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Today, many sneakers on the market come with moisture-wicking technology, but the insides can still get slick with sweat if you’re out running on a very humid day. Perhaps your shoes got wet for another reason, such as getting caught in a flash rain storm or running through a large puddle.
Regardless of what caused it, your shoes are now moist, clammy, and unwearable. What do you do in such a scenario?
Your first inclination may be to reach for the hair dryer. By putting it on full blast and focusing the hot air on the insides of your shoes, they’ll be dry in no time, right?
Sure, but is that your best course of action or could you cause damage to your sneakers? Read on, as we’ll answer that question as well as delve into what to do with wet shoes.
Can You Dry Shoes with a Hair Dryer?
Okay, so onto the question. Can you use a hair dryer on soaking wet shoes? This seems like the quickest and most convenient option. The muzzle of your hair dryer is practically made to fit inside the opening of your shoes and dry the wet soles.
It’s actually not advisable to use a hair dryer on wet shoes, unless it’s in incredibly quick bursts.
What Happens If You Do?
There’s a reason for that. The prolonged blasts of heat can be damaging to your sneakers in several ways. For one, the fibers and other materials could start to break down. Rubber and glue could get softened and even melt depending on how hot the air from the hair dryer is and how long you run the device.
We must also caution you that positioning your hair dryer in your shoes and walking away is a major electrical hazard. You could start a fire if you’re not careful. It’s just not worth it.
Is the Dryer Okay?
Another method we strongly recommend you don’t try is using your home dryer for the job. You will see some people online advocating for this, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth it.
If you do stuff your shoes in the dryer, one of several things will happen. Once again, the rubber and glue that holds your shoes together will more than likely melt and/or come apart entirely. All the heat from the tumbling of the dryer can bring out odors in your shoes that you don’t want to smell.
One of the biggest reasons to skip the dryer? You could accidentally shrink your shoes!
There’s also a pretty good chance that you’ll end up ruining your dryer. Sneakers or shoes of any kind are not meant to go in the dryer. It’s for clothes, towels, and linens only.
What Other Ways Can You Dry Your Shoes?
Just because we’re not advising you to use a hair dryer on wet shoes doesn’t mean you should ignore the problem entirely. Trying to tough it in wet shoes is awkward and uncomfortable. Not only are you more likely to get blisters, but there’s that terrible squish-squish-squish sound you make with every step you take. The shoes can also develop a mildew odor that’s very difficult to remove.
The following methods of drying your shoes will preserve their shape, size, and structure. No hair dryer required.
Bring Your Shoes Inside
No one likes dripping wet shoes in the house, but leaving them outside in the elements will do more harm than good. If it’s cold, your wet shoes could freeze.
You may think the sun can be your greatest ally when it comes to drying your wet shoes. Yes and no. While your shoes will dry, the strong, direct sunlight can fade your shoes quickly. Also, if you forget your sneakers outside and leave them there for an extra day or two, they could dry out to the point of being unwearable.
If you want to let the sun help you dry your shoes, move them to a sunny area of your home. They’re less likely to excessively dry out this way.
If you have any newspapers lying around, you’ll love this method. Take a few sheets and roll them up into a ball big enough to fit inside your shoes. Then put the newspaper balls in both wet shoes and wait.
While it may be 24 to 48 hours (and sometimes more) before the shoes are totally dry, newspaper can do wonders for sneaker wetness. The paper will absorb unwanted odors as well as moisture. To speed up the process, make sure you stash your shoes somewhere dry in the house. You should also take out the insoles and lay them out so they can dry elsewhere.
Turn on a Fan
Running a fan on wet shoes is one of the most preferred drying methods out there. A box fan is best for this job, but an oscillating fan is okay, too. You just have to angle it so the air aims at your shoes.
Once again, you want to remove the insoles and lay them out flat. Next, place your shoes in front of the fan and then turn it on.
Since your shoes will be sitting for a while, it’s best to do this on hard flooring. This way, water doesn’t seep into your carpeting. To protect your floors and to be on the safe side, you may want to put your shoes on a boot tray, paper plates, or a towel. This should preserve your flooring.
Again, this isn’t the quickest process, but it will dry your shoes completely without ruining them.
Tips for Keeping Shoes Dry
The above drying methods are safer than using a hair dryer or a home dryer on your wet shoes. Still, these methods take a long time. There’s really no quick fix for drying wet shoes except avoiding getting them wet in the first place.
Sometimes you miss that huge puddle until it’s too late, though. You might forget to check the weather forecast for the day and find yourself caught in a storm. It happens, but it doesn’t always have to. Here are some tips for keeping your shoes dry:
- Buy moisture-wicking shoes. These will control and reduce sweat during long runs and warm-weather activities.
- Invest in some moisture-wicking socks, too. You may be able to lessen the sweat that gets in your shoes, keeping them drier and less stinky.
- Avoid cotton socks. Cotton will retain moisture like sweat from your feet, giving you that slick, squishy sensation we mentioned above. No one likes that.
- Try a foot powder if too much moisture in your shoes is still a problem.
- Avoid running in or around snow if you can help it. Once it melts, it becomes water, soaking your shoes.
- Get into the habit of checking the weather forecast before your runs or walks. If you know it’s going to rain, think about rescheduling your outdoor activities until the weather passes.
Keeping your feet as dry as possible is about more than avoiding a soaked pair of shoes. It’s also about the health of your feet. When moisture lingers in your socks or shoes all day, you risk developing fungal skin infections, toenail damage, warts, blisters, and other bacterial conditions. It’s therefore in your best interest to keep your feet, your socks, and your shoes dry.
You do your best to take good care of your shoes, yet the worst has happened and now they’re thoroughly soaked. While you may think plugging in the hair dryer and stuffing it in your shoes is your best bet to combat the dryness, it’s definitely not. Using a hair dryer like that can damage your shoes and even potentially start a fire.
Running your shoes through the dryer is just as bad. The glue and rubber in the shoes could start to break down and your sneakers could even shrink! Instead, your best course of action is to use newspaper or a box fan to slowly dry out your shoes. In the future, be careful of the weather and buy moisture-wicking footwear to avoid soggy shoes.