9 Reasons Why Leather Shoes Squeak, How To Prevent & Easy Fix

why do my leather shoes squeak

Do you have a pair of leather shoes that just won’t stop making noise? Even when you’re not walking or running, they squeak and squeal. We’ve all been there. If it’s driving you crazy, I might be able to help! In this article, I’m going to let you in on the reasons why leather shoes squeak, tips on how to prevent, and fix it.

So why my leather shoes squeak? The main reason why your leather shoes will usually squeak is due to friction. The friction will often be caused by your shoelaces rubbing against the shoe tongue while you walk. Also, leather shoes will squeak when they are new or when you walk on wet surfaces.

Read on for more information about why leather shoes make squeaking noises and how to fix them.

1. Friction

One of the primary reasons why leather shoes will squeak is usually from the shoelaces. This happens when the shoelace rub against the shoe tongue while your walk – the friction between the shoelaces and the shoe tongue is what causes the squeaking sound.

Friction is one of the major causes of leather shoe squeaking as mentioned before. This also normally happens due to the dry leather rubbing up against the sole of your shoe or the ground.

This is an easy problem to fix and can be done by applying a lubricant such as mink oil, wax, etc., which will help reduce friction on both surfaces that rub together.

2. New Leather Shoes

Apart from friction, another common cause of squeaking in leather shoes is the new leather rubbing against the soles.

This usually happens when the leather shoe is new and the leather hasn’t been properly broken into yet.

When a new shoe is taken out of the box, it will usually have an extremely dry surface that can be more prone to squeaking than shoe worn-in leather.

This problem should, however, not last long and will likely stop after about six months of regular wearings. The best way to reduce this problem is to wear the shoes at a natural pace.

If you do not have that time and ears to wait around for the squeaking sounds to go away naturally, you can apply some form of lubrication like mink oil or a leather conditioner to reduce friction on both the shoe and the sole.

3. The Surface You Walk On

There are instances where the squeaks you hear on your leather shoes will be more profound than in other circumstances. This will sometimes be largely due to the kind of surface you walk on.

When walking on slate or concrete, your leather shoes will naturally make more noise than when you walk on the carpet.

Also, surfaces like tiles, marble, floors, etc tend to be harder and more slippery, so sometimes the leather will rub against it.

This can cause squeaks or make them worse than they would be on other surfaces like carpeting where your shoes are less likely to slip out from underneath your feet.

You can alleviate this issue by wearing sneakers or other footwear that is less likely to produce sounds if you will be spending a lot of time on such hard surfaces if you would want to do so with very little to no noise.

4. The Design Of The Leather Shoe

The general design of the shoe can also contribute to the leather shoe squeaking. For example, welt leather shoes that are designed with a wooden splint between the arch of the foot can normally cause squeaking noise.

While this may be a very common cause of squeaking in most leather shoes, it is the most common cause that is almost impossible to fix.

This is because the root cause of the squeaking sounds you may have when you walk is from the overall design of the shoe itself.

However, there might be a few things you can try out to minimize the sounds and that is by using a leather treatment product, such as mink oil.

Mink oils are used to soften the shoe and can help reduce friction on both surfaces that rub together which can lead to fewer squeaking sounds.

In addition, there is also wax or other products you might choose from if mink oil isn’t your thing.

5. Very Little Stitches

Another reason why you may have squeaking sounds on your leather shoes is when there are no sufficient stitches used to make good contact with the tongue and leather upper.

This might cause stretching in those areas which can will lead to excessive movement inside the leather shoe that can create friction sound as well.

Leather shoes with enough stitches will have a more durable bond and will be less likely to produce any sounds.

This can be minimized by using a thicker thread with leather shoes that have thin soles.

6. Leather Material Used For Shoe Is Too Thick

The thickness of the leather used to make the shoe can also be the cause of the squeaking sounds on your leather shoe.

There are different types of leather materials that can produce squeaking sounds. If the leather material used to make the shoe is quite thick, this can also cause squeaking sounds.

Leather shoes with a thicker insole can also produce squeaks when you walk in them. This might be because of excessive stretching and movement inside the shoe that creates friction sound as well.

One great solution for this is to use extra padding. This will help lessen the sounds and cause it not to also break down quickly from constant wear and tear.

7. Rubber Soles

There are some leather shoes that are made with rubber soles and these types of shoes tend to squeak a lot when worn. The squeaking sounds often become worse when the rubber starts to wear down and begins rubbing against the leather.

Some shoes are made of rubber soles as they tend to offer more cushioning and less friction against the ground which may cause squeaks.

One way that you can reduce this is by applying a thin layer of wax, shoe polish, or grease on top of the rubber soles. This will help stop it from sticking to the leather when worn over time because these products create more slip between the two materials and also help to prevent water damage while wearing them in rainy areas like California.

Another solution for squeaky shoes with rubber soles is using double-sided tape which sticks onto both surfaces on your sole so they’re less likely to rub together while walking around.

You’ll need to add three strips of tape at least four inches long each per foot before you start using your leather shoe and once applied correctly, this type won’t make any sound.

8. Stitching Used For Leather Shoe Is Too Tight

If your shoes are squeaking, another reason could be that the stitching used for the leather shoes is too tight. When a piece of clothing or footwear has been stitched together and not left with any room to move around, it can cause friction which causes sound when you walk in them.

If there’s no space between the two surfaces then they’re going to rub together, and that will make the noise. One way of fixing this problem would be loosening up or breaking in your shoe so it’s more comfortable for you before using them regularly.

9. Wet Conditions

Wet conditions are also a pretty common cause of squeaking sounds on your leather shoes. This means that the sounds you might be hearing have nothing to do with the type of leather or the shoe material or any other causative factors already discussed in this post.

I do not mean to sound captain obvious but wet leaves, mud, rainwater, and snow will all contribute to this very common issue. One practical way to prevent these from causing your leather shoes to make noise is by simply avoiding walking on these surfaces.

Another option is to use a shoe brush on your shoes after you finish walking through the wet surface, which will remove all the moisture from them. One last approach would be using an anti-squeak spray that’s designed for this issue specifically.


The truth is leather shoes are going to squeak from time to time because they’re made out of animal skin which can’t always be 100% perfect when being processed into a shape we all want our footwear to look like. 

Leather has a natural elasticity, however, it also makes it prone to squeaking. When you’re walking, your feet are constantly moving and sliding back and forth. This will cause the leather to rub against itself which can create an audible sound – a squeak.

Everyday wear and tear on these shoes will gradually make squeaking worse too, so be sure to use regular shoe polish or conditioner as well as utilizing anti-squeak spray or anti-squeaking inserts where needed.

I hope this article was useful and now you know what’s causing the squeaking and some practical ways to prevent your leather shoes from squeaking!


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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