Introduction: Fixing a Squeaky Shoe Air Bladder

After a year wearing a great pair of walking shoes to the office, the left shoe developed an embarrassing squeak. What to do?

A quick web search turned up some ideas, some of them pretty entertaining, but nothing to fix a squeak coming from inside an air bladder sole. Since the noise meant the shoes were headed for recycling, I decided to try a wacky idea and inject some light weight oil.

After a little experimenting, the oil went in and the squeak disappeared!

Two weeks later the right shoe started squeaking, and I thought I would record the solution for others to try.

Step 1: What You'll Need

You'll need a needle and a syringe, I used a set from a printer ink refill kit. You'll also need a finishing nail and a pair of pliers, or something else to pre-punch a hole in the sole of the squeaky shoe. I tried doing the first shoe without pre-punching, and you can see the result if you look closely at the needle in the picture. :)

I used lightweight oil, but in the web literature WD-40 has a lot of vocal support. The duct tape folks are also well represented.

Step 2: Step Lively and Nail the Problem

The first step is to walk in the shoe. Become one with the squeak... Use your foot to feel the vibration caused by the squeak. That's where the oil is going.

Once you locate the squeaky spot, use the pliers to push the nail into the sole. Push the nail in at an angle, it gives you more room for error. Pushing straight through makes it more likely that you push the nail entirely through the sole by mistake.

I put the entry hole in a groove in the sole. Since the entry hole ruins the integrity of the shoe, I'm trying to create minimal damage.

Oh, I forgot... Before pushing the nail into the shoe, take the shoe off.

Step 3: Replace the Nail With the Needle

Use a felt tip marker to put a dot where the nail enters the sole, and then use the pliers to pull out the nail. Once the nail is out, gently work the needle into the hole. Not as easy as it sounds, so be patient.

Step 4:

Put several drops of oil into the syringe, and slowly press the plunger.

Both shoes required about ten minutes of walking before the squeak went away.

Oh yes, don't forget to take out the needle.

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