Your Shoes Got Wet. Now What?

Your Shoes Got Wet. Now What?

There is nothing quite like the rancid smell of wet shoes. I could go into detail, but if you’ve ever had a pair of sneakers soaked, either by the rain, the snow, or a hidden puddle - and smelled them in a few hours - you’d know exactly what I’m talking about.

In such cases, it becomes paramount to dry them as fast as possible. This article will list some ways you can dry your waterlogged leather shoes or moistened sneakers, so you can avoid that morning-after smell and have them ready-to-wear within 24 hours.

Tactic 1: Sunshine

The sun delivers more energy in an hour than humans use in 7 years. Natural light and heat truly is the best remedy for drying out shoes. Leave your wet shoes in the sunshine to dry them, especially during the summer months, and especially if you’re located nearer to the equator rather than further.


Of course, this method carries with it some conditions. For one, there is no sense in leaving shoes outside if it is raining or snowing. Alternatively, if there is high cloud cover, you may decide to go for another method listed here.


Tip: Dismantling the shoe as much as possible can let each part of the shoe dry individually. “Dismantle” the insoles from the shoe, take the shoelaces out, and open up the shoe as wide as possible. Then you can dry the insoles, shoes, and shoelaces separately. This method obviously takes more time, but can come in handy when you need your shoes to be dry in a jiffy!

Tactic 2: Newspaper

Yes, newspaper. You would be surprised how many professional runners use a ball of crumpled newspaper, inserted into the shoe as their preferred method of drying out shoes. If you try it you’re likely to be equally surprised by how much moisture can be gathered by this simple and cost-effective method.


Tip: Be sure to take out the insoles ahead of time in order to capture as much moisture as possible from the shoe. While you’re at it, feel free to toss those insoles in the dryer for a quick dry.


Tip: Be sure to switch out the newspaper every few hours or so, because it will become damp as it starts to collect moisture. We recommend replacing the balled up newspaper batch every three to four hours.


Tip: Wrap the outside of the outside of the shoe in newspaper too. Hold it in place by rubber bands.


Tip: For optimal results, combines Tactic 1 and Tactic 2. This will allow shoes to dry faster than just air drying alone.

Tactic 3: The Dryer

Credit goes to Macgyverisms for thinking of this ingenious method. It involves tying your shoelaces together, then placing them in a dryer. However, instead of just throwing them in the dryer - to tumble all over themselves in the spin cycle - you leave the shoelaces outside of the dryer. In this way, the shoes are not abused by the rapid spinning and tumbling of the dryer.


Word of Caution: Only use this method when you’re in dire straits! Even so, keep the dryer on very low heat! (You can always place them for another cycle if you feel they are not dry enough after the first tumble).


There are two reasons for being wary about dryers. Firstly, the direct heat can damage the glue used to hold shoes together. Secondly, the shoes can lose cushioning. Tactic 3 can help you prevent some of the loss that occurs to cushioning, as the shoes won’t be slamming against the metal or against each other, but you’ll have no guarantees as to the final integrity of the glue, or other stitching. This is why we recommend this as a last resort method. You’ve been warned!


  • Tie the shoelaces in the dryer door
  • Start the dryer on the lowest heat setting possible
  • Repeat as necessary
  • For faster shoe drying results remove the soles and shoelaces


Protect Your Shoes Before They Get Wet

Shoe protector or shoe shiner can add a protective layer to wet shoes. Sof Sole Neatsfoot Oil Leather Preservative repels water and protects against the drying and stiffening as shoes go from wet to dry. Restore shoes to their pliable form with Moneysworth & Best M&B Sheepskin Water & Stain Repellent Snow - this product even works on sheepskin - one of the most delicate leathers out there.


Use these sprays to form a microscopic net that is too fine for water molecules to gain entry into the shoe, but porous enough to allow water vapor to pass through. They create a unique flexible coating that protect the leather shoe fibers from the rain, while maintaining the breathability of the leather itself.


Tip: Water repellants, in addition to protectors and preservatives, will not only help you keep shoes dry next time you’re in the rain, but they’ll also stave off that icky wet shoe smell. 

If you have a story about wet shoes, share it with us on our social media pages. Thanks for reading!

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  • Alex Pop
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