How To Clean Golf Shoes: A Step By Step Guide

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If you're trying to figure out how to clean golf shoes, you're in the right place.

In this guide, we detail what we believe to be the most effective way to keep your cleats clean, plus mention a few top tips along to way to help ensure your shoes remain in great condition.

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We believe maintaining clean golf shoes will, not only extend their lifespan, but can also benefit your performance on the course by maximising the traction and grip they intend to provide.

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So, grab a pair of your best golf shoes, or your best Jordan golf cleats, and follow our top tips to get your footwear looking like new again ready for your next round.

How To Clean Golf Shoes

The following is what we believe to be the most effective way of cleaning a traditional pair of leather golf shoes, like these highly popular FootJoy Premiere Series cleats.

FootJoy product image of a pair of blue leather golf shoes.
Credit: Golfalot

However, we understand that golf shoes feature a huge array of materials these days, but we'll cover a few top tips when you encounter knitted fabric, for example, a little later on.

What You'll Need:

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  • Bowl
  • Mild soap
  • Soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush.
  • Cloth
  • Shoe cleaner
  • Old newspaper

Step 1: Before you start cleaning your shoes, remove the laces and place them in a basin of water and mild soap to soak while you continue with the rest of the process.

Top Tip: You can add a touch of baking powder if your shoes come with white laces to remove stubborn stains.

Step 2: Remove any excess dirt and grass from the shoes using a dry cloth, soft-bristled brush, or old toothbrush.

Step 3: Once you're satisfied the main bulk of dirt has been removed, begin to scrub away any remaining stains with a soft cloth dampened using lukewarm water and shoe cleaner like Angelus Easy Cleaner.

FootJoy golf shoes being cleaned with a brush and water.
Credit: FootJoy
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Step 4: If your shoes come with spikes, make sure you remove them completely and work away any dirt on the outsoles with another soft-bristled brush. If your golf shoes are spikeless, we'd still recommend cleaning the outsoles.

Top Tip: An old toothbrush works well for cleaning around the spikes, tracks, and inside any grooves.

Step 5: Once clean, remove the laces from their soak and leave them with your golf shoes to dry naturally, away from direct sunlight. Stuff your shoes with old newspaper to ensure they keep their shape and to help absorb excess water.

Top Tip: With your shoes now dry, you can apply several additional treatments in order to get the best finish. For example, you can use leather softener to restore moisture, or shoe polish for added shine.

White FootJoy golf shoes after being cleaned.
Credit: FootJoy

Step 6: We'd recommend adding shoe trees into your shoes after cleaning in order to help them maintain their shape.

Top Tip: You can also apply a protective shoe spray to minimise how often you need to clean your entire golf shoes. We'd recommend checking out Crep Protect. Use as per the manufacturers instructions.

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What About Other Materials?

As touched on above, golf shoe technology is constantly changing, with many manufacturers, including FootJoy themselves, moving away from full-grain leather golf shoes.

As a result, here are some of our top tips for when you encounter an alternative material.

Synthetic

Perhaps even more common than leather are synthetic golf shoes. For example, these Air Jordan Trainer ST G's come with TPU heel counters for added support.

Jordan Trainer ST G product image of a single white and blue spiked sneaker.
Credit: Nike

Fortunately, the same method of soap and water used for leather shoes should work for stubborn synthetic stains since both materials are relatively forgiving.

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Simply follow our guide above and your sneakers will look like new again.

Fabric

Knitted fabric is becoming increasingly common among golf shoes and is, unfortunately, a bit trickier to clean than leather.

As mentioned in our guide to cleaning football boots though, the method does remain mostly the same; however, we'd advise using slightly less water as the water can sometimes be retained a bit more compared to leather shoes.

Also, you may want to avoid using soap in the cleaning process because any chemicals in the soap might wear away any coating or finish applied to the uppers.

Moreover, if you notice any loose threads, we'd recommend not cutting them off as this can speed up the fraying process and could even lead to rips. For more on this, check out our guide to cleaning canvas and mesh shoes right here.

Suede

Although uncommon, some cleats, like these adidas Adicross V's featured in our best golf shoes under 100, include suede elements, a material which is notoriously difficult to clean.

adidas product image of a single brown and white shoe with a green sole.
Credit: adidas
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As mentioned in our guide to cleaning suede shoes though, we'd recommend using a suede brush or towel to clean away surface debris, working with the material rather than going against the grain.

You could also try a dedicated suede eraser to rub away any stubborn marks on the surface of your shoes as well.

What Should You Avoid Doing When Cleaning Golf Shoes?

When it comes to cleaning golf shoes, there are a number of dos and don'ts, so it's important to know what you shouldn't do to avoid irreversible damage.

Perhaps most important of all, avoid using a washing machine to clean your shoes. Unless their labels say otherwise, your golf shoes probably won't fare well from being cleaned this way long-term.

Also, avoid wire brushes for cleaning the uppers, particularly with leather cleats, as this can cause you to scratch the surfaces, thus leaving permanent marks.

In addition, while bleach can help clean your golf shoes more quickly, it can also damage your cleats in the long run, and even stain them in some cases.

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Finally, try and clean mud off your golf shoes as soon as possible because leaving the mud on them to dry can cause the leather to dry up and crack.

Read More: Best Golf Clubs - Our Top Picks