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How to dry shoes quickly

Dry school shoes

Some of us welcome the first signs of autumn, that crisp note in the air, the days rapidly drawing in, foggy mornings and the creep towards Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas. Others lament the long warm, carefree days of summer. Living in the UK, there is one thing for sure and that is with every season we have unpredictable weather and we will all get stuck in a downpour at some point! In summer it can be a relief, and in autumn, it’s predictable and playground puddles become the norm again.

As we step into the autumn term, it’s time to brush off anoraks and prepare our children’s footwear for the shorter days and colder months ahead.

How to dry wet shoes

It’s very important to dry shoes out when they get wet. Moisture on the inside might mis-shape the inside of the shoe, damage the fabric or encourage an odour to develop. And moisture on the outside can cause unsightly tide marks.

Here are our three key pieces of advice:

With newspaper

Newspaper is a great water absorber, and this is a gentle way to dry wet shoes, however it’s not the quickest method. Expect the process to take a few hours, and this will also depend upon how wet the shoes are to begin with. Our advice is to unlace the shoes first, to give the shoe maximum space for air to penetrate, and if possible, remove the insole too. Put the shoes onto some newspaper and then insert a ball shaped piece of newspaper into the shoe up to the toe and wrap the outside of the shoe in newspaper too. The paper will draw out the moisture. Remove and replace with dry paper after an hour. This is the best method to protect your shoes.

In front of a radiator

Air drying will take the longest time, but is the safest method for shoes, so long as you take some precautions from direct heat. Sources, such as a radiator, hair dryer, heater or open fire are good to aid the drying process from a safe distance, but never put the shoes onto the radiator or too close to the fire as the excess heat can over dry the shoes and cause damage to the leather or shrink it.

Our advice is to remove the laces and if possible, the insoles first to enable air flow, then place the shoes on newspaper about 100 cm / one meter away from the radiator. Even better, hang the shoes from a clothes hanger attached to the back of a chair to maximise air flow.

Using a fan

To speed up the air-drying process, a cold air fan is a good way to aid the drying process and protect the integrity of leather or suede shoes. Our advice is to unlace the shoes and if possible remove the insoles. Then place the shoes on newspaper around 50cm / half a meter in front of the fan.

If you are using a floor fan, take a metal clothes hanger, twist it into an ‘S’ shape to secure the shoe around it (and protect it from falling off in the air flow!) and hang it from the back of a chair. This will maximise the chance to dry more quickly, but the process will still take time, so be prepared to wait an hour or more before the shoes are ready to be worn again.

Can you tumble dry shoes?

This isn’t recommended, as the glue can melt and remove the soles from the shoes. The intense heat inside the drum, combined with the constant contact and tumble can also have an effect on whatever material the shoes are made from. Leather shoes in particular should never go in the tumble dryer, as it’s too warm and will quickly compromise the leather.

Clean school shoes

Protect shoes from wet weather by cleaning and polishing them regularly

Polishing shoes frequently will always give a good level of protection from splashes and stains. Polishing keeps leather supple and conceals scuffs and scratches. Add a sheen finish to your polished shoes by using a lint free cloth to buff rigorously to achieve the desired level of shine. Here’s our guide on how to polish shoes. Apply a Waterproof Protector weekly for extra protection.

We're rather keen on Autumn. Our wellies range pops with fun and colour to excite little adventurers, our winter school shoe range will protect little ones until they grow out of them, our cute baby pram shoes are the perfect Baby's First Christmas gifts and our wider range of boots and fashion styles will complete any outfit for the Winter party season.