The 2 Best Ways to Dry Your Shoes Without Damaging Them

    Product Care

    Throwing your shoes in the dryer could damage their construction or cause them to shrink. Here are two easy ways to dry your athletic shoes quickly and safely.

    Last updated: November 18, 2021
    5 min read
    2 Best Ways to Dry Your Shoes Without Damaging Them

    Whether your shoes get soaked during a rainy weather run or a periodic cleaning, you’ll want to dry them completely before you get on the treadmill or hit the trail again.

    Wet shoes (and socks) aren’t just uncomfortably squishy — they’re also more likely to cause blisters, and they create the perfect environment for mold to grow. But dedicated athletes don’t have time to wait around for their athletic shoes to dry.

    If you’re ready to resume your training, here’s how you can get your shoes to dry faster, without damaging them or altering their fit.

    Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Your Dryer

    Not only will your shoes get beat up as they tumble around the dryer, but the heat can also cause your shoes to shrink. Since the perfect fit makes the difference between a supported run and a painful one, you don’t want to risk any change to the shape or fit of your shoes.

    High heat can also damage the glue used to construct your athletic shoes, which can deform your shoes or cause them to come apart. Since a good pair of athletic shoes isn’t exactly cheap, you should aim to maintain your shoes by using other drying methods.

    However, if you’re in a hurry and you decide to try this method, make sure to dry your shoes on low heat. You should also suspend the shoes from the dryer door or tie the shoelaces together and place the shoes in a mesh bag before drying.

    Method 1: How to Dry Shoes with Newspapers

    If you regularly need to dry wet running shoes, be sure to keep some newspapers around. Newspaper, which is made from recycled materials and wood pulp, soaks up water and is easy to maneuver into the corners of your shoes.

    Here’s how to dry your shoes with the newspaper method:

    1. Make sure your shoes are clean: If your shoes are covered in dirt or mud, you’ll want to give them a good cleaning before you dry them. Wash with a mild detergent solution in warm water and use a dry brush to gently scrub away debris.
    2. Remove the insoles: You can air dry these separately or place them near a fan for a faster drying time.
    3. Remove or loosen the laces: Open up the shoe so it can breathe.
    4. Stuff the shoes: Crumple up the newspaper, hiding areas with excessive ink, which may leave marks on your shoes. Make sure to stuff the newspaper all the way into the toe of the shoe.
    5. Wrap a towel or sheet around the outside: Wrap something soft and absorbent around the outside of your shoes to dry the outer areas.
    6. Place in a dry area: Keep your shoes indoors, away from direct sunlight, in an area that is dry and well-ventilated. You may also place them by a fan or vent with warm air to dry them faster.
    7. Replace the newspaper as needed: If your shoes are soaking wet, you may need to replace the newspapers a few times. Periodically check the wetness level and add new newspapers for more absorption as needed.
    8. Wait about 12 hours: Depending on the level of moisture, it may take more or less time for your shoes to dry.
    2 Best Ways to Dry Your Shoes Without Damaging Them

    Method 2: How to Dry Shoes with a Fan

    Another way to dry your shoes without damaging them is to hook them to the grill of a floor or table fan that is larger than the length of your shoes.

    You can create hooks with an old wire hanger and a wire cutter. Here’s how:

    1. Clean your shoes to remove any dirt
    2. Remove the insoles and open up the laces
    3. Place a towel under the fan
    4. Cut two lengths of wire from a hanger and bend them into an ‘S’ shape
    5. Hook one end of each wire to the fan and the other to each shoe, keeping space between the shoes
    6. Run the fan for a couple of hours or until the shoes are dry
    Alternatively, you can place the shoes near your refrigerator vent grill or air vent (as long as the air isn’t too hot) to dry them faster. Make sure to open up the shoe so the flowing air can get inside.

    Common Questions About Drying Your Shoes

    Can You Dry Shoes in the Oven?
    It’s generally not a good idea to dry your athletic shoes in the oven or microwave, since the heat can damage the adhesive holding your shoes together. Stuff your shoes with newspapers and air dry them or place them near a fan instead.
    Can You Dry Shoes with a Hair Dryer?
    Never expose your shoes to the heat of a blow dryer for more than a few minutes, since it can compromise the rubber, glue and other materials used to construct your shoes. What’s more, leaving a hair dryer in close proximity to fabric is a fire hazard.
    Can You Dry Shoes in a Dryer with a Drying Rack?
    Some dryers have a drying rack designed to dry shoes, but this will only work for certain shoe types, such as cotton or canvas sneakers. You’ll also need to ensure you use a low heat setting to avoid damaging your shoes. If your dryer doesn’t have a drying rack, you can hang the shoes from the door by the laces. But even with these precautions, your shoes won’t last as long if you dry them in the clothes dryer. It’s better to dry your shoes using the newspaper method or a fan.
    Can You Take Shoes to the Dry Cleaner?
    Not all dry cleaners will take your shoes. However, if you have a pair of leather or suede athletic shoes that need extra TLC, you may want to find a dry cleaner that works with shoes. While they’ll follow a similar process to at-home cleaning, they also stock stain removers and other special products that can help your shoes look brand new again.
    Where Should You Air Dry Shoes?
    Drying your shoes in direct sunlight will cause excessive wear, so it’s best to air dry your shoes in a dry and well-ventilated environment indoors. If you want to speed up the drying process, try placing your shoes near your refrigerator vent or a fan.

    Originally published: September 13, 2021

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