in: Manly Know-How, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: September 24, 2021

How to Effectively Dry Wet Shoes

Whether you step into a puddle while walking, get pushed fully-clothed into a pool while partying, or slip in a stream while hiking, you’ll need to dry out your shoes — and often do so fairly quickly, having to wear the same pair the next day. Wet shoes are uncomfortable to wear, and can start to stink as well.
If you’re in the wilds, you can dry your boots out using hot rocks. Back home, you may be tempted to throw your shoes in the dryer or place them by the furnace. But while this may work okay for some kinds of shoes, it’s not recommended, as direct heat can damage your footwear.
To dry your shoes gently, yet effectively, the technique outlined above is best. (Note that you should only remove the insoles if they’re removable.)
If your shoes are very saturated with water, start by pressing a towel on the outside fabric, and then insert it inside and compress the shoe with your hands to soak up excess water. Then proceed to stuff the shoes with balled-up pieces of newspaper. If you don’t get a traditional newspaper, the newspaper-esque flyers and advertisements that arrive in your mailbox and on your driveway can work, though “drier,” more absorbent papers work better than glossier sheets, and papers with lots of ink run the chance of leaking onto lighter-colored shoes. If you don’t have newspaper of any kind, balls of paper towels will work, though you need to put more of them in to get sufficient “firmness” with your stuffing; you need to create ample contact surface between the paper and the shoe for the former to draw the water out of the latter.

Depending on how soaked your shoes are, and how often you change out the paper balls, your shoes can be completely dry in eight hours or so. 

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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