7 Words To Describe The Sound Of Footsteps (Onomatopoeia) (2023)

The sound of footsteps might appear in your writing, and you might want some exciting ways to describe them. That’s where onomatopoeia comes in. This article will explore the best sounds of footsteps that you might be able to use to take your writing to the next level.

Which Words Can Describe The Sound Of Footsteps?

There are a few good options we can use to describe the sound of footsteps. In this article, we’ll explore the following:

  • Clomp
  • Click
  • Tread
  • Tap
  • Pat
  • Footstep
  • Footfall
7 Words To Describe The Sound Of Footsteps (Onomatopoeia) (1)

The preferred version is “clomp” because it refers to the most substantial footstep noise. We use it to refer to heavy footsteps, and it’s an easily recognizable sound that many people use to describe a footstep. “Click” is also a good choice is the footsteps are much lighter.

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Let’s start with the preferred option to see what we can get out of it. “Clomp” is a great choice when you’re talking about very obvious, loud noises coming from footsteps.

You can use “clomp” when someone is making very obvious, heavy footsteps. The sound is usually able to echo across multiple places, and many people will know when somebody with a clomping footstep is coming.

The definition of “clomp,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to walk with heavy, loud steps.”

“Clomp” only ever refers to heavier footsteps. If you want to refer to more quiet options, you might be better off with a word further down this list.

You might see a clomp work in the following ways:

  • Clomp! Clomp! I could hear him coming towards me, but I could not see him.
  • Clomp! The sound of his footsteps was fast approaching. Clomp!
  • Clomp! Clomp! All of our footsteps were being echoed throughout the building as we marched.
  • Clomp! Clomp! I didn’t mean to step so loudly, but I couldn’t help it.


The “click” footstep is opposite to the “clomp” footsteps. They’re much quieter, which is why we think “clomp” and “click” are almost equal in effectiveness.

You can use “click” when you want to show that someone is making light, sharp sounds as they walk. It works best when that person is wearing light shoes (like high-heels) that will click when they meet the ground beneath them.

The definition of “click,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to make a short, sharp sound, or to make something do this.”

Of course, the material of the ground is very dependent on the “click” we might hear. Typically, stone and interior floors will cause “clicks,” while outside fields and muddy areas wouldn’t. It’s very dependent on the context whether a “click” or a “clomp” is correct.

You might see a lighter “click” as follows:

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  • Click! Clack! That was the sound of her footsteps as she walked across the halls.
  • The click from my shoes was so light I barely heard it.
  • Click! Click! I couldn’t keep up with the pace of those steps.
  • Click! Clack! He couldn’t slow down now, but he didn’t dare make a louder noise.


“Tread” works to both describe the sound of a footstep and describe the action of taking a footstep. However, this article will look at it as a sound above all else.

A “tread” is a noise we make when we move our feet. It can refer to both loud and quiet footsteps, and it’s more general than the ones we have seen above. However, “tread” isn’t directly onomatopoeic because the sound of a footstep doesn’t sound like “tread.”

The definition of “tread,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the sound that your feet make on the ground as you walk.”

“Tread” covers multiple types of sounds. We can refer to loud, clomping, or quiet, clicking noises as “treads.” However, it’s not the best option because it doesn’t directly refer to the sound that footsteps make.

You might be able to use “tread” like so:

  • The tread from my shoes was deafening, but I don’t understand why!
  • You shouldn’t be so obvious with your tread because it makes you easier to track.
  • Stop making those unbearable treading noises!
  • I can’t hear her tread anymore, so she must have gone into hiding.


Back to the onomatopoeic choices, we have a “tap.” A “tap” is another form of a light footstep that we may be able to use.

If you “tap,” it means you are hitting the floor softly and quickly with your feet or shoes. “Taps” are most common indoors, where it’s easy to hear a low echo of the tapping sound that might be coming from somebody’s feet.

