Why Do Canvas Shoes (Converse and Vans) Squeak?

Converse and Vans are two of the most popular canvas shoes with rubber soles on the market today. But why do Converse and Vans shoes squeak?

Other than the rubber outsoles rubbing against a slick surface, Converse and Vans shoes can squeak because moisture is trapped inside the insoles. The easiest way to stop the squeaking is to sprinkle baby powder and leave them overnight.

Also, did you know that WD-40 can drive out moisture from your sneakers? In this post, let’s explore how to stop canvas shoes, like Converse and Vans, from squeaking.

Reasons Why Converse and Vans Squeak

Everyone loves walking around in a fresh pair of Chucks and Old Skools, but they can be annoying if they are squeaking. But why do Converse and Vans shoes squeak?

Here are three reasons why Converse and Vans shoes can squeak:

  1. The rubber outsoles rub against a slick surface like the floor of a gym.
  2. Moisture is trapped inside the insoles.
  3. Cushioned insoles can rub against the heel cup when you walk as they compress under the weight of your heels (this is common for Chuck Taylor II Lunarlon shoes which have Nike Lunarlon insoles).

In most cases, your Converse or Vans shoes are squeaking because of moisture.

Since both Converse and Vans do not have removable insoles, the culprit is most likely your sweaty feet, often caused by cotton socks. When cotton socks get wet, they can rub against the canvas or vinyl in the heel cup, causing a squeaking sound.

However, the rubber outsoles can squeak when you walk on well-waxed smooth floors like the gym. That is the function of the rubber because both Converse and Vans are non-slip. 

If that is the case, there’s nothing you can do about it other than enjoy the squeaking sound.

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How to Stop Canvas Shoes (Converse and Vans) Squeaking

There are four ways to stop canvas shoes, like Converse and Vans, from squeaking.

Try wearing socks made of polyester that wicks moisture. You can also remove moisture from the shoes by using baby powder or WD-40. Sunlight helps too.

Here are the four methods explained further:

1. Try socks with a different material

The first thing you can do is to wear socks with a different material.

If your Converse or Vans shoes are squeaking, you are probably wearing cotton or cotton blend socks. When they get wet due to sweat, they can rub against the canvas or vinyl in the heel cup, causing a squeaking sound. With every heel strike, they will squeak.

The longer you wear them, the more your feet perspire. And the more your feet perspire, the louder the squeak because the insoles of the shoes are compressing with each heel strike.

Instead of cotton socks, try wearing socks made of synthetic material like polyester. These socks do a good job of wicking moisture to keep your feet cool and dry.

Just be sure to wear socks with your Converse and Vans always, otherwise, your feet will sweat more than they should, making your shoes wet and slimy. Yuck!

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2. Remove moisture from the shoes

As we’ve mentioned earlier, moisture is mostly the culprit of the squeaking sound.

There are two ways to do this. First, you can expose them to sunlight. The heat from the sun will remove any moisture from the shoes, leaving them nice and dry.

Just be sure to dry them out for no more than 30 minutes per session, otherwise, they will fade sooner than later (unless you like the look of faded Chucks). 

Two, you can stuff the shoes with newspaper. If you’re wondering why it’s because newspapers can absorb moisture from inside your shoes. Stuff your Chucks or Old Skool with crumpled balls of newspaper and leave them in a warm and dry place overnight. 

3. Sprinkle some baby powder

If you have tried exposing them to sunlight but still experience squeaking from your Converse and Vans, you can sprinkle some baby powder inside the shoes.

We love Johnson’s baby powder because of its heavenly smell (buy on Amazon):

Baby powder does a good job of reducing the friction between the insoles and the shoes so they don’t squeak as much. Talcum powder and cornstarch work the same way.

Once you have your baby powder, sprinkle it along the seams of the insoles instead of underneath them. Converse and Vans do not have removable insoles so you should really shake the powder around in the shoes to get it into the seams.

While you’re at it, get your hands in the shoes and make sure the powder gets into the toe box area as well. The idea is to get an even distribution of the powder inside the shoes.

Once you have thoroughly applied the baby powder, let your Converse and Vans rest overnight. The next morning, you can remove any excess powder from the shoes.

4. Spray WD-40 inside the shoes

Another alternative to baby powder, cornstarch, or talcum powder is WD-40. For this simple hack, you are going to need some WD-40, which you can buy on Amazon.

As you can see in the video above, you can spray a huge amount of WD-40 into your Converse or Vans because it is designed to remove sticky residue and drive out moisture.

However, since Converse and Vans do not have removable insoles, you need to spray the WD-40 directly on top of the insoles and inside the seams.

You would want to shake it around after you have given both sneakers a good spray. Once it’s distributed evenly, air dry your shoes for at least 48 hours before wearing them.

This hack works like magic because any moisture trapped inside the shoes will be gone. After you have applied WD-40, the squeaking sound would be barely noticeable.

Both Converse and Vans shoes are notorious for being smelly, so removing any excess moisture would not only get rid of the squeaking but reduce bad odor as well.


Bottom Line

Now you know why canvas shoes, like Converse and Vans, squeak.

By learning and applying the tricks on how to remove the squeaking from canvas shoes, you can wear your Chucks and Old Skools without annoying others around you.

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