Can You Dry Shoes with a Blow Dryer? Yes, with Tips & alternatives

Using a blow dryer can be a lifesaver when faced with wet shoes, whether from a sudden downpour or a thorough cleaning. Properly drying your shoes with a blow dryer prevents unpleasant odors and discomfort and extends the lifespan of your favorite footwear. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of effectively and safely using a blow dryer to dry all types of shoes while ensuring they remain in excellent condition. I know you can dry shoes with a blow dryer (or hair dryer) using cold air, not hot!

can-you-dry-shoes-with-a-blow-dryer-without-destroying-them
Can you dry shoes with a blow dryer without destroying them?

Jump immediately to Frequently asked questions on this page

Table of Content

Why Avoid Using Your Dryer to Dry Shoes?

Let me start by telling you what you should not do with your wet shoes. Don’t trust your clothes dryer to remove your shoes’ moisture. When drying your shoes, relying on your dryer may not be the best option. While it offers convenience, the potential risks to your shoes outweigh its benefits. Here’s why you should consider alternative drying methods:

can-you-dry-Sneakers-in-a-clothes-dryer
Can you dry Sneakers in a clothes dryer? Preferably not.

1. Avoiding Damage and Shrinkage

Tumbling around in the dryer can cause your shoes to get beaten up and lose shape. The long periods of heat from the dryer might lead to shrinkage, altering the perfect fit of your shoes. Maintaining the ideal fit is essential for a comfortable and supported run, so it’s best not to risk any changes to the shape or fit of your footwear.

2. Preserving Shoe Construction

The high heat in the dryer can damage the glue used to construct your athletic shoes. This damage may result in deformities or even cause your shoes to come apart, rendering them unusable. Since a good pair of athletic shoes or your favorite hiking boots represent a significant investment, preserving their construction integrity and longevity is crucial.

3. Explore Safer Drying Alternatives

Instead of relying on the dryer, consider other gentler drying methods on your shoes. If you’re in a hurry and choose to use you clothes dryer, opt for the low-heat setting. As an extra tip: tie the shoelaces together and place the shoes in a mesh bag.

Using alternative drying methods, you can ensure your shoes remain in optimal condition, prolong their lifespan, and continue providing the support and comfort you need during your activities. Take the extra step to preserve your valuable footwear, and they’ll reward you with many more enjoyable adventures.

Can you dry shoes with a blow dryer without destroying them?

Although a little controversial, the simple answer is that you can dry shoes with a blow dryer, but you need to take a few precautions. First of all the hair dryer needs to be on a cold heat, and secondly, it needs to be at least 10 inches away from the shoes.

There are so many ifs and buts that I think it would be better to go into a little more detail and take a few photos of the small rig my son and I have set up in the bathroom.

You can dry shoes with a blow dryer, but you can also stretch them
You can dry shoes with a blow dryer, but you can also stretch them

Where Should You Blow Dry Your Shoes?

The critical thing to consider is that shoes tend to smell bad, mainly when wet, so you should try drying them in a garage or outhouse.

However, if you do not have that choice, a bathroom is better than a hallway because people enter bathrooms half expecting an invisible wall of foulness.

Of course, bathrooms also tend to get very humid if more than one person is taking a shower there, which would defeat the purpose of drying the shoes there. In that case, you may need to go with the hallway solution, which is unfortunate but has to be done.

Shoe dryers reviewed

We have reviewed boot dryers, peet boot dryers, and how to use a boot dryer as this is a topic in shoe care with many people looking for answers.

How Do You Dry Your Shoes with a Blow Dryer?

First of all you should consider the fact that even the flimsiest shoe is built to keep out at least some moisture, which means that once water has gotten in the shoe, that exterior layer will try to keep the moisture in. Therefore, you need to maximize the area that can be exposed from the inside of the shoe for certain periods of time.