The definition of “tap,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to hit something gently, and often repeatedly, especially making short, sharp noises.”

A “tap” is also a great word to use to refer to quick footsteps. This might be appropriate if we’re trying to recreate the noise of someone running away from something.

A tap could occur in the following ways:

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  • Tap! Tap! He was turning the corner, and I was losing track of his footsteps.
  • Tap! Tap! Please slow down! I need to talk to you.
  • Tip! Tap! I could hardly hear them anymore, but I knew I must be getting closer.
  • Tap! Tap! The sound from their shoes was almost too much to handle!


A “pat” is almost entirely synonymous with “tap.” We can use either to refer to short, sharp sounds that come out of a footstep. However, a “pat” also has one key difference to note.

A “pat” is a quick noise that a foot would make. However, the onomatopoeic word “pat” works best when talking about an open palm or open sole, meaning that most bare feet will use the word “pat” to describe the sound they make.

The definition of “pat,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to touch someone or something gently and usually repeatedly with the hand flat.”

Not many people would make a “patting” noise while wearing shoes. It’s much more common for the skin of the bare feet to “pat” against the ground while they’re moving.

A pat is similar to a tap, and it might work as follows:

  • Pat! Pat! He was running barefoot across the stone floor, and it gave him away.
  • Pat! Pat! I can still hear you!
  • Pat! Pat! Her shoes were making it much more obvious where she was trying to get to.
  • Pat! I think he’s going that way. Pat! Pat!


It’s worth mentioning that “footstep” itself is a great way to describe its own sound. It wouldn’t be fair to make a list without including it.

A footstep refers to any sound that a person makes while walking or running. It can be both clomping or clicking depending on the urgency or heaviness of their footsteps.

The definition of “footstep,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the sound made by a person walking as their foot touches the ground, or a step.”

Typically, we don’t use footsteps to refer to somebody running away. It doesn’t come with the same level of fear or urgency that other types of sounds on this list might have provided for us.

It’s more typically for footsteps to be lighter than most noises that our feet might make. We often use it to describe the sound of them moving away from us too, which shows that they’re not the loudest of noises.

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While not strictly onomatopoeic, you might hear a footstep as follows:

  • His footsteps were echoing through the valley.
  • We must be getting closer because I can hear the rushing footsteps in the distance.
  • The footsteps of all the soldiers were echoing all over the fields.
  • Those footsteps are menacing, but I don’t know where they’re coming from.


Finally, let’s go over “footfall.” It works in a very similar way to “footstep,” but a “footfall” is almost always a much louder and much more uproarious noise.

A footfall is often attributed to a crowd of people walking or marching. We use “footfall” to denote the action of someone’s “foot” “falling” to the ground and creating a loud noise as they move.

The definition of “footfall,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “the sound of a person’s foot hitting the ground as they walk.”

A “footfall” doesn’t strictly have to refer to loud, uproarious footsteps. It also doesn’t have to refer to a crowd moving. However, it works best when you really want to emphasize how powerful someone’s footsteps might be.

You could also use “footfall” to refer to a single person, as long as their footsteps are imposing enough. Generally, a “footfall” is more like a “clomp” than it is a “click,” so we tend to lean more toward heavy footsteps.

Just like “footstep,” we might use “footfall” in a similar fashion:

  • The chorus of footfall was too intimidating, and I didn’t know how to respond to it.
  • The footfall from the crowd was something else entirely!
  • His footfall was quickening, but I didn’t know where I could go to hide.
  • I like to listen to my footfall while I’m trying to get through the city.

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How do you describe footsteps in onomatopoeia? ›

If the sound is not necessarily high-pitched (ruling out "click") and is not heavy (ruling out "clomp"), then you might use tapping or patter (repeated tapping) or pitter-patter/pit-a-pat. Save this answer. Show activity on this post. "I heard the tip-tap of her footsteps..."

