How to Clean and Maintain Your Marching Band Shoes for Longevity


Because marching shoes are not like conventional sneakers, it is required that you take proper care of them. Not only is it essential to preserve that marching band uniform intact, but also the shoes! Doing so will make them last longer and protect your knees, ankles, and feet from injuries while performing with concert bands, band camp, or with your school marching band!

The good news is that contemporary marching shoes do not require a large number of additional products to maintain their wonderful appearance. Here you’ll learn how to clean and maintain your marching band shoes for longevity. Prepare for those summer rehearsals!

Choosing the Right Cleaning Materials

Dirt is inevitable in any marching uniform. Even when you take every precaution, your shoes will still acquire scuffs, stains, and marks. Using bleach to keep that brand-new appearance is not advisable, especially if your group is wearing black shoes. While bleach will eventually turn yellow on white shoes, the risk of discoloration is too high for black shoes. We advise using a degreaser or gentle detergent. Always start out slowly and use chemicals cautiously!

Cleaning Materials for Marching Band Shoes

  1. Soapy water or shoe cleaner.
  2. Soap (such as Dawn dish soap diluted with water or a decent leather cleaner; degreasers are terrific for white shoes; Windex is fantastic for high-gloss formal patent shoes).
  3. Unclean towels.
  4. Old toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  5. Leather conditioner, such as wipes from Armor All®.
  6. A white, spot-free cloth.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Make your space ready

Work on a surface that you don't mind getting wet or dirty, or lay down a clean towel. It could be beneficial to put on some rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin.

Take out the toothbrush

A toothbrush is a good way to get in there when cleaning your marching band shoes or any shoe. And strangely enough, toothpaste also works well for removing surface stains (it also works well for cleaning silver jewelry). A pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be added after wetting your toothbrush; less is more.

Brush repeatedly

As you gently brush the unclean regions in a circular manner, cleaning a bit at a time, place your hand inside the shoe to hold the form. You can scrape a little more vigorously if you're cleaning the sole of your shoe.

cleaning tools


When you're done with each portion, wipe the area with a moist, moist cloth to remove the toothpaste and grime. Do not submerge your shoes!


It's time to pull out the big guns if that doesn't work. On scuffs and wear-related marks, gentle soaps like Dawn dish liquid or soap made especially for leather, like saddle soap, work exceptionally well. Simply add a little to the affected region and gently cleanse the markings with a cloth or toothbrush, wiping clean between each tiny circular motion.

Avoid leaving soap or toothpaste on for too long.


Your shoes may become dry from all the scrubbing, especially if they are made of real leather. Use a clean microfiber cloth and a dab of leather conditioner to restore shine to your shoes while keeping the leather supple. Alternatively, keep it easy by buffing your shoes using Armor All® wipes (be sure to pick the right ones for your shoe material; leather for real leather, vinyl for synthetic or vegan leather).

Ventilate it

In front of a fan, let your freshly washed shoes air dry. Avoid placing them near a heater or the sun since doing so could damage the rubber to fade or fracture.

Remember to clean your laces!

Using the methods described above, you can remove surface filth from your laces. Then, rinse them in warm water, and let them air-dry. Or simply purchase some new laces.

Smelly Shoes?

Try combining 1/4 cup each of baking soda, baking powder, and 1/2 cup cornstarch if your shoes smell. Grab a pair of cotton socks, fill each one with 1/2 cup of the mixture, and secure the ends with some yarn or twist ties. Put one in each shoe immediately, and leave them overnight to absorb odors.

How to Maintain Marching Band Shoes for Longevity

shoe brushing

Dealing with scuffs and stains

For minor scuffs, you can often remove them by gently rubbing the affected area with a soft cloth or using a soft-bristle brush. For tougher stains, like mud or grass, create a mild cleaning solution using warm water and a gentle soap or shoe cleaner. If the stain persists, you can try using a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Always test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't damage the material.

Using a specialized shoe cleaner for tough stains

When faced with tough stains on your marching band shoes, using a specialized shoe cleaner can be highly effective. These cleaners are designed to target and remove stubborn stains without causing damage to the shoe material. Begin by following the instructions provided by the shoe cleaner manufacturer.

Applying a waterproofing spray

Waterproofing sprays create a barrier that repels water, preventing it from seeping into the shoe material and causing damage. Before applying the spray, ensure that your marching band shoes are clean and dry.

Shake the spray can well and hold it about six inches away from the shoes. Spray an even and light coating over the entire surface, making sure to cover all areas, including seams and stitching.

Allow the shoes to dry completely before wearing them again. Using waterproof spray helps prolong the lifespan of your marching band shoes by guarding against moisture, stains, and dirt.

Using shoe polish or conditioner for leather shoes

Leather conditioner or polish (for leather shoes) is great. If you have leather marching band shoes, consider using a leather conditioner or polish to keep them supple and in good condition.

Ensuring proper storage

Allow marching shoes to dry completely before storing them. Find a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area for storage. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or sources of heat, as this can cause the materials to warp or fade. To help maintain their shape, stuff the shoes with acid-free tissue paper or use shoe trees specifically designed for your shoe size; this prevents them from becoming misshapen or developing creases.

On top of that, you should store them in a shoe bag or in their original box to protect them from dust and potential damage.

Get the Best Marching Band Shoes at Cousin’s!

Looking for marching band shoes that combine comfort, elegance, and quality? Look no further than Cousin's Concert Attire! We are proud to offer a wide range of beautiful pairs perfect for enhancing your band’s visual presence.

With attention to detail and a commitment to excellence, our shoes are designed to provide both style and functionality. Trust Cousin's Concert Attire to provide exceptional marching band shoes to elevate your performances to the next level. Visit our website or contact us today to explore our collection and experience the difference!

marching band white and black shoes
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