How to Clean Wrestling Shoes?

How to Clean Wrestling Shoes

Wrestling shoes are a vital component of a wrestler’s gear, providing the necessary traction and support during intense matches. However, these shoes can quickly accumulate dirt, sweat, and grime, which can affect their performance and longevity. To maintain the optimal condition of your wrestling shoes, it is crucial to clean them regularly.

Many wrestlers struggle with smelly shoes, especially after a few sweaty practices or matches. The good news is that cleaning and deodorizing your wrestling shoes can make them smell fresh again. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to clean wrestling shoes and provide tips for keeping them smelling great. Keep reading to learn more!

Why Wrestling Shoes Get Stinky?

Wrestling shoes are designed to provide excellent traction, support, and flexibility. However, these features make them a prime target for moisture, bacteria, and odor buildup. During intense workouts and matches, your feet can produce a pint of sweat. This sweat can seep into the lining and insoles of your wrestling shoes, providing a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive.

Moreover, wrestling shoes are made from synthetic materials that are not breathable, exacerbating the moisture buildup. As the bacteria and fungi grow, they release waste products that emit an unpleasant odor. Over time, this odor can become very strong and offensive. Ignoring the odor and neglecting to clean your wrestling shoes can lead to foot infections, blisters, and athlete’s foot. Therefore, keeping your wrestling shoes clean and odor-free is essential to prevent these problems.

Cleaning the Outside of Your Wrestling Shoes

Wrestling shoes can easily accumulate dirt and sweat from the mat and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Keeping the outside of your shoes clean is just as important as deodorizing the inside to keep them smelling fresh.

  • The first step in cleaning the outside of your wrestling shoes is to remove any excess dirt or debris. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove dirt from the soles and sides of the shoes.
  • Use a humid cloth or sponge to wipe down the shoes. Be sure to use a mild soap or detergent to avoid damaging the material of the shoe. Scrub gently and avoid using any harsh chemicals.
  • Once you’ve finished washing the shoes, rinse them carefully with water to remove any remaining soap. Then, allow them to air dry. Do not use a dryer or direct heat to dry the shoes; this can warp or damage the material.

Deodorizing the Inside of Your Wrestling Shoes

After thoroughly cleaning the outside of your wrestling shoes, it’s time to tackle the odor on the inside. The sweat and bacteria in your shoes can create a potent smell, so it’s important to deodorize them regularly.

Here are some steps you can take to deodorize the inside of your wrestling shoes:

Remove the insoles: Many wrestling shoes have removable insoles that can be cleaned. Take them out and give them a good wash with soap and water.

Use baking soda: Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside each shoe. Leave the baking soda in the shoes overnight to absorb any odors. In the morning, shake out the excess baking soda.

Use dryer sheets: Another way to deodorize your wrestling shoes is to place a dryer sheet inside each shoe. Leave the dryer sheets in your shoes overnight to absorb any odors.

Use essential oils: You can also use essential oils to deodorize your wrestling shoes. Use a few drops of oil on a small piece of cloth. Put the cotton ball or cloth inside each shoe and leave it overnight.

Freeze your shoes: If all else fails, try freezing your wrestling shoes. The cold temperature will kill bacteria and eliminate any odor.

Remember to deodorize your wrestling shoes regularly to keep them smelling fresh. It’s also a good idea to rotate between multiple pairs of wrestling shoes so that each pair has time to air out and dry between uses.

Commercial Deodorizers for Wrestling Shoes

If you prefer a pre-made solution to deodorize your wrestling shoes, a variety of commercial shoe deodorizers are available on the market.

Here are some popular options:

Sneaker Balls: These small, ball-shaped deodorizers are perfect for wrestling shoes. They’re easy to use – insert one ball into each shoe and let it do its magic.

Odor-Eaters: These insoles absorb sweat and neutralize odor. You can purchase various sizes and cut them to fit your wrestling shoes.

Cedar Shoe Trees: These shoe trees are made of cedar wood, naturally absorbing moisture and eliminating odor. Plus, they help to maintain the shape of your wrestling shoes when you’re not wearing them.

Shoe Sprays: Many sprays on the market are designed specifically for deodorizing shoes. Spray the inside of your wrestling shoes and let them dry overnight.

