How To Dry Running Shoes: The Fastest Ways

Wondering how to dry running shoes?

Nobody can deny that damp shoes are an unwelcome aftermath of running in wet conditions. It can happen in heavy downpours, at the beach, or because of an unanticipated puddle on the street. While you can’t always avoid soggy shoes, you can rest easy knowing that the next time this happens to you, you’ll know the fastest ways to dry your running shoes.

Wrapping shoes in a newspaper, placing shoes against your refrigerator’s vent, or hanging shoes in front of a household fan are three of the fastest and least damaging ways of drying your trainers after a run. Never apply heat to your running shoes, as this will promote their deterioration.

Aside from the unpleasant sensation, running in wet shoes for extended periods can cause mildew, joint injuries, and skin conditions. It is essential to properly dry your running shoes using methods that do not compromise the life expectancy of your shoes. 

The Fastest Ways to Dry Running Shoes

How to dry running shoes

Wet shoes are a part of your life as a runner, whether it’s raining on the day of your must-do long run, you were “lucky” enough to get caught in a sudden downpour during a late-summer jog, or your most recent trail run included a creek crossing.

The last thing you want is for your shoes to remain soaked, especially when you have another workout coming up, or a race.

If you don’t have a workable shoe rotation, you’ll need to dry them fast.

The Newspaper Method To Dry Running Shoes

The use of newspapers is a tried-and-true trick. It’s very absorbent because it’s made of recycled materials and wood pulp.

  • Step 1: If your shoes are completely drenched, run them under the tap first to remove the surface dirt. Shake off any excess water. You can clean dirty spots with a damp dishcloth if they aren’t too wet.
  • Step 2: Take off the laces and insoles. Then, take the shoe off.
  • Step 3: Roll the newspaper into a ball and stuff it inside the shoes. However, try to hide the heavily inked areas of the newspaper, as they may bleed onto your shoes.
  • Step 4: Store your shoes in a dry, well-ventilated area of your home. They can also be placed near a space heater or a fan.
  • Step 5: Replace the wet newspaper in the shoes every hour.
  • Step 6: To dry the outsides of the shoes, wrap a few sheets around them. Secure them with a rubber band.

Not only does newspaper absorb water, but it also absorbs unpleasant odors. So, when your shoes are wet from sweat, not just rain, or when you’re not wearing them, stuff them with newspaper.

The Fridge Method To Dry Running Shoes

The fridge is another valuable household item for getting your shoes back on the road. This may seem like a strange trick since shoes are the last thing you’d like next to your carton of milk. However, this method makes use of the vent of your refrigerator. This is usually found beneath the door of a fridge. Every time your refrigerator runs a cooling cycle, it blows out warm, dry air.

If you don’t like the idea of having your shoes in front of the fridge, you can also place them behind the refrigerator, where there is usually an intake fan. The moisture will be sucked out of them by the fan. So, take your wet running shoes, remove the insoles, and lay them on their sides with the opening facing the fridge’s vent.

The Fan Method To Dry Running Shoes

Aside from the fridge, another useful household appliance is the fan. You’ll need a large and stable fan that can support the weight of your shoes for this. 

  • Step 1: As with the newspaper trick, first remove surface dirt by placing the shoes under the faucet, washing them down with water, or wiping them down with a damp dishcloth. Then wring or shake off any excess water. Check that the shoes aren’t dripping wet.
  • Step 2: Take off your laces and insoles or orthotics. Typically, these can be dried in the dryer.
  • Step 3: As wide as possible, open the mouth of your shoes.
  • Step 4: Position the fan in a safe, stable, and out-of-the-way location.
  • Step 5: Make a hook out of metal wire or a coat hanger next. Cut a 6-inch-long piece and bend it into an S shape.
  • Step 6: Attach the hook to the upper front grill of the fan, about an inch apart. Turn off the oscillating fan if you have one.
  • Step 7: Next, hang the shoes on the hook with the mouth facing the fan, opening them up as much as possible to allow as much air in as possible.
  • Step 8: Place some towels underneath in case of drips. To be safe, make sure the shoes aren’t dripping wet.
  • Step 9: Leave the fan running and the shoes on the grill.

Can a Dryer Damage Running Shoes?

If you’ve already tossed your trainers in the dryer before coming across this article, you should retrieve them right away. While the dryer may appear to be a viable option, it is one of the fastest ways to ruin your running shoes. The high heat can cause the glue to disintegrate and cause the upper to crack. Furthermore, it can worsen the odor in your shoes. 

Not only will your shoes be damaged as they tumble around in the dryer, but the heat may also cause them to shrink. Because the right fit can mean the difference between a comfortable run and a painful one, you don’t want to change the shape or fit of your shoes.

The synthetic materials used in your running shoes are sensitive to heat. Leaving your running shoes in the dryer for extended periods is a fire safety hazard; therefore, you should avoid this method at all costs. 

Keep Your Running Shoes Away from Heat

It would be best not to use a hairdryer to dry your shoes. Aside from being a waste of time and energy, heat can also increase the odor factor and damage materials and adhesives. 

Keep your shoes out of direct sunlight. While this will quickly dry your shoes, it will also quickly wear them out. If you’re going to hang them outside, choose a partially shaded area with good circulation. This will prevent your shoes from fading or being damaged by direct heat and light.

Why Are Your Wet Running Shoes Prone to Smelling?

