Here’s the only guide you’ll need on keeping leather football boots fresh and clean

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There’s no sugarcoating it, leather football boots are expensive – and as the industry is starting to make an effort to switch to sustainable materials, they’re also becoming increasingly rare. But, for many people, leather boots evoke nostalgia and have that old-school look that is increasingly desirable among players.

However, leather is a material that needs special care to be maintained, and if you’ve forked out a good amount of money to buy a pair of leather boots, it’s well worth keeping up on the maintenance to get the best out of them.

With that being said we’ve put together an easy to follow 8-step guide, alongside a list of helpful products for maintaining your leather football boots so they’re always looking as good as new and will last as long as possible.

8-Step cleaning guide

Step 1:

First of all, get a bowl of warm water with a little washing up liquid, and a soft brush, so as not to damage the leather. To make the job easier, you could purchase a handy tool like the Boot Buddy, which has multiple uses. This could get messy so it’s best to clean boots outdoors if possible, or if not then put your boots in the bath or shower.

The Boot Buddy has become an increasingly popular accessory for players taking to the pitch, so you would be in good company to try out the gadget which makes cleaning the mud and dirt off your football boots an easy task. The contraption holds 300ml of water which, with a squeeze, comes through the bristle head, helping to easily scrub the outsoles and studs. There’s also a scraper on the opposite end to make lighter work of compacted mud to dislodge it.

Get it at Amazon for £18.99


Step 2:

Knock the boots together to try and loosen any excess dirt. You can even use a product called the Bootclaw to help dig out any tricky bits and make the job that little bit easier. Alternatively, an old toothbrush can also come in handy to work into any nooks and crannies.

Recommended product: Bootclaw

There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what to do with a boot full of mud stuck in between the studs. You might have even resorted to trying to slam them against the grass or a wall to dislodge it. But a portable tool like this bootclaw makes easy work of scraping off vast amounts of compacted mud and turf quickly. So, there’s no need to hunt down a twig to do the job.

Get it from Amazon for £5.97


Step 3:

If using an old toothbrush, dip it into some soapy water and gently scrub the boot in circular motions, paying attention to particularly mucky spots. If using the Boot Buddy, fill the built-in reservoir with water and gently scrub the boot.


Step 4:

Next, use a clean, damp cloth and wipe off any remaining dirt. 

This is a 90% natural cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about any chemicals ruining your leather boots. The lavender and spearmint essential oils remove any dirt and grime on the surface that you would otherwise think is clean. All you have to do is spray it onto the leather and lightly work it in. Leave it for 2-3 minutes and then you can come back and buff the cleaner off with a microfibre cloth.

Get it at Amazon for £5.95


Step 5:

If the laces have seen better days, remove them from the boots and hand wash them gently in soapy water, or put them in the washing machine to get them sparkling again. Leave them out to dry.


Step 6:

To neutralise any odours, sprinkle a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda or spray a spritz of Bootclaw’s odour eliminator.

The last thing you want to do is bring the sweat and stink of your football boots inside your home or car. This little spray bottle comes in handy to tackle just that. Organic enzymes in the solution are designed to break down sweat into odour free water – to help keep smells away and the boots’ interior fresh and clean.

Get it from Amazon for £9.97


Step 7:

Leave the boots to dry naturally, and be sure to keep them away from radiators, as the heat can cause the leather to dry out and shrink or crack. Stuffing newspaper inside can also help them to dry quicker as it absorbs excess moisture.


Step 8:

Add a thin layer of leather protector and buff it into the boot using a sponge or clean cloth. It makes the leather more supple and will help it to last longer.

Leather can dull quite easily, especially if your football boots are going to be battling against the elements – to counter this, shine them up with this wax created using natural beeswax. It will add back that sparkle to your leather football boots, restoring their appearance to how they looked when you first bought them.

Get it from Amazon for £3.00


Extra steps

While these products aren’t necessary for keeping your boots in working order, they can help take their appearance and longevity to the next level.

Keep the rain at bay with this shoe waterproofer from Adidas. Leather is well known to degrade because of humidity and water, which causes peeling and will reduce the life of your shoes. Simply mist the spray directly onto the surface which will create a breathable and water repellent barrier, that will help fight off moisture damage and stains.

Get it at Adidas for £17.00


If you feel like the colour and vibrancy of your boots have faded or dulled since you bought them, this recolouring balm can help bring them back to life again. The balms are available in multiple colours like black, white, navy blue, red and many more to make the closest match to your shoe colour.

Get it at Amazon for £20.85


While it’s not always possible to give your boots the deep clean they may need, it’s important to give them a quick once over after any particularly muddy game. Luckily, the process doesn’t have to be too time-consuming. As an extra step between deep cleans, these leather wipes will remove salt stains and make cleaning easier next time.

Get them from Amazon for £6.85


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