How To Dry Your Shoes In The Dryer

Have you ever had those moments when you badly need to wear a pair of shoes that unfortunately got drenched from the rain the day before? Air drying is not the best option if you need to dry them immediately. And you do not want to risk getting athlete’s foot from wearing wet shoes. 

You can actually dry your shoes in the clothes dryer to make them dry faster. However, you need to know a few things before you toss them in the dryer. We will share a few tips on how to machine dry your shoes. You can apply these techniques to avoid permanently damaging your favorite kicks.

Is It Safe To Put Your Shoes In The Dryer?

Check The Label

Undeniably, the first step to determine whether you can machine dry your wet shoes  is to check the label. Most shoes have their care label inside. Check for the drying symbol. It usually looks like a square or a drawing of a dryer.

If you can machine dry the shoes, you will see a symbol of a square with a circle inside. 

Some shoe manufacturers even put a dot inside to signify that you have to dry the kicks at low temperatures. 

If you see an X through the circle, it means machine drying is not possible.

What Types of Shoes Can You Put In The Dryer?

It takes minimal effort and saves you time when you dry your shoes in the dryer. It only needs a few minutes to dry most shoes in the dryer. Yet, it takes a few hours for them to air dry. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of dryer-safe shoes and non-dryer-safe shoes:

Dryer-Safe ShoesNon-Dryer-Safe Shoes
PolyesterSneakers with Gel Soles or Foam
NylonShoes with Sequins or Other Embellishments

Types of Shoes that are Safe to Put in the Dryer

  • Cotton. Machine drying is possible for cotton shoes. They are breathable and comfortable. However, as with other natural fibers, cotton shoes shrink. If you are to dry your cotton shoes in the dryer, make sure that you stuff them up with a piece of cloth to prevent them from shrinking.
  • Canvas. One of the most low-maintenance kinds of shoes that you can machine dry is canvas shoes. Canvas is a cloth material made traditionally of hemp that can withstand wear and tear. 

Modern canvas shoes use densely woven cotton fibers that are strong enough for vigorous daily wear while still being breathable. Converse makes one of the most famous canvas shoes. The Converse basketball shoes made waves as basketball star Charles “Chuck” Taylor endorsed them. Hence the term “Chuck Taylor’s” stuck about the iconic canvas shoes.

  • Polyester/Nylon. Most running shoes use blends of stretchy polyester or nylon. You can dry most nylon or polyester shoes in the dryer. But be aware that nylon melts in high temperatures. Meanwhile, polyester can shrink.

Types of Shoes That Are Not Safe to Put in the Dryer

  • Leather. Leather hates the heat. When subjected to high temperatures, leather warps, stretches, and relaxes. Tossing leather shoes in the dryer will create wrinkles and indents on the material. Thus, it will lose its original shape once you take it out of the dryer. You also risk the dye from these shoes running if you subject them to extreme temperatures.
  • Suede. Suede shoes and moisture do not go well together. When you accidentally wet and over-dry them, they can become stiff. Drying your suede shoes in the dryer can cause them to deform and crack. However, if you dry them outside when it is freezing, you will be permanently damaging your suede kicks. The best way to dry these damp shoes is to air dry them under the shade.
  • Sneakers with Gel Soles or Foam. Sneakers or tennis shoes need to be extra comfortable as they are usually athletic wear shoes. Manufacturers developed gel soles or foam to provide extra cushion. However, these materials do not do well with the warm air from the dryer. You lose the comfort and bounce when you are drying your shoes in the machine.
  • Shoes with Sequins or Other Embellishments. Special-looking shoes with sequins, lace, or other intricate embellishments do not have a spot in the dryer. The heat can also melt the glue holding the designs in your pumps. The air from the dryer and all the friction in the tub will ruin the delicate materials.

What’s worse is that you risk the chance of damaging your dryer tub. You can even create a crack on the glass door if you are using a front-load dryer. It is best to air dry these types of shoes instead. The fresh air will dry them just fine.

How To Dry Shoes in the Dryer

Never treat your shoes like normal clothes that can undergo machine drying after washing. You would not want to go through the whole process to find out the shoes did not dry properly or come out the way you wanted. 

Before putting your shoes into the dryer, make sure that it has drained of any excess water. You would also want to remove accumulated lint from the lint filter before drying. By making sure you are working with a clean filter, you will improve the air circulation inside the machine. It means the dryer does not need to work twice as much to ensure better drying.

Stuff Your Shoes With Towels

Stuffing large and small towels will absorb the impact inside the tub. You can also put in small rags, handkerchiefs, or socks inside your shoes instead of towels. Doing so will help prevent shrinking while the shoes are drying.

Ways To Prevent Your Shoes from Banging in the Dryer

1.  Tie a knot with both shoelaces and hook it from the door.

The best way to keep your shoes from slamming around is to hang them by the door using your shoelaces. Remove the laces first and set the pair of shoes side by side. Gather the four shoelaces together in one hand. You can then tie them in a knot near the end of the shoestring. Place your tied laces by the top of the dryer door and shut the door firmly. Allow the shoes to hang by the shoestrings. Make sure the laces are extended out of the dryer when you close the door.

2.  Use a shoe bag attached to the dryer door.

There are available shoe bags that can be attached to the dryer door. The shoe bag can hold your wet shoes as they dry in the dryer. By using a shoe bag, you can place your shoes in a vertical manner against the dryer door when using a front load dryer.

3. Use a drying rack for the dryer.

Drying racks are designed to sit in the dryer’s tub. You can put the shoes on the drying shelf and let the dryer do its work. You can remove the dry shoes and drying rack once your kicks have dried.

Set The Dryer To The Lowest Temperature

close up of the dial of a clothes dryer

Set the dryer to the air-dry setting. If your machine doesn’t have this setting, put it at the lowest temperature instead. Use low heat as drying at high temperatures can shrink your shoes.

Dry the shoes in the low cycle for about 20 minutes and periodically check them to judge the dryness of the shoes during the process. Then, carefully open the door and catch the pumps before they fall. Feel the inside of the shoes to ensure they’re dry. If they aren’t completely dry, hang them on the door again and dry them for another 5 minutes.

For Shoes That Cannot Be Machine Dried

Some shoes don’t belong to the dryer. However, there are alternative drying solutions you can use to dry them.

  • You can invest in shoe dryers so your kicks dry faster.
  • You can also place them in a space heater or electric fan.
  • Place white rice inside the shoes to help absorb excess water.
  • Put some newspaper inside the shoes to allow them to dry faster.

In Conclusion

Shoes can be challenging to wash and dry. Before you toss your favorite sneakers in the machine, remember to check first if they are dryer safe. Drying shoes that are not safe to dry in the dryer can damage your kicks as well as the machine. If you liked this article, you can bookmark this post for reference whenever you need to dry your shoes in the dryer. 

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About Sonia Peters

Sonia Peters is a communications specialist and a freelance writer. As a mother of a young boy, she's a self-declared expert on dealing with stains and grimes after a fun day with her child.