We subject our footwear to a lot: miles of gravel pavement, rough-of-road terrain, grubby dirt trails, sloppy puddles of mud, and undefined urban liquids.
But how many times have you ever caught yourself in a downpour and later tried to dry your sneakers only to find them damp in the morning? This is a quite common problem faced by sneakerheads and runners, especially when it comes to drying their running shoes.
And while wet shoes aren’t the best way to start your day, several effective ways are known to help dry shoes overnight; stuffing them with newspaper, using a fan, and other interesting hacks like using rice to wick excess moisture. But what’s the deal with throwing sneakers in the dryer?
Is it safe to put sneakers in the dryer?
Unfortunately, it’s not. Dryers are particularly useful for cotton clothing, towels, and bed linen, and maybe dirty laces. But for sneakers, not too much.
It sounds like a viable idea, but not so fast. The rigorous tumbling could ruin and jeopardize the longevity of the shoes. Moreover, most shoe manufacturers don’t advocate for throwing your shoes in the dryer.
First, the sole of your sneakers, which may contain some delicate components and rubber, can quickly wrap from the heat inside the dryer. The canvas itself will shrink unevenly and loose shape.
Moreover, if there are any vinyl labels on the shoe’s interior, they can wrinkle permanently and compromise the overall fit and comfort of the shoe. For the lace-up shoes, the laces might get caught in the rest of the clothes, tear, and may even ruin them.
Shoes are part of our identities. They are our loyal everyday companion, and thus they’re an investment worth taking care of, particularly for those who are much into early morning runs. Another issue runners might run into when drying their shoes is that they end up ruining them or making them smell worse.
This can be a terrible problem as you don’t want to dish out a hundred dollars for a pair of sneakers every now and then because your drying efforts damaged your favorite pair of sneakers.
There are many ways to get your shoes dry without ruining them, but depending on the built material, tossing them in the dryer might not be an agreeable move. Instead, you can air-dry your sneakers. They’ll typically be dry if you leave them in an open place overnight.
Throwing your shoes in the dryer only adds more pounding mileage to them and can easily damage your dryer and shoes altogether. Not to forget the loud banging sound from the shoes bouncing around in the system- which can be annoying enough as is. Also, heat and odor build-up go hand in hand. Meaning, your shoes are likely to develop an awful smell afterward.
Putting your shoes in a washing machine or dryer will potentially affect the structure and its ability to provide sustainable cushioning and a responsive feel. Most sneakers are designed with a midsole made out of the traditional EVA foam or proprietary EVA combination. These materials are more sensitive to heat, and even though they are somewhat resilient, it’s still not worth the risk.
High temperature can similarly do more harm, which is why the dryer is not an option. Footwear experts suggest that there’re high chances that the heat and constant tossing will ruin the foam along with other mishaps. They recommend air drying the shoes by removing the insole and placing them in a well-ventilated area.
Still, if you have to use a dryer, make sure the shoes aren’t made of plain weave canvas as it will usually cause the material to shrink and even make the shoe lose its form.
This is how you do it:
- Set the dryer to low heat
- Make sure the laces of both shoes are tied together in a loose knot.
- Close the dryer with laces hanging over the top and the knot and the end of the laces hanging outside of the dryer.
- Turn your dryer on and check the shoe every so often.
This might be safe, but if the dryer contains plastic vanes, don’t put your shoes in there. The weight of a wet sneaker could break them off. If you have to use a dryer, it will help if you use a drying rack.
Alternatively, you can stuff the shoes with newspapers or tissue paper. There’s a mixed verdict about this. On the bright side, it may help absorb moisture, but n the flip side, it also hinders air circulation inside the shoe. Still, you might want to use a fan. If you’re to use a fan, be sure to get the insoles out of the shoes if they are removable. Then place your wet sneakers and insoles directly in front of a high-speed fan, preferably on the floor or somewhere that won’t be in the way of anyone.
You can place the wet shoes on a boot tray or dark towel, so you don’t ruin your carpet or such spreads on your floorings. The fan’s fast-moving air will penetrate through the fabric of the sneakers and dry them in no time. However, if you don’t have one, the newspapers might help a pinch, if you change them as soon as they get wet.
The better you get with the process, the better sooner your shoes will be dry, and if you don’t have all the time to monitor your sneakers’ dryness, you can do this at night, and your shoes will dry and ready in the morning. It might not be the most promising method either, but it’s far much better than tossing your favorite pair of sneakers in the dryer.