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Walking silently is an art that most people have not successfully developed. With practice, one can improve and master the art of stealth.
- Get soft footwear. The harder your footwear, the louder the noise. The best type of footwear is socks or leather moccasins (tabi boots also work well). If you sweat too much in your socks, so that it makes noise, wear a double pair of socks. When at all possible, avoid bare feet (feet generally sweat and on flat surfaces, this creates lots of noise, as they stick to the floor) and hard-soled boots (because of their bulk and material, boots are more difficult to walk quietly in).
- Wear sparse, tight clothing like a speedo (if you are in the wood's it would be a good choice to wear a fishnet speedo because it can double as a mini ghillie suit if you stick leaves in the small holes). When walking, one's legs and clothes rub together creating noise. Minimizing your gear will prevent this.
- Breathe quietly. Unless congested, take slow and measured breaths from the nose. If congested, open your mouth wide and take deep controlled breaths. Never hold your breath while walking or running, always breathe.
- Watch the next place you will take a step. Be mindful of objects you are stepping on.
- Outside, try to walk on bare dirt or live grass. Dead foliage creates a perceptible "crunch" even when lightly stepped on. If you encounter an area where forced to walk through foliage, then pick the clearest path and proceed slowly, possibly bending over and removing obstructions from the location of the next step.
- Inside, stick to carpet or other flooring with padding underneath. Also walk close to the walls where the floors will creak less. Avoid wooden floors as much as you can.
- Match the cadence of the person you are following (i.e. when the person steps with his or her left foot, you use your left foot). This will help mask any noise your feet may make. Remember that sound travels at about 340 meters per second,(1116 ft/sec) depending on the temperature, so you might need to adjust your walk accordingly: Note the delay between the visual step and the sound of the step from the one you are following, and try to use the same delay for your steps, only the other way around - you must step slightly before the person you are following.
- Place the heel of your foot down first and roll your foot slowly and gently towards your toes onto the ground. The hips can be rotated slightly to make this technique easier. Walk on the outer edge of your shoes if possible. For more balance and support, bend low at the knees. If moving swiftly, run/leap from location to location in this manner. Avoid landing flatfooted. When moving backwards, this is reversed, so that the ball of the foot (the padded part just before the toes) is placed down first, and then the heel lowered to the ground. However, if speed is not an issue, walking flatfooted (putting your whole foot down at once) can be more quiet.
- Be sure your footwear fits properly. If your foot slides at all in your footwear, it can produce a squeaking noise, especially if your feet are sweaty.
- To walk silently with some speed: stand 90 degrees to the direction you want to go with your feet spread slightly. Take the foot opposite the direction you want to go, and, while balancing on your other foot, move it across, making an X shape with your legs. Then take the other foot and swing it out from behind back to the start position. This method allows you to walk silently even when wearing jeans, which usually make a lot of noise.
- A technique that ballet dancers, yogis, and various spies and martial artists use is a muscle located on the inside of your pelvis. To put it crudely, it's the muscle that allows you to hold in your urine. Tightening that muscle when walking allows you to move silently. Practice flexing the muscle frequently.
- The Fox Walk is a great way to walk silently in the woods. Put the facing out side of your foot on the ground, then slowly lower the rest of your foot down.
- Running on the balls of one's feet ('digitigrade') helps with speed and quietness, but be careful; this requires more strength in the feet and lower legs, and greater flexibility in the ankle and foot joints. It also requires better balance than normal movement, and creates a greater impression on softer surfaces (due to the weight being spread over a decreased surface area).
- If moving through a wooded area where dry twigs, brush, dense jungle or leaves will make absolute silence impossible (especially when carrying LBE or a weapon), move in small, erratic increments and pause. Small animals foraging (especially at night) typically move a short distance, pause to sniff for food or predators, and continue to move a short distance. Capitalize on any other sources of noise (gusts of wind, other animal movement, passing traffic) to suppress or camouflage sound.
- NOTE: When using this technique, DO NOT settle your weight during a pause. You must freeze in whatever position you happen to stop (encountering an obstacle in the bush or a necessary pause). Resting your body, or even a knee or hand for support, will cause an additional 'post-movement' sound that is both unnatural and reveals your body weight/size to be larger than a small animal. Try and pause in a body position that is somewhat comfortable and can be maintained for an extended period if you are potentially compromised.
- When climbing items such as trees and cliffs, be mindful of where your foot lands. Try to place the toes and front padding of the foot in between branches and on crevices of the cliff. If you are forced to step in the middle of a branch or push up the side of the cliff, do it slowly and proceed with caution. A little force may dislodge a shower of debris or break a twig alerting watchers.
