Dress shoes can be embarrassing to wear, as they’re always too loud and clunky when they produce a “click-clack click clack” sound. Every time you take a step, the sound of the shoe clicking and crunching against the floor echoes around you. Wherever you go, you can’t escape the embarrassment of having people stare at your obnoxious shoes. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the the major reasons of dress shoes clicking, and how to prevent your dress shoes from clicking and make them quieter when you walk down a hallway.
Bonus Read: Prevent Farting Noise in Dress Shoes
Table of Contents
Why Do Dress Shoes Click and Produce a Loud Sound?
Here are the following reasons for the loud clicking sound produced by men’s and women’s dress shoes.
- Sole is made of synthetic plastic leather
- Walking gait is not proper
- Loose fit of dress shoes
Let’s discuss each factor, contributing to the clicking noise of dress shoes, in detail.
1. Sole Is Made of Synthetic Plastic Leather
The reason for clicking the sound of dress shoes is because of the collision of their cheap synthetic leather sole with a specific type of floor. If I dive deeper, it is the heel of dress shoes that is responsible for generating clicking noise, not the whole sole when it comes in contact with the hard floor. Cheap dress shoes made in China are made of plastic-type artificial leather that creates a large noise when it comes in contact with the surface.
When dress shoes are new, the leather soles are harder and have a shiny and polished texture like patent leather. Leather soles do not have any texture or treads like rubber soles. When the dress shoe heel hits the hard marble-tiled floor when walking, they produce loud clicking sounds that will cause a disturbance.
2. Walking Gait Is Not Proper
The loud clicking sound of dress shoes also depends on your walking gait. During walking, we usually land the heel first. If you’re a person who has a bit of hitting the foot hard against the floor, your dress shoes will produce a clicking sound.
Moreover, if the walking stride or step length is larger, there will be a greater propulsive force and vertical impulse per step. Due to greater propulsive force, there will be a greater floor reaction on your dress shoes, due to which a large clicking sound is produced. The increase of propulsive force with walking stride length has been proven in this study. So, the greater the dress shoes heel impact with the ground, the louder the clicking sound will be.
Moreover, if you overpronate while walking, there are the changes that the edges of your dress shoes soles contact with the ground, due to which they produce click-clack noise. Dress shoes or heels have sharp and hard edges. The impact of the sole edge with the floor is greater compared to the impact when the whole surface of the heel makes a contact with the ground. So, due to this high impact, we hear a clunky noise.
Moreover, in a study, a researcher has shown that the frequency of the sound produced by the shoes when walking on a hard floor depends on gender. The researcher experimented on the leather sole shoes and hardwood floor. It was shown that the spectrum of males’ footstep sounds was more skewed toward low frequencies, and had a more rapid fall.
3. Loose Fit of Dress Shoes
Another reason for the clicking sound of dress shoes is a loose heel. Dress shoes are usually tighter in the beginning as they are made of leather. People usually don’t wait for a break-in period and end up buying a larger size. Even if you buy a true size of dress shoes, there are the chances that they will be a bit loose in the heel as the sizing of dress shoes is based on the lasts. You can check my guide on dress shoes size to learn more.
Dress shoes heel is also loose-fitting because it does not feature any padding as we see in sneakers. So, your foot will not have a sufficient grip with the heel of dress shoes. Thus, the heel collar of dress shoes will tend to slip against your foot when you walk, and will most likely hit the surface before your feet do. This can be explained better with the example that if you drop an object on a floor instead of placing it with your hands, it will surely make a noise. Similar case it with dress shoes heel. If it touches the ground before your foot does, you will hear a loud and undesirable clicking sound.
How to Prevent Your Dress Shoes From Clicking When You Walk?
If the click-clack sound of your dress shoes is irritating people around you, these techniques can prevent dress shoes from making a clicking sound when you are walking down a hallway.
1. Use Duct Tape
Using duct tape is the fastest way of fixing the click-clack and slapping noise of the men’s and women’s dress shoes. Duct tapes are either made of polyethylene (regular grey color), or a thick rubber for heavy-duty purposes. Both types of duct tapes serve the purpose of dampening the sound.
However, I won’t advise you to use polyethylene duct tape as it will make your shoes slippery. Instead, you should spend extra 5 bucks and buy this Gorilla Duct Tape. It is made of natural rubber. It won’t affect the grip of your dress shoes. Furthermore, Gorilla Duct Tape has great tearing and heat resistance.
So, all you need to do is to remove any kind of dirt and debris from the dress shoe sole and cut the duct tape with a scissor to fit the size of your dress shoes heel and enjoy walking in your dress shoes.
