How to Dry Running Shoes Without Ruining Them

Whether it’s rainy the day of your can’t-miss long run, or you were very “lucky” enough to get caught in a sudden downpour during a late-summer easy run, or your latest trail run featured a creek crossing, wet shoes are part of your life as a runner. What you don’t want is for your shoes to stay wet. Especially when you have your next workout to complete.

So, how can you dry running shoes quickly without ruining them? We’ve got a few tricks for you in this article!

If you’ve already put your shoes in the dryer before finding this article, we suggest you fetch them now! While the dryer might seem to be a sensible option, it isn’t. Many have gone down that path only to come back with their head hung low and a dead, shrunken shoe hanging on each hand.

If you’re training during the wet or cold months, and you get your shoes wet daily, then it’s best to try other methods. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a trip to the store to buy new ones.

How to Dry Running Shoes the Right Way

Here are three tricks you can try to get your shoes ready for tomorrow—or at least the day after.

Trick #1: The Newspaper

A popular trick that’s proven to work is using newspaper. Made from recycled matter and wood pulp, it’s very absorbent.

Step 1: If your shoes are soaking wet, then you can run them first under the tap to get rid of the superficial dirt. Then, shake off excess water. If they are not very wet, then you can use a damp dishcloth to clean dirty spots.

Step 2: Remove the laces and the insoles. Then, open up the shoe.

Step 3: Ball up the newspaper and stuff it inside the shoes. Try to conceal those heavily inked areas of the newspaper though, as they may bleed onto your shoes.

Step 4: Place the shoes in a dry, well-ventilated area inside you home. You may also place them near a space heater or a fan.

Step 5: Check the shoes every hour or so and replace the wet newspaper.

Step 6: To dry the outsides, you can also wrap a few sheets around the shoes. Use a rubber band to secure them.

The newspaper is not only good at absorbing water, but also unwanted smells. So, it can be a good idea to stuff your shoes with newspaper when they are wet from sweat, not just rain, or any time you’re not using them.

Trick #2: The Fridge

Another helpful household item you can use to get your shoes back on the road is the fridge. No, not the inside of the fridge! By the vent of your fridge! On most refrigerators, this is below the door. Your fridge blows out warm, dry air each time the appliance runs a cooling cycle.

Alternatively, if you don’t like the idea of your shoes being in front of the fridge, you can also place them behind the fridge, where there is usually an intake fan. The fan will suck the moisture out of them.

So, get your wet running shoes, remove the insoles, and lay your shoes on their sides with the opening facing the vent of the fridge—or the fan if you prefer the back part. Get a shower, have a hot meal, go to sleep, and you’ll wake up to dry shoes the next day.

Trick #3: The Fan

Besides the fridge, a household appliance that you can also use is the fan. For this, you need a big and stable fan that can support the weight of your shoes. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: As with the newspaper trick, remove first superficial dirt by running the shoes under the tap, hosing them down with water, or using a damp dishcloth. Then, wring out or shake off excess water. Make sure the shoes are not dripping wet.

Step 2: Remove laces and insoles or orthotics. These can usually be dried in the dryer.

Step 3: Open the mouth of your shoes as wide as possible.

Step 4: Set the fan up somewhere safe, stable, and out of the way.

Step 5: Then, make a hook using a metal wire or coat hanger. Cut a long piece around 6 inches and bend it into an S-shape.

Step 6: Attach the hook on the upper front grill of the fan, keeping them a few inches apart. If you have an oscillating fan, turn that feature off.

Step 7: Then, hang the shoes on the hook, with the mouth towards the fan, opening them up to get as much air in as possible.

Step 8: Put some towels underneath in case there are drips. But again, to be safe, make sure the shoes are not dripping wet.

Step 9: Leave the fan on and the shoes hanging from the grill. That should considerably dry your shoes in a few hours or overnight.

Things You Should Not Do to Dry Your Shoes With:

Other than the dryer, there are other things that you should avoid using or doing to dry your pair of treads.

  • Do not use the hair dryer to dry your shoes.

Besides being a waste of time and energy, the heat can increase the odor factor as well as damage materials and adhesives. And if you decide just to stick the dryer in the shoes and leave it alone, that can be a fire hazard.

  • Do not put your shoes in direct sunlight.

While this will dry your shoes quickly, it will also wear the shoes quickly. If you hang them outside, find a partially shaded area with lots of circulation. That will dry your shoes without fading or damage from direct heat and light.

Summary

Now you have three good methods to dry running shoes. Some are considerably faster than the others. Some are more convenient than the rest. We recommend putting them on their sides facing the vent of the fridge because it’s stress-free – no setup or monitoring needed. Just leave them there overnight. If you’re lucky, then the shoes are ready to be worn the next day, when we are sure the weather will be better.

The Wired Runner