How to Clean Driving Shoes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Driving shoes are a stylish and comfortable footwear option that is perfect for both casual and formal occasions. Whether you wear them while driving or for a night out on the town, it is important to keep your driving shoes clean and well-maintained. Not only will regular cleaning help maintain their appearance, but it can also prolong their durability. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of cleaning your driving shoes, both on the exterior and interior, to keep them looking their best.

Why Cleaning Driving Shoes is Important

Before we get into the details of how to clean your driving shoes, let’s first understand why cleaning them is important. Driving shoes, like any other footwear, can accumulate dirt, dust, and grime over time. If not properly cleaned, these particles can cause the materials to deteriorate and decrease the lifespan of your shoes. Additionally, regular cleaning can help remove stains and spots, keeping your driving shoes looking fresh and new.

Driving shoes are designed to provide comfort and grip while driving. The unique construction of these shoes, with their thin soles and flexible uppers, allows for better pedal control and a more tactile driving experience. However, this also means that they are more susceptible to damage and wear compared to regular shoes.

By regularly cleaning your driving shoes, you can maintain their appearance and durability. The accumulation of dirt and debris on the exterior can lead to abrasion and scratches, which can weaken the materials over time. Cleaning the shoes not only removes these particles but also helps to preserve the integrity of the leather or suede, ensuring that your driving shoes last longer.

Moreover, cleaning the interior of your driving shoes is equally important. As you wear your shoes, sweat and moisture can build up, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. This can result in unpleasant odors and discomfort. By cleaning the interior, you can eliminate these bacteria and keep your driving shoes fresh and hygienic.

Maintaining the Appearance and Durability of Your Driving Shoes

To ensure the overall appearance and durability of your driving shoes, regular cleaning is essential. By removing dirt and debris from the exterior, you prevent these particles from causing abrasion and damage to the shoe materials. Similarly, cleaning the interior helps eliminate odors and bacteria that can lead to unpleasant smells and discomfort. By following a few simple steps, you can effectively clean and maintain your driving shoes for years to come.

When it comes to cleaning your driving shoes, it is important to use the right products and techniques. For leather driving shoes, start by wiping off any loose dirt or dust with a soft cloth. Then, using a mild leather cleaner, gently scrub the surface to remove stains and spots. Afterward, wipe off the cleaner with a damp cloth and let the shoes air dry. Finally, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple.

If you have suede driving shoes, the cleaning process is slightly different. Begin by using a suede brush to remove any surface dirt or debris. Then, apply a small amount of suede cleaner to a clean cloth and gently rub it onto the stained areas. Once the stains are removed, use the suede brush again to restore the nap of the suede. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally.

For both leather and suede driving shoes, it is important to avoid using excessive water or submerging them in water, as this can damage the materials. Additionally, always test any cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoes before applying them to the entire surface.

In conclusion, cleaning your driving shoes is not just about maintaining their appearance but also about preserving their durability and comfort. By regularly cleaning and caring for your driving shoes, you can extend their lifespan and ensure that they continue to provide you with the optimal driving experience. So, take the time to clean your driving shoes and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained pair of footwear.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your driving shoes, it is important to gather all the necessary supplies. Having everything prepared beforehand will make the cleaning process smoother and more efficient.

When it comes to cleaning your driving shoes, having the right tools and materials is essential. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you’ll need to clean your driving shoes:

Soft-bristle brush

A soft-bristle brush is a must-have when it comes to cleaning your driving shoes. It helps to remove dirt, dust, and other debris from the surface of the shoes without causing any damage.

Mild detergent or shoe cleaner

Using a mild detergent or shoe cleaner specifically designed for leather or fabric shoes is crucial. These cleaners are formulated to effectively remove stains and dirt while being gentle on the material of your driving shoes.


Water is an essential component of the cleaning process. It helps to dilute the cleaning solution and rinse off any residue left behind after cleaning.

Clean cloth or sponge

A clean cloth or sponge is necessary for wiping down the shoes and removing any excess cleaning solution or water. Make sure to use a soft and absorbent cloth or sponge to avoid scratching or damaging the surface of your driving shoes.

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are handy for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, such as the stitching or crevices of your driving shoes. They allow you to target specific areas and remove dirt or grime that may have accumulated in those tight spaces.

Vinegar or baking soda

Vinegar and baking soda are natural cleaning agents that can be used to tackle tough stains or odors on your driving shoes. Vinegar helps to neutralize odors, while baking soda is great for absorbing moisture and eliminating unpleasant smells.

