How to clean soccer shoes: a step-by-step guide

If you are trying to find out How to clean soccer shoes-You have come to the right place.

With our step-by-step guide, you can have the best soccer shoes looking like new again with just a little bit of preparation and effort until they’re ready for your next match.

We recommend cleaning your shoes regularly because any buildup of mud can damage uppers, cause studs to rust, and perhaps, most of all, reduce your grip on the court.

However, here are the top tips for making your shoes look immaculate, as well as some important tips to ensure they stay looking great afterwards.

Whether you’re looking to clean up a classic pair of Adidas Predators, or you want to keep your new Tiempo Legend 9 looking new, we’ve got you covered here.

How to clean soccer shoes?

Similar to our guide on how to clean soccer cleats, the following method is the most effective way to clean a modern pair of synthetic soccer shoes.

Keep it up because we’ll also discuss any big differences to note when cleaning shoes made of other materials.

What you will need:

  • Plate
  • mild soap
  • shoe cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Newspaper
  • old toothbrush

Step 1: Before you start cleaning, remove the laces and place them in a bowl of warm water with a small amount of mild soap. Leave it there to soak while you continue the rest of the cleaning.

Step 2: Next, take your shoes outside and start threading the sole together to remove any big bits of dirt

Step 3: Once you remove the excess mud, take a soft-bristled brush, dip it into another mixture of warm water and mild soap, and then gently begin to remove any ingrained dirt. You can buy a dedicated shoe cleaner like Angelus Easy Cleaner if you prefer.

Most important tip: An old toothbrush works well for cleaning around studs and into any grooves. Metal studs must be completely removed and cleaned separately.

The fourth step: Then, wipe with a clean cloth. If there are any leftover wounds, you should be able to remove them simply by working away at the area with the cloth.

Fifth step: Once you are happy to remove all the mud, stuff the shoes with newspaper and allow them to dry naturally. You can also remove the laces from the water to let them dry as well at this point.

Most important tip: You may need to replace the newspaper if your shoes are particularly wet, so we advise you to keep some spare in case this happens.

Sixth step: When your shoes are dry, remove the newspaper, re-tie, and re-button if possible so they’re ready to be packed into the best gym bag for your next build.

What about other materials?

Nowadays, most soccer shoes are made of synthetic materials rather than leather. However, there are still some that stick to the classic construction, and others that are made of knitted fabric instead.

Here are some of our top tips when you come across an alternative material.


Fortunately, leather shoes are likely to be tougher than synthetic shoes, so you can use exactly the same technique as above for best results.

You can even take the cleaning process a step further and apply shoe polish, such as Kiwi shoe polish, or oil for added shine.

For example, you can apply black paint to the adidas Copa Mundial shoes on our list of the best under-100 soccer shoes, and this will not only help them maintain their color, but will also “nourish” the leather.

Credit: Pro: Direct Soccer

To learn more, check out our guide to cleaning leather shoes and the popular Crep Protect here to ensure your shoes stay in perfect condition for longer.


Although not necessarily fully knitted, most shoes these days come with some knitted sides, most notably around the collars.

For example, the Adidas Copa 20+ comes with knit collars for a comfortable lock-up, while the Nike Mercurial Vapor 14 Elite is made with a stripped-back version of Flyknit.

With knit shoes, we advise using a little less water because the knit side of them can lead to a little more water retention compared to synthetic shoes. This is something we cover in more detail in our guide to cleaning canvas and mesh shoes here.

Also, you may want to avoid using soap in the cleaning process because the chemicals may remove any paint or finish applied to the uppers.

Furthermore, if you notice any loose threads, we recommend that you don’t cut them as this can speed up the wear process and may rip your shoes.

What should you avoid when cleaning soccer shoes?

There are many things to avoid when it comes to cleaning soccer shoes, so it’s important to know what to avoid to prevent any irreparable damage.

First, avoid using a wire brush to clean, especially with leather shoes, as this can scratch surfaces, leaving permanent marks that cannot be removed.

Also, although bleach can clean your shoes faster, we advise against using it as it can damage your shoes in the long run and even stain them in some cases.

Furthermore, unless the label states otherwise, most soccer shoes are not machine washable, so be sure to avoid this quick fix if you want your shoes to keep their shape.

Finally, try to clean the mud from your shoes as soon as possible because leaving dirt on them to dry can crack the surface, thus make sure they look great when paired with the best old soccer set.

Read more: The best soccer balls are now available

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