How would you describe a footstep? ›

the setting down of a foot, or the sound so produced; footfall; tread. the distance covered by a step in walking; pace. a footprint. a step by which to ascend or descend.

How would you describe the sound of shoes? ›

'Creak' is a squeaking sound that is produced when pressure is applied while walking or moving along a surface. Since the shoes apply pressure to the surface while walking the squeaky sound produced is called a 'creak'.

What is the sound word of walking? ›

A footstep is the sound made by someone's feet touching the ground when they are walking or running. They heard footsteps in the main room.

What sound does footsteps make? ›

the sound your feet make when you walk [usually plural]

make a noise: crunch, echo, ring, soundShe could hear her footsteps ringing on the cobbles and the pounding of her breath.

What are the different types of footsteps? ›

If by chance the practitioner ever attentive to all these questions, you should pay attention to the placement of your foot, and there are three types of feet and footsteps where the former are divided into: flat feet (flat), arched (concave) and normal and the footsteps being separated into: neutral, supine (out), ...

How do you describe quiet steps? ›

To move quietly - thesaurus
  1. pad. verb. to walk with quiet light regular steps.
  2. sneak. verb. to move somewhere quietly and secretly so that no one can see you or hear you.
  3. slink. verb. to go somewhere slowly and quietly so that people will not notice you.
  4. prowl. verb. ...
  5. creep. verb. ...
  6. slip. verb. ...
  7. steal. verb. ...
  8. creep. verb.

How do you describe someone walking fast? ›

Synonym Chooser

Some common synonyms of speedy are expeditious, fast, fleet, hasty, quick, rapid, and swift. While all these words mean "moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity," speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment and may also suggest unusual velocity.

What is sound of running feet? ›

Sound of Running Feet is the narrator of the novel. She is a 14-year-old Nez Perce girl and the daughter of Chief Joseph, the chief of the Nez Perce. She grew up in Wallowa, her ancestral homeland, but white soldiers attack her tribe, forcing her to flee.

How many sounds are in shoe? ›

“phoneme” is a speech sound. The word “mop” has 3 phonemes: /m/ /o/ /p/; the word “shoe” has 2 phonemes: /sh/ /u/. The number of phonemes may not correspond to the number of letters in the word.

What is the sound a foot makes when stepping into the mud? ›

squish Add to list Share. When you squish through a muddy field, your feet make sucking, sloppy sounds as they move. If your sneakers get wet in the rain, you'll have to squish down the street. The verb squish is perfect for describing a walk through any muddy or wet situation.

What are walking words? ›

  • tread.
  • stroll.
  • step.
  • saunter.
  • wander.
  • march.
  • traipse.
  • hike.

How many sounds are in Walk? ›

So though it's written with four different symbols, it's really just three sounds: ww, rr, kk. And walk, ww, aw, kk. So the difference in these words is the middle sound, rrr, and aw [ɔ]. For the rr sound, the tongue pulls up and back some.

How would you describe the sound of walking on leaves? ›

rustling Add to list Share. A rustling is a gentle swishing sound, like the rustling of leaves in the trees on a breezy night.

What are synonyms for footsteps? ›

  • footstep.
  • footsteps.
  • gait.
  • march.
  • pace.
  • step.
  • stride.
  • trace.

What frequency is a footstep? ›

The seismic particle velocity response to footsteps was shown to be site specific and the characteristic frequency band was 20-90 Hz.

What does heavy footsteps mean? ›

(ˈheviˈfutɪd) adjective. clumsy or ponderous, as in movement or expressiveness.

What type of word is footsteps? ›

Footsteps is a noun - Word Type.

What is the collection of footsteps called? ›

A "trackway" is a set of footprints in soft earth left by a life-form; animal tracks are the footprints, hoofprints, or pawprints of an animal.

What is one word for walking quietly? ›

creep to walk slowly and without making any noise, because you don't want people to hear or notice you: He crept out of his bedroom and down the stairs. I heard someone creeping about.

