Sneaking around is a skill that all spies need to master. After all, it’s tough to steal secrets if you’re clomping about like an elephant in clogs. Almost anyone can learn to move more stealthily. It just takes a bit of practice and following these simple guidelines…
Keep your shoes soft
Tennis shoes may be called “sneakers,” but if they squeak like a family of mice, switch to something quieter. No high heels, no cowboy boots, and as for tap shoes? Leave ‘em in your dance class.
Keep it tight
In general, it’s best to wear tight clothing — shirts, skirts, and pants that don’t rustle or swish as you walk. Creeping about in corduroys? Not so smart. And nylon’s not the best either.
If for some reason you’ve got noisy clothes and can’t change them, try walking at an angle to your target, rather than straight on. If you keep your legs widely spread and walk in an X fashion, you’ll be less likely to make noise.
Warm up first
Before you sneak, make sure to rotate your feet around at the ankles (both directions). That way, your ankles won’t pop as you walk, sounding like distant firecrackers and alerting the bad guys to your presence.
Preparation is key
Scout the area beforehand if at all possible. That way you’ll know what floorboards creak and which obstacles might lie in your way. This is especially important if you’re planning to sneak about at night.
Having an asthma attack or a bad head cold? You might want to delay your stealth mission. If the bad guys can hear you breathing, it doesn’t matter how quietly you walk. In general, breathe through your mouth to keep the noise down.
Lose the janglies
Many a good spy has been betrayed by fashion — those groovy gold chains that clink, those earrings that tinkle. To move more silently, first take off anything you wear that might make a sound. And this goes for your pockets as well. Remove keys, spare change, and anything that clinks or clatters.
Mind your step
When you’re creeping along, pay close attention to what you’re walking on. If you’re sneaking up on the enemy compound from outside, be sure to walk on plain dirt or live grass, if you can. Avoid twigs, leaves, and other things that rustle or snap.
If you’re creeping about indoors, stick to carpeting and avoid wooden floors, which may creak. To keep down the noise, stick close to walls. When going downstairs, walk on the outside or inside of the steps — never in the center.
Follow good form
When walking, keep your arms up for balance. If they’re down at your side and you’re moving slowly, you may lose your balance and step wrong. Walk slowly and deliberately, planting first the heel, then the toe.
And if you think you might need to make a break for it, walk with knees bent in a half-crouch. That way, you’ll be ready to move quickly if you have to.
When it comes to opening doors, follow safe procedures to stay quiet. First, apply upward pressure on the knob to stop it from squeaking. Turn the doorknob slowly, so that the bolt is fully withdrawn before you open the door. And when you shut it, follow the same procedure in reverse.
Watch out for Fido!
Know what critters might be around before you sneak, and you’ll avoid an unpleasant surprise. Like the time trainee spy Max Segredo discovered a Bengal tiger in an office he was investigating. (Nice kitty!)
You’ll want to avoid animals that will react to your presence and make noise or sound an alarm. That means learning of any dogs, cats, or lions that may live where you’re spying.
And that’s all. Happy sneaking!