Cheer shoes may not be as cute as hair bows or as stylish as uniforms, but they’re key to a cheerleader’s look and routine. They protect cheerleaders’ feet and ensure that they stunt, jump, and cheer much more safely. Cheer shoes, while durable, aren’t like traditional sneakers that can be worn everywhere and tossed around. Cheer shoes need to be specially cared for and cleaned in order to maintain that white color. It’s important to keep your cheer shoes clean!

Follow our tips for keeping your cheer shoes in tip-top shape:

  • Transport your shoes in a cheer bag that has a shoe compartment. This will prevent your shoes from getting dirty (and, vice versa, keep your practice wear and other cheer items clean). A separate shoe compartment means your shoes won’t absorb possible sweat or smells from worn practice wear and uniforms.
  • Only wear your cheer shoes at practice and at performances. This means you shouldn’t even wear your shoes right after or before practice, walking on pavement from your car to the gym. Wear sandals or regular shoes and change into your cheer shoes right before practice begins, and change out of them right after. Even outdoor cheer shoes aren’t made to handle rough surfaces like gravel or pavement. Your shoes will last much longer if you limit the amount of time you wear them.
  • If your shoes get dirty, clean them immediately. First, try just using a damp, white cloth. If that doesn’t work, add a little soap.
  • When you’re not wearing your cheer shoes, make sure they’re sitting upright and stored correctly. Don’t squish your shoes into a bag or pile bags or clothing on top of your shoes in your closet. This can ruin the shape of your shoes.

Whatever you do, don’t do this with your cheer shoes:

  • Wash your shoes in the laundry machine and dry them in the dryer. While it may be okay to wash certain shoes in the washing machine, it can be like playing with fire. You don’t always know how a shoe will hold up in a washing machine (particularly if it’s a shoe geared for competitions, as they’re more lightweight and less durable). The dryer can actually shrink your shoes and they won’t fit your feet properly. If your shoes get dirty, always hand-wash them. If you’re worried that they smell, try adding some foot powder into the shoe and let them sit overnight to fully absorb the powder.
  • Don’t use a colored cloth to clean your shoes. The color of the fabric can actually stain your shoe if you rub too hard. Some fabrics bleed very easily, particularly bright-colored fabrics. If you need to clean your shoe, always use a white cloth or towel.
  • Go easy on the chemical cleaning supplies. If you must give your shoe a good cleaning, start off with as little product as possible. Less is more; particularly if you want to use bleach, shoe polish, or any other similar products. If you can, try to only use water and a little bit of soap.
  • If the bottom sole of your shoe is starting to separate from the shoe, don’t glue it. While this may work as a (very) temporary solution, it’s not safe to cheer in shoes that are falling apart. It can cause an injury and may fall apart mid-performance. Once your shoes start showing signs of wear, it’s time to replace them.

How do you keep your cheer shoes clean?