From Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes” to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” to Amy Winehouse and a certain pair of pumps, shoes have a way of making our heart sing.
Even so, while your boots may be made for walking, you definitely don’t want your heels clicking.
Sure, there are times when clicking heels might be empowering – when rocking a pair of Pretty Woman boots, for example, or when tap dancing like Debbie Reynolds in Singin’ in the Rain, or clicking your heels together three times and saying, “There’s no place like home!”
But most of the time, excessively loud clicking heels can be annoying for the wearer and bystanders alike. You really don’t want to be “that person” interrupting a moment of serene quiet with the obnoxious click-click-clicking of overly loud heels.
1. Change the Way You Walk
Before we get into the litany of options out there for silencing your stilettos and bringing noisy heels to heel, you might first want to consider simply changing the way you walk.
After all, loud clicking heels aren’t just obnoxious – sometimes, they’re outright ostentatious, a way to “announce yourself.” Unless you’re looking to leaning into that like in Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, chances are you can turn down your heel-clicking strut a bit.
This really isn’t an option to overthink. Either it’s a possibility or it isn’t. Just try not to step so forcefully and dramatically as though you’re putting on a One Woman Show version of A Chorus Line.
Speaking of stage musicals, it’s worth noting that all that fabulous tap dancing action is possible precisely because the tap shoes are striking a hard surface. You don’t hear many productions of Chicago done on carpeting, now, do you?
One of the easiest ways of making heels quieter is, thus, avoiding hard surfaces. If your place of work features soft carpeting, just walk naturally, and you’re probably in the clear.
If you’re stuck walking on a hard surface with those heels, try moving on to the options below.
2. Find Smaller Shoes
Let’s be honest – shopping for shoes can be tricky, especially when it comes to finding the right size. This is also one of the leading causes of excessively loud heels.
The heel part of your heels will always be loud when they strike a hard surface. That’s normal. What isn’t normal is the added slap-slap-slapping sound that comes when the front or side of your heel starts smacking the pavement in front of you as well.
Heels are infamous for the way they make their wearers walk on tiptoes. Too often we think beauty is pain, and nowhere is that more evident than with heels. That tiptoed arch-stretching walk isn’t natural, and it isn’t easy on any part of your feet.
Adding to the pain game is the fact that, to achieve their slim stylish look, heels can be quite narrow and pinch your toes together while being tight at the back.
It can be all too tempting, therefore, to mitigate that presumed pain by selecting heels which are on the larger, looser side.
However, you’ll want to avoid that impulse. The larger the heels, the more they’ll flop around, even if you don’t take enormous steps, thus amplifying the loud clacking sound.
3. Put On Rubber Heel Caps
Okay, so you’ve made sure that your heels are a perfect fit and walk softly enough to be a Catwoman-style cat burglar. Nothing’s worked yet. What’s next?
Rubber heel caps are one of the easiest and least obtrusive ways to silence your heels.
For one thing, they slip on over the end of your heel with ease, fitting them snugly enough to stay put while not being so tight as to cause structural problems. For another, they can tackle one of the biggest noise-causing elements of stiletto heels in particular – their metal tip.
If you had to pick one material which would sound extra loud when struck against a hard surface, it’d be metal. What’s more, long, thin, metal-tipped heels are practically a perfect recipe for making shoes which are already difficult to walk in steadily that much harder.
Then, there’s the fact that heels can wear out. Given what a small, hard, specially shaped surface they are, it should come as no surprise that they can wear thin or become warmed all too easily.
Rubber heel caps counteract all of these points.
By fitting over the hard tip of your heel, rubber heel caps silence them while protecting them from wear and tear. Not only can these, thus, silence your heels, but they can also help them last longer. The rubber also absorbs and disperses the shock of each step, thus, easing the impact on you a bit.
Rubber heel caps come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, so you can customize them to fit your heels and personal sense of style. What’s more, if you wish to show off your heels at their fullest, you can slip the cap on and off with ease.
4. Make DIY Felt Heel Caps
While rubber caps don’t tend to be too obtrusive, maybe they’re still a little too noticeable for you, or you just don’t like the feel of them, or don’t feel like paying for them. If that’s the case, you might want to try DIY felt caps.
Where rubber heel caps come premade and need to be sized to your shoe, felt tips are a DIY endeavor you can size to your heels yourself, allowing you to come up with the perfect match.
In addition, while rubber heel caps are relatively unobtrusive, felt heel caps are practically invisible. All you have to do is add a tiny felt patch to the bottom of your heel. Adhere them to the surface with some shoe-friendly glue or similar adhesive, squeeze it tight in place for a moment, and you’re ready to go.
