The squeaky shoe gets the boot

* NOTE: Update with solution at end of post! *

I am aggravated beyond belief that my ONLY pair of non-boot, non-sandal, trouser-and-skirt appropriate brown shoes has started to rebel.  They squeak!  Or at least, one of them does.

The culprits are pictured here:

It’s a puzzling and inconsistent phenomenon.  They didn’t always do this.  When it first started, it was only the right shoe, and it only seemed to happen with certain socks.  Since then, though, I’ve heard it on both sides.  With many different socks, or none at all.   However  – and here’s the kicker – it doesn’t happen all the time.  WTF?

I’m not talking about a subtle, quiet, noticed-only-by-me squeak.  No.  At work, I have caught people looking up from their work, or from their private conversations, because my approach is so very audible.  It’s hard to describe the sound:  it’s more like a creak, maybe.  Somewhere between the sound of a creaky rocking chair and a wet sneaker on a tile floor.

I am seriously annoyed.

What causes a shoe to squeak?  These were not cheap shoes, but granted, I’ve had them a few years.  One of the heels is starting to show a little bit of wear.  They’ve also always been just a touch too big, which I suspect may be the culprit.  (I’ve long considered getting additional holes punched in to the top strap, so that I can fasten them more tightly.  But I’m starting to think this would be a waste of good money).

Maybe the shoes are getting too stretched out.  Sometimes – but not always – they seem to get noisy only after I’ve worn them awhile.  Maybe something is coming loose.

Or maybe this is just a form of social protest.  My abuse of shoes has been well-documented (on my feet all day, up and down stairs, walking with great force, outside in the elements, etc.).  My shoes are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.  Ungrateful bastards!

So here’s what I’m wondering:  Should the squeaky shoe get the boot?  It seems absurd to discard a perfectly good pair of shoes for this reason.  But I’ve stopped wearing them because it annoys me so.  There’s nothing worse than dressing carefully for the day, trying your best to appear confident and in control, only to feel absurdly conspicuous every time you have to walk somewhere.  (“Scrich!  Scrich!  Scrich!”)

Do you have any inappropriately noisy shoes?  Can you share any insights into the causes of squeaky shoes?  Have you ever discarded a pair of shoes for noise-related reasons?

My mother always told me that the wrong pair of shoes could ruin an outfit.  As Mother’s Day approaches, let me say:  You were right, Mom.


A few months after I wrote this post, the owner of a shoe repair shop gave me the solution to this problem. To stop this squeak, all I have to do is lift up the insole and sprinkle some baby powder into the area right below where the ball of my foot will be. The powder seems to absorb either the impact or the noise.  The effect lasts for several wearings, and when the squeak comes back, I simply re-powder. Genius!

About Anne @ The Frump Factor

Reflections on beauty and style, for women who weren't born yesterday. Bring your sense of humor and "Fight the Frump" with me!
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28 Responses to The squeaky shoe gets the boot

  1. Gail says:

    As it happens, I bought a pair of white wedge shoes last weekend and the first time I wore them, realised they squeak. I found myself tiptoing around the office to try and hide it. But I like ’em, so I’m going to put up with it.

    • Hee hee. I’ve tried tiptoeing, too. But good for you for sticking with the shoes — A pair you love is too hard to find! Maybe we should just adjust our attitudes. Instead of feeling self-conscious about it, we should just cast a defiant glare at anybody who looks at us funny (“Yeah, I’m squeaking. So what? You have a PROBLEM with that?”)

  2. Abby says:

    You inspired me to do a little research and I came across this article I thought you might like

    I am partial to the suggestion to put Alberto VO5 on you shoes to stop them squeaking, but then people might notice you coming for another reason!

  3. One of my favorite pair of shoes makes me sound like a horse is coming down the hall…clippety clop! I love the shoes, but the noise is really annoying!! When I wear them to the linoleum hallways of school….it is noisy!!

  4. Sue says:

    I have never had a squeaky-shoe problem, but the one I do encounter now and again involves shoes with soft, cushioned insoles that hiss air (or, if one has a certain bent of mind, “fart”) with every step. Sigh . . . if it’s not one thing, it’s another.

  5. Paula says:

    You make me laugh. Squeeky shoes ARE so annoying–Its hard to feel gorgeous whilst your shoes are talking—really! I am going to check out that link because I have a pair…..

