot. Then press down firmly until the adhesive sets in place again. Let it dry for about 15 minutes before wearing your boots again.

Apply the glue sparingly because too much of it will create an uneven surface, which may cause another squeak sound when walking.

You can also use rubber cement instead of regular glue for better results. It is waterproof and has more adhesion power than standard glue sticks.

Apply Saddle Soap to The Shoes

Black leather boots with saddle soap.

Saddle soap is an excellent way to clean your leather shoes. It also contains leather softening agents like lanolin that will condition your boots. Saddle soap is the best method to minimize squeaking produced by friction between the tongue and the shoelaces.

Not only does saddle soap stop leather shoes from squeaking, but it also helps to prevent the formation of scuff marks on the surface of your shoes. 

Scuff marks are very difficult to remove. The best course of action is to prevent them. Our guide will give you some tips on protecting leather shoes from scuffs

First, remove the shoelaces from your shoes. After that, use a shoe brush to remove any dirt or debris from your shoes. Next, wet a microfiber cloth with warm water. Rinse out the excess water until you have a damp cloth that is not dripping.

Take a small amount of saddle soap on the wet cloth and rub it all over the entire exterior surface of your squeaky shoes. Be sure to pay special attention to high-friction areas like the shoes’ throat, upper, and lace tray.

Let the saddle soap sit for a few minutes so that it can penetrate deep into the pores of your leather boots. Finally, wipe off any excess saddle soap using a dry microfiber cloth. Allow your shoes to air dry completely before putting the laces.

Moisturise the Inside of Your Leather Boots

Applying moisturizer on the boots.

As previously stated, shoe soles might squeak when they rub against leather. It happens more frequently with new shoes. One way to stop this from happening is to moisturize the inside of your leather shoes. This will help reduce friction and stop the squeaking noise.

This is only useful if your boots have removable soles.

You can use the following products to moisturize the inside of the boots-

Leather Conditioning Oil

Leather conditioning oil and leather boots.

Leather conditioning oil is the best product to moisturize the inside of your boots.

To apply the conditioning oil, first, remove the insole from the shoe. Put a small amount of oil on a cotton swab and rub it into the leather. Be sure to apply it evenly across the entire surface. Then put the insole back inside the shoe and let it sit for 15 minutes.

As an alternative to conditioning oil, you can use a leather conditioner.

Coconut Oil or Mink Oil

Applying coconut oil on the shoes.

Coconut oil and mink oil are natural products that can condition and moisturize leather shoes.

Remove the sole of the shoe and clean the inside of the shoe thoroughly using a moist cloth. Take a small amount of oil on a cotton ball and apply a thin layer to the inside of the shoe. Rub it using circular motions until the entire boot is covered. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before wiping off any excess oil with a dry cloth. After removing the excess oil, reattach the sole.

Avoid applying too much oil as it will cause the shoes to look greasy and attract dust. Excess oil will also make your socks and feet greasy.

Vaseline or Any Other Petroleum Jelly

Applying Vaseline on the shoes.

Vaseline is another product that also works well to moisturize the inside of the shoes. Vaseline will work its way into the leather, moisturizing and softening it.

To apply petroleum jelly, first, remove the shoe’s sole and clean the inside with a moist cloth. Apply a small amount of Vaseline directly to the area. Using a dry cloth, rub the vaseline until it is evenly distributed. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before wiping off any excess vaseline with a dry cloth. Reattach the sole of the shoe.

You should keep in mind that petroleum jelly won’t penetrate leather as well as coconut oil or mink oil. It might make your shoes look greasy. It’s also possible that you’ll end up with oily socks and feet.

Break-in Your Boots Properly 

New pair of shoes.

A new leather boot is a bit stiff and tight at first. This can cause pressure points that eventually lead to squeaking noises as you walk. One way to prevent new boots from squeaking is by breaking them in properly before wearing them on a daily basis.

To break in your boots properly, start by wearing them for short periods of time. Gradually increase the amount of time you wear them until you can wear them all day long. This will help stretch out the leather and reduce pressure points.

Another way to break in your boots is to use a shoe stretcher. You also stuff your boots with newspaper or cloth to help stretch them out. Folding a magazine in half and inserting it inside the leather shoe works well too.

Keep the Leather Supple

Black colored boots.

If your boots are starting to squeak, it might be a sign that the leather is becoming dry and brittle. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to keep the leather supple.

One way to do this is by using a leather conditioner or moisturizer. You can purchase a leather conditioner at most shoe stores or online.

Before applying a leather conditioner, make sure to brush off any dry or crusted dirt from the surface. You can do this by using a horsehair brush or an old soft-bristled toothbrush. Next, take a small amount of conditioner and rub it into the leather in circular motions until thoroughly absorbed.

Let the leather conditioner dry for about 15 minutes before putting the boots back on.

Check the Shoelaces

Tying the shoelaces of the shoes.

Shoelaces can also cause leather shoes to squeak. If the laces are too tight, they will put pressure on the leather and cause it to squeak.

Laces that are overly thick or have a lot of knots can cause friction between the eyelets and the shoe, resulting in squeaking. Long laces are another cause of squeaky shoes.

To prevent your shoes from squeaking, it’s a good idea to check the laces and replace them if needed. Choose thin laces that are made of fabric. Avoid tying laces too tightly or knotting them too many times. Cut off long laces to the appropriate length.

The Bottom Line

Silencing loud leather boots is necessary to maintain a professional and polished appearance. No one wants to hear your boots clomping along, whether you are at work, at an important meeting, or out on the town.

Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent shoe squeaking. By following a few simple steps and using the right products, you can keep your shoes as quiet as possible.

However, if none of the above methods work, you may need to visit a shoe repair shop. A professional cobbler can repair shoes so that they do not squeak anymore. Although this may cost extra money, it is better than wearing squeaky shoes.

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