How Long Do Shoes Take to Dry
If you let your shoes air dry, they will take approximately 12 hours to dry completely. The exact time will vary depending on the shoe type, the surrounding air humidity, and so on. The good news is that there are methods to help you speed up the drying process. We’ve tested five ways to dry your shoes quickly and discovered one that works best.
How We Tested
We’ve removed the insoles and laces, cleaned the shoes with a brush from any dirt, and noted the weight of each shoe when dry. Next, we machine-washed all shoes so they would be similarly wet to make the playing field as fair as possible.
After washing, we noted the weight of each wet shoe and used various drying methods (to learn more about each method, click here). Throughout the day, we continued weighting the shoes until they reached their “dry weight”. This way, we could precisely track the drying process and determine when the shoe was completely dry.
The Fastest Way to Dry Shoes
A fan is the quickest method to dry shoes. You may dry your footwear in about two hours using this technique. It is also safe since it does not expose your shoes to heat, which can damage them. That’s why it is a much better option than putting your shoes in the dryer. In fact, the majority of shoes shouldn’t go in the dryer at all. You can find more on this topic in our other post.
TIP: In 1.5 hours, we got rid of 95 % of the moisture. But it took us almost an hour to eliminate the remaining 5 %. To speed up the final drying process, try changing your shoe’s position. This will allow the fan to reach hidden areas where moisture might be trapped.
Conversely, the slowest drying method is to let your shoes air dry at room temperature. If you don’t have a fan, any of the remaining methods will help you speed up the drying process.
TIP: Air drying can go quicker, but you need hot and dry weather. If it is 95°F (35°C) outside, placing your shoes in the shade will result in faster air drying time.
The second best way to dry your shoes is by using dehumidifier bags. They will dry your shoes in five hours, are easy to use, and can be dried and reused repeatedly. In third place are rice bags. They will dry your shoes in about the same time as the dehumidifier bags, but they require prep work. Finally, the newspaper took fourth place, drying shoes in six hours. This method was the least practical since we had to keep changing the newspaper repeatedly.
Since drying shoes with a fan was so fast, we did a second test to find whether a combination of a fan and another drying method could dry shoes even faster. We placed three shoes on a chair in front of the fan. One shoe was left empty, another was filled with two dehumidifier bags, and the third with parboiled rice in a nylon sock. Below you can see the graph with the drying times.
Note: For comparison, we’ve added the drying time of the shoe that was hung directly on the fan from the first test.
It turned out that using a fan and another drying method simultaneously was an unnecessary hassle since the differences in drying times were insignificant. More important is the shoe’s positioning since the fastest drying time was achieved with the shoe hanging directly on the fan (during the first test).
Essential Steps to Speed Up the Drying Process
You can significantly shorten the drying time of your shoes by doing these two simple preliminary steps:
- Remove the laces and the insole, if possible, and let them dry separately.
- Absorb as much excess moisture as possible from the inside and outside of the shoe using a paper towel. We have tried it on a shoe that was not rinsed well in the washing machine. In a matter of minutes, we were able to soak up over 40 % of the water. It is best to focus on areas with the most padding, such as the tongue or heel area.
Tested Drying Methods
Below you can find a detailed description of all tested drying methods.
The shoe was set on a drying rack to allow for good airflow.
We tested four options when it came to using a fan. The first was to hang the shoe directly on the fan using a hanger. For the remaining three, we placed the shoes on a chair in front of the fan. We left one shoe empty, filled the second with two dehumidifier bags, and the third with parboiled rice in a nylon sock.
We filled the shoe with crumpled-up newspaper, which needed to be changed every hour or so.
We used 2.2 lb (1 kg) of parboiled rice in a sheer nylon sock. You can use a regular sock, but in our opinion, a nylon sock is better since it is extremely thin, allowing the rice to absorb as much moisture as possible. You can reuse the rice after letting it dry on a radiator or putting it in a microwave for a couple of minutes (we advise placing a paper towel under the rice to soak up moisture). We don’t recommend eating the rice afterward.
Coarse Oat Flakes
As with the rice, we put 500g of oatmeal flakes into a sheer nylon sock.