What's a word for walking slowly? ›

saunter. verb. to walk in a slow and relaxed way.

How do you silence footsteps? ›

Keep your body compact, and distribute your weight evenly so you don't clunk your feet noisily against the ground. Walk toe to heel. Place the toe of your foot down first and slowly, gently roll your foot toward your heel and onto the ground. Your body weight should rest primarily over your back leg.

How would you describe the act of walking? ›

Walking is defined by an 'inverted pendulum' gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step. This applies regardless of the usable number of limbs—even arthropods, with six, eight, or more limbs, walk.

What is the word for walking tempo? ›

The word andante, particularly common in classical music, is sometimes described as "at a walking pace." An andante movement in a symphony is faster than adagio but slower than allegro.

What is the speed of sound in feet? ›

At 0° Centigrade and 1.013 x 105 Newtons per square meter (normal atmospheric pressure), the speed of sound is 331.5 meters/sec, i.e. 1087 ft/sec or 740 miles/hour. At 20°C (68°F) the speed is 1130 ft/sec or 344 m/sec.

How do you write running feet? ›

Running feet is calculated based on the length of the compound wall, hence the one dimensional measurement of length.
  1. You can place the inch-tape at one end of the wall.
  2. Drag it to the other edge.
  3. Note down the length, that's it. This is the running feet of the wall.
Aug 20, 2021

What is the vowel sound in shoe? ›

The O in the words“who” and “shoe” also produces the “oo” sound.

What are the sounds of words? ›

Each sound that you hear in a word is a Phoneme. It's the smallest unit of sound that makes up a complete word. This is not to be confused with the letter itself; Phonemes are only the sounds made. It's important to understand that Phonemes can be made of more than one letter.

How many sounds are in a word? ›

Despite there being just 26 letters in the English language there are approximately 44 unique sounds, also known as phonemes. The 44 sounds help distinguish one word or meaning from another. Various letters and letter combinations known as graphemes are used to represent the sounds.

What are 44 sounds in English? ›

English contains 19 vowel sounds—5 short vowels, 6 long vowels, 3 diphthongs, 2 'oo' sounds, and 3 r-controlled vowel sounds—and 25 consonant sounds. The following lists provide sample words to use when teaching the sounds of the English language.

Why do my feet make noise when I walk? ›

If you hear crunching when walking or flexing your ankles, you probably have osteoarthritis. That's when the protective cartilage between bones wears down, and two bones rub against each other. It's a common condition in older adults that can affect your toes and feet as well as your ankles.

What is the sound of something falling to the ground? ›

Thud. The sound of something heavy falling and hitting the ground.

What is muddy sound? ›

One of the most common complaints from people new to mixing is, “my mix sounds muddy.” It's frustrating—muddy sound means a lack of clarity and definition with poor separation between instruments.

What are 5 synonyms walking? ›

synonyms for walk
  • hike.
  • jaunt.
  • parade.
  • step.
  • stretch.
  • stroll.
  • tour.
  • airing.

What is 8 walking? ›

Procedure To Do “8” Shaped Walking Exercise:

Walk North to South and South to North clockwise and anticlockwise 15 minutes each. Practice “8” shaped walking first and then you may do some simple exercise and breathing exercise. During this walk we will necessarily concentrate on walking in the 8 shape line.

What is the 3 form of walk? ›

You walked. He/she walked. We walked. They walked.

What are the 24 sounds? ›

English has 24 consonant sounds. Some consonants have voice from the voicebox and some don't. These consonants are voiced and voiceless pairs /p/ /b/, /t/ /d/, /k/ /g/, /f/ /v/, /s/ /z/, /θ/ /ð/, /ʃ/ /ʒ/, /ʈʃ/ /dʒ/. These consonants are voiced /h/, /w/, /n/, /m/, /r/, /j/, /ŋ/, /l/.

