There’s nothing better than throwing on your favorite outfit and hitting the town on a warm summer evening. If only you weren’t wearing that one pair of sandals that look so good but make such embarrassing sounds! It’s difficult to enjoy yourself when you’re constantly worrying about someone thinking that you’re gassy because of the noises that are coming from your shoes. With that in mind, you should probably learn how to stop your sandals from squeaking once and for all.
After all, there comes a time in every young person’s life when silence is of the essence. You might be trying to spook a friend or sneak out without your parents realizing it. Sadly, none of that will be possible if you can’t figure out a way to silence your shoes. But to do that, you have to understand why some sandals are noisy in the first place.
Why Are Some Sandals Noisy?
To get to the bottom of this issue, you have to start by understanding the way sandals are constructed. Typically, this kind of shoe consists of straps and a sole which is, in turn, made up of two or three layers of material. The insole is the part your foot rests on while the outsole is the part that touches the ground.
Of the two, the outsole does most of the heavy lifting of protecting your foot. However, the insole does its fair share of work absorbing sweat and making the sandal more comfortable overall. Notably, some shoes also have a midsole, which provides cushioning and ventilation. Unfortunately, that is often the part that makes sandals so noisy.
As the air escapes from the squishy foam, it can sometimes make that weird, squeaky sound you’ve been hearing. Of course, that noise can also occur as your foot presses down on the shoe, trapping moisture and air under it. As the whole foot connects and disconnects from the insole, the suction releases the bubble of air, resulting in that rude squelch.
Excess moisture can plague your sandals even if it’s not coming from your feet or humid weather. If you’re caught in a summer storm, those midsoles are likely to absorb much of the torrential downpour. From that point, removing the squeaky consequences of the event will be almost impossible.
But even if the environment is completely dry, your sandals still have the potential to make that awful sound. Namely, shoes that are too new often squeak as they connect to particularly smooth flooring. If the sole of the shoe is too smooth, walking on linoleum or tile might produce the sounds you’ve been dreading. But is there a way to fix that?
7 Ways to Stop Your Sandals From Squeaking
At this point, we know that squeaky sandals are usually caused by air bubbles, humidity or water damage, or the smoothness of the soles. So is it possible to eliminate these concerns? Let’s find out.
1. Rough Up Your Soles
If you’ve brought your brand new sandals home only to discover that they make squeaking sounds as you walk through your uncarpeted apartment, don’t worry. This issue is fairly easy to fix. You just need to break in your shoes.
In this case, the sound you’re hearing is the result of two smooth and glossy surfaces rubbing together. Most new sandals and shoes that have smooth soles make squeaking sounds in those circumstances. Usually, the sound goes away as you wear your shoes over rough surfaces.
However, if you’re in a hurry, you can rough the soles up manually. Simply rub the underside of your shoes with fine grain sandpaper, focusing your efforts on the areas of the sole that come in contact with the ground. But don’t overdo it — you just want to lightly scrape the shiny cast that makes it impossible to walk silently.
2. Apply Rubber Cement to the Outsole
If you’re looking for a way to boost traction without damaging your sandals prematurely, consider applying rubber cement to the soles. After smearing a thin coat of the stuff on the underside of your shoe, let it fully dry before wearing the sandals again. When the product sets, you’ll have a protective layer between the soles and the floor, which should effectively prevent your sandals from producing any squeaks.
Alternatively, you can purchase rubber pads to apply to the bottom of your sandals. It’s best to use these products while your soles are still fresh and clean. But if they’re not, you can just clean them as best as you can before applying the self-adhesive sole pads.
Now, to be frank, the primary purpose of such products is to prevent the wearer from slipping. Yet they should also prevent the squeaks that occur as a result of friction between the flooring and the smooth soles of your shoes. After all, the sound you’re hearing may be the result of your shoes skidding over the surface you’re walking over. So these kinds of anti-slip pads should make a world of difference.
3. Poke Holes Through the Sole
Next up, let’s talk about the squeaks that are caused by the insoles and midsoles of the sandal. As previously established, the airy materials that provide the cushioning between the insoles and the outsoles can cause a fair amount of trouble in this case.
