How to Care for Your Soccer Cleats
Know the proper way to clean your cleats to help ensure you get the most out of your footwear investment.
Soccer cleats are an integral part of your soccer experience, so you want to be sure you give them the care they deserve. After all, a well-maintained pair can be your ultimate tool on the pitch. With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your soccer cleats.
BEFORE AND DURING PRACTICE OR GAMES
When packing your soccer bag, it’s a good idea to include items like popsicle sticks or a putty knife. These can help keep your cleats clean during soccer practice or games, especially during days that are extremely muddy, as caked-on mud can hinder your traction and performance. A toothbrush and towel can also be helpful.
It’s also important that you don’t wear your cleats before getting to the field. Walking on hard surfaces to and from the field can cause unnecessary wear and tear. Wear a different pair of shoes en route and pack your soccer cleats in a soccer bag.
AFTER PRACTICE OR GAME
When playing on grass fields, it’s inevitable that you’ll get mud or dirt on your cleats. Be sure to take the proper maintenance steps immediately after use. Doing so could save you time in the long run because you won’t have to scrub your cleats later on.
Before heading home, use the popsicle sticks you packed in your soccer bag to try to remove as much mud and built-up grime from the bottom of your cleats as possible. Next, use the toothbrush to help remove any scuff, then the towel to wipe off any mud or moisture on your cleats.
Once the mud is dry, clap the bottom of the cleats together to help remove any leftover dirt and debris. You may have to wait until you’re home to complete the second step since the mud might need additional time to dry.
To easily and neatly transport your cleats from the field, put them in a plastic bag. This will help ensure any excess muck stays off of your equipment and doesn’t make a mess in the car.
Consider wearing a pair of sandals or slides home. They are a great option because you can easily slip them on and off even while wearing shin guards and socks. Plus, they can help air out your feet after a long day in action.
Your soccer cleats should be dry the next time you put them on, so it’s important to air dry them after each use. Stuffing them with newspaper to collect excess moisture can help. Do not place them in direct sunlight, as that can dry out your leather uppers and cause them to crack, shortening their lifespan.
If you are playing on artificial turf, remove all rubber pellets from the bottom or inside of the cleats. While small, they can still damage your soccer shoes. It’s a good idea to invest in a pair of turf soccer shoes if you play on this field type often. After all, there are different styles of soccer shoes for a reason.
Regularly cleaning your cleats will help keep them in good condition for a longer period of time. When you are ready to give your cleats a thorough cleaning, start by removing the insole – if it detaches – and the laces. They can both be washed separately with soap and water. Let them dry before putting them back in your cleats.
To give your uppers a proper cleaning, combine cool water and a small amount of dish or hand soap. Take a soft-bristled brush and scrub the cleats with the soapy water. Wipe off any residual soap with a damp cloth before cleaning the bottoms.
Do not submerge your cleats in water as this can lead to leather cleats cracking once they dry. Also, try to avoid using hot water as it can also damage leather cleats. When finished, thoroughly dry them with a towel.
If the cleats are wet on the inside, stuff them with newspaper and let them sit overnight. Newspaper helps absorb the moisture and can help retain the shape of the cleats as well. It’s important to not dry your cleats by putting them in direct sunlight or using direct heat, like from a hair dryer, which can weaken the structure of your cleats.
Although it may be tempting, never throw your cleats in the washer or dryer. This can cause some serious damage to your precious footwear.
If you have leather cleats, you will want to polish them in addition to cleaning to help preserve the leather while also enhancing the color. If your cleats become too dry, they could crack. Leather food and leather conditioner are both solid options to replenish the natural oils of the leather.
If you have a pair of cleats with detachable studs, inspect them after every game. When the studs appear to be wearing down, replace them. Putting fresh studs on your cleats ensures better traction on the field.
You can also change the type and length of the studs, depending on weather and field conditions.
- Find a pair of cleats you like? Consider getting a second pair. Although an additional investment up front, alternating between pairs of cleats could give you multiple seasons of use.
- Don't remove your cleats by stepping on the back of the heel to pry them off. Instead, take them off by untying the laces.
- If you have a younger player who is still growing, plan on buying cleats each season. Cleats that are too roomy or tight can cause blisters and hinder your play.
- During the offseason, keep your cleats in a breathable bag, away from direct sunlight.
- If you have just purchased a pair of cleats, do not wear them for the first time during a game. Break them in during a few practices before you lace them up for game time.