What is a 10 minute walk? ›

A ten-minute walk is commonly considered to be half a mile, which is the distance the National Park Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses when they link park access and public health.

What is the phonetic symbol for walk? ›

Modern IPA: wóːk. Traditional IPA: wɔːk. 1 syllable: "WAWK"

How do you write sound effects? ›

Write out the action and when the story comes to the sound effect, write the sound effect in all capitalized letters. Because these sound effects fall under the category of diegetic sound, they should be written as onomatopoeia rather than the description of the sound effect itself.

How do you describe the chime sound? ›

The sound of bells ringing, like church bells on a Sunday morning, can be called tintinnabulation. You can describe similar sounds that way, too — like the telephone's tintinnabulation or the tintinnabulation of your sister's silver bracelets tinkling together as she walks.

What are the onomatopoeia sounds for wind? ›

The group of words related to different sounds of wind is swish, swoosh, whiff, whoosh, whizz, whisper etc. Poets use onomatopoeia to access the reader's auditory sense and create rich soundscapes.

Is stomping a onomatopoeia? ›

Examples of Onomatopoeia:

When pronounced, “stomp” sounds like a stomp; “clap” sound like a clap; “snap” sound like a snap. Onomatopoeias are frequently used in poetry as a way to create sound interest and double meaning.

How do you explain footsteps in a story? ›

Describing Footsteps

For me, the go-to is usually type of footwear (if it can be known or guessed by the hearer), the sound the footfalls make on the walking surface, and how the sound reverberates off of any surroundings.

What sound do leaves make when you step on them? ›

Dry, fallen leaves make a rustling or crunching sound when you walk through them.

What are the 10 examples of onomatopoeia? ›

Get a look at some funny oxymoron examples.
  • Bang. The band AJR's hit, pairing the repetition of the word “bang” with actual explosive uses of percussion, drives home this onomatopoeia example. ...
  • Boom. ...
  • Buzz. ...
  • Clang. ...
  • Click/Clack. ...
  • Crunch. ...
  • Fizz. ...
  • Hiccup/Hiccough.
Aug 2, 2021

How do you describe foot stomping? ›

to put a foot down on the ground hard and quickly, making a loud noise, often to show anger: The little boy was stomping his foot and refusing to take his medicine. She stood by the road, stomping her feet to stay warm.

What is onomatopoeia give 2 examples? ›

Onomatopoeia definition: a word that sounds like the noise it describes. Some onomatopoeia examples include the words boing, gargle, clap, zap, and pitter-patter.

How do you use Footsteps in a sentence? ›

You make your own footsteps. Consider following in his footsteps. She followed in her footsteps.

What is the sound of trees called? ›

A rustling is a gentle swishing sound, like the rustling of leaves in the trees on a breezy night.

What is the sound of wind called? ›

eolian sound, also spelled Aeolian, sound produced by wind when it encounters an obstacle. Fixed objects, such as buildings and wires, cause humming or other constant sounds called eolian tones; moving objects, such as twigs and leaves, cause irregular sounds.

What is the sound of wind in trees? ›

Trees provide some of the most common and admired ways for wind to make itself heard. This sound has been termed psithurism (sith-err-iz-um). The naturalist author and founding member of the RSPB, W.H. Hudson, suggests in Birds and Man (1901), that psithurism is salubrious.

Is chime an onomatopoeia? ›

The most common type of onomatopoeia uses real words that mimic sounds, such as bark, hiss, and chime.

What sound does a grandfather clock make onomatopoeia? ›

2. Tick-tock is almost universal for the sound that a clock makes.

How do you describe the sound a wind chime makes? ›

Chimes produce inharmonic sounds and are a meditation medium, the soothing “white noise” of melody. High quality meditation medium wind chimes hung at differing heights will produce notably louder or clearer tones. Wind chimes can be made of metal or wood, and in shapes such as rods or tubes.


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