A decent pair of golf shoes is an essential part of any golfing get-up. They can provide comfort, stability, and grip, helping you to play at your best.
However, the nature of their leather or synthetic materials is such that they can easily get dirty during a round of golf. Shoe neglect is a common problem in the world of golfing gear, but it’s one that’s easily solved with a bit of scrub n’ shine.
In order to extend the life of your golf shoes, and make the most out of them, you’ll want to keep them clean. Here’s how to clean your golf shoes.
The Scrub n’ Shine Method
This method is the go-to for most golfers, and can more or less be applied to any kind of leather golf shoe. What follows is a general step-by-step; some manufacturers may have specific instructions for cleaning their shoes.
Fill a bucket or your kitchen sink with some hot soapy water. Regular dish soap should work just fine.
Grab a soft brush, a pan scourer, or a cloth and dip it into the water. Note that you don’t want to completely soak your shoes, as this could end up damaging the material.
Start scrubbing the upper part of your golf shoe. If you put your hand inside the shoe, you can work your fingers to make it easier to get the dirt out of the welts and creases.
Once you’ve scrubbed all of the upper shoe, move on to the outsole. And finally, scrub the sole. The sole tends to be the trickiest part, as a lot of dirt can get caught up in the cleats. It’s recommended that you use a brush rather than a cloth for this part. If possible, you could unscrew your cleats and clean them separately.
For a more thorough clean, it’s a good idea to remove your laces before you begin. This will allow you to clean the tongue of the shoe, and you can wash the laces separately in the washing machine.
Grab a towel, preferably microfibre, and dry off the shoe. This will reveal how good a job you’ve done with your scrubbing. If necessary, go back for a second go with the brush.
After drying them with a towel, you’ll want to let your shoes air dry for a further 10 minutes or so at room temperature before starting the next step.
If you want to restore the full shine of your golf shoes, you could get your hands on some golf shoe polish. Whether your shoes are brown, white, or black, you’ll want to choose a polish that matches them. For a quality, USA Made shoe polish that is available in every color, we recommend Red Moose.
Specific instructions will vary from product to product, but generally speaking, you’re going to be lightly dabbing it onto your shoe leather, covering scuffs, and boosting shine.
The Baby Wipe Method
For a quick, almost effortless fix to a mud-soaked golf shoe, you could certainly get away with cleaning it with a baby wipe. They’re pretty effective at removing dirt, and you can easily work them into the nooks and crannies.
Though this is a good cleaning solution in a pinch, it won’t be quite as effective as the scrub n’ shine. If you want to ensure that your shoes are properly clean, you’re probably going to have to get some soap out every once in a while.
What About Mesh Shoes?
Mesh golf shoes are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and most importantly, they’re easy to clean.
Most mesh shoes can be soaked in a sink of warm water and soap. Once soaked, you grab a cloth or a soft brush and say good riddance to the dirt and debris. When you’re done, simply dab the mesh with a cold-water dampened cloth in order to remove the soap residue.
Alternatively, you could cheat… by throwing them in the washing machine. As long you put them in a mesh bag and set the machine to a gentle cycle, there should be no complications. However, we’d recommend reading the manufacturer-specific guidance, just in case they say that washing machines are a no-go.
To dry them, both after soaking them or putting them through the washing machine, place some crinkled-up newspaper inside. This will help to soak excess water. Then, leave them in a shaded spot at room temperature. They usually take around 10 hours to dry. Do NOT attempt to dry them with a hairdryer, an oven, or any other kind of heat source, as these can cause severe damage to the materials.
How Often Should You Clean Your Golf Shoes?
In an ideal world? After every round. But let’s face it, we’re only human.
It’s probably best to leave it to your own judgment. You know how much you’ve paid for your shoes, and that should be motivation enough to keep them in good working condition. Just know that, if they are neglected, constantly left to lie around in a muddied state, then your golf shoes won’t last half as long as they should.
Even if it’s just with a baby wipe, it’s recommended that you clean them whenever they get significantly muddy. In the summer, you could probably get away with playing a number of rounds without cleaning them. But just remember, the more you take care of your golf shoes, the more they’ll take care of you.
Other Golf Shoe Maintenance Tips
Apart from cleaning, there are a few useful things to know which can help to extend the life of your golf shoes.
- Don’t store them in the trunk of your car: Tempting as it is to leave your shoes in your car so that they’re ready and waiting when you leave to play, it is ill-advised. The increased temperatures of car trunks can wreak havoc on the materials of your shoes if left there for long periods of time. Instead, store them in a cool, dry place in your house.
- Use a shoehorn: When you’re sipping in out of your shoe, it’s recommended to use a shoehorn in order to better preserve the heel. I’m personally guilty of practically never untying my laces, and subsequently muscling in and out of my shoes to save time. But I’m now aware that this affects the fit of the heel, and ultimately, the comfort of the shoe. Untying the laces and using a horn will go a long way towards shoe preservation.
- Periodically check your cleats: Do you ever find that your feet slide about whenever you take a swing like you’re performing some obscure dance? You probably need a change of cleats. Over time, they lose their bite. Wrenches and replacement cleats are widely available, and are generally inexpensive – you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by grabbing a new set.
Golf shoes are an essential piece of golfing equipment – basically as important as your clubs and balls. They’re also pretty darn expensive. Thus, they should be treated with the necessary care.
Golf shoe cleaning is quick and easy, and it can be done with common household objects. With regular application of the old scrub n’ shine, your golf shoes can continue to sparkle, and help you to play your best, for many seasons to come.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.