If you’ve recently gotten a pair of Dr Martens, you’re discovering that there is nothing like them for comfort and classic style. They’re timeless, and I can’t recommend them enough. However, they may squeak irritatingly and bug you. How do you stop Doc Martens from squeaking?
Applying lubricant or leather conditioner can stop Doc Martens from squeaking. Doc Martens often squeak because of excessive moisture or friction in the sole or around the tongue. There are numerous other causes for squeaking Docs, and tracing the source will help you to eliminate the noise.
Docs are a timeless item for your wardrobe, and their AirWair soles and smooth leather that molds to your feet mean that they are supremely comfortable (once you’ve broken them in). However, if squeaking noises plague your Docs, you may be at a loss what to do. Let’s find out how to stop the squeaking.
The First Step In Stopping Your Doc Martens From Squeaking
There is more than one reason why Docs sometimes squeak, and finding the correct cause is the key to applying the right solution.
The first thing to do when trying to stop your Doc Martens from squeaking is to locate the source of the noise. Doing so will give you an idea of what is causing the problem, enabling you to home on the best solution.
You will need to enlist the aid of a patient friend or willing family member for this step.
Put the boots on and walk around in them. Have your accomplice squat down by your feet and listen carefully while you walk. Their job is to isolate the source of the noise and identify which part of your Docs it’s coming from.
When you and your assistant hear the squeaking, try to identify what you were doing when it happened, and replicate the sound by repeating your foot movements and where you place pressure on the shoes. This process may take some time.
In this guide I will show you how to treat each area of squeaky Doc Martens, from the insole, outsole, heel to the tongue.
How To Stop Doc Martens Insole From Squeaking
If you locate the squeak coming from the insole of your Doc Martens, the problem could be moisture or friction in the midsole (or a combination of both).
Treat this problem with a lubricating powder such as baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, baby powder, cornstarch, or talcum powder. This powder will help to wick any moisture that could be causing the squeaking.
Lift the inlay and apply some of this powder under the inner sole. If your boots don’t have a removable insole, sprinkle the powder around the edges of the footbed on the insole’s seams. Reposition the inlay, put your shoes on, and walk around a bit to test whether you’ve stopped the squeak.
Sometimes the problem isn’t moisture but excessive friction between dry sole components. Begin with the powder but if that doesn’t work, try lubricant.
Lubricate the boundary between the insole and midsole with a thin layer of lotion, petroleum jelly, or coconut oil.
Smear a thin layer of lubricant beneath your insoles. Test whether your boots are still squeaking, and reapply the oil if necessary.
You could try adding a more robust buffer if you still hear squeaking inside your soles after applying these two solutions. Fold two sheets of paper towelling to fit inside your Doc Martens and slip them under the insole.
If you don’t have paper towels, use dryer sheets or napkins. However, be aware that this layer of paper will absorb sweat from your feet and start smelling after you have worn your Docs a few times. To prevent this, change the paper every few days.
How To Stop Doc Martens Outsole From Squeaking
Sometimes, the squeaking you hear from your Docs is due to excessive amounts of air in the AirWair soles. You can stop this issue by letting some of the air out. Use a thin needle to create a tiny hole in the bottom of your sole (the outsole). Ensure that the hole lets some air out but is not too big.
Brand new footwear tends to be noisy, and you should find that this problem disappears with time. If the outsole of your Docs is excessively slick, they will rub against smooth, hard surfaces such as tile and hardwood floors and squeak abominably.
Walking on rough surfaces will gradually abrade the bottom of your boots and render them less slick and squeaky.
But if you can’t wait for the problem to disappear on its own, gently rub the bottom of the outsole with rough tape or fine sandpaper. Don’t go coarser than 120-220 grit. Doing so will coarsen the surface of the outsole in a similar way to the natural wear that would occur with time.
Sometimes the problem is caused by water under the boots. Wipe it off with a dryer sheet or paper towel.
