Loud click-clacking heels can certainly make your entrance into a room more noticeable. But unless you are a Kardashian, that type of attention may not always be what you are trying to achieve. As many mothers have said, “A time and a place for everything.”
In many instances, showing up for meetings, or just moving around the office feeling confident, is preferable. Wearing quiet, comfortable heels can enhance that feeling. Here are some ways you can ensure that the noise of your heels does not arrive before you do.
High Heel Options
8 Easy and Effective Ways to Make Your Heels Quieter
Although some people like the idea of making an entrance with loud shoes, many others in the room may not be quite as appreciative. The following suggestions will enable you to modify the amount of noise your heels make.
Other types of shoes can have the same noisy problems. For more information on making your footwear quieter, please see our articles How to Stop Shoes From Squeaking and How to Make Boots Quieter.
1) Attach High Heel Caps
High heel caps are available in various choices. There are multiple sizes of caps that fit over the heel and multiple sizes of dowelled caps that fit into the heel.
Over the Heel Caps
Over the heel caps are intended to be used while walking on grass or uneven surfaces such as gravel, brick, or cracked concrete. They generally have a large flat base attached to a cup that fits over the heel. Made of rubber or polyurethane, these caps are a great addition to your heels. Not only will they prevent sinking into the grass at an outdoor wedding or party, they are very good at preventing clacking heels on hard surfaces.
Over the heel caps are available in kits holding multiple sizes that will fit most high heels. You can find square, round, heart-shaped, and more designs along with different colors–including clear rubber–to match your shoes. They are quite inexpensive, so you can wear them all the time, or carry a pair with you to slip on in case the need arises.
Into the Heel Dowelled Caps
These caps are made to replace existing heel caps that are pressed into the heel when manufactured. Made of steel with a polyurethane covering, they are soft enough to cushion the shock of walking and reduce noise. They are available in kits that will contain up to 8 different sizes and multiple pairs of caps. Some kits even come with a “stiletto removal tool” to pull out the old cap.
Most of these inexpensive kits carry all black caps, but with a little effort you will be able to find beige caps, and maybe a few more colors. The sizes of the holes in your heels and the dowels are fairly universal so the new caps should fit easily. If the dowel is loose, you can wrap a piece of thin cloth around it to ensure a tight fit and prevent the loss of a cap. Do not use glue to hold the dowel tight. This may prevent you from changing the cap when it begins to wear.
Note: Rumor has it that Marilyn Monroe cut a 1/4″ off one heel of each pair of her shoes to help with her distinctive swaying walk. If this is not something you are interested in imitating, you might want to carry an extra pair of caps with you.
2) Attach Rubber Soles to Your High Heel Shoes
The heel of your shoes are not the only thing making noise. The sole under the front part of your foot can also make loud clacking noises. High end heels usually have leather soles. Although synthetic materials are being used more and more. Regardless of the material, high heel soles are hard. They have to be to protect the bottoms of feet and help hold some of those skintsy shoes together.
Unfortunately, hard thin soles can come down on hard floors with a pretty noisy crack. Attaching rubber or silicone anti slip pads to the shoes will help eliminate foot fall noise. They are inexpensive, and can be found in multiple colors and sizes. Most of them are self-adhesive. If you do not trust the self-adhesive–and some are quite questionable–invest in a good spray glue to make sure the soles stay on.
3) Use Gel Cushions in Your Heels
Not only do gel pads make your feet more comfortable in high heels, they will help reduce noise. For some reason, most people have one foot that is bigger than the other. Usually the left. But shoe sizes are the same. So, one foot is a little loose or one foot is a little tight. Loose shoes make more noise because your foot moves around inside them and they are more difficult to control. Curling your toes to try get a grip on the shoe is not going to make walking quieter.
Gel pads can eliminate the problem and make your heels quieter. There are so many options available–toe pads, heel pads, arch pads, full shoe pads–in many different styles, colors, and thicknesses, that you should have no trouble achieving the perfect fit. These inexpensive solutions usually come self-adhesive. You might want to have a roll of double sided carpet tape handy if the adhesive is not strong enough. Or it loses adhesion if you have to reposition the pads. Sweating in the shoes may also cause them to move around.
4) Modify Your Heels
Textured heels and soles can make more noise than smooth soles. There is nothing like a little sandpaper to smooth out the bottoms of your shoes. Don’t worry if you end up removing a little bit of rubber. As long as you are not taking off too much. Very few people see the bottom of your shoes.
Just a cautionary note. If you are going to spend a lot of time on slick tile or highly polished wood floors, you may want to leave the grip on the bottom of your shoes. To help prevent slipping and falling. Falling is inelegant.
