How To Clean Golf Shoes: A Step-By-Step Guide

Want to make your golf shoes last as long as possible? Follow these steps to keep them looking and performing at their best

How To Clean Golf Shoes
(Image credit: Elliott Heath)

If you're somebody who's been playing golf a while, we hope you already know how to clean golf shoes. But in case you don't, we've put together a handy guide to help you get the most out of this important piece of kit.

It's particularly relevant information for the vast majority of golfers who take to the course in leather shoes as they require extra love and attention to keep them looking their best. If you simply wear your shoes, take them off and leave them until your next round, you're actually going to cause lots of damage over time.

So, with that in mind, we spoke to an expert who guided us on how to clean golf shoes, specifically how best to look after leather shoes to keep them looking and feeling fresh for as long as possible.

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How To Clean Golf Shoes

We were recommended products from Dasco and we also tried some products from Kaps and Cherry Blossom, and found that they worked well. We'll include links to buy similar products throughout the piece.

How To Clean Golf Shoes

Step 1: Wash them

Before applying any product to your shoes, you want to ensure that they're looking sparkly clean. We recently tested the Boot Buddy, which we would recommend, but whether it's a brush or a sponge it's important to wash away all of the dirt.

How To Clean Golf Shoes

The Boot Buddy did a good job in cleaning dirt and mud off our shoes
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Once you've done that, leave them to dry. Stick them in an airing cupboard if you have one as this will help alleviate any odours.

Step 2: Suede and Nubuck kit

How To Clean Golf Shoes

This is essentially a rubber/eraser and soft brush for shoes and will allow you to get out any marks that can't be taken off with a traditional sponge or brush. It's very simple to use and very effective.

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Step 3: Leather softener

A leather softener is your first step to fully restoring your golf shoes. It will put moisture back into the leather and stop cracks appearing as your shoes dry out. It's a clear liquid and will really help the leather bounce back.

Step 4: Shoe cream

The shoe cream will increase the health of your leather shoes. It should have a foam nozzle and be fairly simple to apply over the body of the shoe.

Go over it with a soft shoe brush - professionals recommend using horse hair brushes. Once all the cream is in, leave the shoes for 10-20 minutes.

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Step 5: Shoe whitener

This is the step that will restore the colour and vibrance to your shoe. Of course, use a black/brown shoe polish or similar for non-white shoes.

With the whitener, less is more and you want to focus predominantly on the toe area of the shoe. Run it into cracks to whiten them and then go over the top with a white shoe brush and brush it thoroughly into the shoe. It's quite a watery substance and will go malleable before fully drying.

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Step 6: Seal the shoe

An optional step is to spray a shoe protector over the top to seal the shoe, which is recommended for winter use and ensures your shoes will remain waterproof.

Wax and shine spray is recommended to help seal the shoe for a good two or three wears before any dirt comes into them. Hold the spray around 30cm away and coat the entire top of the shoe. This creates a protective film on top of the leather.

Step 7: Change the laces

Laces, especially white ones, can pick up lots of dirt and end up discolouring over time. Remove them and either replace them or clean them, whether that's with a whitener, wax or just by hand washing them.

Many brands will sell their own laces and some will be specific to certain types of shoes. However, many standard waxed laces will do the trick if you are looking to replace yours.

Step 8: The secret ingredient

How To Clean Golf Shoes

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Want to keep your shoes in tip-top shape? Fit them with shoe trees. Over time, the leather wants to curl up but a shoe tree will ensure they remain stretched out, preventing cracks and keeping them in shape.

The shoe especially wants to curl up when damp during the winter months. A shoe tree should help your shoes last 2-3 times longer than without. You can pick up shoe trees fairly cheap but the wooden ones are the 'Rolls Royces'.

What else can I do to keep my golf shoes in great shape?

Once you've completed all the steps here, your golf shoes will have had new life breathed into them. Of course you don't have to buy every product or go through every single step to make a difference - your shoes will appreciate any of these measures.

To keep up your routine, go through these steps maybe once per month. After every round, go over your shoes with a wet cloth and it's always worth dabbing on a bit of whitener to keep them looking fresh. It's also worth storing them in shoe bags or boxes to keep dirt and dust away.

We hope you enjoyed this step-by-step guide to keeping golf shoes looking and performing at their best for as long as possible. For more handy advice, make sure to check out the Golf Monthly website.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x