How to Take Care of Basketball Shoes

Basketball is a challenging game, and we know you are working your fingers to the bones for achieving optimum performance; however, you are not alone. The basketball shoes affixed to your feet are working equally hard, as a result of which they lose their span-new charm.

Nevertheless, fading in terms of looks is not the only issue; constant hard work by shoes also affects how you play. This is because dirt erases the sole treads, resulting in you slipping and tripping during the game. To avoid the consequences, taking good care of your basketball shoes is as vital as maintaining your playstyle. 

However, shoe maintenance is not as easy as it sounds. The process is detailed and requires proper understanding as well as potent maintenance products. In a nutshell, taking good care of your shoes is investing time cleaning them and keeping them in good shape. 

Consider the following guide to keep your basketball footwear in tip-top shape.

Top 4 Ways to Take Care of Basketball Shoes 

Wear Them Only on the Court 

The most effective thing you can do in order to maintain your basketball shoes is to prevent any harm from happening to them in the first place. We understand that your basketball shoes look spectacular and you can’t resist wearing them everywhere you go but restricting shoes to the courts only is a wiser habit. 

The more often you take the shoes along with you, the more chances are of them getting dirty. Furthermore, frequent usage will also cause more wear and tear, and since basketball shoes are expensive, it’s best to keep them only for the court to extend their life. 

Store Them Right 

After finishing an intense basketball game, most people hurry to head back to their homes, quickly stuffing their basketball shoes inside whatever bag they get. Here’s where your basketball shoes face a potential risk of weakening their seams. 

Additionally, stuffing shoes inside the bag might lead to a smell buildup since the sneakers can’t air out correctly. Instead, it is recommended to take your shoes in hand. If you think this way, they are more vulnerable to get hit; use some breathable bag to bring them home safely but free them as soon as you reach. 

Once you get the shoes out, make sure to keep them in an open room or a closet with good ventilation. This way, the sneakers will dry up, and then you can safely place them in their original box. To help keep your basketball shoes even more smell-proof, try a shoe deodorizer. 

A shoe-deodorizer comes in a spray bottle or sometimes solid form. They are sprinkled or kept into the shoes to eliminate nasty smells via their fragrance formula. You may also consider alternating sneakers between games, giving each pair less time in active use and more time to dry. 

Utilize For Its Specialized Purpose Only

As said above, if you don’t restrict wearing your basketball shoes everywhere other than just on the courts, its power can considerably decrease. Similarly, utilizing a shoe somewhere where it is not designed to perform can ruin its ability. 

For instance, if a pair of shoes built to perform on smooth courts is instead employed as an outdoor basketball shoe pair, it will undergo severe damage, ultimately withering before its time. This is because most indoor basketball shoes are made explicitly for hardwood or marble courts only and thus can not bear the harshness that outdoor courts render.  

Hence, it is suggested not to use indoor basketball shoes on uneven surfaces. Likewise, confusing the use of high-tops with low-tops or the other way around may also weaken the shoe’s structure. If you are already aware of the high-top vs. low-top duel, good for you, but if not, then it’s essential to know that both are designed to serve different purposes. 

Still, if utilized incorrectly, they’ll not be able to bear the pressure and might spoil soon. Therefore, if you want to take care of your basketball shoes, do mind what niche it best suits, and then wear accordingly. 

Properly Clean Your Basketball Shoes 

Properly Clean Your Basketball Shoes

At the very least, basketball sneakers should get a cleanse after every playing session. Maximum sanitization and scrubbing will prevent bad odors and stains from settling permanently into your shoe skin. 

Conducting regular cleanings also helps prevent loss of grip provided by treads beneath the shoe outsole by removing dirt. First, as a general warning, avoid using a dedicated washer and refrain from immersing the entire shoe in the water. 

The steps listed below will demonstrate how to clean your basketball shoes properly: 

  • Before starting with anything else, first deal with the rubber outsole.  To make this happen, a soft bristle brush is the most preferred choice of most basketball players. If not a dedicated brush, then you can even make use of a spare toothbrush around you. Start scrubbing the tread pattern lightly to remove all debris. 

Soft scrubbing is recommended so that the bristles don’t end up scratching the rubber outsole. At this stage, no chemicals or water are required. You also use a toothpick in place of a brush to better clean all the crevices. 

  • After removing all the debris stuck between your shoe tractions, you need to untie the laces and pull them out to wash them separately. Laces can be washed in whatever way you scrub your clothes. Along with the laces, remove all insoles for deep cleansing of the shoe’s inside and the detached insole as well. 

For the insole, making a detergent solution is the most common practice amongst players. You can also soak inner soles in a mixture of white vinegar and water for in-depth cleanse against germs and odor. Once all is done, air dryer at room temperature. Avoid direct sunlight. 

  • Though most people start scrubbing their shoes directly with liquid, it’s advised to brush the main body and wash it. Effective brushing will remove all fine specs of dirt that will discolor the shoe; otherwise, if dissolved in water. 

Next, mix a small amount of mild detergent or not-so-harsh shoe cleaning fluid in warm water until bubbles form. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and gently wipe the stains on the shoe skin. 

gently wipe the stains on the shoe skin

Gently scrub with a plain old toothbrush or a soft bristle shoe brush for hard-to-reach crevices and stubborn smudges. Finally, wipe off all soapy content and leave the shoes to dry naturally. Avoid intense heat and direct sunlight.

Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Basketball Shoes 



Always clean your shoes before storing them.

Do not wash your shoes in a washing machine or dryer.

Remove all the dirt stuck in the traction grooves with the help of a brush or toothpick.

Do not immerse the entire shoe in the water.

Brush off any dust or dirt particles from the shoes before exposing them to water.

Do not scrub any shoe part with too much pressure.

