Got your boots or shoes wet? Not fun! Or maybe you've just washed them and need them to dry out. Whatever the reason, water can damage certain materials and drying shoes can prove a difficult and lengthy process.
Thankfully, whether you've wet your shoes by stepping into a puddle or boots after washing, there are a few methods on how to dry shoes that you can try. And I've listed many right here at shoe-tease.com!
The best ways to dry shoes range from the conventional, like air drying, to the more absurd, like drying shoes with rice. Some methods will teach you how to dry shoes fast and some will allow you to dry shoes overnight.
Hopefully, when you've read through this post, you will get ideas on how to dry your shoes, how to dry shoes in the dryer, and also how to prevent wet shoes in the future!
How to Dry Shoes – 7 Best Ways to Dry Shoes
Dry Shoes in the Dryer
Wait – Can you dry shoes in the dryer?
If you’re in a pinch and are looking for ways how to dry shoes fast without special materials and fancy equipment, using your clothes dryer can be an option.
Just as it can dry your clothes by removing excess water and circulating air, it can also help dry your shoes when used properly. Before using your dryer for your shoes, make sure to check the care label commonly found under the tongue of your shoes.
Different materials require different care. Ensuring that you follow the proper care instructions specified for your shoe type and material will minimize the risk of damaging them.
Which materials can be dried in the dryer?
Cotton shoes are usually safe to dry in the dryer. For nylon shoes, however, you should be more careful as sheer nylon can’t withstand very high temperatures.
Other shoe materials such as gel-core athletic shoes, Gore-Tex, clogs, and polyester are best dried using other methods. This is because the heat from the dryer can melt them or cause discoloration and burns.
Using a dryer to dry shoes is also a big no-no for any animal-derived shoe materials. These include leather, suede, sheepskin, pony, and fur. Placing these in the dryer can cause damage from overdrying and shrinkage.
Shoes with accessories such as chains and sequins should also not be placed in the dryer as the tumbler can cause them to loosen, chip and/or fall off.
How to Dry Shoes in the Dryer – 6 Steps
For drying your shoes in the dryer, you will want to use a high-quality dryer from reputable brands. Front-load dryers are also commonly used as they allow you to hang the shoes from the door.
There are also dryers with drying racks on which you can place your shoes to avoid them tumbling around, which can cause both your dryer and shoes damage. This is the best option.
Once you’ve made sure that your shoes are dryer-safe and your dryer is of good quality, you’re now ready to dry them! Learn how to dry shoes in the dryer below.
- Remove the lint filter from the machine. Removing the filter allows better air circulation inside the dryer.
- Place small towels inside the shoes which will absorb excess water.
- Tie both shoes together by tying a knot using both shoelaces.
- Place the shoes inside the dryer while holding the knot, then close the door so that the shoes hang inside. This will prevent the shoes from falling into the dryer and tumbling around. If your dryer has a drying rack, you can place the shoes on them instead.
- If you cannot hang nor place the shoes on a rack, you can also wrap them in a specifically designed shoe washing bag or place towels around them to prevent damage should they tumble around inside the dryer.
- Turn the dryer on in an air-dry setting or at the lowest possible temperature. High temperatures can shrink the shoes and melt the glue that binds the parts together.
- Dry for 20 mins before checking. If your shoes are still damp, turn the dryer on again for 5 minutes at a time until they are completely dry.
Now that you know how to dry wet shoes in the dryer, it’s important to take note that it’s best to only use the dryer as a last resort – when you’re looking for a way how to dry shoes fast.
Using your dryer to dry shoes often can harm the inside of the dryer and the sole and cushioning of your shoes, especially when the shoes tumble around.
Extremely high heat can also shrink or burn your shoes, so it’s highly recommended to only keep the temperature at the lowest setting and the time as short as possible.
6 Best Ways to Dry Shoes that are Wet or Damp
Use a Boot or Shoe Dryer
Want to know the best way to dry shoes? An electronic shoe dryer may be the answer! These are great for families with children or adults that love the outdoors and winter sports. There are 3 different kinds of shoe dryers.
1 – Shoe dryer boxes like StinkBoss are specifically made for shoes and boots. This one specifically uses ozone to deodorize and disinfect, while warm air circulates inside, drying the shoes.
