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How To Protect Leather Soccer Cleats? Detailed Instructions

How To Protect Leather Soccer Cleats? Detailed Instructions

Leather cleats have a high price point and that is because they are every soccer player’s dream. They fit better and are usually more durable than soccer cleats made of synthetic materials.

If you are lucky to have one, you wouldn’t mind doing everything within your power to protect them. There is a misconception that taking care of leather soccer cleats is tough—but that is not true.

Leather boots are actually made from the skin of different animals including kangaroo skin, calfskin, bacon skin, and so on. Regardless of the type of leather, the techniques we are going to outline below will definitely work on them.

The first thing you need to know about leather cleats is that, just like human skin, they are weather sensitive. In other words, they can get really dry and uncomfortable to wear if not properly protected.

Besides the weather, you will have to protect them from a number of other physical and chemical elements. Below, we are going to tell you why you need to protect your leather cleats, what you are protecting them from and how to protect them.

Soccer players and the ball

How to protect leather soccer cleats?

For soccer players whose feet are half an inch between all the regular cleat sizes on the market, leather cleats are always a preferred choice. This is because they can stretch and eventually mold around your feet.

Well, the stretchy nature of leather soccer cleats usually leads to the development of a gap between the shank and the outsoles. When this happens, do not panic because it is totally normal and will not affect your efficiency in the game.

As we mentioned earlier, leather cleats are sensitive to the environment. Just because you paid a premium doesn’t mean it is immune to the natural elements of your environment.

There are things you can do to synthetic soccer cleats that will lead to disaster if you try to replicate it with your leather cleat. Adidas, one of the leading soccer gear manufacturers listed some of the don’ts of leather cleats and they include;

  • Never machine-wash leather cleats
  • Avoid exposing leather cleats to direct heat source or sunlight
  • At no time should you stuff leather cleats in a bag immediately after washing
  • Do not waterproof leather cleats

On the other hand, the brand also recommended some of the dos of a leather soccer cleat. Inasmuch as they mentioned that these tips are specifically for their range of leather cleats, they will definitely work for leather cleats from any other brand out there. The dos include;

  • Clean leather cleats before storing
  • Allow leather cleats to dry naturally from inside out
  • Use leather specific boot cream
  • Store leather cleats in an area with low humidity

While the suggestions from Adidas give us a clue to how to care for leather cleats, below are some of the factors that can cause damage to leather cleats and how you should prevent them.

How to prevent excessive wear of the outsoles – Use on the right pitch

One of the complaints that we get a lot from those that use leather cleats is that their outsoles wear really fast. Well, the problem may not be from the cleats but from the user.

There are three main types of outsoles used on soccer cleats which categorizes them into the firm ground (FG) cleats, soft ground (SG) cleats, and artificial grass (AG) cleats.


Each of these outsoles is made using different materials that suit the playing surface. For example, SG cleats are made for soft and wet grass pitches while FG cleats are made for standard grass pitches.

AG cleats, on the other hand, will give you the best mobility on pitches with artificial grass. Using FG boots on AG pitches will not only cause problems to the soles of the boots but can also leave you with nasty blisters.

Likewise, wearing soccer cleats on pavement or hard surfaces will wear down the outsoles. Therefore, one of the ways of protecting the outsoles of your leather cleats from excessive wear is to always make sure that you only use them on the right type of pitch.

Soccer players on the field

How to protect leather cleats from molds – Clean them off

Molds are fungi that feed on almost every organic matter and your leather cleats will stand no chance against them. The presence of mold on your leather cleats is a sign that they did not dry properly before storage or that you stored them in a damp environment.

When molds are allowed to stay too long on leather cleats, they will degrade the leather causing it to fall apart. Also, the growth of molds on leather cleats will come with a stench that may resist regular odor control.

How to Clean Moldy Muddy Leather Boots and Waterproof

To protect your leather cleats from molds, make sure that they are clean and dry before storing them. Get rid of any chunk of soil that may cling to the studs with a soft brush (that will not scratch the leather) or a piece of cloth. Use warm water to soften the clumps if necessary.

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Leather cleaner has also proven to be very effective for getting rid of molds from leather cleats. Some of them come in ready to use solution.

All you need to do is to soak a lint with the cloth and use it to wipe the areas infested by the mold. It can also get rid of tough stains and oil too.

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After washing, make sure they dry properly before putting them away—bearing in mind that you should never use artificial heat or open flames or heat them directly under the sun.

One of the ways you can help the leather cleats to dry properly from the inside is to stuff the inside with newspapers. The newspapers will help to absorb the moisture from the leather. Change the newspapers every time they become too damp.

There are other tricks that you can use to get rid of molds from leather cleats. They are discussed in detail here.

If your home has a high humidity issue, one thing you can do to prevent the growth of molds on your soccer cleats is to waterproof them using Sno-Seal prior to storage.

Sno-Seal is notorious for killing off molds and also preventing their growth by cutting off the oxygen supply to the surface.

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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to protect leather cleats from cracking – Keep them moisturized

The main cause of cracking of leather cleats is excessive dryness from the use of wrong drying methods. However, excessive dryness can also happen if the soccer cleats are stored in an excessively dry environment.

What many leather cleat users do not know is that some chemical cleaning agents will slowly eat away the leather after prolonged use leading to cracking.

Ideally, new leather cleats won’t require any form of conditioning. However, as soon as they start showing signs of dryness, you need to condition them to restore the moisture and prevent it from eventually cracking. Mink oil is one of the best products for the job.

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If you are using a leather soccer cleat from Adidas which they clearly said you should not waterproof, mink oil may have adverse effect on it. In this case you may need to use another leather conditioner that isn’t waterproof for the job.

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For exotic leather cleats like those made of kangaroo leather, you may need an all-in-one product that conditions and polishes at the same time.

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The collapse of leather during prolonged storage can also give way to cracking. Also, it can make your cleats go out of shape.

Therefore, it is advised that if you will be storing your soccer cleats for a long time, it will be a smart idea to put a boot tree inside. This will prevent the leather from collapsing and ensure the cleats maintain their shape.

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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are myriads of creative ways to dry your leather cleats to protect them from cracking. We highlighted all of them here.

How to protect leather cleats from odor – Use odor remover

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One of the first telltale signs that you are not taking proper care of your leather soccer cleats is that they may start developing an odor. If there are no clear signs of mold, then the odor may be from bacteria.

Soccer players sweat a lot from running all over the pitch. These sweats often contain odor-causing bacteria that get trapped in the leather of the cleats.

If not cleaned properly, the bacteria will grow and multiply and eventually give off an offensive odor. One of the ways to eliminate the odor is by using an antibacterial spray in your boots after every use.

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There are a host of odor techniques you can use either to get odor out of your leather cleats or to prevent the cleats from developing odor in the first place. We explained all the tricks in detail here.


Soccer players fight for the soccer ball

Leather cleats are a good investment for any soccer player that can afford them. For example, soccer cleats made of kangaroo leather are so light that you can feel the ball and your surroundings better.

If you spend a lot of money to get leather cleats, it makes a lot of sense to think of ways to protect them from going bad early. As we mentioned in the beginning, a lot can happen to your leather soccer cleats that will either ruin their integrity or lower their durability.

Thankfully, all the wrong things that can happen to your leather cleats are preventable. By using the tips and tricks we mentioned, your leather cleats should outlast the price you paid for them while retaining their efficiency.

Have any other soccer-related questions? Use the search bar to find answers to your questions.