How To: Dry Your Soaking Wet Shoes Faster — Without Shrinking Them in the Dryer

Dry Your Soaking Wet Shoes Faster — Without Shrinking Them in the Dryer

Wet shoes are uncomfortable, no one can deny that. Just think about walking around with soaking wet footwear ... and each squishy step you take. Makes you cringe, doesn't it? It can happen in heavy rain, at the beach, or from an unforeseen puddle on the street. And while you can't always avoid soggy shoes, you can rest easy knowing that the next time this happens to you, you know the secret trick to drying your shoes faster without damaging them with excessive heat.

Beyond how they feel, wet shoes also introduce other potential problems: mildew smell (on top of a shoe's own unique brand of smelly), unexpected cost (rain treats $150 shoes the same as $20 ones), and blisters for you if you happen to not be wearing socks at the time and need to walk around in the sogginess for a while.

Fortunately, there are a few drying methods at your disposal. The first and obvious choice would be a clothes dryer, but manufacturers will try and steer you away from this path as it can cause damage to the shoe's construction. It can also shrink them! A blow dryer? You could, but only for a few minutes, and that won't get your puddle-covered shoe(s) very dry. So what then?

The safe, DIY answer is newspapers. Yep. Those things you throw in the recycling bin (hopefully) every day.

The Dryer's Okay, But Will Likely Cause Damage

As said, our first thought will likely be the dryer. It's fast, it's there. But the machine's tumbling and heat could do damage to the glue holding the shoe together. Not to mention the shrinking risk. So while you may quickly have a dry shoe, for how much longer will you have it to wear? For those who train during the winter, shoes can get soaked every day. You certainly can't throw them in the dryer each time.

This said, if you do try this route (once or twice), make sure the dryer is on low heat. Also, a pair of sneakers will be seriously loud if you let them tumble around. To muffle the sound, tie the laces together, stick them in a pillow case, or add a few towels in the mix.

Another trick, courtesy of HowDoesShe, is to tie laces in a knot or bow and hang the shoes on the dryer door. If your laces have clips or locks, use them to hold the shoes in place. Turn the dryer on (on low heat) and you'll be rid of the sound, but the shoes will still get the dryer treatment.

Images by HowDoesShe/YouTube

Then again, why go the dryer route when newspapers exist?

Why Newspapers Do a Better Job

In fact, this hack has been around for years. We learned of it first from Redditor wowbobwow and it remains just as effective today. As you know, newspapers are part of the ephemera group and thus not meant to last for long. Made from recycled matter and wood pulp, finding ways to repurpose it, like drying out wet shoes, seems an even cooler thing to do/try.

Image by University of Illinois Library/Flickr

The method is as easy as you may be thinking. Simply ball up that daily and stuff your shoes. Newspapers aren't just for information, they possess good absorbing abilities. Moisture, not to mention odors, get pulled into the paper and there they stay. So they can also aid in ridding your shoes of some of their smelliness.

  1. Get newspapers.
  2. Remove the shoe's insole to dry separately.
  3. Loosen the laces and open up the shoe.
  4. Ball/crinkle the newspaper and stuff the shoes.
  5. Place shoes in a dry spot indoors.
  6. Place close by a space heater or fan (not directly; optional).
  7. Remove/replace newspaper.
Image by LifeHacker/YouTube

Super easy! But this is not a fast process. It could take a day, maybe more, and you'll want to keep replacing the newspaper (every few hours). But your shoes will dry faster than if you simply left it to the air. Plus they won't shrink. To further keep their shape, consider using shoe trees once they've dried.

To dry the outsides, you can wrap a few sheets around them and secure with a rubber band. The newspaper should also help to absorb any unpleasant smells from the water. To speed up the process even more, place the shoes in front of a fan or use a hair dryer on them, like mentioned before.

Never Keep Them Out in the Cold

It's not just getting rid of the gross feeling of wet shoes — we also want to take care of our footwear. Experts advise to never keep them outside in extreme cold or in unheated areas like a car. Instead, keep the shoes inside, in any room temperature area with circulating air. That sounds nice ... and dry!

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Cover photo by digifuture/123RF


I discovered that paper bags work even better than newspaper. I put newspaper in one shoe and left in front of fan but ran out of newspaper, so I grabbed a paper bag, balled it up, and put in shoe. The shoe with paper bag dried in a few hours, and the shoe with newspaper is still wet. I did not need to change the paper bag.

My New "Go-to" Site!

Here in Austin, we've had unusual and continuous rain for a few weeks. My husband is a landscaper, and since all this rain, he's come home, almost every night, with soaking wet workboots. Every night, I put those heavy workboots in our brand new drier, so he can have dry shoes in the morning. Our drier sits against the wall adjacent to our bedroom, so you can imagine all the noise we've had to endure. However, tieing the shoelaces and hanging them between the drier door works like a charm! Tonight is the first quiet weeknight we've had since the rain began!

Thank you so much!!
This is definitely my new "go-to" site!

I always put them in front the frigerator cause it's continuously blowing air when the Refrigerator is running well not continuously but they will be Dry by the morning it's wonderful try it ????????

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