How to Clean Wrestling Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

Wrestling shoes are essential gear for any wrestler, providing the necessary grip and support during matches and practice sessions. However, with frequent use, they can accumulate dirt, grime, and unpleasant odors, compromising their performance and longevity. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of cleaning wrestling shoes and provide detailed instructions on how to do it effectively.

1. Understanding the Materials

Wrestling shoes come in various materials, including canvas, leather, and synthetic fabrics. Each material requires specific cleaning techniques to maintain its quality and appearance.

2. Pre-Cleaning Preparation

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to gather all the necessary supplies. This includes a soft brush, mild detergent, lukewarm water, and a clean cloth.

3. Cleaning Techniques for Different Materials

Cleaning Canvas Wrestling Shoes

Canvas wrestling shoes are lightweight and breathable but prone to absorbing stains. To clean them, start by gently scrubbing the surface with a soft brush dipped in a mixture of mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

Cleaning Leather Wrestling Shoes

Leather wrestling shoes require extra care to prevent damage. Use a damp cloth to wipe away surface dirt, then apply a small amount of leather cleaner using circular motions. Wipe off excess cleaner and let the shoes air dry away from direct heat sources.

Cleaning Synthetic Wrestling Shoes

Synthetic wrestling shoes are durable and easy to clean. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and stains, then wipe down with a mixture of mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.

4. Stain Removal Methods

No matter how careful you are, wrestling shoes are bound to encounter stains. Here are some effective stain removal methods:

  • Removing Mud and Dirt Stains: Allow the mud to dry completely, then brush off excess dirt before cleaning with a mild detergent solution.
  • Removing Blood Stains: Treat blood stains immediately with cold water, then gently scrub with mild soap and water.
  • Dealing with Mat Burn Stains: Use a mixture of vinegar and water to loosen tough stains before gently scrubbing with a soft brush.

5. Drying and Deodorizing

Proper drying is essential to prevent mold and mildew growth and eliminate odors. After cleaning, stuff the shoes with newspaper to absorb moisture and place them in a well-ventilated area to air dry. You can also sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes to neutralize odors.

6. Maintenance Tips

To keep your wrestling shoes in top condition, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Regular Cleaning Schedule: Clean your shoes after every use to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Storage Recommendations: Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent deterioration.

7. Ensuring Longevity

By adopting proper cleaning and maintenance practices, you can extend the lifespan of your wrestling shoes and ensure optimal performance on the mat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How often should I clean my wrestling shoes? Regular cleaning after each use is recommended to maintain hygiene and prolong the lifespan of your shoes.
  • Can I wash my wrestling shoes in a washing machine? It’s not advisable, as the agitation and heat from the washing machine can damage the materials. Hand washing is preferable.
  • Is it safe to use bleach on wrestling shoes? No, bleach can cause discoloration and weaken the fabric. Stick to mild detergents and gentle cleaning methods.
  • How do I prevent mold and mildew buildup? Ensure your shoes are completely dry before storing them, and avoid storing them in damp or humid environments.
  • Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process? While it may seem convenient, using a hairdryer can damage the materials of your shoes. Opt for air drying instead.
  • How do I maintain the grip on the soles of my shoes? Regularly clean the soles with a soft brush to remove dirt and debris that could affect traction.


Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for preserving the quality and performance of your wrestling shoes. By following the techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your shoes remain in top condition for years to come.

Meet Jacob Steiner, an esteemed wrestling enthusiast with an impressive 18-year journey in the sport. With 13 years spent as a formidable competitor from K-12, Jacob transitioned seamlessly into coaching, accumulating over 4 years mentoring youth wrestlers and contributing over 3 years as a high school assistant coach. His wealth of experience is a testament to his dedication to wrestling, from personal triumphs to shaping the next generation of grapplers. Jacob's profound love for the sport, coupled with his insights from both competition and coaching, brings a unique perspective to the wrestling community. Join him on a mat-side journey as he shares experiences, analyses, and the enduring spirit of wrestling. Connect with Jacob Steiner on [social media handles] for a ringside seat to his wrestling odyssey.

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