How To Clean Golf Shoes

Keeping your golf shoes clean is not just about aesthetics; it's essential for their longevity and performance on the course.

Discover the best methods for cleaning leather, canvas, and mesh golf shoes below, and keep reading for a detailed guide on maintaining your shoes in top condition.

Why Clean Golf Shoes?

Cleaning your golf shoes goes beyond keeping them looking sharp for your next round.

It's a crucial practice that impacts not only the appearance but also the durability and functionality of your footwear.

Extend Lifespan and Maintain Performance

Regular cleaning of your golf shoes is key to extending their lifespan.

Dirt, mud, and grass that accumulate on and in your shoes can degrade the materials over time, leading to quicker wear and tear.

For leather shoes, this means the leather can dry out and crack if not properly cleaned and conditioned.

Canvas and mesh shoes may lose their shape and integrity, affecting how they fit and perform during a game.

By keeping your shoes clean, you ensure the materials retain their quality and functionality, providing you with stable footing and comfort for many games to come.

Prevent Buildup of Dirt, Grime, and Bacteria

Dirt and moisture are a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant odors and the potential for fungal infections such as athlete's foot.

When you clean your golf shoes regularly, you remove these harmful elements, ensuring your shoes remain hygienic and safe to wear.

This is especially important for shoes that have been through wet or muddy conditions.

Allowing shoes to dry properly and treating them with the right cleaning solutions can prevent these issues, keeping your feet healthy and your shoes in better condition.

Keep Shoes Looking Their Best on and Off the Course

The aesthetic aspect cannot be overlooked.

Clean golf shoes make a statement about the golfer wearing them, reflecting a sense of pride and respect for the game.

Whether you're playing a casual round with friends or participating in a tournament, the condition of your shoes can set the tone for your appearance.

Furthermore, maintaining the original look of your shoes can also enhance your enjoyment of the game, making you feel more confident and put-together.

Preparing to Clean Your Golf Shoes

Before diving into the cleaning process, setting the stage correctly ensures that your golf shoes get the care they deserve.

Preparing to clean your golf shoes is a straightforward but crucial step in maintaining their appearance and functionality.

This preparation phase is about getting everything you need ready and understanding the importance of each item in the cleaning arsenal.

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

The first step is to assemble all the necessary cleaning supplies.

This includes a soft-bristled brush, which is gentle enough not to damage the material of your shoes but effective in removing loose dirt and debris.

A cloth is needed for applying cleaning solutions and wiping away grime.

Gentle soap is essential for most cleaning tasks; it should be mild enough not to degrade the shoe materials.

Leather conditioner is a must-have for leather shoes, helping to keep the leather supple and prevent cracking.

A mild detergent is suitable for canvas and mesh shoes, offering a deep clean without harsh chemicals.

Baking soda and vinegar are natural cleaning agents that can tackle tougher stains and odors without the use of specialized cleaners.

Each of these supplies plays a role in addressing different cleaning needs, from routine maintenance to addressing specific issues like stains or odors.

Removing Laces and Insoles for a Thorough Clean

An often overlooked but vital step in preparing your golf shoes for cleaning is removing the laces and insoles.

This allows for a more thorough cleaning, as dirt and bacteria can hide in the crevices underneath the insoles and within the laces.

Removing these parts not only enables you to clean the shoes more effectively but also allows you to inspect and clean the laces and insoles separately.

Laces can be soaked and washed to remove grime, while insoles can be aired out and cleaned to prevent odors and bacterial growth.

Additionally, taking these parts out of the shoes ensures that you can reach every nook and cranny of the shoe, providing a comprehensive clean that maintains the hygiene and comfort of your footwear.

Cleaning Leather Golf Shoes

Leather golf shoes offer a classic look and durable wear on the course, but they require special care to maintain their appearance and longevity.

Cleaning leather golf shoes is a meticulous process that, when done correctly, can significantly extend their life and keep them looking as good as new.