The perils of wet running shoes
The perils of wet running shoes!

The source of the smell in your shoes is quite simple. Each of your feet contains thousands of sweat glands that perspire while you exercise. That sweat is restricted to three areas: your foot, sock, and shoe. The odor occurs when sweat has nowhere to evaporate. Even shoes with adequate ventilation absorb and retain some of this moisture. 

But it’s not just sweating that causes the stench. The bacteria that live in these places are responsible for the smell. As a result, it’s critical to not only get rid of the smell from your shoes but also to attack the bacteria that’s causing it. If you do not, you may become more prone to infection.

Wet running shoes are a haven for bacteria. If your shoes aren’t allowed to dry between your runs properly, the bacteria in them never have to stop growing, reproducing, and producing waste. This waste is responsible for the familiar foot odor.

Thankfully there are a few ways to get the smell out of running shoes.

What Can You Do to Stop Your Running Shoes from Smelling?

  • Regularly wash your feet after running to remove the bacteria, resulting in less transfer to your shoes. An antibacterial body wash is your best option, but regular body wash is perfectly fine as well. Keeping your feet clean also lowers your chances of getting athlete’s foot or other infections.
  • Wear high-quality, breathable, moisture-wicking socks and shoes to keep your footwear from becoming rancid. While this may not completely eliminate the source of the odor, it is an improvement over heavy-duty running shoes.
  • Always wear socks with your running shoes. Sweat absorbs more easily because there is no barrier between your sweat and your shoes when you don’t wear socks.
  • When you’re finished running, take off your shoes as soon as possible. This allows them to breathe instead of remaining in contact with your sweaty feet and socks. Remove your shoes, remove the sole inserts, and store them in a cool, dry location. This will keep bacteria from growing inside your shoes. If you put them in the heat, they will become musty.
  • There are various inexpensive products available that actively reduce the amount of sweat or stink in running shoes, ranging from deodorant sprays that prevent wetness and odor to deodorant balls that fit in your shoes.
  • If none of the above remedies work, replace your insoles every few months. Numerous odor-fighting, sweat-reducing insole options are available to help them last longer. Consider insoles made of sweat-absorbing materials or those that can be removed and washed repeatedly.

Is It OK to Run in Wet Shoes?

When water gets into your shoes, your skin absorbs it, causing your feet to become waterlogged, wrinkly. The longer your feet are wet, the more damage the moisture will do to your skin, including tears, blisters, and deep painful cracks. Depending on where they are on the foot, these injuries can be painful and limit your mobility.

Furthermore, your foot has less stability inside the shoe. This can cause joint irritation and possibly injury. Wet shoes not only cause discomfort, but they can also lead to Athlete’s foot, a contagious fungal infection that targets the skin on the feet and can spread to the toenails. Athlete’s foot isn’t a severe condition, but it can be challenging to treat at times. 

Is Running in Wet Conditions Recommended?

Running in the rain

Apart from lightning, storming, or downpouring, it is generally safe to run in the rain. The night before a run, runners should always check the weather forecast. This will assist you in determining when to schedule your run to avoid potentially hazardous conditions. 

Although running in the rain is safe, your performance may suffer. The more rain there is, the worse your performance will be. Reduce your pace expectations by at least 10 to 15 seconds per mile in light rain and one to two minutes per mile in heavy rain and high wind. Even if the conditions are more difficult than usual, your body will benefit from the run.

Rain can quickly and significantly reduce the temperature, making running in hot summer temperatures less strenuous and increasing performance. Running in the rain can also help you prepare for race day if you are a competitive runner. Because a race day in the rain is unavoidable, training in all conditions can be beneficial.

How to Optimize Your Performance in Wet Conditions

  • Wearing the appropriate clothing can help you run faster in the rain. Remember that everything you wear on a rainy run will absorb water and add weight. Wearing moisture-wicking fabrics is one way to combat this. These fabrics wick moisture away from your skin and repel water. Wear a waterproof windbreaker and a snug-fitting wicker cap to keep the rain out of your eyes.
  • It is critical to wear traction-enhancing footwear to ensure a better grip on the ground. The surface you’re running on will be slicker in the rain and may even be dangerous if your shoes’ outsoles are worn down. Examine the soles of your running shoes to see if they have lost traction. If they are worn out or torn, it is time to replace them.
  • It is critical to make yourself visible to drivers if you run on the road during heavy rain to avoid accidents. Wear reflective gear or a headtorch during your runs to increase your visibility.

How To Dry Running Shoes: Final Thoughts

Running in wet shoes can promote several unwanted ailments such as odor, joint injuries, and skin infections. Therefore, it is essential to remove your damp socks and shoes immediately after your run and dry them using methods that will not compromise their life expectancy. 

Wrapping shoes in a newspaper, placing shoes against your refrigerator’s vent, or hanging shoes in front of a household fan are three of the fastest and least damaging ways of drying your trainers after a run. Be sure to avoid throwing your running shoes in the dryer, leaving them out in the sun, or drying them with a hairdryer since heat promotes their deterioration.

Author Profile

Esme Sanders

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Esme is a frequent contributor who manages to stay much more neutral on these pages than she ever manages after a glass of wine at club night. She is a 5K-10K specialist, albeit one with over twenty half-marathons under her belt. Esme divides her time between a busy career, two kids, yoga, pilates AND a busy race schedule.
Esme Sanders

Revel SPorts Contributor

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