How to clean golf shoes in four simple steps

golf shoes with putter and golf ball
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Wondering how to clean golf shoes like the PGA greats? Whether you’re a pro or new to the sport, you need to know how to care for and clean your best golf shoes to keep them in pristine condition so that they last for years to come.

The key to success is regular care. If you take a few minutes to clean your shoes after each wear, they’ll stay whiter and will look newer, since you’ll be helping them avoid collecting mud, sand, or dirt. Golf shoes, like clubs and bags, are an essential piece of gear and can be a serious investment, so give them the care they deserve.

While cleaner shoes won’t guarantee a hole in one, the best golf shoes will give you comfort, support, and style — as long as they’re clean. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your golf shoes correctly. 

1. Remove dirt and grime after each use 

Regular maintenance is key to golf shoe longevity. We spoke to footwear manufacturer Callaway Golf about the cleaning process — and they actually recommended that outsoles be wiped clean of dirt and residue after every round.  

You can gently remove dirt, grass, or debris from your shoes’ surface using a damp, soft cloth. If small grass divots or chunks of mud are stuck in your cleats, remove them from the shoe, wipe off the debris, then reattach. 

However, take care not to overtighten the cleats when putting them back on as this isn’t good for the shoe. 

2. Gently clean the upper part of your shoes with mild soap and water 

You should regularly clean your shoes thoroughly, with mild soap and a cloth, removing the laces first. This will keep them looking fresh and new, especially for white shoes. For tougher stains, it’s ok to use a soft toothbrush and a bit of laundry detergent. 

You can also use a dedicated shoe cleaning product, but be sure to choose the right type based on your shoe’s material. Golf shoes are commonly made of leather, mesh, or suede, so choose your products with care —  any golf specialty shop can recommend the right product for your shoe type. 

If you have mesh shoes, they can go in the washing machine in cold water only, with a small amount of laundry soap. Read more on how to clean white shoes and get them looking like new again

3. Let them dry, away from direct sunlight 

After you’ve washed your shoes, they need some time to dry. While it seems like the fastest way would be to pop them outside on the deck in the sunshine, this is best avoided. 

Direct sunlight, along with dryers, is too harsh and can damage your shoes over time, so letting them dry indoors, in a well-ventilated area, is the best option. Speaking of heat, you also don’t want to leave golf shoes in the trunk of your car, as excess heat exposure means your shoes won’t last as long as they should. 

If your shoes are wet from playing in the rain, Callaway Golf recommends a quick clean, followed by placing crumpled newspaper inside for 8-10 hours to soak up all excess water.

Then remove the newspaper and air dry.

4. Apply leather oil or shoe polish, if desired 

A bit of leather oil or shoe polish can make the world of difference, helping your shoes look shiny and clean. Apply oil or polish only to dry, clean shoes and give them at least 20 minutes to dry. 

This is particularly useful for dark shoes, as a leather cream can condition the leather, keeping it soft and supple. 

Keeping your golf shoes clean will help them last longer and help you look your best on the course, so take the time to care for your shoes after each game. 

Looking for more golf gear? We've found the best golf gloves to invest in here, as well as a guide to improving your putting technique

Katie Dundas is an American freelance writer now based in Sydney, Australia, frequently covering topics relating to travel, lifestyle, technology, and the outdoors. When not writing, she’s an avid scuba diver, runner, and traveler—often with Apple, her dog. She’s written for a range of publications including Scott’s Cheap Flights, BBC, TechRadar Pro, and Fodor’s and runs a popular travel blog, The Accidental Australian. She’s also a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.