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How to Clean Your Wrestling Shoes: Step by Step

How to Clean your Wrestling Boots

Wrestling is an intense sport that demands not only physical prowess but also top-notch gear. Among the most essential pieces of equipment for a wrestler are their shoes.

The soles of the shoes play a pivotal role in providing grip on the wrestling mat, ensuring that the athlete doesn't slip during a crucial move. However, with the intensity of the sport comes the inevitable accumulation of dirt and sweat. This is why it's essential to know how to clean wrestling shoes properly.

1. Preparation

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's crucial to gather all the necessary items. You'll need:

  • A soft bristled brush
  • Warm water
  • A cleaning solution suitable for athletic shoes
  • A cloth or sponge
  • Baking soda (optional)

Note: While many might be tempted to throw their wrestling shoes in a washing machine, it's not always the best method. Washing your wrestling shoes can sometimes damage the material, especially if they're made of delicate fabrics.

2. Remove the Laces:

Always start by removing the laces from your shoes. This allows you to clean every nook and cranny of the shoe, ensuring that no dirt is left behind. Plus, laces can be washed separately for a thorough clean.

3. Brush Off Excess Dirt:

Using your soft-bristled brush, gently scrub off any loose dirt from the shoes. Pay special attention to the soles, as they tend to accumulate the most grime. If you've recently purchased a pair like the Nike Tawa Special Edition or the White Gold Nike Inflict 3 from our Nike collection, you'll want to ensure they remain in pristine condition.

Nike Wrestling official Partners

4. Prepare the Cleaning Solution:

Mix your cleaning solution with warm water in a bowl. If you don't have a specialized cleaner, a mild detergent will do. For those who have shoes from our Adidas Combat Sports collection, like the Adidas Mat Wizard 5, it's essential to check the shoe's care instructions before applying any solution.

5. Clean the Shoes:

Dip your cloth or sponge into the solution and gently scrub your shoes. Focus on areas that have stains or are particularly dirty. Remember, the goal is to keep your shoes clean without damaging them.

After ensuring your wrestling shoes are spotlessly clean, the next crucial step is drying them. Proper drying not only preserves the integrity of the shoe but also prevents the growth of mold and bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant odors.

6. Air Dry Your Shoes:

The best method to dry your wrestling shoes is to let them air dry. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can fade the color and weaken the material. Instead, find a cool, well-ventilated area to place your shoes. If you've been putting your wrestling shoes near a heater or in a dryer, it's time to reconsider. Excessive heat can warp the shape and compromise the shoe's structural integrity.

Note: While it might be tempting to speed up the drying process, especially if you have a match coming up, patience is key. Letting your shoes dry completely ensures they're in the best condition for your next bout.

Wrestling tournament

Use Absorbent Materials

To help your shoes dry quickly, consider stuffing them with newspaper or paper towels. These materials will absorb the moisture from inside the shoe, speeding up the drying process. Replace the paper every few hours until the shoes are dry.

Maintain the Shape

While your shoes are drying, it's essential to ensure they retain their shape. Using shoe trees or simply stuffing them with balled-up socks can help. 

Odor Prevention

Once your shoes are dry, it's a good idea to address any lingering odors. Sprinkling baking soda inside the shoes can help neutralize smells. Let the baking soda sit overnight, and then shake out any excess before wearing them. For a more specialized solution, revisit the No Stink Sports Shoe Deodoriser for consistent freshness.

Additional Tips for Wrestling Shoe Care

Having covered the cleaning and drying processes, it's essential to understand that maintaining your wrestling shoes goes beyond these steps. Proper care and storage can significantly extend the lifespan of your shoes, ensuring they serve you well match after match.

Adidas Wrestling Boots

Regular Maintenance

Just as you wouldn't wait for your car to break down before servicing it, don't wait for your shoes to show signs of wear before giving them some TLC. Regularly inspect them for any signs of damage or wear. Addressing minor issues early can prevent bigger problems down the line.

Rotate Your Shoes

If you're an avid wrestler, consider having more than one pair of shoes. Rotating between them can reduce the wear and tear on each pair.

Avoid Wearing Outside

Wrestling shoes are designed specifically for the mat. Wearing them outside can quickly degrade the soles of the shoes and introduce additional dirt and sweat. If you need to step outside, consider switching to tennis shoes or another type of footwear.

Note: If you're transitioning from an outdoor workout to the mat, ensure your wrestling shoes are clean. This not only prolongs their life but also keeps the wrestling mat clean for everyone.

Storage Solutions

When not in use, store your shoes in a breathable bag or container. This allows any residual moisture to evaporate, preventing mold and bacterial growth. Avoid plastic bags or sealed containers, as they can trap moisture.

Seek Expert Advice

If you're unsure about the care of a particular pair of shoes, don't hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer or the store where you purchased them. At Made4Fighters, we're always here to help and provide guidance on the best care practices for your gear.

In conclusion, while wrestling is a demanding sport, with the right care, your shoes don't have to bear the brunt of it. By following these steps and tips, you can ensure your wrestling shoes remain in top condition, allowing you to focus on perfecting your moves and winning your matches. Remember, the foundation of a great wrestler isn't just skill but also the gear that supports them.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I put wrestling shoes in the washing machine?

While it might seem like a quick and convenient solution, it's generally not recommended to put wrestling shoes in the washing machine. 

The agitation and water pressure can damage the delicate materials of the shoes, leading to a reduced lifespan. Instead, opt for hand washing using a soft-bristled brush, warm water, and a mild cleaning solution. This method ensures a thorough clean without the risk of damaging your shoes.

Do you wear socks with Wrestling Boots?

Yes, it's advisable to wear socks with wrestling boots. Socks provide an additional layer of protection against friction, helping to prevent blisters and discomfort during intense matches. They also absorb sweat, keeping your feet drier and reducing the risk of fungal infections. When choosing socks, opt for moisture-wicking materials to ensure maximum comfort.

Are Wrestling Shoes good for the Gym?

Wrestling shoes are designed specifically for the wrestling mat, offering grip and support tailored to the sport's demands. While they can be worn in the gym, especially for weightlifting where a flat sole is beneficial, they might not provide the cushioning and support needed for other activities like running or aerobic exercises. 

If you're considering using wrestling shoes in the gym, ensure they're clean to avoid transferring dirt and bacteria from the mat to other surfaces.

Can I machine wash my wrestling shoes?

While some wrestling shoes may be machine washable, it's generally recommended to hand wash them to preserve their integrity and longevity. If you decide to machine wash, use a gentle cycle with cold water and let them air dry. Always check the manufacturer's care instructions before washing.

Is it okay to dry wrestling shoes in direct sunlight?

While drying wrestling shoes in direct sunlight can speed up the drying process, prolonged exposure can cause the colors to fade and materials to break down. It's best to dry them in a shaded, well-ventilated area to maintain their appearance and durability.

How often should I clean my wrestling shoes?

It's recommended to clean your wrestling shoes after each use to remove dirt, sweat, and bacteria. Regular cleaning not only maintains hygiene but also extends the lifespan of the shoes. If they're not heavily soiled, a simple wipe down may suffice.

How do I remove stubborn stains or scuff marks from my wrestling shoes?

For stubborn stains or scuff marks, gently scrub the affected area with a mixture of mild detergent and water using a soft brush or cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as they can damage the shoe's material. After cleaning, rinse with clean water and let them air dry.