A few years ago, I bought my son his first pair of ECCO suede leather and he jumped with them so often in puddles that he almost learned how to use the boot dryer himself, despite being 3 years old.
He is now 5 and his younger sister will soon start wearing those shoes. With careful drying and maintenance, those shoes look as good now as they did when we first bought them. It is a testament to how good ECCO shoes are but also to what a little preventive care can do.
How Do You Use a Boot Dryer Properly?
Start by using a towel to absorb as much of the water as possible. With suede leather just lightly damp the leather, do not rub in any way. Next, either place the boots on top of the drying shoots or slide in the drying nozzles and turn on the dryer. Good dryers do not use excessive heat, so leave the boots over night to dry and the worst that will happen will be that they will be nice and toasty when you go to put them on the next day. However, you should consider the type of boot dryer you are using in order to make the most out of it.
How Many Types of Boot Dryers Are There?
In terms of the power source they use there are 2 types of boot dryers: 120 v, wall socket ones, and battery or 12 V car power plug operated ones.
Although boot dryers do not usually use a lot of energy to operate, you do not want to cook your shoes, after all, and batteries are not really a reliable power source and nor is a car.
However, there are plenty of situations like going skiing in a remote location or going on hunting expeditions, where you will need a battery-powered boot dryer.
For those situations alone you might want to consider the battery-powered option. The hybrid solution is the one that can be plugged into a car’s outlet, but even those usually do not have the same output as a regular power plug.
A second and somewhat more significant difference in types has to do with the way the warm air is delivered to the inside of the shoe. Traditional boot dryers would simply heat up a coil at the base of a prong that the shoe sits on, and the warm air simply rises into the shoe. There it cools down as it aids in evaporation and comes down and out of the shoe to be replaced with new warm, dry air.
The alternative to the traditional boot dryer is a forced air one. This time the air is still warmed by a slightly more powerful heater, and then the warm air is blasted into the shoes by a fan. It is not as strong as a hairdryer, obviously, and the entire system is fairly silent, but the fact that the air is blown through means the dryer is a lot more efficient.
On the other hand, because of the fan, the air needs to be warmed up at a higher temperature and that needs to be coordinated with the power of the fan. All of which is to say that, if you are going with a forced-air boot dryer solution, it would be better to choose a good quality one like the ones I am talking about in this article on The Best Boot Dryer I have ever tried.
Will Forced Air Boot Dryers Harm Your Shoes?
I feel like I may have worried you for nothing when talking about the need for a forced-air boot dryer to be perfectly calibrated. The truth is boot leather is designed to take a lot of punishment and abuse. It is pretty thick and treated so that it will not be affected by the environment.
At the same time, you have to consider that walking out on a windy day is going to through more punishment at your shoes than any boot dryer could.
The real problem is that owning boot dryers consistently encourages people to abuse their shoes, to go straight through creeks or puddles that they would otherwise avoid. That is completely acceptable and not something you should avoid, though. That was what your shoes were made for.
However, you should remember that with the increase use comes the need for increased maintenance. So here is a quite checklist for making sure you get the most out of your boot dryer and your boots.
How to Use a Boot Dryer So It Won’t Harm Your Boots?
First up, you should use a towel, even a paper towel to absorb as much of the water in and on the boots. Next, use a dryer as described before to get your boots dry. Once they are dry, use a shoe polish or a leather shoe nourishing cream or spray to bring back the spring in your shoes.
Keep in mind that, just as your skin needs to stay hydrated to feel fresh and wrinkle-free while at the same time needs to be kept dry or it will wrinkle, so does leather need to get just the right type of hydration that nourishes from within.
What Type of Boot Dryer Is Easier to Use?
As you can tell by now, I think that a plugged-in, forced air boot dryer is the best option for anyone who, for whatever reason, has wet boots to deal with on a reoccurring basis. Furthermore, I do encourage you to check out the article on the best boot dryer I have already talked about.
As a short, further recommendation let me just say that I am a big fan of the type of dryers that have some type of hose, or that run down into the shoes, as opposed to the ones where you would hand your boots upside down.
That is because hot air rises naturally anyway, and by keeping your boots on the ground you don’t run the risk that their weight will turn the entire system upside down.
Also, make sure to check that the boot dryer has an on and off switch because it is just so much easier to just flip a switch rather than plug-in and out the device each time you want to use it.