Step-by-Step Guide: Pre-Cleaning, Cleaning, Rinsing, Conditioning

  1. Pre-Cleaning: Begin by removing any loose dirt and debris from the surface of the shoes using a soft-bristled brush. This step is crucial for preventing scratches or damage to the leather when applying cleaning solutions. Pay special attention to the creases and crevices where dirt can accumulate.
  2. Cleaning: Mix a solution of gentle soap and warm water. Dampen a soft cloth in this solution and wring it out so it’s not overly wet. Gently scrub the leather surfaces of the shoes with the cloth, working in a circular motion. For stubborn dirt or stains, you may need to apply a little more pressure, but always be cautious not to damage the leather.
  3. Rinsing: After thoroughly cleaning the shoes, take a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any soap residue. It’s important to ensure all soap is removed, as leftover soap can dry out and crack the leather.
  4. Conditioning: Once the shoes are clean and free of soap, apply a leather conditioner. This step is vital for keeping the leather soft, supple, and protected. Use a clean cloth to apply the conditioner in a thin, even layer over the entire shoe. Allow the conditioner to penetrate the leather; this usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Tips for Drying and Avoiding Direct Sunlight

  • Drying: After cleaning and conditioning, place the shoes in a well-ventilated area to dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources, such as hair dryers, as this can cause the leather to warp or crack. If the shoes are particularly wet, stuffing them with newspaper can help absorb moisture from the inside. Replace the newspaper every few hours until the shoes are dry.
  • Avoiding Direct Sunlight: Never dry leather shoes in direct sunlight. The sun can fade the color of the leather and cause it to become brittle and crack over time. Instead, choose a cool, shaded area where air can circulate freely around the shoes.

Maintaining Canvas Golf Shoes

Canvas golf shoes are known for their lightweight and breathable design, making them a popular choice for golfers, especially in warmer climates.

However, their material can also attract dirt and stains, necessitating regular cleaning to keep them in top condition.

The process of maintaining canvas golf shoes involves careful cleaning, rinsing, and drying to ensure they last longer without losing their appeal or functionality.

Detailed Instructions: Brushing Off Dirt, Washing, Rinsing, and Drying

The first step in cleaning canvas golf shoes is to remove any excess dirt and debris.

This can be done with a soft-bristled brush, gently brushing away from the surface to avoid pushing dirt deeper into the fabric.

Pay special attention to areas where dirt tends to accumulate, such as the seams and around the sole.

Once the loose dirt is brushed off, it's time to move on to washing.

Create a cleaning mixture using mild detergent and warm water.

The solution should be sudsy but not overly concentrated, as too much detergent can leave residue on the canvas.

Use a soft cloth or a soft brush to apply the solution to the shoes, scrubbing gently to avoid damaging the fabric.

Focus on stained or particularly dirty areas, applying a bit more pressure if necessary, but always be mindful of the canvas's durability.

After thoroughly scrubbing the shoes, rinse them with clean water.

It's important to remove all soap to prevent any residue from attracting more dirt or affecting the canvas's color.

You can rinse the shoes under a gentle stream of water or use a damp cloth to wipe away the soap, ensuring you cover all cleaned areas.

Drying canvas shoes properly is crucial.

Never use direct heat or direct sunlight to dry them, as this can cause the canvas to shrink or the colors to fade.

Instead, allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

If the shoes are excessively wet, you can stuff them with paper towels or a towel to absorb the moisture.

This also helps in maintaining their shape as they dry.

How to Avoid Damaging Canvas During the Cleaning Process

When maintaining canvas golf shoes, there are several precautions you can take to avoid damaging them.

Always use a gentle, mild detergent and avoid bleach or harsh chemicals that can degrade the canvas fibers or alter the shoe's color.

Scrubbing too hard can also damage the material, so use a soft touch and a brush or cloth that won't be too abrasive.

Be cautious with water exposure.

While canvas shoes need to be rinsed, soaking them for extended periods can weaken the fabric and affect the adhesives used in the shoe's construction.

After cleaning, ensure the shoes dry completely before wearing them again to prevent mold or mildew from developing in damp areas.

Care for Mesh Golf Shoes

Mesh golf shoes are favored for their breathability and lightweight design, making them ideal for hot days on the golf course.

However, their unique material also means they require special care to keep them clean and in good condition.

Properly caring for mesh golf shoes involves a series of steps that ensure they are thoroughly cleaned without compromising their integrity.

Steps for Cleaning Mesh Golf Shoes

  1. Removing Laces and Insoles: Start by taking out the laces and insoles. This allows for a more detailed cleaning of the shoes, ensuring no dirt or odor is trapped inside.
  2. Brushing Off Dirt: Before applying any water or cleaning solution, use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any surface dirt or debris from the mesh. This step helps prevent rubbing the dirt deeper into the fabric during the washing process.
  3. Using a Soap Solution: Mix a mild detergent with warm water to create a gentle cleaning solution. Dip a soft cloth or a soft brush into the solution and lightly scrub the mesh areas of the shoes. Be cautious not to oversaturate the mesh, as excessive water can damage the material.
  4. Rinsing: After scrubbing, gently rinse the mesh with clean water to remove any soap residue. It's important to do this thoroughly to avoid leaving any detergent behind, which can attract more dirt.
  5. Air Drying: Let the shoes air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Stuffing the shoes with paper towels or a towel can help them maintain their shape and absorb excess moisture. Avoid using heat sources to dry the shoes, as this can damage the mesh.

