Every enthusiast knows that to enjoy the many aspects of running fully, your shoes are critical. Whether jogging around the neighborhood or an ultra-marathon, shoe care and feet protection are crucial to perform at your best and to get proper comfort.
What will happen if you leave your shoes wet?
Our running shoes take a lot of pounding and often arrive home wet. But running shoes cannot be left wet for prolonged periods since water damage leads to bacteria pervading the fabrics, and you could end up with weakened and distorted shoes.
Apart from losing shape and becoming weaker, you don’t want moisture and bacteria seeping deep into the fabric. The bacteria create foul odors and release enzymes that can degrade the material to weaken your shoes.
Clean your running shoes before drying them
There are several ways to dry shoes to prevent damage, but it’s essential to make sure they’re clean before attempting the drying process.
This technique has been around forever, and although it seems like an ‘old-fashioned’ idea, it still works very well. You’ll also be doing your part for the environment by using waste paper around your home.
Remove the insoles and laces and give them a thorough clean as you would usually do. Also, clean the inside and outside of your shoes meticulously. Let the insoles dry in a sunlit area with good ventilation (out of direct sunlight), and hang your laces out as you would with your laundry.
Stuff your shoes with newspaper, wrap them in a dry towel and place them in a ventilated area. Make sure to check on them regularly to replace the wet newspaper. Leave them for approximately twelve hours or until they’re entirely dried out.
- Use an electric cooling fan:
This method speeds up the process and only requires some old wire clothing hangers. Begin by cutting the hanger in half and shaping it into an ‘s’ shape.
Remove the laces and insoles and place the one end of the ‘s’ you fashioned into the shoes and the other end on the fan, so the shoes are directly in the breeze. You could even hang your insoles and laces up alongside your shoes for a quicker dry than the newspaper method.
- Shoe dryers:
These nifty gadgets are a lifesaver – some of them apply low-level heat, and the aim is to get your shoes dry quickly. There are a host of dryers to choose from on Amazon and similar online running webshops.
They are easy to use, and all you need to do is follow the instructions. We can divide them into four categories:
Forced air: The best shoe or boot dryers, as they are also known, have built-in fans to speed up the drying process of about one to three hours. But they can be noisy.
Convection shoe dryers have built-in heaters that slowly warm the air and dry the shoes within approximately three to eight hours. They are very quiet but not as quick as forced air dryers.
PTC Dryers Positive Temperature Coefficient dryers consist of stone-like components with self-limiting temperature control. They are among the most energy-efficient devices out there and dry shoes within four to eight hours. The temperature stabilizes once the desired level is reached, so you cannot overheat them. However, they are not the fastest type of dryer.
UV Dryers utilize ultraviolet light to remove bacteria and odor-causing organisms and dry the shoe fabrics within three to eight hours.
If you’re one of our visual readers the below video will show you a process of cleaning and drying your shoes effectively.
What you should avoid when drying your running shoes
The list of things to avoid is short and sweet and includes the obvious dangers.
- Tumble Dryers:
This is rule number one of drying running shoes. It becomes scorching inside a tumble dryer, and tumbling about in the heat creates unnecessary strain on your runners. The heat will weaken the glue, the stitching and the fabrics will warp – potentially creating a disaster on your next run.
- Radiators or electric heaters:
The heat is also a factor here, and as with tumble dryers, the heat is too intense for your shoes.
- Direct sunlight:
Contrary to logic and common belief, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is also a no-no. Sunlight can discolor the fabrics, making the different areas, such as mesh, stitching and eyelets, brittle and unreliable. If you want your pricey shoes to be around for as long as possible, dry them in a shaded area with good ventilation.
And there you have it – everything you need to know when it comes to effectively drying your running shoes. As you can see, this is an important step to take if your running shoes get wet. We hope you will use the above steps to keep your shoes in tip-top condition.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.