Imagine you walk into a room, the atmosphere, dead silent, as you take a stride forward – you’re lost in thought thinking to yourself how do I stop my patent leather shoes from squeaking – you break the silence, it’s just your shoes, producing a high pitched and cringe-worthy sound,
Embarrassing right? Just thinking about it gives me the chills.
Increasing friction of the surface area of the leather after you’ve identified the parts that are in contact by using deterrents like Talcum powder or any form of non-toxic powder has proven most convenient in dealing with squeaking patent leather shoes.
How to stop patent leather from squeaking
Like most problems, the first step to finding a solution is troubleshooting to find the cause of the underlying issue and make key alterations.
The first step is to be certain the cause of the squeaking isn’t something as basic as the fact that the shoe may be new and just needs breaking in, if that’s not the case and you’ve been using the shoe for a while and the squeaking persists, some factors to consider are;
Glue your insole
This is a thin strip of material the covers the base of the inside of the shoe to make the foot comfy when the shoe is worn, if the insole is loosely fitted this can result in a lot of friction while working, causing squeaking sounds.
This can be rectified by either gluing in place the insole to reduce friction. If you don’t possess the technical ‘know how’ another easy solution is the remove the insole and apply talcum powder generously, but not excessively underneath the insole, and put the insole back in place.
This would also help reduce movement thereby reducing friction between the insole and the base of the shoe.
You can wear a sock
Hear me out, as ridiculous and obvious as it may sound, this could be an easy fix, because some people have sweaty feet and as I mentioned earlier, moisture reduces friction because it’s a lubricant that may cause squeaking when the top of the foot rubs against the inner top of the shoe while working.
So, an easy, cheap, and reliable fix would be “Wear a sock”, a cotton-based sock would be most suitable as they have a high absorbance quality and would serve best.
Check out parts of the shoe that are loosely fitted
Carefully inspect the components of the shoe, identify parts that may be loosely fitted, and verify if it’s the cause of the squeaking sound.
If it is, the talcum powder trick may also work, sprinkle the powder between the surfaces of the adjoining parts liberally, this will draw out the moisture and help reduce friction between the parts.
If the sole is the shoe is coming loose this may result in squeaking while walking, so after an inspection and it is discovered that the sole is coming loose, it’s best to apply an adhesive made for leather, like super glue, hold it in place for a while, till the adhesive dries out and you’re all set.
Some dress shoes come with leather soles, this has a smooth surface area, and whenever you walk on another smooth surface like on a wooden floor (A basketball court), on a Tiled floor, or a Waxxed pavement you are guaranteed to hear that high pitched squeak in every stride.
Some blog posts will suggest you use a knife to score the surface of the leather but this, however, isn’t the most optimal solution as it will create uneven creases on your shoes and probably damage them.
The best solution for this is to sand the leather surface till it has a rougher texture, if you don’t have sandpaper available, you could just wear them and scrub or rub the based of your feet on a rough concrete floor till you get the desired texture and grip.
If you live in a wet region, where it rains constantly or it’s waterlogged due to environmental factors.
This moisture acts as a lubricating agent and reduces friction. This is primarily produced by sweaty feet, on some occasions, it could be from spillage of a form of liquid into the patent leather shoe.
Therefore, it is imperative to always put a toilet or even newspaper in your shoe and keep it in a warm place for the moisture to dry out.
Shoe tongues are a strip of leather found underneath the laces of a dress shoe, and if it’s not obvious enough they can only be found on shoes with laces.
They provide grip support for your heels so your leg does not magically slip out while walking. They however can cause squeaking while walking.
Therefore, if identified as the source of the high-pitched squeals, you can sand down, with sandpaper or even a nail filler the edge of the tongue so it does not rub against the inner part of your shoes.
Oil your shoes
I know, I know, a lubricant.
But hear me out, as I mentioned earlier when the natural oils of a leather shoe dry out due to environmental factors or just pure neglect, it can lead to the shoe squeaking while walking,.
So, it helps to oil your shoes while cleaning to keep them from drying out, this is more of a preventive option, however, better safe than sorry, am I right?
What is patent leather?
You know what leather is, no? And no I don’t mean that bag you carry your items in whenever you go shopping, but for Educational purposes, let me explain.
Leather is a form of material used to make shoes, belts, bags, etc, it’s made from animal hide or skin, but like most things, in the 21st century there is the Synthetic kind, of course, don’t let the details bother you.
Patent leather is a type or form of leather with a glossy or shiny finish to it, this glossiness is achieved when the leather is coated with a chemical; Lacquer.
Like most leather, it comes in different colors, the most common however is Black, not surprising since Black goes with almost every color.
The biggest advantage besides the stylish look of a patent leather item is the fact that the glossy, mirror-like look of the leather gives it a Waterproofing quality, while maintains its flexibility.