It can also be used for other clothes such as socks and gloves. You simply place your shoes or items inside, turn it on, close the box, while following the instructions. And it really works!
2 – Electronic shoe dryer stands are great for boots and shoes. They are made of 2-4 wands on a base, that you can hang your shoes off of. It circulates air into the shoes, even hot air, to help dry your shoes faster.
3- Other shoe dryers are portable. These are composed of 2 individual inserts that fit into each shoe or boot and blow air into the shoes. Just like this one by Peet, or this one from BIOSA. Many also sanitize and deodorize at the same time.
Simply place them inside the shoes and wait for them to dry. Make sure to follow the instructions for each individual dryer as the setting could be different.
Since shoe dryers are made specifically for footwear, the risk of damage to your shoes is far less than using a clothes dryer. Be sure to follow each device's instructions!
Ah, the newspaper method! Newspaper, or any soft paper, is a great water absorbent and can work wonders for drying any type of shoes.
However, this method is only applicable if you have the time. Absorption can take well over 2 hours, depending on how wet the shoes are. Here’s how to dry wet shoes using the newspaper method:
- Remove the insoles of the shoes and let them dry separately.
- Stuff the shoes with newspaper. Make sure to push the newspaper up to the toes of the shoes.
- Wrap the shoes with newspaper to help absorb the water outside the shoes.
- Change newspapers after every 1 to 2 hours until dry.
Use Dehumidifying Shoe Inserts
A relatively new technology, shoe dryer inserts are similar to shoe dryers but aren't electronic. They are inserted individually into the shoes to help them dry from the inside. Most also act as shoe deodorizers.
The wonderful thing about these inserts is that they can be used for any type of shoes – yes, even leather and suede! I love activated charcoal ones, as they are biodegradable and work great.
Air Dry your Shoes
The safest and best way to dry shoes is by air-drying them. This has the lowest risk of damage since the shoes are not exposed to any machine. However, it can also take the longest time.
- Use a hanger and form an S shape on which you can hang the shoes.
- Hang the shoes in a well-ventilated area.
Use a Fan to Dry Shoes
Since the best way to dry shoes is through air, using a fan is a great option if you want the air dry method to work a little quicker. This is a great method to use to dry out leather shoes, suede shoes and any more delicate footwear.
How to Fan-Dry Shoes:
- Unlace the shoes.
- Place the shoes on a sheet of newspaper or paper to help absorb excess water.
- Place the shoes a foot or two in front of a fan and let the air do its thing.
Best to use a desk or floor fan. Alternatively, if the fan is on a stand, you can bend a hanger into an S shape and hang the shoes in front of the fan. Or even easier, place the shoes on a table with the fan angled towards them.
Add Rice to Dry Shoes
Rice is commonly used for drying soaked electronics. But did you know that it can also dry shoes? Since dry rice can absorb dampness, it can help dry shoes, although it may take time. Here’s how to dry shoes using the rice method:
- Fill a box with rice and place the shoes on top, making sure that both shoes are lying on the rice. You may also sprinkle some rice inside the shoes.
- Cover with a lid for 3 to 4 hours, or until the shoes are dry.
5 Tips to Keep Shoes Dry Inside & Out
- Avoid wearing shoes in inclement weather or in the snow. This is obvious, but if you live in a climate where the weather can change at a drop of a hat, prevention is key!
- Wear waterproof shoes when facing the elements: check the weather prior to leaving the house in your favorite shoes, or wear weatherproof shoes just in case. I love to wear my waterproof combat boots during rainy seasons.
- Wear breathable shoes: Many brands, like Goex, design shoes that are breathable from the soles, so you’ll reduce the risk of sweating. Some styles made of canvas, natural leather or mesh are naturally breathable.
- Prevent foot moisture: there are many ways to reduce feet from getting sweaty, aside from breathable shoes. You can use moisture-absorbing insoles or wear cooling socks. You can even sprinkle specially made foot powder or baby powder to keep feet dry.
- Waterproof your shoes: this can be accomplished using waterproof sprays for shoes (yes they work!). If that’s not enough, you can follow the steps in my separate post on how to waterproof shoes. Waterproofing the upper section of shoes may prevent breathability, so make sure you follow tips above to reduce the risk of wetting shoes from the inside.
