Real leather shoes and boots sometimes squeak, which can be annoying and embarrassing. There are men who just accept it and learn to live with it, because they don’t know how to make it stop. But if you ever encounter that noisy problem, there are four effective ways to remedy it so you never have to suffer the aggravation of squeaking leather footwear.
1. Talcum Powder
The simplest and most popular solution is to sprinkle talcum powder inside the shoe or boot. If there is a removable insole, take it out first, then dust the inside with the powder. Use a soft cloth to massage the power into all parts of the interior, including the toe area. Replace the insole if you removed it and you’re good to go. The reason this often gets rid of the problem is because moisture trapped inside footwear is a common culprit, and powder absorbs that moisture to cure the squeak.
2. Check the Heels
Another one of the top reasons why footwear starts to squeak is because the heels are coming apart or coming loose from the sole. Some heels are made of layers of leather or wood that are stacked on top of each other. As those begin to separate they squeak. The heel may also be pulling away from the sole, and that tiny space fills with a pocket of air that squeaks with every step you take. In that case, you’ll want to have a qualified shoe repair professional replace your boot or shoe heels.
3. Leather Conditioner
The tongue of the boot or shoe is not stitched down, but it slightly moves or almost imperceptibly floats as you walk. That can create a squeaking noise as the tongue rubs against the top of your shoe or boot.
Remove the shoelaces to give you full access to the tongue, and then treat it with saddle soap or leather conditioner. Apply that with a soft cloth until you’ve coated the entire tongue and that should lubricate the leather enough to prevent squeaking.
(Note: Always first check an inconspicuous part of the leather to verify that the saddle soap or conditioner doesn’t cause discoloration.)
4. Routine Maintenance
You may also hear creaking and squeaking if your boots or shoe leather is too dry and brittle. That is especially true if it is thick leather that lacks suppleness and doesn’t have that highly desirable buttery soft and smooth feel. Dried out leather is a sign that it needs to be cleaned, conditioned, and polished on a more regular basis. That regimen of routine maintenance will help ensure that your footwear leather has the natural oils and lubricants that it needs, and that it is always well protected from moisture.
The Bottom Line
Most problems that arise with leather, even if it is very fine leather, can be traced to exposure to the extremes of dryness or wetness. These four remedies all help to draw out unwanted dampness while keeping your shoe and boot leather nicely lubricated. That makes your footwear more comfortable, keeps it looking good, and also extends its longevity.