Why Do My Adidas Shoes Squeak? (Here’s the Solution)

In short: Your Adidas shoes are squeaking when you walk because the tongue is rubbing against the inside of the shoe, up towards the top where you tie them. Apply petroleum jelly or leather wax where the tongue rubs against the inside of the shoe to stop the squeaking.

If you have a pair of leather Adidas trainers, chances are they’re squeaking badly. The squeaking sound happens a lot to Adidas shoes which are made of leather.

The most common Adidas shoes that squeak are the Adidas Samba, Adidas Gazelle, and Adidas Superstar. In some cases, the Stan Smiths can squeak too, although not too loud.

I’ve owned many Adidas Sambas. Only the short-tongue models squeaked on me and it took months to wear them in. The Originals with the long tongues tend not to squeak.

In this article, I’ll explain why your Adidas shoes are squeaking so badly. I’ll also provide several tips you can try to stop the annoying squeaking sound almost immediately.

Why are your Adidas shoes squeaking loudly?

The first thing you should know is that the squeaking is not coming from the sole. It’s caused by the tongue rubbing against the inside of the shoe, up towards the top where you tie it.

Adidas casual trainers, like the Samba, Gazelle, and Superstar, are made of leather that squeaks especially when it’s dry because the fibers are pulled taut in different directions.

When the leather tongue comes into contact with another object, such as the inside part of the shoe, the rubbing creates friction, which causes a squeaking sound.

Unlike Nike shoes (where the squeaking sound often comes from the sole), the squeaking sound of Adidas shoes is caused by the tongue part rubbing against the inside.

You’ll definitely notice the squeaking sound coming from your Adidas shoes when you walk. The sound of leather rubbing against each other can be heard when you take a stride.

How to stop Adidas shoes from squeaking

At first, I thought the Adidas shoes squeaking problem would go away in a few weeks, but nope. I’ve tried many different methods and these are the ones that are the most effective.

1. Apply petroleum jelly or Vaseline

The quickest way to stop Adidas shoes from squeaking is to apply petroleum jelly on the squeaking spots (where the tongue and the inside of the shoe rub against each other).

You don’t need much petroleum jelly to make the squeaking sound go away. A small amount (about an index finger’s worth) of petroleum jelly would do.

You can also use lotion if you have it around your house. Keep in mind, however, that this is a temporary solution and won’t last very long. Once the jelly is gone, the squeaking will return.

2. Apply leather wax (recommended)

If you want to stop Adidas shoes from squeaking while keeping the leather soft and supple at the same time, you should use high-quality leather wax instead of petroleum jelly.

For the best results, I recommend unlacing your Adidas trainers to gain access to the inside part of the shoes. Apply a good amount of leather wax where the parts rub against each other.

Applying leather wax will create a barrier between the two leather pieces and prevent them from rubbing together, thus stopping the squeaking sound.

I think this is the best method because not only am I stopping the squeaking sound of my Adidas shoes, but I’m also keeping the leather hydrated and protected at the same time.

3. Sprinkle some baby powder

If you don’t have petroleum jelly or leather wax, and you don’t want to buy either of them, you can also use baby powder. Just sprinkle some on the tongue part of the Adidas shoes.

I recently got a pair of Stan Smiths and they have the same squeaking issue. Baby powder dissipates very quickly and will stop the squeaking almost immediately.

However, I don’t recommend this method because baby powder or talcum powder can actually cause damage to the leather material over time.

Baby powder and talcum powder can dry out the natural oils in leather, causing it to become brittle and crack over time. It can also cause discoloration or staining if not properly cleaned off.

I would use baby powder for a quick fix to stop the squeaking from my Adidas trainers, but I wouldn’t sprinkle them over my sneakers over a long period of time.

4. Put a piece of duct tape or masking tape on the inside

For a more long-lasting solution, you could put a piece of duct tape or masking tape on the inside of the top of the shoe, where the Adidas shoe’s tongue rubs.

Put one piece of tape on each side of the laces. The tongue would be rubbing against the tape rather than the inside of the shoe. And the tape wouldn’t show, since it’s on the inside.

If you’re not sure what kind of tape would work best for this, use duct tape or masking tape because both are strongly adhesive, but the non-stick side has to be somewhat slippery.

Keep in mind, however, that the heat of your foot may cause the tape’s adhesive to become less tacky, and the tape might slide, so you may need to replace it over time.

5. Use low-grit sandpaper

Last but not least, you can use sandpaper to sand the spot on the tongue and the inside until that smooth shininess rubs off. Don’t worry, it’s not even a visible part of the Adidas shoe.

Start with the lowest grit sandpaper you can find and work your way up. This will help prevent over-sanding, which can damage the texture and appearance of the leather.

The grit level can go as low as 12 and as high as 600, but the lowest grit sizes range from 40 to 60. Most home sanding projects should call for a grit size between 60 and 220. 

If you want to try the sandpaper method, I recommend using this particular product. It’s got enough grit to smoothen the leather of your Adidas shoes without damaging them.

Using sandpaper is a more permanent way to stop your Adidas shoes from squeaking, but be warned, it will remove the smooth shininess of the leather material on the tongue.

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