Importance of Gentle Cleaning to Maintain Mesh Integrity

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Strong detergents and chemicals can break down the fibers of the mesh, causing it to weaken or fray. Always opt for a mild cleaning solution.
  • Soft Cleaning Tools: Use tools that are gentle on the mesh to avoid causing tears or damage. A soft brush or cloth is ideal for this material.
  • Minimal Water: While it's necessary to use water for cleaning, it's crucial to avoid soaking mesh shoes. Excessive water can compromise the glue and other materials holding the shoe together.
  • No Direct Heat or Sunlight for Drying: High temperatures can alter the shape of the shoes and damage the mesh. Natural, room-temperature air drying is the safest method.

Cleaning Golf Shoe Spikes

Maintaining the spikes on your golf shoes is just as important as taking care of the shoe's upper materials.

The spikes are crucial for providing traction and stability during your swing, but they can easily become clogged with dirt, grass, and mud, affecting their performance.

Techniques for Removing Dirt and Grime

The process of cleaning your golf shoe spikes begins with removing any loose dirt and debris.

A stiff brush or an old toothbrush is perfect for this task, as it allows you to get into the small spaces between the spikes.

It's essential to do this gently to avoid damaging the spikes or the sole of the shoe.

For dirt that is compacted or difficult to remove, you might need to use a pointed tool, like a tee or a spike cleaning tool, to carefully dislodge the debris.

This should be done with care to avoid scratching or damaging the sole of the shoe.

After the loose dirt has been removed, you can move on to a more thorough cleaning.

For spikes that are particularly dirty or have a buildup of grime, soaking might be necessary.

Prepare a solution of warm water and a mild detergent, and let the soles of the shoes soak for a few minutes.

This will help to loosen any remaining dirt, making it easier to scrub away.

Advice on Soaking and Scrubbing Spikes Without Causing Damage

When soaking and scrubbing the spikes, it's crucial to avoid immersing the entire shoe in water, especially if they are not designed to be waterproof.

Focus on the soles and spikes only. After soaking, use a soft brush to gently scrub the spikes and the surrounding area on the sole.

This will help to remove any dirt that has been softened by the soaking process.

It's important to rinse the soles and spikes thoroughly after scrubbing to ensure that all detergent and loosened dirt are washed away.

Once clean, allow the shoes to air dry naturally, avoiding direct heat sources or sunlight, which could damage the shoe or cause the spikes to become brittle.

Tackling Stubborn Stains

Even with regular cleaning, golf shoes can acquire stubborn stains that resist standard cleaning methods.

Whether it's grass, mud, or something more mysterious, these stains can mar the appearance of your shoes and prove challenging to remove.

However, with the right approach and some patience, you can tackle these tough stains and restore your shoes to their former glory.

Natural Solutions for Tough Stains: Baking Soda Paste and Vinegar-Water Solution

For those persistent stains, natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar can be surprisingly effective.

Baking soda is known for its gentle abrasive properties and ability to break down dirt and absorb odors.

To use it, mix baking soda with a little water to create a paste.

Apply this paste directly to the stain and gently rub it in with a soft brush or cloth.

Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water.

This method works well for both canvas and leather shoes, but it's always a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Vinegar, especially white vinegar, is another natural cleaning agent that can help lift stubborn stains.

Mix equal parts water and vinegar to create a solution. Using a soft cloth, apply this solution to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes.

The acidity of the vinegar can help break down the stain, making it easier to wipe away.

After treating the stain, rinse the area well with water to remove any lingering vinegar smell.

This method is particularly effective on canvas and mesh shoes but use it sparingly on leather to avoid drying out the material.

When to Use Specialized Cleaners

While natural solutions are effective for many types of stains, there are times when a specialized cleaner may be necessary.

This is particularly true for oil-based stains, paint, or other substances that natural cleaners can't tackle.

Specialized shoe cleaners are formulated to deal with a wide range of stains and materials, including leather, canvas, and synthetic fabrics.

When choosing a specialized cleaner, look for one that's suitable for the material of your shoes and follow the instructions carefully.

Always test the cleaner on a small, hidden area of the shoe first to ensure it doesn't cause discoloration or damage.