FAQs on How to Dry Shoes
Can I blowdry my shoes?
Yes, if used carefully. Using a blow dryer will help dry shoes, but be careful not to place the shoes too near as blow dryers can emit extremely high heat.
Position the blow dryer 10 to 15 inches away from the shoes and keep it at a low to medium temperature setting. This method is best for canvas shoes but can also be used sparingly for leather and suede.
Can you dry shoes in the oven?
No. Using the oven is not an option to dry shoes as the heat and exposure of the shoes are harder to control. Too much heat can melt the glue and rubber of the shoes and can also cause smoke and fire.
Can you dry shoes in the sun?
Drying shoes in the sun is commonly done since it helps remove the bacteria and the smell. However, be careful when using this method as it may fade or dry out the shoes which can cause discolorations and crispness.
Can you dry tennis shoes in the dryer?
If you want to dry your tennis shoes in the dryer, make sure to check the care label before proceeding –you don’t want your shoes to get damaged!
Drying your cotton tennis shoes is usually safe, but be careful with other materials. It’s best to check care instructions for the shoes on the care label or the manufacturer’s website to avoid unwanted damages.
Can you dry light-up shoes in the dryer?
Because kids play around a lot, it’s unavoidable that their light-up shoes can get dirty and may need washing. You can wash these shoes, but be wary of drying them in the dryer!
Many manufacturers recommend against using the dryer as similar to other shoes, drying light up shoes in the dryer may cause them to tumble around and damage the soles. Check with the light-up shoes’ manufacturer on the best methods to dry shoes like this.
How to dry suede shoes?
Getting your suede shoes wet is a major problem as sadly, even if you manage to dry them, they won’t return to their original pristine condition anymore.
However, you can still remedy the dampness by blotching the shoes using a towel or paper, then using the newspaper, fan, or blow dryer methods to dry. You can also use shoe inserts if you have them. Keep them away from the sun.
To help them look good after drying, remember to lightly brush your suede shoes. For a complete list of shoe tips on how to clean suede shoes in my dedicated post.
How to dry wet shoes without them smelling
Wet shoes can smell – and this is one of the worst smells! The good news is that you can remove the smell caused by sweat by using a vinegar solution. Want to know how to dry wet shoes without them smelling? Here are some methods, below:
- Specialty shoe dryer: like StinkBoss can kill bacteria-causing odors, or
- Shoe deodorizers: those that also absorb moisture – like activated bamboo shoe pouches. I've reviewed Ever Bamboo's shoe deodorizer, here.
- Portable shoe dryers: Many of them also have deodorizing feathered to dry shoes without them smelling, like this UV Shoe Sterilizer.
- Alternatively, you can spray a mixture of vinegar and water on the shoes before letting them air dry. The vinegar will help remove the smell and keep the shoes smelling fresh. Find more ways how to eliminate shoe odor in my other post!
Final Thoughts Drying Shoes
It’s unavoidable that we sometimes get our shoes wet, or we need to wash them after a day of outdoor activities. The best way to dry shoes highly depends on the material and composition of your shoes.
There are various methods on how to dry shoes depending on how much you have on your hands. Most have been proven effective, but some methods are safer than others.
Before you dry your shoes using any of the above methods, always remember to consult the care label to know if there are special prohibitions or instructions that your shoes may have. When in doubt, stuff your shoes with soft white paper or towels and let them air dry!
Check out more shoe repair posts here, or below.
Disclaimer: The methods listed in this post about how dry shoes should be used with extreme caution. ShoeTease and its partners are not liable for any damages to persons or property arising from any of the advice given in this post. Follow advice at your own risk. When in doubt, check with your local cobbler before attempting to dry shoes yourself.
Cristina is the chief editor, fashion & shoe expert here at ShoeTease. As a seasoned stylist and women's fashion & shoe designer, she boasts over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. She loves crafting effortless outfits for ladies both online and off and believes that styling advice should be accessible to everyone. Whether you're a styling pro or just starting out, Cristina's here to guide you on your fashion journey! Learn more.