  6. BigD says:

    I don’t know what to tell you. I have those exact same shoes and they don’t squeak. Not a peep.
    I do, however, have three pairs of expensive boots that all squeak. And, I’ve had the same perplexing issue with different socks. Still squeak. From the moment I put them on. Go figure.
    My assistant at work makes fun of me. She says she always knows when I’m headed to the bathroom (like that one for embarassing??? Especially when I’ve been drinking a lot of tea…).
    Anyway, my daughter has the same pair of boots, but hers don’t squeak one bit.
    Explain that to me.

    Alas, I cannot endorse throwing out a good, comfy pair of shoes. I’m just too cheap.
    By the way, I’ve had great success in poking holes in leather belts with a metal BBQ skewer.

    • I LOVE your barbecue skewer idea. We may actually have some of those. It would be a little risky, because those straps are narrow. One slip, and that’s it. (Of course, that would solve the squeaky shoe problem!)

      And that is so funny that you have the same shoes. We obviously share the same great taste.

  7. Melinda Hobausz says:

    I think I would have tried a few things from that link if I hadn’t already tossed the truly exasperating pair of sandals. I am cheap. I waited several years. They fit well. BUT, the noise, the squeeeak, the hissssss, the feeling of sandals arriving first got to me. They had to go or in a fit of fury I might have used a barbecue skewer to puncture all parts of the offending footwear.

    Note: I did just toss another pair of shoes–worn to bits–literally. Now I’m on the prowl for the perfect pair of shoes to wear with jeans or casual trousers. Since I have a hard foot to fit, wish me luck. It might take a few years to find another perfectly comfortable, yet stylish shoes.

  8. denise:) says:

    I feel your pain. I have had Hissing shoes, Clompy shoes, Squeaky-only-on-one-shoe-and-sometimes-alternating-to-the-other-for-no-discernable-reason, and i’m adding to the list of sound effects: CLICK/SLAPPY – if i’m wearing my wedge sandals on a hot day and my feet get a little sweaty- click/slap, click/slap. UGH.

    Add to these noises the weird “snap” sound my jeans make when i walk (WTF??) and i’m a freakin’ calamity.

  9. angie says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about! But it sounds terribly annoying. would give them away,no second thoughts.

    • I could give them away to somebody I dislike…….. or donate them. Just ONE more reason to be very, very careful when purchasing secondhand shoes! I wonder how many consignment store shoes make noise?

  10. Sandra says:

    haha! I was just about to say that maybe it was a form of protest, but you took the words right out of my keyboard!

  11. Anne, you are such a fun writer! I have a squeaky pair, and a looong hallway to navigate at work. I make myself laugh all the way. Hope the other workers are laughing *with* me . . .

  12. Heehee, cute post! I’m not sure why your shoes squeak… an interesting phenomenon, indeed! I feel like they should squeak less because they’re older. Squeakiness to me is a sign of cleanliness, as in, squeaky clean. Give us an update when you figure it out!?

  13. Rae says:

    I know just how annoying that is – I had a fab funky blue/mauve pair of shoes I inherited and they were fine until one day they developed a squeak AND a click, in the end I had to admit defeat and get rid of them… the noise was getting just too loud

  14. Jess says:

    I have a pair of tennis shoes that make that weird low squeak when I walk – they didn’t use to. But I only ever wear them when I’m on a run or in the gym, and for most of that time I have iPod headphones wedged all up in my ear canal, so I can’t hear sh*t. I guess ignorance really IS bliss.

    As for getting rid of your shoes – I’m basically the poster child for holding onto things out of sentimentality, so if you really like the shoes I would just keep them. Who knows, maybe you’ll find cure for the squeak down the road.
    (It’s because of people like me that shows like ‘Hoarders’ exist probably.)
    But if you don’t like clutter and you want to bring in the new by disposing of the old, then I totally understand and you should go for it. Well, I guess I don’t understand, since I’m a Packrat Extraordinaire, but you know what I’m saying.

    What I have a problem with is loud heels. Like, maybe I just have stompy walk, but I always feel like I’m super conspicuous when I’m walking on a tiled floor or something and my heels sound like Thor is trying to reshingle the roof.

    I just had a thought – and I don’t know if this has been suggested already – maybe a cobbler could help? Maybe they have some secret cobbler-grease that they use on shoes to shut them up. I dunno.

    • Thor fixing the roof. Hee! Yeah, I hate clompy heels too. Ah, so many problems!

      If I knew where to find a cobbler, I’d consider it! Seriously, I’ve been looking for one for awhile, but there don’t seem to be any around here. Maybe it’s a lost art!

      Thanks for visiting!

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