As you shift your weight to each shoe, the midsoles compress, which pushes air out through any hole in the materials that surround it. If those holes are few and far between, the escape can be accompanied by high-pitched squeaks.
Luckily, the solution is as simple as you can imagine. You just need to add some more holes — that’s why some shoe manufacturers perforate the insole from the get-go. But don’t worry: you won’t have to mutilate your shoes too much. You can just use a utility knife, scissors, or even pins to poke a few holes through the insole.
Some people recommend poking a hole through the front, back, and either side of the insole. However, if you want to keep the punctures hidden while you’re wearing the shoe, you can poke the area under your instep. The arch of your foot doesn’t connect with that part of the shoe anyway. So the air should still be able to escape from your midsole.
4. Sprinkle Powder Over the Insole
If you suspect that the squeaky noises are the result of moisture creating a vacuum around air bubbles between your foot and the sole, you’ll want to keep the area as dry as possible. You can use baby powder, corn starch, and baking powder — among other household items — to absorb the sweat.
Best of all, this method can either be a good momentary fix for sweaty feet or a solution to squeaking that was caused by water damage. Nevertheless, if you decide to incorporate this trick, don’t skimp on the application.
After liberally coating the insoles of your sandals with the powder, sit back and let it do its magic. The powder should absorb most of the surface-level moisture within minutes, but you could leave it on overnight as well. When you want to wear your sandals, knock the powder off by tapping the shoes against each other. Just make sure to do it outdoors — if you used a powder that contains talc, you don’t want to risk inhaling it.
If you want to target the cause of the moisture, though, you could also apply an antiperspirant to your feet before slipping the sandals on. Even if you don’t have a specialized cream for it, your regular roll-on deodorant should work just as well.
5. Let Them Dry Fully
Unfortunately, getting your sandals wet will forever change the way they behave. Still, time might help you recover their previous qualities.
First, you’ll need to let your sandals fully dry. The best way to do so would be to leave them in the sun or next to a heater. If you choose the latter solution, you could probably expedite the process by using a hairdryer on them. A dryer sheet might also help eliminate some of that moisture.
On the other hand, if you decide to put the shoes out to dry, cover them with a plastic bucket. That should protect them from sudden rain as well as light damage. And as a bonus, the plastic cover will increase the temperature of the shoes, making them dry faster.
6. Lubricate the Sandals
If you believe that your shoes could use more moisture — not less — there are several products that might help. First, smearing a bit of petroleum jelly or plain old Vaseline on the insole will create a moisture barrier that will prevent your sweat from producing suction-induced squeaks. Needless to say, you should only use that tip if the straps of the sandal will stabilize your foot.
Alternatively, if the squeaks are coming from inside the sole, you could apply WD-40 to the sides of the shoe. However, if your sandals are made of leather, you might want to go for a leather or suede conditioner instead. After applying the substance, just buff it in with a dry cloth and let the residue dry fully
If you don’t have a leather conditioner, saddle soap should work in a pinch. Just keep applications to a minimum if you don’t want to dry out the leather. And whatever you do, don’t use saddle soap on suede sandals!
7. Reattach the Sole
If a closer examination of your sandals reveals that the sole has come apart, there’s a chance that the friction between the loose parts is producing the offending sound. In that case, you’ll just want to put the pieces back together with superglue. After applying the adhesive, clamp the sandals securely and let them cure for a day — or just overnight.
Alternatively, if the shoes are in a general state of disrepair, consider taking them to a local cobbler. Yes, they still exist — and they’ll make short work of your noisy sandals.
Try Walking Quietly in Your Sandals
At this point, you should be able to walk completely silently in your previously squeaky sandals. However, if learning how to stop sandals from squeaking didn’t quite make you a ninja, you may be interested in learning some tips.
Ultimately, leading with your heel and connecting the front of your sandals with the ground by rolling the foot should get you the results you need. Now go, and enjoy being able to sneak up on your loved ones — even in sandals!