When using commercial shoe deodorizers, follow the instructions carefully for the best results. While these solutions can be effective, they may not work for everyone, so you may need to try a few different options before finding the one that works best for you.

DIY Solutions for Deodorizing Wrestling Shoes

You can try a few DIY solutions if you have a more natural approach to cleaning and deodorizing your wrestling shoes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Baking Soda: This versatile household item absorbs odors. Shake a little baking soda into your shoes, spreading it evenly. Leave the baking soda overnight, then shake it out in the morning. Mix oil into the baking soda before sprinkling it into your shoes for extra freshness.

Vinegar: White vinegar is another household item that can help eliminate odors. Mix well vinegar and water in a spray bottle in equal quantities, then spray the inside of your wrestling shoes. Let the shoes air out for a few hours before wearing them again.

Tea Bags: Tea bags are another effective deodorizer. Place a couple of tea bags (any variety will work) into each of your wrestling shoes, and leave them in overnight. The tea bags will absorb odors and leave your shoes smelling fresh.

Dryer Sheets: If you have a few extra dryer sheets lying around, tuck one into each of your wrestling shoes. Not only will the dryer sheet help eliminate odors, but it will also leave your shoes smelling clean and fresh.

Charcoal: Activated charcoal is known for absorbing odors and moisture. Place a few pieces of activated charcoal in a cloth bag, and place the bag inside each of your wrestling shoes. Leave the bag overnight; your shoes will be fresher in the morning.

Using these simple and effective DIY solutions, you can keep your wrestling shoes smelling fresh and clean without relying on commercial deodorizers. Give them a try and see which method works best for you.

Maintaining Clean and Fresh-Smelling Wrestling Shoes

Now that you’ve cleaned and deodorized your wrestling shoes, it’s important to maintain their freshness. Here are some tips for keeping your shoes clean and odor-free:

Allow Your Shoes to Dry: After each practice or match, remove your shoes and let them air dry in a well-ventilated area. Please don’t leave them in a damp bag or locker, as this can promote the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

Use Socks: Wearing clean socks with your wrestling shoes can help absorb sweat and prevent odors from developing inside your shoes. Make sure to change your socks regularly.

Rotate Your Shoes: Don’t wear the same pair of wrestling shoes every day. Rotating your shoes can give them time to air out and prevent odors from building up.

Use Foot Powder: Sprinkling foot powder inside your shoes can help absorb moisture and eliminate odors. Look for powders that contain natural ingredients like baking soda, tea tree oil, or lavender.

Store Your Shoes Properly: When you’re not using your wrestling shoes, store them in a dry, cool place.
Following these tips, you can keep your wrestling shoes clean and fresh-smelling to focus on your sport without distractions. Happy wrestling!


Can I wash my wrestling shoes in the washing machine?

It depends on the specific brand and type of wrestling shoes. Check the care instructions before attempting to machine wash them. The washing machine may damage some shoes.

How often should I deodorize my wrestling shoes?

It’s a good idea to deodorize your wrestling shoes after every use, especially if you sweat a lot. Regular deodorizing will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and odor.

What are some common DIY deodorizers for wrestling shoes?

Some popular DIY options include placing dryer sheets inside the shoes, sprinkling baking soda or cornstarch inside and letting it sit overnight, or spraying a mixture of water and white vinegar inside the shoes.

How can I prevent my wrestling shoes from getting stinky in the first place?

A: Make sure to let your shoes dry out completely after each use, avoid wearing them for extended periods, and consider using moisture-wicking socks to help keep your feet dry. You can also invest in shoe inserts or foot powder to help absorb sweat and prevent odor.


Wrestling shoes are an essential piece of equipment for wrestlers. They not only protect your feet but also improve your performance. However, they can get stinky over time due to sweat and bacteria buildup. Fortunately, there are many ways to clean and deodorize your wrestling shoes. You can try commercial shoe deodorizers or make your DIY solutions using everyday household items. Whatever method you choose, maintain clean and fresh-smelling wrestling shoes regularly. Doing so will not only extend the lifespan of your shoes but also keep them smelling nice and prevent bacteria buildup. You can enjoy clean and fresh-smelling wrestling shoes every time you step on the mat.

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