Alternatively you could try applying a dry silicone lubricant to the joining between the outsole and the upper of the boot, if that’s where the squeaking is coming from. Here’s a video demonstrating how to do this:
How To Stop Doc Martens Tongue From Squeaking
You may have tracked down the squeaking to the tongue of your Doc Martens; if this is the case, a solution focused on the soles won’t work. Friction between layers of leather causes this problem. You will mainly experience this with patent leather or faux leather (a plastic-based leather lookalike).
If this is the case, you could try applying one of the lubricating powders mentioned before. Dust some powder onto your boots’ tongue and under the eyestay (the part holding the eyelets for the laces).
Wipe off any visible powder from the outside of your Docs and use an old toothbrush to remove any sitting on the laces.
You may come across advice to apply mineral oil to this area to eliminate leather-on-leather squeaking. Ignore this advice. Not only will oil tend to stain your socks, but it also won’t work to stop a leather squeak. Petroleum jelly could work in a pinch but is messy.
If your Docs are made of genuine leather, try applying a small amount of leather conditioner to them and buffing with a dry cloth. If your boots are suede, use a conditioner made for suede. We particularly recommend Dr Martens’ conditioner, Wonder Balsam.
If lubricating powders and leather conditioners do not work, you could try applying WD-40. This substance is a lubricant and corrosion preventative intended for metal-based mechanisms in cars, bicycles, and locks, but it may work for your Docs, too.
Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto the squeaky area and buff it with a dry cloth. Be careful when applying it so as not to stain your shoes. A layer of paper toweling over the rest of the boots will help protect them.
How To Stop Doc Martens Heel From Squeaking
Unfortunately, the Griggs family no longer owns Dr Martens. Since a private equity firm took over, some wearers have alleged that they have lowered production standards and let quality control slip.
The squeaking in your Doc Martens may trace back to a gap between a heel and the shoe’s body, which results in the two parts rubbing against each other. Examine the heel to see whether this is the case.
You can fix this by purchasing a good shoe glue and applying it to the seam around the heel. Clamp the parts together until the glue dries; hopefully, this will fix the problem. If you are not confident in your ability to apply such a solution, take your Docs to a professional shoe repair service.
After repairing your shoe, don’t wear your Docs the next day. Leave the glue to harden adequately. When you wear them again, go easy for a while until you’re satisfied that the glue has bonded the heel successfully.
How To Stop Damp Doc Martens From Squeaking
If your Doc Martens have gotten soaked with water from puddles or rain, you could try drying them out by putting them into the dryer. However, we recommend you use this method cautiously to avoid shrinking or heat damaging them.
Put a small amount of fabric softener or white spirit vinegar onto a sponge, and place the sponge and your Docs inside a cloth bag to protect their surface. Put the bag into the dryer for 7 minutes on low heat. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by using high heat or leaving your Docs in for longer.
Why Are My Doc Martens So Squeaky?
If you have gotten new Docs, you may ask yourself: why are my Doc Martens so squeaky? According to Dr Martens, you can expect some squeaking when the boots are new (due to slick outsoles or leather-on-leather friction).
There are several reasons why Doc Martens may squeak. The most common is friction between different parts of the boots or between the outsoles and floors.
However, excessive moisture can also result in a squeaking noise. This noise can be caused by:
- A build-up of sweat inside your boots. Try not to wear your Docs every day.
- Excessive water from walking through puddles or otherwise letting your Docs get soaked. In this case, you may have to put them through the dryer.
- A build-up of water from rain. Don’t store your Docs wet. Instead, place them in a warm, dry area out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources to dry off.
What To Do If Your Docs Squeak Because Of A Defect
Your Doc Martens may squeak because of a manufacturer’s defect. Trying to repair your Docs yourself may render the warranty null and void. Check the return policy and see whether you can swap your defective Docs for another pair.
Check your Dr Martens warranty here.
Your Doc Martens may squeak for various reasons, including excessive friction and moisture, or because they are new and still need breaking in.
Happily, there is a lot you can do to remedy this problem, and soon your Docs should be treading with no more noise than the sound of your footfalls.
For more Doc Martens content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).