Can You Put Shoes in the Dryer? A Quick Guide for Safe Drying

When faced with wet shoes, many people wonder if they can simply toss them in the dryer to speed up the drying process.

While it might seem like a convenient solution, putting shoes in the dryer can have its pros and cons, depending on the type of shoes and their materials.

Some materials, such as cotton, canvas, nylon, or polyester, can generally handle dryer usage, as they are less likely to be damaged by the heat and tumbling action of the dryer.

However, it’s crucial to avoid putting animal-based fabrics like leather or suede in the dryer, as excessive drying can cause the material to crack or become damaged. Also, shoes with sequins or other embellishments should be dried carefully, as the dryer may cause the decorations to fall off.

Regardless of the material, it’s important to note that using a high-heat dryer setting can be damaging to shoes, as it may weaken the glue holding the shoes together.

A safer alternative for drying wet shoes is to stuff them with newspaper or towels to absorb excess moisture and then letting them air dry at room temperature, avoiding direct heat or sunlight that can damage the material further. Always check the care label on your shoes before deciding on the most suitable drying method.

Drying Methods for Shoes

There are several methods to dry shoes without causing damage to them. In this section, we will discuss air drying, direct sun drying, and using a shoe dryer device.

Air Drying

Air drying is an effective, gentle method for drying shoes. To air dry your shoes, remove any excess water by shaking the shoes and wipe away the remaining moisture with a dry towel.

Then, stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper or towels to absorb internal moisture and maintain the shoes’ shape.

Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area to allow air to circulate around them, promoting faster drying. Replace the newspaper or towels as needed until the shoes are completely dry. Nike recommends keeping shoes indoors and away from direct sunlight to preserve the material.

Direct Sun Drying

Although it may be tempting to dry your shoes in the sun, direct sunlight can damage the material and adhesives used in shoes, according to The Spruce. If you choose to dry your shoes outside, ensure they are not exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period.

Place them in the shade or on a covered porch to protect them from harmful UV rays. Keep in mind that this method could take longer than air drying, as shoes need to be monitored to prevent damage.

Using a Shoe Dryer Device

Shoe dryer devices are specifically designed to dry shoes without causing damage. These devices use forced air or heated air to gently dry shoes from the inside out.

Before using a shoe dryer device, ensure your shoes are compatible with the device, as some materials may not react well to the heat generated by certain dryers. Many shoe dryer devices also include a timer feature, allowing you to set a drying duration and not worry about over-drying your shoes.

It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a shoe dryer device to achieve the best results and preserve the integrity of your shoes.

Drying Shoes in the Dryer: Pros and Cons

Drying your shoes in the dryer can yield various pros and cons. To fully understand the implications and best practices when considering this method, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages.


Using a dryer can be a convenient and time-saving method for drying shoes, especially if you need them to be dry in a short period. Certain shoe types, such as athletic shoes, can be effectively dried in a dryer with minimal risk of damage, although always check the manufacturer’s guidelines beforehand.

Additionally, drying shoes in the dryer can help control odors by rapidly eliminating dampness, which reduces the likelihood of bacteria and mold growth(source).


However, there are some notable downsides to using the dryer for your shoes. One such drawback concerns the potential for damage both to the shoes and the dryer. The dryer may cause excess wear and tear to the shoes and can lead to the glue holding the shoes together becoming loose(source).

Moreover, certain shoe materials, such as leather and suede, should not be placed in the dryer due to the risk of damage or shrinkage. High temperatures can also compromise the integrity of your shoes, so it is essential to use a low heat setting if you choose to dry your shoes this way(source).

Lastly, the dryer itself can suffer damage from heavy items, like shoes, especially if they are placed in the dryer loosely. Suspending the shoes using a specific method, such as tying them to the door, is recommended to minimize potential risks(source).

Can You Put Different Types of Shoes in the Dryer?

Different types of shoes are made from various materials that each respond differently to the heat and movement in your dryer. Please be aware of each type of shoe’s specific care instructions before making any decisions about drying methods.

Sneakers and Athletic Shoes

If you own sports shoes or gym shoes made of synthetic materials, it is typically safe to put them in the dryer. The dryer can even help dry these types of shoes quickly without causing significant damage. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a low heat setting to prevent any potential harm.