Leather conditioner (for leather driving shoes)

If you have leather driving shoes, it is essential to have a leather conditioner on hand. Leather conditioner helps to moisturize and protect the leather, preventing it from drying out or cracking. It also enhances the overall appearance and longevity of your leather driving shoes.

By gathering all these supplies before you start cleaning, you’ll be well-prepared to give your driving shoes the care and attention they deserve. So, make sure to check your cleaning arsenal and ensure you have everything you need to achieve the best results!

Preparing Your Driving Shoes for Cleaning

Before diving into the actual cleaning process, it is important to prepare your driving shoes. Start by removing the shoelaces or any accessories attached to your shoes, such as tassels or metal buckles. This will allow you to clean all areas of the shoes effectively.

Removing Excess Dirt and Debris

Using a soft-bristle brush, gently brush off any excess dirt or debris from the exterior of your driving shoes. Be sure to pay attention to the crevices and seams where dirt can often accumulate. This step will help loosen and remove any loose particles, making the cleaning process easier.

Cleaning the Exterior of Your Driving Shoes

Now that your driving shoes are prepared, it’s time to clean the exterior. The cleaning method will vary depending on the material of your shoes.

Using the Right Cleaning Method for Different Materials

If your driving shoes are made of leather, use a mild detergent or shoe cleaner specifically designed for leather. Mix a small amount of the cleaner with water and dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution. Gently wipe the exterior of your shoes, focusing on any stained or dirty areas. Once cleaned, use a damp cloth to remove any soap residue, and pat dry with a clean towel.

For suede driving shoes, use a brush with soft bristles, specifically designed for suede. Gently brush the surface of the shoes to remove any dirt or stains. Avoid using water or liquids on suede, as they can cause discoloration. Instead, use a suede eraser or a suede cleaning stone to remove stubborn stains.

Removing Stains and Spots

If you encounter stubborn stains or spots on your driving shoes, there are a few additional steps you can take to remove them. For leather driving shoes, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a small bowl. Dip a cotton swab into the solution and gently rub it on the stained area. Wipe off any excess liquid with a clean cloth. If the stain persists, you can try a mixture of water and baking soda or consult a professional cleaner.

For suede driving shoes, use a suede eraser or a suede cleaning stone to gently rub the stain. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it can damage the material. If the stain remains, you can try using a white vinegar and water solution in a 1:1 ratio. Dampen a cloth with the solution and gently dab the stained area. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally.

Cleaning the Interior of Your Driving Shoes

While the exterior of your driving shoes may be the most visible part, don’t forget about the interior. Cleaning the interior will help eliminate odors and bacteria, ensuring your shoes stay fresh and comfortable.

Deodorizing and Refreshing the Insoles

If your driving shoes have removable insoles, take them out and gently wash them with mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry. For non-removable insoles, you can sprinkle baking soda or place odor-absorbing inserts inside your shoes to eliminate odors.

Removing Odors and Bacteria

To remove odors and bacteria from the interior of your driving shoes, you can use a disinfectant spray or a mixture of water and vinegar. Spray the solution lightly inside the shoes and allow them to air dry. This will help kill any bacteria and eliminate unwanted smells. Additionally, storing your shoes in a well-ventilated area can prevent the build-up of moisture, which can lead to odors.

Drying and Conditioning Your Driving Shoes

After cleaning the exterior and interior of your driving shoes, it is important to properly dry and condition them. This will help maintain their shape and prevent any long-term damage.

Properly Air Drying Your Shoes

When drying your driving shoes, avoid using direct heat sources such as heaters or hair dryers, as they can cause the leather or suede to crack or shrink. Instead, stuff your shoes with crumpled newspaper or paper towels to absorb moisture and help them retain their shape. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area and allow them to air dry naturally.

Conditioning the Leather or Suede

If your driving shoes are made of leather, consider applying a leather conditioner to keep them moisturized and supple. Apply a small amount of conditioner onto a clean cloth and gently rub it into the leather, paying extra attention to areas that tend to dry out, such as the toe and heel. For suede driving shoes, you can use a suede brush to restore the texture and remove any flattened areas.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can effectively clean your driving shoes and keep them looking their best. Remember, regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preserving the appearance and durability of your shoes. With proper care, your driving shoes will continue to provide style and comfort for many years to come.