For leather shoes, consider using a cleaner specifically designed for leather, as these products will clean without stripping away the natural oils that keep the leather supple.

For canvas and mesh shoes, a general shoe cleaner that targets tough stains can be effective.

Remember, after using any cleaner, it's important to let your shoes dry naturally away from direct heat and sunlight to prevent damage.

Regular Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance of your golf shoes is crucial for keeping them in top condition, ensuring they last longer and continue to provide the support and comfort you need on the course.

This maintenance goes beyond just cleaning; it involves a series of practices aimed at preserving the shoes' structure, materials, and functionality.

Importance of Regular Cleaning, Especially After Exposure to Wet or Muddy Conditions

Regular cleaning is essential for preventing the buildup of dirt, grime, and moisture, which can degrade the materials of your shoes over time.

This is particularly important after playing in wet or muddy conditions.

Moisture can damage the shoe materials, leading to discomfort and a shortened lifespan for the shoes.

After a round in such conditions, it's advisable to clean your shoes as soon as possible.

Start by removing any mud and debris with a soft brush, then follow up with a more thorough cleaning based on the shoe's material, whether it's leather, canvas, or mesh.

Allowing shoes to dry properly after exposure to moisture prevents the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause odors and further damage.

Using Newspaper to Maintain Shape and Absorb Moisture, and the Benefits of Cedar Shoe Trees

One effective method for maintaining your golf shoes' shape and absorbing excess moisture is to stuff them with newspaper.

This simple trick is especially useful after cleaning your shoes or if they've become wet after a round.

The newspaper absorbs the moisture from the shoes, helping them to dry more quickly while also helping to maintain their shape.

However, for a more long-term solution to retaining shape and absorbing moisture, cedar shoe trees are invaluable.

Cedar shoe trees not only help the shoes retain their form but also absorb moisture and odors, thanks to cedar's natural properties.

They are an excellent investment for anyone looking to extend the life of their golf shoes.

The Importance of Rotating Shoes to Extend Their Lifespan

Rotating between different pairs of golf shoes can significantly extend their lifespan.

Wearing the same pair of shoes every time you play can accelerate wear and tear, as the materials don't have sufficient time to recover and dry out between rounds.

By having at least two pairs of golf shoes and alternating between them, you give each pair the chance to air out and return to its natural shape before being worn again.

This not only prolongs the life of your shoes but can also provide the opportunity to choose the best pair for the specific conditions of each round, whether you need more waterproofing, breathability, or comfort.

Dealing with Laces and Scuff Marks

Taking care of every part of your golf shoes, including the laces and addressing any scuff marks, is crucial for maintaining their overall appearance and functionality.

Laces can fray or soil over time, and scuff marks can detract from the shoes' appearance, but both issues can be addressed with some simple maintenance techniques.

Best Practices for Cleaning or Replacing Worn-Out Laces

The laces of your golf shoes can pick up dirt and show wear with regular use, affecting not just the look but also the functionality of the shoe.

Cleaning the laces is straightforward; remove them from the shoes and soak them in a mixture of mild detergent and warm water.

After soaking, gently rub the laces together to remove any embedded dirt, then rinse them thoroughly under clean water. Let them air dry completely before relacing your shoes.

If the laces are frayed or damaged, it's best to replace them.

New laces are inexpensive and can refresh the look of your shoes instantly.

When choosing replacement laces, ensure they are the correct length and style for your golf shoes to maintain the proper fit and appearance.

Gentle Methods to Remove Scuff Marks Without Damaging the Shoe

Scuff marks can appear on golf shoes regardless of how careful you are, but they can often be removed with gentle cleaning methods.

For leather shoes, a soft cloth dipped in a solution of water and mild soap can be effective.

Gently rub the scuffed area in a circular motion, then wipe away any residue with a damp cloth.

For more stubborn scuffs, specific leather cleaners or white vinegar diluted with water can be used, but always test on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure there's no discoloration or damage.

For canvas or mesh shoes, a gentle rub with a pencil eraser can lift scuff marks.

Stubborn marks may require a mild detergent solution and a soft brush, but be cautious not to saturate the material, as this can cause damage or discoloration.


Maintaining your golf shoes with regular cleaning, proper storage, and attentive care for details like laces and scuff marks is essential for their longevity and performance.

By adopting these simple yet effective maintenance practices, you can ensure your golf shoes remain in top condition, offering both comfort and style on the golf course.

Ultimately, the effort you put into caring for your golf shoes reflects your dedication to the game, enhancing your overall golfing experience.