Is It Ok to Dry Shoes With a Hairdryer?

Have you ever gotten ready to go out only to discover that your favorite shoes are still wet from the last time you wore them?

You then either have to choose another pair of shoes or find a way to quickly dry your shoes. If you look around the house for a solution, you may wonder… Is it ok to dry shoes with a hairdryer?

The short answer is yes, it is. But you need to be extremely careful to not damage your shoes while doing so.

If you can, we recommend rather letting your shoes dry naturally, but if you’re in a rush and have no other shoes, you can try the hairdryer trick.

Let’s have a look at how you can do it safely.

Can You Dry Shoes With a Hair Dryer?

You can dry shoes with a hairdryer if you really need to, but it’s not really advised.

If it’s an emergency, you can use the hairdryer in short bursts, rather than having the heat on your shoes for a prolonged period of time.

What Happens if You Do?

If you choose to dry your shoes with a hairdryer and you leave the heat on your shoes for too long, it can damage your shoes.

It may cause the material of the shoe to break down, although this is more likely with cheap shoes or those that already have some wear and tear.

However, if you keep the hairdryer on the fabric for a long time, it may burn the fabric and leave scorch marks, which you won’t be able to get rid of.

If there’s glue or rubber on your shoes, they could begin to melt if exposed to high heat for a prolonged time.

Not only will this damage that part of the shoe, but if it falls or drips onto the upper or another part of the shoe, it will damage that part as well.

Adding heat to your shoes may also have the unfortunate effect of amplifying odor. In some cases, it can also burn the material and give off a burning smell.

Can You Use a Hair Dryer on These Types of Shoes?

While it is safe to use a hairdryer thoughtfully on some kinds of shoes, not all types of shoes are suitable. Some materials can get extremely damaged by the heat.

Leather and Dress Shoes

Leather can be extremely damaged by heat, so you should never dry leather dress shoes, suede, or nubuck shoes with a heat source. This includes heaters and hairdryers.

If your leather shoes get wet, you should allow them to air dry naturally for 24 to 48 hours. This may be a long time, but it’s the only way you can guarantee the safety of your shoes.

Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are the easiest type of shoes to dry with the hairdryer. With that being said, they also can’t withstand high heat for long periods of time.

You should keep the hairdryer at a colder setting and only use it in short bursts.


While you can dry your sandals or flip flops with a hairdryer, a fan is a better option. These types of shoes have a minimalist upper and the rest of the shoe is usually water-resistant, so the upper should dry very quickly under a fan.

You don’t want to risk damaging your sandals by applying high heat to them, even if it is just for a short period of time.

How Do You Dry Your Shoes With a Hair Dryer?

If you do want to dry your canvas shoes with a hairdryer, here’s how to do it safely. Begin by removing the laces and the insole, if possible. Also, bend the tongue of the shoe upwards gently so that it’s out of the way.

If you can, try to stand the shoes on the heels. This way, water can drip out of the back of the heels if necessary, as it’s harder for the hairdryer to reach that far into the shoes.

Use the hairdryer on the lowest setting possible to avoid damaging the shoes. Also, when using it, keep it 10 to 15 inches away.

You may need to dry your shoes for a while, depending on how wet they are and how warm the lowest setting on your hairdryer gets.

Patience is key—don’t bring the hairdryer closer or use it on a warmer setting to try and dry your shoes faster, or you will be at risk of damaging them.

Drying Methods to Stay Away From

If you do need to dry your shoes in a hurry, the hairdryer is a better choice than other heating methods. Never dry your shoes in:

The Dryer

While putting your shoes in the dryer will definitely help them to dry quickly, it also wears them out much faster. It can also damage your dryer, which is made for softer items.

If you do this often, you may end up needing to buy both new shoes and a new dryer much earlier than you would normally.

The Sun

You may be tempted to simply leave your shoes outdoors on a warm and sunny day to dry by themselves. However, direct exposure to the sun can cause the color of your shoes to fade and leave them looking dull.

The direct heat can also damage the material of the shoe. Also, some shoe manufacturers warn against leaving their shoes in high heat as the midsole foam can lose its shape and become useless.

The Oven

It’s not a good idea to put anything except food and cookware into the oven. Not only is it a fire hazard, but the heat of the oven can damage the fibers in the upper, the strength of the midsole, and the adhesive that holds your shoes together.

How to Dry Your Shoes Safely

Here are some tried-and-true ways of drying your shoes, regardless of what material they’re made of.

These are safe and won’t cause any lasting damage to the shoe, although they may take longer than the above mentioned methods.

Bring Your Shoes Inside

Instead of leaving your shoes outdoors in the direct sun, you should bring them inside and place them in a warm room. A sunny space in your home would be the perfect place for them, as they’ll be exposed to the sun indirectly.

This is less likely to cause damage like fading and breaking down of the shoe material fibers and midsole compound, as the heat is much less intense.

You may need to leave them for 24 to 48 hours until they’re properly dry.

Use Newspaper

Using newspaper can be extremely helpful to help dry shoes out. It’s especially helpful for canvas sneakers.

Bundle up a few pieces of newspaper and place them inside your shoes. Fill the shoe from toe to heel, but take the insole out first to allow for more space. You can allow the insole to dry by itself.

When your shoes are full of newspaper, place them in a warm room. It can take up to 48 hours for the moisture to transfer from the shoes to the newspaper.

Turn On a Fan

Using a fan to dry shoes is a safe and effective method as there’s no heat involved, just air. It’s faster than air drying and safer than using a hairdryer or other heat source.

It’s also very easy. Place your shoes somewhere where they won’t be in the way. Put the fan on and angle it in such a way that it’s blowing right onto the shoes.

Make sure it’s stationary and not swinging from side to side.

Tips for Keeping Shoes Dry

Buy Moisture-Wicking Shoes

Choosing moisture-wicking shoes will help to reduce the amount of sweat that gets absorbed into the shoe as you run or exercise in it.

Moisture-wicking or sweat-wicking material will help sweat to evaporate much more quickly, keeping your feet and the shoes as dry as possible.

However, this may not be helpful if you run through a puddle or get caught in rain.

Invest in Some Moisture-Wicking Socks

Along with moisture-wicking material on your shoes, you should also consider wearing moisture-wicking socks. These might help to wick away sweat on your legs before it even gets to your shoes.

Avoid Cotton Socks

Cotton socks absorb moisture as well as odor. You should avoid wearing any cotton apparel, but especially socks as your feet tend to sweat profusely in them.

Try a Foot Powder

Using a sweat-absorbing foot powder is an excellent choice. Not only does it absorb sweat and prevent your shoes from becoming wet, but it also often has a nice scent and works as an odor-remove as well.

It’s also a cost-effective and easy way of helping to eliminate sweat problems.

Avoid Walking or Running In Snow

While it’s not always possible to predict a rain shower or avoid a puddle, you may think twice about running when it’s raining or just after it’s rained. However, snow can be more deceiving and people tend to forget that it can also be very wet.

We recommend avoiding the snow and instead, running on the treadmill or doing a form of cross-training until you’re able to run on dry ground again.

Not only does snow make your shoes wet, it can also become extremely slushy and dirty, so your shoes will be wet and muddy.