Why do patent leather squeak
We can all agree that squeaking is one of the most irritating high-pitched sounds to ever exist, be it from a household device, much less a personal item, it’s just plain annoying, and embarrassing when it happens in public, in front of a crowd.
Squeaking from patent leather is triggered and caused by a series of factors, the most common being friction, however other reasons may include; Water, or just moisture in general.
Since this isn’t an elementary school journal, I won’t go into the finer details, so in Lay man’s terms; Friction is the force present when two surfaces rub against one another. Is that simple enough or do I have to dumb it down further?, that was a trick question, there’s no dumber version to the definition, I’m veering off course.
Friction occurs around us, if you rub random items together you’d find it produces a sound, the rougher the surface – the higher the frictional force and the less noise it produces, some more irritating than others– the smoother or glossier the surface, the less the Friction, the louder and more irritating the sound it produces.
Therefore Patent leather’s glossy and mirrorlike finish works to its detriment in this aspect, there’s always a solution to every problem, wait, wait– to most problems, including this… so don’t worry, I got you–
The lacquer finish on the patent leather gives it a shiny look and makes it waterproof, and easy to clean, however it comes with a drawback, this reduces friction on the surface areas, which is the squeaky sounds it makes when it rubs against another surface.
This isn’t a very common occurrence with patent leather shoes, however, when the natural oils dry out it will lead to squeaking when worn.
To put it simply the main reason Patent Leather squeaks is FRICTION or more accurately; The lack thereof – glossy, smooth, mirror-like materials, with a smooth surface area, no matter the item or material will inevitably squeak and squeal whenever they come in contact with another surface.
Does that mean you would not use materials like patent leather because of this attribute, no!
There are steps to take that address the issue of squeaking and squealing but I will get into that in a minute or five, depending on how fast of a reader you are, but hey, that does not mean you should just skim through the words because there are relevant subtexts you need on your “patent leather” journey.
How to take care of patent leather shoes
Like most good things and important possessions in life, Maintenance is key to giving it a long proverbial life, so to speak.
Therefore, taking care of our patent leather show the right way is important, because believe it or not, there are wrong was to take care of a patent leather shoe and I’ll get into the details shortly.
Clean with the right material
When cleaning a patent leather shoe it is important to use the right material, which is; a soft bristle brush, this is used to scrub off mud and dust off the surface of the shoe, a soft flannel cloth, is soaked in warm water and used to gently remove the remaining spec of mud and dust that persist on the surface of the shoe.
After cleaning, if you discover scuff marks on the surface of the shoe, shaving foam and Toothpaste can be used to get rid of them.
By applying a small amount to the affected area and gently rubbing it with a finger to the affected area till it’s covered, and then using a dry cloth to rub off the excesses.
Polish your patent leather shoe with Vaseline
There are patent leather polishing equipment available online and in stores but if you can’t afford them or yours is finished, there are household items that can serve the same purpose.
Vaseline helps to restore the glossy look after cleaning. Non-Acetone Polish Remover can mostly be found in females manicure kit, with a strong emphasis on “non-acetone” because the acetone will remove the chemical coating on the leather.
Mineral oils— do NOT use regular polish on patent shoes as it will leave a tarnish and mucky look on the shoe.
It’s important to not wear your patent shoes or any dress shoe for that matter two days in a row, Patent shoes are not a shoe to be worn on every outfit anyway, but it’s your property, so you can do whatever you want, however for the sake of longevity, pay mind.
Insert your shoe tree whenever your shoes are not in use
This is a device that approximates the size of a shoe, it’s inserted in the shoe after wearing to prevent creases and cracks in the shoe, investing in one of these can grossly extend the life of your patent dress shoes.
Always dry your shoes after wearing
This will help remove moisture produced by sweat in the shoe and help with the smell and longevity.
Use your shoe bags all the time
This is a bag which your shoe is placed in after wearing, to protect it from dust settling on it and excessively dry air which causes cracks.
Apply shoe moisturizer to prevent cracks
Another way to prevent cracks is by applying a patent shoe moisturizer. Yeah yeah, sounds made up but it helps, if you can’t afford that, just apply petroleum jelly after cleaning.
It stops the leather from drying out.
When it comes to stylish dress shoes for formal attire like Tuxedos, Dinner gowns, or Native wear like Kaftan you can not go wrong with patent leather shoes, they provide comfort while maintaining the fancy and luxurious look, which will leave you looking dashing.
Albeit the squeaking is a bit of a drawback, however, there are solutions to whatever reason your shoe finds to irritate you and those around to with the high pitched squeals.
As I’ve detailed above, get a patent leather shoe if you can afford it. Look stylish, feel confident, and even if it squeaks, you have this Article as a handbook.
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