How to Clean Wrestling Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

As a wrestler, keeping your shoes clean is crucial for performance and preventing skin infections. While it may seem tedious, cleaning wrestling shoes regularly removes dirt, sweat, and bacteria buildup. By following these 5 easy steps, you’ll be able to keep your shoes fresh and odor-free after every practice and match.

Supplies Needed

  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Old toothbrush
  • Towels
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Deodorizer

5 steps to clean wrestling shoes

Step 1: Remove Shoelace and Insoles

The first step is to remove the shoelaces and insoles so you can thoroughly clean all surfaces of the shoes. Place the laces and insoles aside as you’ll clean these later.

Step 2: Scrub With Soap and Water

Fill a bowl or bucket with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap. Taking one shoe at a time, dip a towel in the soapy water and scrub the exterior of the shoes. Pay close attention to the soles where most of the dirt and sweat accumulate. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the grooves and small spaces.

Step 3: Clean Insoles and Laces

Dip the insoles and shoelaces in the soapy water. Use the toothbrush to scrub away grime and dirt stuck on them. You may need to repeat this a few times to fully clean them.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Once the shoes, insoles, and laces are scrubbed clean, rinse them thoroughly with fresh water to remove all the soap. Dry the shoes and insoles fully with a clean towel. Allow the laces to air dry.

Step 5: Disinfect and Deodorize

As a final step, spray the interior of the shoes with a disinfectant spray labeled safe for athletic gear. This will kill any lingering bacteria. Apply a deodorizer or baking soda to the shoes and leave overnight to absorb odors.

Things to Avoid While Cleaning

  • Soaking shoes – This can damage the leather and materials
  • Using harsh cleaners – Stick to mild soap and gentle brushing
  • Machine washing – Only hand wash delicately
  • Bleach solutions – Use a disinfectant spray instead
  • Putting shoes in the dryer – Air dry only


Keeping wrestling shoes clean takes just a few minutes after each use. By regularly washing away dirt and sweat, you’ll extend the life of your shoes while protecting yourself from bacterial infections.

Be sure to avoid over-soaking, harsh chemicals, and heat which can damage the shoes. Follow these simple steps and your shoes will remain fresh for all your matches.

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