How to Fix Squeaky Boots in Under 15 Minutes

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 
How to fix squeaky boots cartoon image of boots making noise in city

There are few things as satisfying as putting on a brand new pair of leather boots for the first time.

Until the squeaking starts, that is.

Squeaky, creaky boots are more than just a minor distraction. After a while, the incessant shrilling can begin to drive you bananas. 

But you can fix your squeaky boot problem quick. 

As it turns out, the problem of how to make boots stop squeaking is a surprisingly simple one to solve. Here are some of my go-to methods for treading lightly.

What You’ll Need to Make Leather Boots Stop Squeaking

The materials required for this fix will vary depending on the individual boots you’re working with and the specific cause of the squeaking. In most cases, though, you’ll be able to get the job done using one of these four items:

  • Baby powder or talcum powder
  • A dryer sheet
  • A sheet of sandpaper
  • Leather conditioner, a leather-approved oil, or saddle soap

How to Make Boots Stop Squeaking

The following is a four-part plan for finding and silencing a pesky squeak no matter where it happens to be coming from.

Step One: Identify the Source of the Squeak

Slip your boots on and take a few exploratory steps. As you do, listen closely for squeaks, creaks, groans, scuffs, and other unwanted disturbances. See if you can pinpoint the part of the boot that’s producing the sound.

Aggravating new-boot noises ordinarily emanate from one of two places: the tongue, which has a tendency to rub against the overlapping sidewalls, or the sole, which could have too much or too little traction on the surface you’re walking on.

In the worst-case scenario, you might discover that the tops and bottoms of your boots are squeaking together in perfect disharmony. Don’t sweat it—the solutions for both of these issues are a proverbial walk in the park.

Step Two: Powder a Talkative Tongue

If your diagnosis revealed the intersection of the tongue and upper as the culprit of the cacophony, reach for a trusty bottle of talcum powder. 

Johnny B. Barber Talc Talcum Powder
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Baby powder will work equally well if it’s what you have in your cabinet already.

Press the tongue of the boot down toward the heel portion (you may need to take it off to do this). Sprinkle a small amount of powder onto the upper surface of the tongue, then rub it in with the flat of your hand. 

The ultra-fine particles will cut down on the friction between the tongue and sidewalls so that the leather can bend and flex without a sound.

Powder is also the way to go if the squeaking is coming from underneath the insole. Simply remove your insoles, shake some powder into the bottom of each boot, then replace them and go about your day.

Step Three: Use Leather Conditioner

Purchase a bottle of leather conditioner or an oil that’s safe to use on leather (Venetian and Bick 4 are both great options). 

Bickmore Bick 4 Leather Conditioner

Bick 4 is an outstanding addition to your leather conditioner collection. It’s inexpensive and perfect for giving your boots a pick-me-up without changing the color at all. It doesn’t penetrate deep into the leather, so you should use a liberal amount, and you may want to do several layers, but the price is right.

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Apply a dime-sized blob of your chosen treatment to a clean, lint-free cloth and massage it into the leather using smooth, circular strokes. Be sure to give every part of your footwear some attention, including the tongue, sidewalls, and toe and heel sections.

The hydrating properties of the oil or leather conditioner combined with the gentle pressure of your hand will gradually work the rigidity out of the leather. With any luck, the squeak will go with it.

Step Four: Scuff Up the Outsoles

Sometimes, squeaking can occur when the soles are too grippy or slippy.

To make rubber sole boots stop squeaking, first try taking an ordinary dryer sheet and rubbing it over the tread on the bottom of both boots. The softening agents on the sheets will leave behind a thin residue that can serve to reduce friction.

Bounce Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets
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Assuming that doesn’t work, your next best option is to grab a sheet of sandpaper (the lower the grit, the better). Sweep the sandpaper back and forth over the outsoles lightly a few times, taking care not to be too forceful. You just want to texturize the material enough to increase the traction, not wear them out prematurely.

Fandeli Assorted Grits (80,120,220) Sandpaper Sheets
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When you’re done, climb into your boots and make another circuit. If the dryer sheet hack didn’t kill the noise, the sandpaper one certainly will.

No More Squeak

A few minutes of DIY doctoring and that squeak is so last week.

I hope this information helps! If so, please share it with the other boot buffs in your social circle so they don’t have to go through life sounding like they’re a couple credits shy of graduating from clown college.

While you’re at it, feel free to sound off in the comments section about any of your own favorite de-squeaking methods that I didn’t cover here. 

FAQs

Why do the heels of my boots squeak when I walk?

Squeaking around the heel section is typically the result of friction between either the insole and outsole or the outsole and the ground. A dash of powder or a quick once-over with a dryer sheet or piece of sandpaper should be enough to stifle sound-causing vibrations in most cases.

How long do new boots squeak?

Most boots will lose their squeak as they begin to break in, though this doesn’t always happen quickly. Depending on how frequently you wear them, it could take days or even weeks for your boots to quiet down the natural way.

Will these solutions work for vegan boots too?

While leather conditioners and oils won’t soak into faux leather, seeing as how it isn’t porous like genuine leather, they can still lubricate the material and deaden disruptive friction.

If you want to maximize the lifespan of your vegan boots, I recommend picking up a faux leather conditioner formulated specifically for use on vinyl, PVC, and other synthetics. These products contain lubricating agents that will smooth the surface of the material and lend it a bit of glide.

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