How to dry shoes: tips & tricks


How to dry shoes: tips & tricks

Everyone should love their footwear. This is the reason that Kizik does what we do. Our reason is accessible footwear for men, women, and children.

When it comes to footwear, there’s something we all have to deal with that we don’t love: drying shoes. To solve this yearly issue, we’ve collected a few essentials to help you better dry your shoes.

1. Be aware of the dangers of improper drying

Drying your shoes improperly can create a host of issues. It’s important to know what these are and what affects them to help best drying practices.

The worst-case scenario is that your shoes either dry wrong or grow mold. Dry rot happens when your shoes dry in a way that damages the material. This is especially an issue for leather shoes.

The science behind why water is so bad for leather is simple. Leathers get their sleekness, shine, and durability from to natural oils like those on our skin. Water can draw out and remove these oils from both our skin and leather goods. Without a natural source producing more oils, leather goods crack.

If shoes are placed somewhere they can’t dry at all, mold can form. This is especially disastrous for your footwear.

To avoid these two fates, the rest of our tips will help.

2. Avoid the dryer — unless given instructions otherwise

One of the biggest threats to your footwear, depending on the type, is heat. Thankfully, many shoes come with a signifier of whether or not you can machine dry them. A square with an X on it is a universal symbol to avoid dryers at all costs. A square with an O in it, on the other hand, means drying is fine.

If your shoe lacks either symbol, go on the side of caution. Nylon, as well as materials like leather, reacts poorly to the heat of dryers. However, cotton, canvas, and polyester are all heat-resistant materials that dry well.

You can’t just put your shoes in the dryer loose, though. The friction from bouncing around can cause serious damage. Not to mention the noise from them is worse than any button or zipper could ever be.

If you want to dry your shoes in the dryer, tie their laces together. Then, close the door on the laces so the shoes don’t fall flat.

When drying shoes, you can never be too careful. Run the dryer on the lowest heat settings available, and check on your shoes every 10 to 20 minutes.

Most importantly, don’t exclusively dry your shoes this way. Once in a while for exceptional circumstances is fine. Exclusive use of the dryer can damage the materials or the lifespan of the shoe.

3. For an overnight DIY, use newspapers

Our third tip is one of the traditional ways to dry out wet shoes. Newspapers are highly absorbent and have more structure than other types of paper.

Newspaper is a great way to drain water from all types of shoes. There are two essential elements to drying your shoes with newspaper.

The first is balling up newspaper and placing it inside your shoes. This helps your shoe retain its shape as well as clear the interior.

For the exterior, take newspaper and gently roll/fold it over the shoe. For an extra tight fit, use bandaids to help the newspaper keep its shape.

Each of the newspapers should be replaced periodically if your shoes are extremely wet. This can be one or twice an hour, or once or twice an evening. Be aware that the inner ball of paper will likely get wetter than the exterior paper.

4. Unlace your shoes

It might not be obvious, but unlacing your shoes goes a long way in helping protect them. We’ll admit it’s not the most time-friendly tip, but it can help you give your sneakers some TLC.

In general, unlacing your shoes helps them retain their natural shape. It also allows the tongue to open up, giving you easier access to place the newspapers. It also helps exterior newspapers cover a larger surface area.

Not all shows have laces or require tying. For example, you can just slip on your Kiziks. This totally hands-free approach to putting on shoes makes them accessible to everyone, while also being enduringly comfortable.

If you want a really deep clean, you can even remove your laces entirely. You can then use this time to wash them separately.

5. Consider rice

The rice hack is popular for phones and electronics. While success is often mixed in those cases, rice is a great way to dry out your shoes.

The rice method is simple. Place your wet or damp shoes in a box of dry, uncooked rice. Rice is hygroscopic, meaning it naturally absorbs moisture from its immediate surroundings. Place your shoes overnight, and the rice will drain out the moisture.

Technically, this also works with oats, couscous, and other porous grains. But “The Porous Grain Method” just isn’t as catchy as the rice method.

6. Keep your shoes someplace dry and ventilated

Your shoes aren’t going to dry off if they aren’t someplace that’s already dry. This is an essential scientific foundation of moisture.

When your shoes dry, water is evaporating into the air. This turns into a vapor, which disperses.

If the air is already damp, there’s nowhere for the moisture in your clothing to dry. Also important is the second part of this tip: ventilation.

Keeping your shoes in well-ventilated spaces is sure to help improve the drying process. When air can travel, more moisture can be readily absorbed. Keeping your shoes near an open window or screen can provide maximum ventilation.

7. Clean dirt and mud off before they dry

Some people choose to let dirt and mud dry on their shoes. The logic is that drying makes it easier to pry off the big chunks attached to your footwear. However, letting these set in can also cause stains to set in your footwear.

If your shoes get exceptionally muddy, lay an old rag or towel down. From there, take a brush and remove all the major pieces of mud. You may want to use some additional water mixed with soap or detergent, depending on what your shoe is made of.

Precipitation rates are growing higher, meaning that our footwear may be exposed to more adverse elements in the future. Keeping them clean of dirt, mud, and salt can help extend their lifespan and good looks.

8. In this case, the sun is not your friend

Sunlight can help you dry shoes faster. It provides heat, and likely mainly reaches well-ventilated areas. However, it can also bleach the color of your footwear and damage its material, meaning it’s not worth it.

Keeping your footwear in a dark room is a recipe for mold, though. For best results, store your shoes somewhere bright that is outside of direct sunlight.

9. A shoe dryer can give you the best of all worlds

Shoe dryers embrace the best of the above to create a source of shoe-drying effectiveness.

These look like little, upright-standing posts. You can use them by hanging your shoes on the dryer and turning it on.

Shoe dryers work like this: vents circulate air from the environment into the shoe. The wattage of the dryer lightly heats it, creating immediate warmth.

There are only two downsides of using a shoe dryer as opposed to other methods. First, it requires real space as well as an electrical outlet. This limits where you can place it in your household.

The other is that a shoe dryer doesn’t address any issues with dirt, mud, or other seasonal buildups. It can dry these in a way that makes them set. Regardless, a shoe dryer can be a useful tool for drying shoes.

10. Let the shoes dry completely before wearing them again

Wet footwear can have more issues than just comfort and durability. Going out with wet shoes can have some serious health implications.

Wet shoes and moist feet are a dangerous recipe for athlete’s foot. While not immediately problematic, this condition usually requires treatment.

Making sure your shoes dry completely with any of the above methods is important. That way, your shoes can remain comfy, and you can stay healthy.

Last tip: wear better shoes

One final way to make drying shoes easier is to use shoes that dry easily. Kizik shoes do this in a few ways. Removable soles make drying with the above methods a breeze. The subtle integration of laces allows you to easily remove dirt from the shoe. All these qualities make for better everyday footwear that dries easily.

Grain and air properties | Rice Knowledge Bank
Climate Change Indicators: U.S. and Global Precipitation | US EPA
Athlete's Foot | Mayo Clinic

Written By: Chris Fry

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