5) Use Tape on Your Heels
Adding layers of tape to the bottoms of your heels will reduce noise by providing a cushion between the heel and floor. You can also use it on the soles. Make sure you get the bottoms of your shoes clean, then add layers of tape. Four or five pieces provides a sufficient pad. You can cut them to the sizes you need.
You can use duct tape or gaffer tape to build cushions on the bottoms of your shoes. Both will make your shoes quieter. The biggest difference between the two is that duct tape has a plastic face and gaffer tape is fabric. You will have a much better grip with fabric than with plastic on slick floors like tile or laminate.
Note: Back in the mists of time duct tape was also fabric faced but I have not seen any of that for sale in years, if not decades.
6) Buy Quiet Heels
Most manufacturers of all types of products are spending more time and money on developing quieter products–due to consumer demand and changing societal norms. Footwear producers are no different.
When buying quiet heels, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Type of Sole Material. Rubber soles will provide the best chance of quiet heels. It absorbs or eliminates noise better than other types of material.
- Design of Heels. Heels come in various designs and heights. They can even be located differently on the shoe, creating slight changes in balance points.
- Comfort of the Heels. Comfortable heals will allow you to produce less noise. You will be more confident. They are less likely to cause painful feet. If you are not thinking about your feet hurting or your shoes falling off, you will walk more securely and quietly.
- Feel of the Heels. Although we can buy almost anything online, shoes–specially high heels–seems to be something a person should try before buying. Not just for a few seconds to see if your foot fits into them, but walking around on different surfaces to make sure they will be comfortable long term.
7) Practice Walking Quietly in Heels
I have never worn high heels–nor do I intend to. But from many years of watching women walking in heels, I am convinced that the combination of strength, balance, and body control is an art form. That needs to be learned and practiced. The following YouTube video provides some pointers.
8) Absolutely Silent Heels
My wife’s solution to the problem of loud heels is to leave them in the closet. And wear something more stable, more comfortable, and significantly quieter.
In our more relaxed society, this is not a far out suggestion. Dress codes are much more relaxed. This includes what is acceptable footwear. Shoe and boot designers have also created many quiet and comfortable products that are acceptable in environments where heels were part of the dress code only a few years ago.
Why Heels are So Loud
Part of the reason heels are loud is because of weight distribution. Depending on the size of the base of your heels, you could be putting all your weight on less than a square inch of surface. No, I am not commenting on anyone’s weight. Even 100 lbs. standing on a spike heel will sink into the lawn. At least it will be quiet in the lawn.
Walking in high heels is not natural. Just compare your gait and body movement when in heels and when schlepping around the house barefoot. When barefoot, your heel hits the floor first and your foot follows through. In high heels, the heel of the shoe hits the floor 4 inches earlier and an unchecked follow through will have you falling on your face or at least stumbling.
You need to change your entire posture and stride to walk quietly and smoothly in heels.
Oversized Heels (Shoes)
Having your feet sliding around in heels a size too big will only make you noisier and possibly more clumsy. You need to control the shoes instead of having them run the show. It is hard enough to adapt to high heels without having them feel sloppy on your feet.
Hint: When buying new shoes, consider shopping later in the afternoon. Chances are that your feet will be a little bigger then. They should fit properly for most of the day and evening. Buying shoes when your feet are at there smallest will likely cause pain and discomfort later in the day.
Construction of the Heel
Many manufacturers use hard stiff material like leather, wood, and even metal when building shoes. All of these help your heels keep their shape, but also make them noisier. Depending on the quality of the shoe, you may find rubber, or another softer product on the bottom of the heel to absorb noise.
Generally, spike heels produce the most noise. But keep in mind that wooden clogs and wedges will make the same type of noise. Usually not quite as loud.
Inspect the bottoms of your heels regularly. When the bottoms are worn away, the central construction of the heel can be exposed. It is quite often wood or steel–specially in spike or pencil heels. These materials are necessary to make the heel sturdy, but once the bottom cushion is worn off, they are even noisier.
Once your heels reach that point, you will have to start using heel caps to keep them quieter and more stable. Or visit a cobbler to have him/her rebuild the heel. (Using heel caps on your shoes from the first day you get them will keep the the original bottoms from wearing off.)
How You Walk in Heels
As I mentioned before, walking in heels is almost an art form. And some people never figure it out. And some, for whatever perverse reason, purposely stomp around in heels. To be irritating? To get attention? I don’t know. But they can be very annoying.
Assuming that you prefer not to be that noisy, you can learn to walk quietly in heels. There are many “How to walk in high heels” YouTube videos on line–including the one above–giving high heel walking instructions. Also your relatives and peers will likely be very helpful.