How to Clean Your Golf Shoes
Keeping your golf shoes clean has two separate parts and reasons: looking good (which really does lead to feeling good), and functioning well.
In Looking Good, we mean that the shoes look clean, aren't covered in grass stains, mud or beer from a bumpy golf cart ride(it happens!). We all know that golf is partly about attire and many golf courses have set standards for letting you on the course, so we can't let dirty golf shoes get in the way of course etiquette.
Functioning Well really is the core reason of keeping your golf shoes clean. Here we're talking about the working part of the shoe: the treads, grips and laces.
Looking Good in Clean Golf Shoes
So really, who likes walking up to the first teeblock, amidst three other golfers, with shoes that at one time were white but now are covered in grass stains, dirt, water marks and have a slight grey-brown hue?
None of us want that look of 'I've walked through a number of weeds to find my ball'. So how do you keep the tops of your shoes clean, even though you have trudged through your share of long grass in them?
Golf shoes are normally made out of leather or synthetic materials, or a mix of both.Since most golf shoes are now waterproof, cleaning the tops of them is as easy as using a mix of soap(or gentle laundry detergent!) and water and a soft cloth. Never soak shoes, as this could make them start to come apart or ruin the material.
Be sure to fully dry the shoes after wiping them with the soap/water mix.
Next, use a coarser cloth to wipe away any scuffs around the edges that could be there from hitting them together, or running into branches/golf bags/etc.
Finally, you can use a leather shoe polish or leather oil to help them shine and protect them. These are available in many colors or clear, and can help fix some minor scuffs or blemishes.
Cleaning for Functionality
The obvious biggest reason for using golf shoes on the course is for stability during your shots. This is accomplished with the treads and spikes in the bottom of the shoe, and when these get caked with dirt and grass, they dig into the ground less, giving you less grip and accuracy.
These spikes and treads are easily kept clean with a simple tough scrub brush, or even a toothbrush. Giving the bottom of your shoes a good scrub after each round will keep them clear of debris for your next round. Brushing them immediately after a round also prevents the wet soil/mud from solidifying, making it even harder to clean.
Keeping a scrub brush in your trunk for after-the-round cleaning may be the easiest way to do this. If you aren't a member with a locker, you'll most likely bring your shoes to the car after a game,so just leave a brush there, and give them a good scrub before leaving.
*NOTE* Many golf courses have built-in shoe brushes on the ground near entrances to their clubhouse. If your shoes have the more modern 'wheel' spikes on the bottom, be very careful using these brushes. Since they are on the ground, you tend to lean your weight on them as you use them, and this could cause the spikes to rip off the shoes!
How often do you clean your golf shoes?
Other Golf Shoe Care Tips
- Use a shoehorn to put your shoes on. If you just push your feet in, there is a chance over time of wearing out the heel support, causing the shoe to not fit properly.
- Allow your shoes to air dry in an open area after every round. The moisture from your feet can build up in the shoes, and just throwing them into a locker or a bag can cause them to start growing bacteria from the moisture.
- If you play regularly(2-3 times a week), you should change the removeable spikes on your shoes every 2-3 months. These get worn down, especially on rough terrain, and can make your feet slip.
Excessively Wet Shoes
Let's say that for some reason your shoes have suddenly become soaked. Maybe due to not seeing a deep puddle on the fairway, or getting caught in a sudden downpour, or maybe because you thought you could reach that lost ball in the pond and lost your footing. Either way, one or both shoes may be completely wet. So what do you do?
1. Clean the shoes immediately. Use a towel or cloth and wipe the outside of the shoes down. Being completely wet, the shoe materials can absorb the dirt into the pores of the material causing stains and deterioration.
2. Use a towel to gently pat the inside of the shoes to get the most water-saturated areas dry.
3. Remove the laces if possible and any insoles that you may have put in. Set these aside to dry separately.
4. Fill your shoe with crumpled newspapers for 8-10 hours, then replace for another 8-10.
5. Place shoes in an open area, where air movement is normal (ie: not in a closet, cupboard or trunk), and where it is fairly warm to allow for full drying. I've even made sure to put shoes near an open window in the summer, or in a stream of sunlight.
6. If the shoes are expensive, they may have come with a shoe tree, or you may have bought one already. Place this in the shoe to ensure the shape stays correct, and some even help remove any smell. Another suggestion is to throw a foot odor eater in the shoe for a few days to help get any smell out.
7. If the shoes become smelly, spray the inside with Lysol or another bacteria killer. Do not spray on outside of shoes.
1. Try to dry your shoes with a heater or blow drier. This sudden heat will cause the material on the outside of the shoe to crack.
2. Forget about the shoes and leave in a car trunk. This will facilitate bacteria growth.