Why Do My Nike Shoes Squeak? (Here’s How to Fix)

Nike shoes with air cushions, like the Air Force Ones, Air Max, VaporMax, and Huaraches are notorious for squeaking. But why do Nike shoes squeak?

Nike shoes with air cushions can squeak because air or moisture gets trapped between different parts of the shoes, like the soles and insoles. To stop the squeaking, apply baby powder to the inside of the shoes, underneath the insoles of your Nikes.

Additionally, you can also apply some WD-40 which is designed to drive out moisture. In this post, we will explain to you step-by-step how to stop Nike shoes from squeaking.

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Why Do Nike Shoes Squeak?

Everyone loves walking around in a fresh pair of stylish Nike sneakers, but it can be downright annoying if they are squeaking. But why do Nike shoes squeak?

Here are three reasons why Nike shoes squeak:

  1. Nike air units (made of air bubbles) act like suction cups, which produce squeaks.
  2. Air or moisture, or both, are trapped between the soles and the insoles.
  3. The rubber outsoles rub against a slick surface, like a gym floor.

Nike shoes that are made of Nike Air technology, are more prone to squeaking than other sneakers because of their air cushions, which are made of air bubbles.

According to Nike, Nike Air technology is made of pressurized air inside a tough, yet flexible bag, which provides more spring without compromising structure.

Every time a wearer’s foot touches down on Nike’s Air Unit, the fibers compress to absorb the impact before quickly springing back to their original state, generating an explosive and powerful response off the ground.

As a result, the air bubbles on the bottom of the shoes act like a bunch of suction cups, producing a squeaking sound each time you take a step.


Nike Air Max 720 with super thick Air Units, which may squeak:

Nike Vapormax with multiple Air Units, which may squeak:

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do if the squeaking originates from the Nike air bubbles because the squeaking sound is natural. All you can do is to own it and wait for the air bubbles to wear out before the squeaking sounds diminish.

However, if the squeaking sound is coming from the inside of the shoes, then air and moisture is probably the culprit. In this case, you can solve the squeaking problem.

How to Stop Nike Shoes From Squeaking

After locating the source of squeaking in your Nike shoes, you can either sprinkle baby powder or spray a generous amount of WD-40 to drive out the moisture. Once the trapped air and moisture are gone, your Nike shoes will stop squeaking.

Here are the steps on how to stop Nike shoes from squeaking:

1. Locate the source of the squeaking

Your first step in stopping the squeaking is to locate the source. Listen carefully as you walk slowly and try to pinpoint the source of the squeaking.

If you have trouble finding the source of the squeaking, try to place pressure on different parts of the shoes. You can stand up on your toes or even rock the shoes back and forth.

Nine times out of ten, the source of the squeaking is located underneath the insoles of your shoes. Squeaking can also happen due to friction from the tongue, but it is unlikely.

Nike shoes without substantial Air Units, like the Air Force One, can often squeak because air and moisture are trapped between the soles and the insoles. They can also squeak when they are new and have not been broken in.

However, Nike shoes with Air Units, like the Air Max, can produce loud squeaks naturally. There is nothing you can do if the squeak is coming from the outsoles or the air bubbles. but as the shoes wear down with time, the squeaking should become quieter.

Once you have located the source of the squeaking, we are ready to move on to…

2. Unlace your Nikes and remove the insoles 

Wherever the squeaking may come from, it’s a good idea to unlace your Nike shoes to give you better access to the insoles. Unlace your Nikes and set the laces aside.

Once the laces are removed, pull the insoles gently from both Nike shoes. An insole is also called a sock liner, which is the first layer of soft foam where your foot rests inside the shoe.

In most cases, you should be able to remove the insoles easily because they are not glued down. However, if the insoles are glued, start with one of the shoes and open up its tongue. Gently stick your fingers between the side of the shoe and side of the insole.

Then, with gentle pressure, peel the insole up and remove it. Repeat the process for the other shoe. Don’t worry if some glue remains on the bottom of the insoles or soles as this is perfectly normal and should not harm your Nike shoes.

3. Apply baby powder underneath the insoles and on the outsoles

Once the insoles have been removed, sprinkle baby powder on the inside of the shoes.

After applying several shakes of baby powder, hold the shoe at a 45-degree angle, with the toe pointing downward. Shake the shoe gently to distribute the powder.

You can also use talcum powder or cornstarch instead of baby powder, but we like Johnson’s Baby Powder because they are smooth, delicate, and smell heavenly.

If you have an exact idea of where the squeak is coming from, you can apply more baby powder in that area and massage it gently with your hands. Be sure to cover the source of the squeaking evenly with a generous amount of baby powder.

You can also sprinkle several shakes of baby powder on the outsoles. In some cases, the squeaking sound may originate from the rubber outsoles of the Nike shoes.

After thorough application of the baby powder, leave the shoes be.

For the best results, we recommend leaving the baby powder inside the Nike shoes overnight. The next day, you can remove excess powder by upending the sneakers over a trash can, while shaking and tapping them gently.

4. Spray WD-40 underneath the insoles

Alternatively, you can also use WD-40 instead of baby powder. For this method, you are going to need a WD-40, which you can buy on Amazon.

Since WD-40 is designed to drive out moisture and remove sticky residue, you can apply a liberal amount of it onto the inside of your Nike shoes.

However, do not spray the sock liners (the insoles) with WD-40. You only need to spray the area that is underneath the insoles, so it’s best to remove the insoles first.

Once you have given both shoes a good spray, you want to shake it around to distribute the liquid evenly. After a thorough application of WD-40, it is a good idea to leave your Nike shoes to dry for at least two days before you wear them again.

After the WD-40 has worked its magic and loosened the stick parts of the shoes, the annoying and obnoxious squeaky sound should be gone from your Nike sneakers.

You may need to respray your shoes with WD-40 after a month or two, but 95% of the squeaking should be gone after the first application.

Final Words

And there you have it, the complete guide on how to stop Nike shoes from squeaking.

Nike shoes with Air Cushions are great because they can make you look taller, but the tall air bubbles can produce squeaking sounds naturally, or when air or moisture gets trapped inside the different parts of the shoes, often between the soles and the insoles.

But now you know why they happen and how to solve the issue.

Our tips should work on most Nike shoes, including Air Force 1, Air Max, VaporMax, Air Monarch, Reax, and Huarache. Say goodbye to squeaking!