Best Practices For Safely Drying Waterproof Shoes

Keeping your feet dry and happy is important for your health and how well you do things, especially when it's wet or difficult outside. Waterproof shoes are a valuable asset, offering protection from the elements while allowing your feet to breathe. However, maintaining their functionality requires proper drying techniques. Drying them wrong can mess up the shoes and make them leak sooner.

The Importance of Proper Drying

If your shoes are soaked for a long time, they turn into a party spot for nasty bacteria and fungus. This can cause smelly feet, infections, and even damage the shoes themselves. Here's why drying them wrong is a bad idea:

  • They can stop letting your feet breathe: This means sweat gets trapped inside, making your feet feel gross and sweaty. It's like a swimming pool for those bacteria and fungus!
  • The shoes get stiff and uncomfortable: Imagine wearing cardboard boxes on your feet! That's what happens when leather and fabric dry out the wrong way. They can even crack, making them worse and worse to wear.
  • Damage the waterproofing agents or coatings: This will compromise the shoe's ability to repel water, rendering them less effective and potentially requiring expensive replacements sooner.

Drying Your Waterproof Shoes Safely

Here are the best practices for drying your waterproof safety shoes after cleaning:

  • Remove Excess Water:
    • As soon as possible, use a clean, absorbent cloth to remove any surface water or mud.
    • Pay close attention to areas like seams, laces, and the tongue where water tends to accumulate.

  • Air Drying:
    • This is the safest and most recommended method.
    • Stuff the shoes with loose-fitting, absorbent material like newspapers or clean cloths. Replace the stuffing as it becomes damp.
    • Allow the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated room at room temperature. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can damage the materials.

  • Forced Air Drying (Use with Caution):
    • In extreme situations, you can use a fan to speed up the drying process.
    • Set the fan on a low setting and aim it at the shoes from a safe distance. Never use a hairdryer or other direct heat source, as this can damage the materials and compromise the waterproof properties.

    Drying Techniques for Different Types of Waterproof Work Boots:

    While the general drying principles remain the same, some specific considerations may apply to different types of work boots:

    • Work Boots: These boots prioritize durability and may have thicker leather construction. While air drying is still preferred, consider creating a makeshift drying rack using a towel or string to allow for better airflow around the entire boot, especially the thicker portions. This can help expedite the drying process without resorting to potentially damaging heat sources.
    • Hiking Boots: These boots often have a combination of materials like leather, synthetic fabrics, and a waterproof membrane. It's crucial to remove the insoles and laces for faster drying and clean them separately. For the boots themselves, pay special attention to the tongue and gusset areas, as they can trap moisture. Stuff these areas thoroughly with absorbent material and change the stuffing frequently to ensure complete drying.
    • Rubber Boots: These boots are fully waterproof and dry relatively quickly. However, it's still important to remove excess water and allow them to air dry completely, preferably upside down, to prevent odor development and mold growth. Pay close attention to any areas where water may have seeped in, such as the tops of the boots or around the seams.


    By following these simple yet effective practices, you can ensure your waterproof boots stay dry, comfortable, and functional for years to come. Remember, proper care is essential to maximizing the performance and lifespan of your valuable footwear investment.