Pro Tip: If you want more noise concealment for your dress shoes, you can place medical gauze between your dress shoe heel and duct tape. In addition to this, you can stack multiple pieces of duct tape on the dress shoe heel to the desired thickness. But, this might affect the grip of dress shoes and your running gait.
2. Add Thin Layer of Shoe Goo or Gorilla
Shoe Goo is the most inexpensive method to fix the click-clack sound of dress shoes. Shoe Goo and Gorilla Glue, both are strong adhesives to repair the shoes. Both give a rubber-like texture when dried out, and help in fixing the click-clack sound of dress shoes.
Shoe Goo is used on an industrial level as it resists hot and cold temperatures. Moreover, Shoe Goo is resistant to water. On the other hand, Gorilla Glue is DIY type glue.
To apply shoe goo, you have to entirely clean the sole, then apply quite an even layer of shoe goo. Also, make sure that glue is not too close to the edges of the dress shoes heel. The downside of using the Shoe Goo method to fix the clicking sound of dress shoes is that the even layer of shoe goo separates from the sole quickly.
3. Use Cork Pads
Cork is a buoyant material, made from tree bark tissue. Because of the buoyancy of the cork, it absorbs the sound waves that are generated when the dress shoe heel hits against the floor.
The downside of using a cork pad for fixing the click-clack sound of dress shoes is that they do not work in a wet environment. Since cork is wood, it becomes too soft when it gets wet, resulting in the loosening of its noise dampening property, and offering a sufficient grip.
You can use these self-adhesive cork pads on your dress shoes heel to reduce click-clack sound. These are 3.5 inches in diameter.
4. Use Heel Caps or Heel Cover
Plenty of stiletto heels have pointy metal bits in the heel to make them stable and sturdy. This metal tip in the heel makes make the heels much noisier, especially if you are hitting the ground with your heel first.
Buying heel caps can alleviate this clicking sound issue due to metal bits in the stiletto heel, and can make your noisy heels quieter. The heel cap is easier to attach. The heel cap is made of rubber, having a flat textured bottom to provide sufficient grip. Heel caps are tapered on the top so that you can easily slip them on the heel tip. Heel caps are available in different sizes, which you can check here.
5. Use Rubber Grip Pads on Dress Shoes Bottom
Like cork pads, these are also self-adhesive rubber grip pads men can attach on the bottom of their dress shoes, or women can attach them on the bottom of their dress boots, heels, and pumps to stop clicking noise and make dress shoes quiet.
Rubber heel pads serve as an advantage for those people whose dress shoes’ hard soles can’t be replaced. So, rubber heel pads are not only durable, but can also dampen the clicking noise, and make dress shoes non-slip. This rubber grip pad is easy to cut to the size of your dress shoes sole, and easy to apply due to its self-adhesiveness.
6. Use Heel Cushion Inserts
Men or women can sometimes end up with loose-fitting in the heel of dress shoes, due to which they will not only click but will also clap as they hang loosely from your heel. To tackle this issue, these heel cushion inserts keep the grip of your feet on your dress shoes from inside. Moreover, the heel cushion inserts will also give you stability while walking.
In addition, you can also use multiple heel inserts in your dress shoe to get the right fit. Since, heel inserts are only available in one size, using multiple heel cushion inserts will achieve you the right fit in dress shoes, and prevent them from having a clap with the floor.
The following are the most recommended heel grips.
7. Get a Rubber Sole for Dress Shoes
Replacing the typical hard leather sole of dress shoes with a rubber sole is an excellent way to get rid of the clicking sound. All you need to do is to take your dress shoes to the nearby cobbler and ask him to replace the factory sole with a comfortable rubber sole. It usually costs around 20 to 50 dollars, depending on the size of the dress shoe. Apart from offering a sound dampening effect, a good rubber sole provides a good grip and moisture resistance.
This method has some limitations. First, only men’s dress shoes can be resoled. Second, if the sole of dress shoes is stitched with the upper, then it can be easily replaced. If the sole of dress shoes is glued to the upper, you’ll end up damaging your dress shoes if you try to replace their sole.
Do People Like Clicking Noise of Dress Shoes?
Well, I interviewed some people, and according to them, the clicking noise of dress shoes sounds good for the following reasons:
- Tapping one foot rapidly on the ground to keep rhythm with the music
- To draw attention to oneself
- To relieve boredom or impatience
You can read more about this here.
Sometimes, people, especially women, have to compromise the click-clack sound of dress shoes for comfort. The thick and clunky heels produce more sound compared to stilettos as more area is available to hit the floor in the clunky heel. But, women like to wear clunky heels because they give a more balanced posture and comfort compared to stiletto.
Apart from getting comfortable and balanced posture, women like to wear thick heels to appear taller, due to which they have to bear the clicking sound of their dress shoes.