How to Clean Your Basketball Shoes

As a basketball player, you know how important your shoes are. Discover what you can do to help increase the longevity of your pair with these tips.

September 15, 2017

You know that feeling you get when you open up a box of new basketball shoes? You lift the lid and remove the paper barrier to reveal the fresh footwear lying inside. They are crisp and perfect with stuffing that evokes the way they’ll look on your feet. They even have a certain smell of newness. Don’t you wish they could stay that way?

Players wear their shoes to practice, to games and even around town, but how can you keep them looking and feeling the way they did on day one?

Consider the following tips to keep your basketball shoes clean and in shape longer.


After a game, you might be stuffing your shoes deep into your gym bag, in a hurry to head out for some fun with your teammates and friends.

But leaving them in your gym bag for an extended time can cause them to lose their shape, putting a lot of pressure on the seams. It can also lead to a buildup of odor, since they can’t air out properly.

Instead, you should store your shoes in an open room or closet with plenty of airflow after wearing them. This will allow them to dry out before your next use. Once they’ve had time to dry out, store your shoes in their original box, rather than on your bedroom floor where they are easily vulnerable to getting kicked around or tripped over.

To help keep your footwear even more fresh, try using a shoe deodorizer, which can come in solid form or an easy-to-use spray.

You may also consider having a couple pairs of basketball shoes and rotate them between games, giving each pair more time to dry and less time in active use.


The cardinal rule is to never wear your indoor shoes outside.

Doing so can cause your basketball shoes to lose both grip and color faster. If you avoid exposing them to the elements, they will likely last much longer.

By only wearing your shoes on the court, you can keep them cleaner as well. That means less wear and tear and less work for you to maintain them.


If you want to keep your shoes in tip-top shape, regular cleanings are essential.

You should, at the very least, clean them after every game. Why? It can reduce general odor, help prevent loss of traction by removing debris from your tread, and keep your basketball shoes from deteriorating by reducing grime that can wear down your tread.

First, as general warning, don’t put your shoes in a washer or dryer. You should also avoid completely immersing them in water. Use these steps as a guide to properly wash your basketball shoes:

  1. Remove excess dirt using a soft-bristled shoe brush or tooth brush to clean the sole on the outside of your shoe.
  2. Mix warm water with just a drop of laundry detergent (or, if leather, a specialty leather cleaner). Apply a small amount to a sponge or soft cloth to clean dirty areas of the shoe.
  3. Remove your insole and clean using a water/detergent mix.
  4. Rinse excess soap off of the shoe and insole using just water on a second sponge.
  5. Air dry your shoes at room temperature. You shouldn’t leave your shoes to dry in the sunlight or use direct heat (like a hair dryer).

Basketball shoes are one of the most important pieces of equipment you own, so it’s important to take care of them. If you keep your shoes clean and in good shape, it should help keep your footing firm and your appearance crisp and sharp.