  1. Start by removing the shoelaces, bending the tongue of the shoe out of the way, and, if possible, removing the inner sole. Read the care label on the tongue to learn as much as possible about your shoe.
Dry Shoes with a Blow Dryer 1
Remove insoles and shoe laces of your wet trainers

2. Next, lift the shoes so they are standing on their heels; thus, the water will drip out of the bottom of the shoe, which is also the least accessible. If needed place paper towels to absorb the excess water coming out of your shoes.

Tilt your shoes before drying with a blow dryer
Tilt your shoes before drying with a blow dryer

3. Position the blow dryer 10 to 15 inches away from the shoes and set it to blow cold air on the lowest setting.

Position the blow dryer at least 20-40 cm away from your shoes and only use low heat or cold temperature
Position the blow dryer at least 10-30 cm away from your shoes and only use low heat or cold temperature

(A couple of caveats here. First, even with a blow dryer, the shoes will take several hours to dry so that you will use a lot of electricity. Second, hot air will further increase those electricity bills, it wonโ€™t reduce the drying time by much, and it will fray the fabric of the shoe, so stay on cold, or, if your blow dryer has that setting, put it on very low speed, and lukewarm temperature.)

4. Finally, check on the progress of your shoes every hour or so. For one, you donโ€™t want to run the blow dryer for more than you have to. Secondly, you should check for shoe areas that are not drying. For example, you may need to tilt them forward if you notice that the heel is completely dry, but the toe area is still soaked.

Although all shoes can survive the wet-dry process, and this blow dryer method is just accelerating a natural process, a few precautions depend on the type of shoes you are drying. Each pair of shoes can react a bit different to the hair dryer treatment.

Dry shoes with a blow dryer explained (video)

Can you dry shoes with a hair dryer? by Ask About EVENTS

Can you dry leather shoes with a blow dryer?

Following the steps described, you can dry leather shoes with a blow dryer. However, you should be aware that the tongue will crease if you lift is as high up and out of the way as I did with my sonโ€™s shoes. You do want it out of the way, but you should leave the shoe laces on and use the last 2 shoelace holes, put toothpicks or barbeque spits through them and lift the tongue over the toothpicks.

Once you have dried out your leather shoes, use leather conditioner or shoe cream to nourish the leather. Add just a little bit more shoe polish than you would regularly and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes to absorb. You should come in with a brush to remove the excess cream afterward.

Related: How to Fix Cracked Leather Shoes, How To Stretch Patent Leather Shoes with a blow dryer

Can you dry suede shoes with a blow dryer?

Suede shoes are the one type of shoe you do not want to get wet. You can dry them with a blow drier afterwards, if you have gotten them wet, but no type of drying, including good old-fashioned air drying, will make them look new.

The only good news is that drying your shoes with a blow drier will not further damage them. Just to be safe though, keep the blow dryer on cold and keep it 15 inches away from the shoe. Also, make sure to protect the tongue through the same process as the one described on the leather shoe chapter above.

Once dry, use a suede shoes protection spray to hydrate the leather. Ideally, use a suede shoes brush to clean the leather and straighten the hairs on the shoe. If you do not have a suede shoe brush, and you have not read this here, but you might be able to use a bathroom hand brush, provided it is extra clean.

Related: How to Clean Suede Shoes

Can you dry canvas shoes with a blow dryer?

Canvas shoes are the best shoes to blow dry. Of course, not even canvas or cotton shoes can withstand massive amounts of heat so, ideally, you should keep the blow dryer on cold. On the other hand, if you are in a rush, as long as you keep the blow dryer at least 10 inches away, you could put it on heat. The challenge is to ensure you check on the process every 20 minutes.

It is not that the shoes will dry that fast, but that the blow dryer will overheat and start heating everything around it. So if you have used books to keep the blow dryer in a good position, or if you have used newspapers to soak up the water, those might get too hot and ignite.

So, although the shoes should be fine even if you use a blow dryer on hot, everything around them will be in danger, so use this method at your discretion.

