Wearing wet boots can be a truly miserable experience. You will feel uncomfortable, cold and your feet will slip in them which can cause slippage, injuries as well as painful blistering. Also, not letting your shoes dry properly before putting them back on can cause danger to the uppers and risks the development of molds and other unhealthy germs in them which can be unhealthy for you and will damage your shoes.
This is why, it is essential to always dry your boots properly when they have become wet before wearing them again.
Even if your boots are waterproof, you need to periodically test them for water resistance by sprinkling them with water and watching whether the water rolls off of them, rather than gets absorbed into their uppers. If the latter is the case, make sure you add a thin layer of impregnator to ensure they are water resistant once again.
Further reading: The Complete Guide To Waterproofing Your Work Boots
If your boots are already wet, depending on the type of construction and materials they are made from, drying can take from one to several hours.
Tips on ensuring that your boots are completely dry:
Clean them first
Whether you are back from a muddy hike or run, from work or from a walk, always make sure that your shoes are cleaned from the mud and other residues even if they don’t really need drying. Keeping your shoes clean and conditioned will increase their longevity. So, take the time to clean the dirt off of them with the help of some mild detergent and lukewarm water. Use a brush or towel to get all that dirt off. You may want to remove the laces and wash them separately as well. It is always a good idea to take out the insoles, so that any water or perspiration gets evaporated. If necessary wash the insoles as well and let them dry off completely before putting them back in place. Use a dry clean towel to dry out the boots as much as you can after washing them. If they are too wet you can stuff them with towels or crumpled newspapers so as much of the water gets absorbed as possible.
Dry them with a fan, precautions for drying shoes
Choose a well-aerated area to leave the boots to dry. You can leave them outdoors if it is warm, but not under the direct sunlight because the sun can cause leather to dry up and crack, and can also cause the colors of your uppers to fade. Remember to never place your wet boots near a direct heat source, because they can become deformed, damaged and cracked by the excessive heat. To enhance the air movement and quicken the drying process, you may use a fan placed near them. The insoles and laces can be left to dry in the sun safely. To speed up the drying process with a fan, you can hang each boot on an S shaped wire hinge, and attach them to the fan. Remember to lift the tongues upwards when placing the footwear in front of the fan’s flap. Drying can begin, so just turn on the fan. Depending on the types of boots and their level of wetness, you may need to leave them hanging on the working fan overnight.
Use newspapers to dry your wet boots
This may not be the most time efficient drying method, but it is very suitable for boots made of delicate materials, as well as for boots which are soaking wet.
After you have cleaned the boots, removed the laces and the insoles and left them to dry, stuff the boots with newspapers. You can also wrap the newspaper around the boots to help absorb as much of the water as possible. Be careful when doing this with white and light colored boots, as the ink from the newspaper can cause staining to certain types of more delicate materials! Let the boots dry. You can take out the newspapers periodically and stuff new dry ones to enhance the drying process.
Full them with rice
As you probably know, rice is an excellent absorbent of water, and is often recommended for the removal of moisture and dampness from mobile phones and other electronics which you have gotten wet accidentally. It is no surprise that it is very suitable for drying wet shoes as well. The technique includes filling a pair of socks with rice and placing them inside the wet shoes or boots. Let the rice do its job and absorb all of the excess water. This method can be combined with the previous one with the newspapers for an even better and quicker result.
Invest in a good quality boot dryer
Boot dryers are very useful tools which you can use at home or when out traveling, backpacking, skiing and spending time outdoors. There is a wide variety of different types of boot dryers available on the market, so pick the one which will suit your needs. The dryer is safe for the boots, and will allow for them to dry efficiently quickly or overnight, so that you can wear them again on the next day. Also, a shoe dryer will not leave a mess from all the dripping water from the wet boots on your floor during the drying process.
It is crucial for the wellbeing of your shoes and yourself to dry them properly every time they get wet. You can do that by using one or more of the abovementioned tips for boot drying. It is a good idea to have an extra pair of work, running or other shoes you use on a daily basis, so that you can allow each pair to dry completely and to feel comfortable and safe when you wear them.