The 'brogue' shoe originated in Ireland, where it was often "constructed using untanned hide with perforations, allowing water to drain when crossing wet terrain such as a bog" according to Wikipeda.

However, most shoes don't have these holes for draining the water out - so in wet environments, your footwear may fill with water. Is there a particular name for the sound they make when you walk?

Squelch is close, but is more related to walking through a bog and the noise you make as you step on the bog, not because of the water in your shoes.

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    The sound of my mud and river water filled boots squelching on the road with my footsteps was annoying the crap out of me. Sounds good to me. I think you're making a mistake by ruling out squelch. Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 11:57
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    Squash, squish, slosh, sloosh—any of a number of onomatopoeic words will do.
    – Robusto
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 12:10
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    Generally "squish" for shoes that are not mostly filled with water, "slosh" for shoes that are filled with water (or nearly so). But there are a number of other terms. Whatever sounds good. ("Squelch" has a different, more common. and contradictory meaning that could easily confuse the reader.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 12:50
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    Yeah, @FumbleFingers is right, I would go with squelch - to emit or move with a sucking sound
    – Yeshe
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 13:48
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    @Robusto: Curious. Even more curious, it seems that in the British corpus, shoes that squish are still somewhat behind those that squelch, despite having taken the US by storm several decades ago. To me (because I'm a Brit?) both squish and squash are much more associated with deforming under pressure (i.e. - squishing a bug under your thumb). But as you said in the first place, any of a number of onomatopoeic words will do. Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 19:51

7 Answers 7


Squelch is exactly the word you're looking for, so don't rule it out! As the link (dictionary.reference.com) gives in definition 4:

to tread heavily in water, mud, wet shoes, etc., with such a [splashing] sound

Personally, I think the word "splashing" is incorrect. From "splash" I infer a water-on-water sound, whereas a "squelch" is an air-through-water sound.

With regards to the other meaning of squelch, there is unlikely to be any confusion. The "to crush something" meaning is transitive, the "watery noise" meaning is intransitive; hence in any one sentence only one meaning can be interpreted. Additionally the context of "mud" and "shoes" makes the "watery noise" meaning clear.

Both meanings are sufficiently common that very few people would hear "after falling the river my shoes squelched for the rest of the hike" and wonder as to why your shoes were crushing something.

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    This is exactly the first word that comes to my mind. Your rubber boots can squelch through mud, or your feet can squelch in your wet sneakers, or your feet can squelch in your wet sneakers squelching in mud. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:13
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    I had no idea it had so many definitions. To me it's a dial on a radio (#8).
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 17:58
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    Absolutely right because squelch refers to the water having gotten into the boots. This is not British English: it's just English, folks.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 19:16

Slosh -- verb: to splash or move through water, mud, or slush; noun: the lap or splash of liquid (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, 2010, senses 1 and 6, respectively).

  • @Mari-LouA - Thanks for explaining what's going on at thefreedictionary. By the way, I did quote the definitions "to splash or move through etc." But I will try to make that clearer now. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 12:28
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    Sloshing is what happens when you walk through a bog wearing shoes a couple of sizes too big. (Sloshing refers to a mass of water moving around, not the sound it makes. You hear it sloshing around in there.)
    – Tom Hundt
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 20:11
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    Deleted as promised. I think sloshing water does kinda sound like a slosh sometimes. I suppose it does refer to more water than might fit in a snugly fit shoe. I'm not so sure aboot the boot. Also to build upon what Mari-Lou A said about The F.D., there are several other websites which are similar, like Wordnik and Dictionary.com so it's always good to check to see if another source is cited. If using :google's define to do a verbatim search with quotes around the definition. One other reason to cite the print dictionary is so people can find the definition offline, if it's ever necessary .
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:23
  • @Tonepoet - I'm leaning more and more toward squelch, myself, because of what you said about the snug fit. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:39

The word squish may apply:

To emit the gurgling or sucking sound of soft mud being walked on. (v Intr.)


A squishing sound. (n)

I might suggest a search of "squish sound" for sound files to determine if these evoke the OP's conception of the sound.


What about the term splosh, in its noun form oxford defines it as:

A soft splashing sound

you could use it in a sentence such as:

'With each step you could hear the faint splosh of his waterlogged shoes as he walked home in the rain.'


Squeaking and squishing.

The squeaking comes from the wet leather pieces rubbing against each other, and the squishing from water being squeezed from one part of the shoe to the other by the action of walking.

If you get mud in said shoes, the squishing turns to squooshing. LOL!



According to TIME Magazine's 15 Forgotten Words article, chork is the word I'm looking for.

chork (v.): to make the noise that feet do when one’s shoes are full of water.

Example: “Caught in the rainstorm with no shelter, he was soon chorking his way toward a terrible cold.” Leave it to the Scots, in all their rainy brooding, to have a word for that sloshy squeezing between the toes.

  • the Scottish National Dictionary defines Chork as making a squelching noise... so it's a direct synonym, and obsolete from the 1920s. dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/chork Good word though.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 16:52

Squelch is by far the most appropriate word, but unfortunately for this contest it already exists. I like the sound of:


As an onomatopoeia, the metatars- is the downstroke of the foot, and the -squelch describes the sucking-sounding upstroke.

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