shoes in a dryer

How To Dry Your Shoes In The Dryer

Washing your clothes is a regular part of your life. Getting rid of dust, dirt, and stains leaves your clothes looking fresh and clean. So what about your shoes?

Many people simply never clean their shoes. One reason why is that they cannot leave their shoes to air-dry. It takes too long, and many people need their shoes on their feet to go to work or take a jog. But there are easy ways to dry your shoes after cleaning to get them back in action as soon as possible.

Why To Wash Your Shoes

It might seem that not washing your shoes is “normal.” But sometimes this simply boils down to people not knowing how to wash their shoes.

dirty white shoes

Some people might not like washing their shoes because it can risk damaging them if done improperly (though there are ways to safely wash your shoes in a washing machine).

Washing your shoes will keep them looking clean enough to impress, and can prevent the build-up of bacteria that causes bad odors. After a good wash, it is time to move on to the drying process.

What Shoes Can Go In The Dryer?

Shoes made of synthetic fibers are usually safe to throw in the dryer. Your drying machine pumps in heat to vaporize moisture, and synthetic fibers are fine with heat. If your shoes are made entirely of any of these materials, or only use other materials for details, they should be dryer safe:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Cotton
  • Canvas

What reacts poorly to heat are natural, animal-based materials, like leather or suede. These dry out in a drying machine and will crack, damaging your shoes. This means work boots and dress shoes should not go in a dryer.

RelatedHow To Clean Leather Shoes & Boots: The Complete Guide

Even when putting the recommended shoes into a dryer, here are a few other steps that will help your shoes dry evenly and safely:

  1. Take out the insoles – they are vulnerable to drying out and are thin enough to air-dry quickly
  2. Use the lowest heat setting – ensure your dryer uses as little heat as possible to avoid shrinking the material of your shoes
  3. Air-dry the shoelaces – shoelaces should dry quickly on their own, and removing them opens up the shoes to dry more evenly

Related: How to Clean Your White, Colored, or Leather Shoelaces

What Are The Risks Of Putting Shoes In The Dryer?

Shoes are built to last, so they should hold up well in a dryer. Still, there are a couple of possible risks. The most obvious is the motion of a tumble dry, which can batter your shoes. If they are older shoes, the extra wear of frequent tumble drys could damage your shoes.

The other big issues are heat-based, so it is recommended you run your drying machine on its lowest heat setting. High heat can cause the fabric to shrink, warping your shoes. Additionally, some materials or manufacturing processes use different glues which may loosen under high heat.

If your shoes are not already at risk of breaking from normal use, they should do fine in a dryer as long as it is on a low-heat setting.

Methods To Dry Your Shoes In The Dryer

There are three main options for how to dry your shoes. Pick whichever one fits your shoes best.

Place your shoes on a dryer rack

Widely available online, dryer racks sit inside the machine and keep anything you place on them upright. They are perfect for shoes or other delicate items that you want to avoid bouncing around the dryer.

A rack will cut down on the number of bumps your shoes will sustain, as well as being less noisy than letting your shoes tumble loose in the dryer.

Hang your shoes off the dryer door

With the dryer door open, hang your shoes vertically so that their soles are touching the door panel. Then use the shoelaces to tie them in place, or pinch the laces in the door when you close it. When the door is shut, the shoes will stay suspended.

This exposes most of your shoes to the dryer’s heat without leaving them to bounce around. The shoelaces should provide enough support to keep the shoes in place.

Tumble dry

Simply throwing your shoes into the dryer works fine too, or you can slip them inside a mesh laundry bag to keep them from flying around too much. As they tumble, the impacts might squish your shoes and leave them in a weird shape, so tuck other bits of laundry inside to keep your shoes’ structure (although this will slow down the drying process).

This method tends to be noisy, but drying a few towels at the same time can dampen the sound. The towels will also soften any impacts your shoes have as they tumble dry.


Giving your shoes a full wash-and-dry will not be necessary all the time, but you will appreciate clean shoes after a messy hike or when your shoes begin to stink.

A good air-dry never hurts for drying shoes, but if you need to get them back on your feet as soon as possible, throwing them in the dryer is a great alternative. Be sure to always check the manufacturer’s instructions if you are unsure whether your shoes are dryer-safe.

Liam Blackley

Liam Blackley is a freelance writer and a contributor to Durability Matters.

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