Here are a few tips to look after your boots and avoid getting an earful from your coach after the match because your boots are dirty.
1. Cleaning boots under the shower: wrong idea.
Although the shower is clearly the easiest and quickest way to clean your boots after a match, you should avoid it at all costs. Because apart from the risk of getting the hair-dryer treatment from the coach for blocking the showers with mud, it'll ruin your boots. When you drench your boots in water, you run the risk of deteriorating the material that gives the boot its shape, reducing its ability to support the foot. And this is also the best way to encourage the growth of mold we can’t we always see inside the boot.
The BCT method: Brush, Clean, Tidy
This is THE best way to properly clean and take care of your boots.
1/ Start with a thorough brush to remove the largest parts of mud stuck on the sole and upper boot.
2/ Get hold of a cloth or sponge and some soapy water, then clean the entire boot until you've got rid of all traces of dirt.
My tip: you should ideally use soap as it's the most effective and least abrasive product for cleaning all types of materials (leather, synthetics and textiles).
3/ A pair of football boots is a sacred object: once washed, don't forget to give them a good tidy. This will help your favourite pair last longer. When football boots are made, the last step before packaging involves a final tidying up to eliminate any imperfections (adhesive spots, traces, marks, etc.) and deliver the perfect product. Similarly, if you want your boots to stay in great condition each time you wear them, use a moist toothbrush to polish the laces, stitches and corners, then pass a dry cloth over the entire boot.
2. Storing and drying
Never leave your boots in the bottom of a plastic bag. You need to let them breathe. Take them out once you get home, remove the inner soles and leave everything in a dry, well-ventilated place. It's essential to store your boots in a place with plenty of air and avoid leaving them in direct sunlight or under a radiator, otherwise the upper boot material may soften and crack.
If you're playing again the next day, fill them with newspaper to help them quickly absorb the humidity inside the boot.
Finally, to stop people in your house commenting on the smell of your boots, sprinkle talcum powder or bicarbonate of soda in the interior and insole.
3. One last important step: looking after the leather
You should also carry out the previous steps if you play football in leather boots.
But once the boots are dry you'll need to finish up by nourishing the leather to preserve the strength and flexibility of the material.
Leather is a natural material so use natural products to nourish it: oils, beeswax, aloe vera, etc. Use a soft cloth to apply these products in a circular motion to fully penetrate the material.
You now have all the knowledge you need to keep good care of your main tools of the trade, your boots! Cleaning your boots shouldn't be a chore, it should become a sacred post-match ritual. Try and introduce this ritual at the end of each training session and match. Why not do it together as a team? That way you'll give yourself the best chance of being 100% ready the next time you step on the pitch.