Proper cleat care is essential for every player to ensure you’re getting the most out of every play. Look at a pro’s shoes when they step onto the field for the first time in a game. Their cleats are always clean.
During a game, your cleats can pick up a lot of dirt, mud, grass and debris. It’s important to clean them immediately after each use. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration from scrubbing by cleaning your cleats sooner rather than later.
GEAR BAG ESSENTIALS
We suggest keeping these items in your gear bag for best cleat-care practices.
- Popsicle Sticks or Putty Knife
- Extra Shoe Laces
- Shoe Trees
- Paper Towels
During a game, you can help keep your cleats clean with a putty knife or popsicle sticks. Some games are especially muddy, and caked-on mud can hinder your performance.
BEFORE LEAVING THE FIELD
Using your fingers or a popsicle stick, remove as much dirt and debris from your cleats as you can. It’s best to let mud dry, so you can wait until you get home for deeper cleaning.
Put your shoes in a plastic bag or, preferably, in a ventilated shoe compartment in your gear bag to transport them home after games. Your shoes will be dirty and could have mud, grass, pesticides and other debris on them. This will protect your car, clothes and equipment.
CLEANING YOUR CLEATS
Clean your shoes outside or in another place where you can get a little messy. The most important areas to clean are the bottoms and sides of your shoes, especially around the spikes. These are the areas that make contact with the field and having good traction is vital for your performance.
First, clap your shoes together to get dry mud off. Then, scrape off excess mud and dirt with a wire brush or firm toothbrush. Next, give the shoes a quick and powerful rinse with a garden hose. It’s okay to get the upper wet. Use a wet rag to wipe off your shoe and around each spike. Soap can help! Lather soap into your rag and clean the shoes more thoroughly. Rinse your shoes and clean further, as needed.
It’s best to let your cleats air dry at room temperature. A dehumidifier can also help. Do not put them in direct sunlight, put in the clothes dryer, use a hair dryer or other external heat source to dry your cleats. Stuffing your cleats with newspaper can also help absorb excess moisture.
Your cleats may not need intense care after each game. However, they should be unpacked and set outside after each game to air dry the moisture built up in the cleat while playing.
STORING YOUR CLEATS
Use shoe trees or stuff your cleats with newspaper in between games and practices to maintain your cleats’ shape. You can also use these when transporting your cleats home.
- Put your cleats on in the dugout and only wear them when playing. This will help prevent wear and tear from hard surfaces to and from the field.
- Don’t leave your cleats in the car. This will help avoid damage from extreme temperatures.
- Many players will own at least two pair of cleats, either to rotate between games or for practice.
- If you wear a pair of metal cleats be sure to check the individual spike periodically for rust and sturdiness to prevent a broken or missing spike.
If it’s time to replace your softball cleats, learn what features to look for when buying a new pair.