Leather Shoes

For leather shoes, putting them in the dryer is not recommended. Machine-drying animal-based fabrics like leather can cause the material to dry out and crack. It is best to air dry leather shoes to maintain their quality and longevity.

Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes, made of materials like cotton and polyester, can typically be safely dried in a dryer. To further protect the shoes and the dryer, consider tying a knot with both shoelaces and placing the shoes in a mesh bag, pillowcase, or dryer-safe bags before starting the cycle.

Dress Shoes

Drying dress shoes in a dryer is generally not advised, as the heat and tumbling can damage the shoe’s delicate materials, structural integrity, and overall appearance. Instead, it is suggested to air dry dress shoes or use other damage-free methods to maintain their shape and quality.

How to Properly Dry Shoes in a Dryer

Materials Needed

To dry your shoes in a dryer safely and effectively, you’ll need the following materials:

  • A dryer
  • Shoes with removable insoles and laces
  • A mesh laundry bag or pillowcase (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to properly dry shoes in a dryer without causing any damage:

  1. Remove the insoles and laces: Take the insoles and laces out of your shoes. You can wash these separately in warm water.[source]
  2. Secure the shoes (optional): If you’re concerned about your shoes getting damaged in the dryer, place them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase for extra protection.
  3. Set up the dryer: Drape the shoes by their laces over the dryer door so that they hang inside the dryer. Close the door on the laces, leaving the knot outside. This will help keep the shoes in place and prevent excessive banging or tumbling during the drying process.[source]
  4. Choose the appropriate settings: Set your dryer to a low heat or air-dry setting to prevent any damage to your shoes.
  5. Monitor the drying process: Keep an eye on the shoes as they dry, checking them periodically to make sure they aren’t getting too hot or damaged.
  6. Remove and reassemble: When the shoes are completely dry, open the dryer, untie the laces, and put the insoles and laces back into the shoes.

By following these steps, you can safely and effectively dry your shoes in a dryer without causing any harm to the shoes or the dryer itself.

Shoes to Avoid Putting in the Dryer

While some shoes can be safely dried in a dryer, it is important to be aware of which types of footwear should not be exposed to this method. There are certain materials and constructions that may suffer damage when subjected to the heat and tumbling motion of the dryer.

Firstly, avoid drying leather or suede shoes in the dryer. These materials can shrink or become deformed due to the high temperatures and harsh conditions inside the dryer.

Additionally, it can cause permanent damage to the texture and appearance of leather and suede shoes, making them look aged or worn out.(source)

Shoes that have a significant amount of plastic or glue in their construction should also be kept away from the dryer, as these can melt or weaken under the heat.

This may lead to premature wear and tear, as well as the potential for the shoes to fall apart, especially if the glue holding them together is compromised.(source)

It is also recommended to avoid drying shoes with complex designs, such as those with multiple layers or intricate detailing, as the tumbling action of the dryer might cause damage or deformation. In such cases, air drying is a safer option to maintain the integrity and appearance of the shoes.

In conclusion, it is essential to assess the material and construction of your shoes before attempting to dry them in a dryer. To preserve the longevity and appearance of your footwear, opt for air drying when dealing with sensitive materials and complex designs.

How to Keep Your Shoes Fresh and Dry

Preventive Measures

Keeping your shoes fresh and dry starts with prevention. Always wear clean, dry socks to avoid excessive moisture inside your shoes. Also, invest in a shoe dryer to effectively dry your shoes without the need for a dryer. Here are some additional tips:

  • Rotate your shoes regularly to give them time to properly air out.
  • Use moisture-absorbing shoe inserts to help keep your shoes dry.
  • Store your shoes in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and excessive moisture.

Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance can extend the life of your shoes and keep them smelling fresh. Should your shoes become wet, it’s important to dry them without damaging the materials. Here are some effective methods:

  • Air drying is a safe and effective way to dry most shoes. Place them in a well-ventilated area or use a fan to speed up the process.
  • Using a dedicated shoe dryer is another great option that won’t damage your shoes.
  • If you must use a dryer, remove the laces and insoles first, and place the shoes in a mesh bag or pillowcase to avoid damage.

Regularly cleaning your shoes will also help keep them fresh. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning specific materials. In general, using a gentle detergent and a soft brush can help remove dirt and stains.

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