- When walking through a house with wood floors, stick close to the wall to minimize creaking floorboards. The same is true for staircases.
- Avoid shifting your weight until your forward foot is quietly and firmly on the ground. This will require a considerable degree of balance and practice.
- When opening doors, apply pressure upwards on the handle to avoid squeaks. Also turn the handle so the bolt is completely withdrawn before applying any pressure to the door. Keep the handle pushed down while passing through the door, close the door, push it against the frame so the bolt will fit without snapping, then quietly release the handle.
- If unable to wear tight clothes, try to step without your pants rubbing together or rubbing against your skin as this can create noticeable noise in quiet situations. Wool clothing is quietest.
- Make sure your footwear is completely dry; not only can it squeak, but damp spots on the floor can alert someone to your presence.
- If you have problems with dragging your feet, then discipline yourself by walking around slowly with your shoelaces untied and dangling, creating noise if you don't raise and lower your feet. Warning: Do not attempt to do this quickly or carelessly, as you could trip and fall. Keep it slow, steady and measured.
- When you walk, you don't just walk with your foot; your entire body is involved, from arms and head for balance, to hips and torso for driving the leg movements, to the legs themselves for creating the distance. Play around with your stealth movements so that you build a picture of what works for you and what doesn't.
- Try Zig-Zagging as you walk: step with one foot, then step forward and to the side. Step the other direction. This method helps you keep more of your balance by equalizing your weight.
- Start on the outside of your heel and roll your foot diagonally, but don't overdo it and roll it just from the outside in.
- Before you start your walking, roll both of your feet around at the ankles a few times. This will make sure to get any 'pops' from your ankles out of the way. These 'pops' are the result of synovial fluid moving under the joints, similar to the action and sound that your knuckles make when you crack them. If you don't make sure to crack your ankles first, you may end up making some noise later on when you need silence.
- If you must make noise, perhaps because of loose clothing, try to make it as "natural" as possible. Short, sharp, or repetitious noises that characterize human movement can be broken into unrecognizable segments by varying your cadence or by dragging out the noise, making it more fluid and less human. This may be more applicable in urban environments where frequent background noise can mask your movements, allowing you to, in-effect, hide in the "shadows" of ambient noise.
- If your clothes make noise that cannot be helped, wait a moment before you walk, and try to take advantage of another distracting noise. Choose to move when another sound is more present, to mask your own noise.
- Though not noise-related, if you are walking up directly behind someone, be mindful of the shadow you cast. If there is a light-source behind you, your shadow will precede you, and be perceived instinctively by the subject. Using a crouched walking position will greatly minimize this risk.
- Tabi boots and moccasins work very well for sneaking around (They were used by Ninjas and Native Americans, both of these groups were experts at sneaking).
- When walking outdoors, look for rocks or roots, as they won't crunch like leaves or twigs. Slowly put weight onto it to be sure it won't shift or make noise. Once you are certain, put the rest of your weight down.
- Tense your thighs. This not only minimizes noise from your legs brishing against each other, but it helps you step lightly.
- If you are sneaking around a house or building, pay attention to how old it is, with older houses, you may make alot more noise staying crouched to the wall, as most older houses have meter long floor boards staying about 1m away from the wall whilst moving may be more usefull, and with newer houses, walking against the wall should not be a problem.
- Another way to get a swift silent movement is to watch where you put your arms when moving. Leaving arms dangling can cause un-balance leading to losing your balance and ultimatly your silence. Try not to use your hands and arms by balancing yourself on walls and such because you could knock something over and give away your presence. Instead when moving silently hold them out in a position that makes you feel comfortable and balanced, it makes all the difference.
- Stretch before you try to move silently, it is common that your joints and bones will click when trying to move silently because of the strain you are putting into doing so and this will give you away. Stretching will make you feel looser and stop anything clicking and givng away your presence.
- With knowledge of stealth, one is tempted to test one's skills. Do not use these skills to do anything illegal or harmful.
- If you sneak up on a person or an animal, he/she/it might get scared and instinctively attack you, before realizing that you mean no harm.
- Be wary of sand or other particulate matter, as small amounts may stick to your shoes when walking on or through it. If you step on a hard surface, the grains will cause a fairly loud noise when crushed. This isn't usually a problem with softer surfaces, but it is probably best to avoid it completely if possible.
- Be aware of what you're wearing; chains and keys that jingle could compromise you.
- Try not to practice this anywhere public at night because if you are seen by someone who doesnt know what you are doing thay could think you were up to no good.
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