Other Effective Ways to Dry Shoes

When it comes to drying shoes, using a blow dryer is just one of many options available. Depending on the materials and your preference, you can choose from the following methods:

1. Air Drying

Air drying is a simple and natural method of drying shoes. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Remove insoles and laces for better airflow.
  2. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation.
  3. Ensure the shoes are not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme heat.

Pros: Gentle on shoes, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly.

Cons: Slower drying time, may not completely remove moisture.

2. Stuffing with Newspaper

Stuffing your shoes with newspaper helps absorb moisture and speed up the drying process:

  1. Crumple newspaper and fill the shoes loosely with it.
  2. Change the newspaper when it becomes damp.

Pros: Inexpensive, readily available, and effective for small amounts of moisture.

Cons: The newspaper method may not work as well for heavily soaked shoes.

3. Silica Gel Packs

Silica gel packs are excellent moisture absorbers and are commonly used for drying shoes:

  1. Insert silica gel packs inside the shoes.
  2. Leave the shoes in an enclosed space for quicker results.

Pros: Fast drying, reusable, and great for eliminating odors.

Cons: Initial cost of purchasing the packs.

use-a-fan-to-dry-your-wet-shoes
Use a fan to dry your wet shoes

4. Fan Drying

Using a fan is an effective way to promote air circulation and hasten the drying process:

  1. Place the wet shoes before a fan or a designated shoe-drying fan so that they can catch the air flow…
  2. Allow the fan to circulate air around the shoes to aid in drying.

Pros: Faster drying, suitable for various shoe materials, and readily available.

Cons: It may not be as effective for extremely soaked shoes.

Comparison Table – Shoe Drying Methods

Shoe Drying methodProsCons
Blow DryerQuick and efficient dryingPotential risk of heat damage to shoes
Air DryingGentle and eco-friendlyLonger drying time
NewspaperInexpensive and accessibleLimited effectiveness for heavy moisture
Silica GelFast drying and odor eliminationInitial cost of packs
Fan DryingFaster drying, suitable for most materialsMay not be as effective for extremely soaked shoes
Shoe DryerTargeted and safe for all materialsHigher initial investment

Frequently asked questions (faq)

Can I use a blow dryer to dry my shoes without destroying them?

Yes, using a blow dryer to dry your shoes is possible. However, it is essential to be careful and use the blow dryer on a low or medium heat setting to avoid damaging the shoes or causing them to become too hot to wear. Important to note is to remove the insoles before dying your shoes

How long does it take to dry shoes with a blow dryer?

Depending on the circumstances, it may take several minutes to several hours to dry shoes with a blow dryer. The time it takes to dry shoes with a blow dryer depends on the type of shoes, how wet they are, the material they are made of, and the room’s humidity level.

Can I use a hair dryer to dry my shoes?

Yes, a hair dryer can dry shoes similarly to a blow dryer. However, using a low or medium heat setting is essential and keeping the hair dryer moving to avoid overheating and damaging the shoes. Remove the insoles, and put some old newspaper inside the shoes to speed up the process.

Is it safe to dry shoes with a blow dryer?

Drying shoes with a blow dryer can be safe if you use it on a low or medium heat setting and keep it moving to avoid overheating and damaging the shoes. It is also essential to keep a safe distance between the blow dryer and the shoes to avoid any risk of damage.

Can I use a blow dryer to dry shoes that are wet inside?

Yes, you can use a blow dryer to dry shoes that are wet inside. Removing insoles or other removable parts is best to dry them separately. Use a low or medium heat setting and keep the blow dryer moving to avoid overheating and damaging the shoes. Adding paper inside the shoes and repeating the process may be necessary to dry the shoes thoroughly.

Conclusion

Drying your shoes with a blow dryer is convenient and effective for handling wet footwear. By understanding the materials of your shoes and following the proper drying techniques, you can keep your shoes in excellent condition and avoid unpleasant odors. Remember to be gentle, patient, and mindful of the heat settings to preserve the longevity of your beloved shoes.

Source Pictures: Photo by Element5 Digital, by Andrey Matveev and Daniil Onischenko on Unsplash

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