This alternative also has the benefit of being even less expensive than the rubberized alternative, and being even easier to replace, since all you need is another tiny piece of fabric.
5. Get Rubber Sole Pads
We’ve already devoted quite a bit of time to the heel portion of your heels – let’s give the toe and sole portion their due. For as much as the loud clicking and clacking sounds can be the fault of your heel striking against the ground, your sole and toe areas aren’t silent, either.
Your toe area, in particular, can be quite loud. This can be especially true if you are placing too much stress on your front toes when stepping forward. Not only can this lead to your heels being excessively loud even with the rubber or felt heel caps, but it can also cause toe, arch, and general foot pain.
That’s why you might want to ease the sound as well as the pain with rubber sole pads. These can be installed on your own, but it may be best to have them done by a professional.
These rubber pads are fitted to the bottom of each shoe. Both rubber soles and heel pads have sound-deadening qualities, such as being dense and absorbing as well as dispersing the impact. These qualities make rubber soles and excellent heel silencing option.
However, it isn’t an inexpensive one. Rubber and felt pads are both far more affordable options. What’s more, where rubber pads can be slipped on and off with ease to fit your needs and tastes, rubber sole pads are permanent, so you’ll want to be sure you want to do that to your heels before committing.
6. Use Duct Tape
We never said every method on this list would be pretty.
This is certainly not the kind of option you probably want to make use of regularly. After all, who wants to slap duct tape all over their nice heels?
That said, the same way duct tape can make for a quick stopgap measure in repairing a pair of glasses Harry Potter-style, they can likewise silence a pair of annoyingly loud heels in a pinch.
While it’ll take more than a strip or two of duct tape to produce the silencing effect, you don’t want it to be a mass of tape, either. You’ll have to make a small wad of duct tape the same size as those rubber pads.
After you go wear duct tape on your heels for a few hours, or a day or two at the most, you’ll certainly want to wash and spruce them up again. This is true of when you’re preparing to put tape on again as well. You don’t want to have duct tape trapping dirt against your heel.
7. Buy Foot Gel Cushions
Unless you’re one of those lucky souls with soles of steel, if you wear heels for any length of time, chances are your feet are going to get sore. One way to reduce that while likewise reducing the amount of sound your heels make is with foot gel cushions.
You’ve probably seen advertisements for these kinds of gel cushions on TV where they explain that these gel cushions can help cushion your feet against the force exerted on them with every step.
What they don’t typically mention in those commercials is that those shock-absorbing powers are also noise-absorbing powers.
What’s more, these are even easier to add to your heels than the heel caps. All you have to do is slip them inside your shoe, attach them with an adhesive if need be, and you’re done.
What’s more, the best gel cushions are long-lasting, and shouldn’t wear out prematurely. For the best effect, you should still replace the soles every month or two.
This is the most discreet heel silencing option yet. After all, it isn’t as though people are going to be peeking inside your heels to see if you have cushions in there.
If you’re looking to silence your heels, lessen the stress on your feet, and do so in a discreet manner, it would be hard to top this option.
8. Foot Foam Insoles
Gel cushions are very inexpensive and easy to install. That said, maybe you’d like to go even more inexpensive and opt for something even easier. If this is you, allow us to introduce you to the world of foot foam insoles.
These function pretty much the same as gel cushions. The primary difference is the foam pads can be slipped into your shoes and used without having to adhere them in place, and that they are indeed typically less expensive.
As with gel cushions, these can absorb the shock and, thus, lessen the sound your heels make.
9. Other DIY Alternatives
If you’re more of a DIY mindset and want one last set of suggestions, you might try and take a couple of the above-mentioned options and apply your DIY skills to them.
For example, cork can function as a silencing agent as well. It isn’t as commonly used for this purpose given the fact that companies typically opt for rubber for industrial convenience. That said, if you want a less expensive and more eco-friendly alternative, you can fashion cork heel caps.
You might also want to consider taking foam or felt from another item and fashioning it onto your heels to help silence them. DIY is all about problem solving and creativity, and a lot of fashion works that way, too. Play around with your heels and DIY materials and see what you can come up with.
Heels can be a picture of elegance. They can also be a real pain in the arch.
The methods outlined here can help you silence your shoes, as well as make them more comfortable to work with.
Any shoe person will tell you there’s a special synergistic bond that exists between them and their pairs. There’s a reason Dorothy’s ruby slippers are magic. The right shoes simply fit and feel like magic, and that’s especially true for shoes as elegant and awe-inspiring as heels.
“There’s no place like home” – and nothing like the perfect heels with the right silencing fit for you.