The second most annoying sound in this world is the sound of insoles squeaking when you walk. If you’re a hiker or backpacker, listening to this sound while you hike, mile after mile, will drive you mad…not to mention your partners.
But there are a handful of techniques that you can use to make the squeaking sound stop. It’s caused by friction between the insole and the inside of your shoe. It’s also not limited to Superfeet insoles but occurs with many replacement insoles that weren’t originally sold with the shoe.
My favorite technique for eliminating the squeaking or rubbing sound is to take a small candle and rub it all over the bottom of the insole. The wax acts as a lubricant that will instantly stop the squeaking or rubbing sound. It’s also waterproof and quite durable over time, which is handy if you get your hiking shoes wet in puddles or water crossings.
Another option is to cover your insoles with duct tape, shiny side facing out, so that your insoles slide more easily inside your shoes. If you use trail runners and many other types of shoes, there is usually exposed sewing under the factory insole, which is the source of the friction and resulting squeaking. Duct tape is fairly water resistant, but it breaks down after frequent wet/dry cycles and leaves a residue if you try to remove it.
Some people advocate sprinkling a lot of talcum powder between the insole and the shoe to lubricate them and stop the squeaking. While that might work with dress shoes where you can avoid getting them soaked, it’s a non-starter with hiking shoes because talcum powder will turn into mud. Still, if you have small children and baby powder sitting around, you might be desperate enough to try it.
I’ve seen mention of other methods to stop squeaky insoles including spraying the insole with Silicone or WD-40, smearing anti-chafing cream on it, or inserting a drier sheet between the inside of the shoe and the insole. You’re welcome to try those but think about their durability over the long term if you ford streams, tromp through mud, or come into contact with fine sand.
That’s why I like using wax to stop insole squeaking the best. It’s easy to find, it works fast, and it stays on no matter what crap gets inside your hiking shoes or trail runners.