Squeaky boots are undeniably infuriating and attract unwanted attention from other people, but more importantly for hunters, they attract attention of deer and other prey.
Squeaky hunting boots shouldn't be disregarded considering deer are alerted by unnatural and unique noises that reveal your presence.
Fixing the boots will require you to find where the noise is coming from and what happens to be causing the squeaks.
This article will identify common causes of squeaking boots and will offer solutions relating to how you can stop your boots from squeaking.
Parts of Boots Which Commonly Squeak
To stop the squeaks, you must first establish where the squeaks are coming from. Finding the source of the squeaking is relatively simple because there are typically three areas which squeak, and they are:
Inside the Boot. The insoles and lining occasionally squeak from the accumulation of moisture.
Outside the Boot. The upper parts of boots can be a cause of squeaking due to friction between different sections of the upper
Beneath the Boot. The soles of boots can sometimes squeak due to being too slick or they can be loose and/or cracking
Why Your Boots Could Be Squeaking When You Walk
Although there are various possible causes of squeaking in boots, squeaking boots are typically caused by friction (from insole rubbing against boot lining or your foot) or a part of the boot is in poor condition. Other possible reasons are:
The Material on the Outer is Stiff. Brand new shoes are typically extremely stiff due to the amount of treatment which occurs during the manufacturing of boots. Boots can also become quite stiff when they are old and worn out. The stiffness of the outer contributes to boots squeaking.
Accumulation of Moisture Inside the Boot. The existence of moisture in a location which sustains plenty of friction is a recipe for producing noise and squeaks.
Cracked or Loose Sole. As boots get older you may find that the soles are cracking and/or loosening which can result in your boots making noise.
The Entire Boot is Wet. It is common for boots to be extremely squeaky when they are wet. The reason is that the material in soles, insoles and boot linings are quite spongy and produce squeaks while walking when pressure is applied to the sponge. Additionally, when wet leather dries, it can stiffen and squeak if it remains damp.
Laces and Tongue Rub Together. Occasionally you may find that there is some friction between the laces and tongue of your boot causing squeaking.
Soles are Slick or Create Suction. Almost always, brand new boots will have soles which are too slick or perhaps creates a suction effect that produces squeaks.
Manufacturing Defect. Unfortunately, sometimes boots can be sold with imperfections and an example of the defect is air pockets existing in the sole of the boot.
Poorly Fitting Boots. Wearing boots too large can cause your feet to move too freely and rub against the insole. Additionally, wearing boots which are too small and tight can cause your feet to overheat and sweat. Therefore, both can cause the insides to start to wear and squeak.
How to Stop Boots from Squeaking – Fixing Squeaky Boots
For many of the problems listed above, you will be capable of fixing yourself, for those you cannot, replace the boots or contact a professional.
1. Softening the Outside – Break Them in if New/Rub Conditioning Oil if Older
If your boots are brand new and are squeaking, be patient and fully break them in. For older boots, temporarily remove the shoelaces, clean the boots with a brush and then rub conditioning oil all over the boots with a cloth.
2. Reducing Moisture and Friction Inside the Boot – Powder Inside the Boot
Adding specially designed hunting boot powder, or even baby or talcum powder to the insoles is an effective solution to removing moisture and consequently reducing friction inside the boots.
You can either add the powder between the insole and the sole of the boot or add the powder around the edges where the sole meets the sides.
3. Fixing the Soles – Super Glue, Silicone Caulk or Hire a Cobbler
Before disposing of the boots due to the damage to the soles, consider readjusting the loose sole with super glue or use silicone caulk on the crack/s (for more information about the process click here). An alternative is to hire a professional to try to save the boots.
4. Drying the Boot
The best solution to fixing a wet boot is to dry the boots soon after they have been wet. You can use a fan, a couple hours in the sun or dry the boots overnight. WARNING: Avoid drying them too much as this can soften the materials and cause cracking.
5. Reducing Tongue and Shoelace Friction – Lubricant and Cleaning
To minimize the friction between the tongue and shoelaces, clean both areas and lubricate the tongue with a lubricating oil.
6. Scuff the Soles a Little - Lightly Sand the Soles or Walk on Rough Surfaces
If after a few weeks of wearing the boots, the soles are still slick or gripping too much, lightly sand the bottom of the boots gently with sandpaper or rub each sole entirely with one dryer sheet for each sole. Alternatively, naturally scuff the soles by walking on rough terrain.
7. Replace the Boots or Contact a Professional to Fix the Boots
Unfortunately, not much can be done by non-professionals to fix a manufacturing defect.
8. Wear Additional Socks if Boots Too Large/Stretch the Boots if Too Small
Again, if your boots don’t fit you too well not much can be done other than wearing more socks, getting a larger insole, or stretching the boot.
Although you may tolerate squeaky hunting boots yourself, choosing to wear squeaky boots while hunting is a bad decision when you consider that deer and other prey are alerted by unnatural noises.
This is just as important when you're walking from location to location as it is when climbing and sitting in your tree stand.
Fortunately, fixing squeaky boots is fairly straightforward.
The key is to determine where the noise is coming from and what happens to be causing the squeaks. From there, follow instructions relating to solving the problem.
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