Always air dry.

Do not use too much heat to dry the shoes or their insoles.  

Wash the laces and inside soles separated from the shoes.

Do not expose shoes to direct heat.

Gently scrub using a clean and soft cloth.

Do not use chemical solid detergents, bleach, and alcohol on the shoes

Things to Consider: How to Buy the Best Basketball Shoe Cleaning Product  

You probably have already spent hundreds of dollars to own the right basketball shoes, and you would want it to last a long time; thus, investing a little more in dedicated shoe cleaning products is a good idea. However, it would be best to be careful with a few aspects before finally buying something for the shoes you are determined to take good care of. They are: 

Know the Shoe Material 

Cleaning the shoes involves tidying up the particular material it is made of. Before starting to clean your shoes, knowing what material your shoes are mostly made of is crucial. This is because different materials tend to work with different types of shoe cleaners. The table below briefly demonstrates what cleaner fits best with different materials. 


Suitable Cleaners


White Vinegar and Water Mixture, Saddle Soap, Gentle Oils, 

Patent Leather

Greasy Substances


Alcohol, Saddle Soap, Gentle Oils, 

Rubber and Fabric

Alkaline Mixtures like Saddle Soap and Detergent, Gentle Oils

Mind the Composition of Cleaner 

While different shoe materials fit with different chemical compositions, what they all have in common is that none can bear harsh chemicals. Hence, before purchasing any cleaner or using an existing one, make sure its composition is light to mild. Otherwise, you’ll end up spoiling the shoe’s longevity rather than excelling it. 

Look For Gentle Brush Bristles/Scrubbers

Brushing is a necessary part of your shoe cleaning processing. Without effective brushing, wearers can not remove dust particles that may mix with moisture and cause stains. Similarly, scrubbing is non-avoidable too. 

For effective brushing and scrubbing, shoe owners require soft yet potent products. For instance, the brush bristles should be delicate enough not to damage sensitive shoe skin but strong enough to take stains out.

Recommended Products 

Where to Buy
Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit
Deadstock Los Angeles Shoe Cleaner Kit
Elite Sportz Shoe Deodorizer and Foot Spray
Jobsite Boot Scrubber
Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover

1. Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit

Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit The Pink Miracle Shoe cleaner is one of the most popular leather, suede, fabric, and canvas Shoe cleaner amongst casual and professional players. All you need is to drop a little bit of the solution on its stiff brush, and it would do the grime and grit removing magic for you. 


  • Effective for leather shoes 
  • Non-toxic, mild formula  
  • Strong bristle brush 


  • Stains suede material

2. Deadstock Los Angeles Shoe Cleaner Kit

Deadstock Los Angeles Shoe Cleaner Kit The kit is a perfect all-in-one option with which players don't need to get in the hassle of purchasing many products. Along with a shoe cleaner that is usable on almost all types of materials, including leather, vinyl, cotton, and knit, this kit comes with two brushes, a soft microfiber cloth, a refreshing shoe deodorizer, and stain repellent spray.   Though the Deadstock kit is the best all-in-one shoe cleaner set you could lay your hands upon, in case you aren't satisfied, the brand offers a 100% money-back guarantee.  


  • Made of premium quality natural ingredients 
  • Economical
  • 100% money-back guarantee


  • Not good for suede

3. Elite Sportz Shoe Deodorizer and Foot Spray

Elite Sportz Shoe Deodorizer and Foot Spray The Elite Sports Deodorizer is not just a usual shoe freshener but also the best anti-bacterial spray you'll find in town. The solution inside the spray bottle consists of 7 essential oils and 11 botanicals to fight against foot odor, bacteria, and dry feet.


  • Made of high-quality natural substances
  • Shoe freshener also acts as a moisturizer for heels
  • Refreshing peppermint smell


  • Small bottle for the money

4. Jobsite Boot Scrubber

Jobsite Boot Scrubber Don't want to get into the hassle of brushing the outsole of shoes with brushes and toothpicks? The Jobsite Boot Scrubber has got you covered. It is an all-in-one shoe scrubber/scraper that can be fixed to your doorstep. Place your feet along with the shoes into the scrubber and give a few strokes for the brush bristles to dust off all that's stuck in the shoe treads. 


  • Durable welded metal frame 
  • Firm bristle brush to tackle shoe bottom as well as sides 


  • Too narrow for wide toes box shoes

5. Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover

Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover In search of a miraculous stain remover? Tide To-Go Instant Stain Remover Pens is a great stain vanishing solution that, whenever rubbed on stains, will wipe even the most stubborn spot on the shoe. All you need to do is carry 2 to 3 strokes on the smudges that diminish your basketball shoe's charm and let Tide do its work.  This pack of three allows you to keep one inside your court locker, in your pocket or bag, and one at home, so you don’t have to worry about the next time you dirty up your most-loved pairs.


  • Effective on most stains 
  • No spills or messes 
  • Affordable


  • Not practical for more significant stains 
  • Unpleasant smell

Final Word

Basketball shoes are a player’s only weapon on the court, and they need to be taken good care of. It is easy to skip on your shoe care routine, especially if you haven’t yet encountered any issues, but constant shoe upkeep is vital to the longevity of your shoes. 

You should take out time for your basketball pair at least once a month, but that can be more depending on what surfaces you play on and how often you play. The crux, however, is that there is more to the tidying process than just simple brushing and scrubbing. 

It is the additional steps, such as proper storage and drying methods, and believe us; it’s all worth it for keeping your favorite pair of basketball shoes in good shape for years to come. For an even better shoe care routine, you can use dedicated cleaning solutions like those discussed above. 

The one we like the most is the Deadstock Los Angeles Shoe Cleaner Kit, a perfect all-in-one organic cleaning solution for every player.