How to Dry Sneakers
Your shoes see you through rough terrain, bad weather and daily wear, but slipping on a pair of sneakers only to find them soaked in cold water does not make for a good start to the day. Whether you're caught in the rain or are washing off dirt and stains, excess water is bound to find its way into shoes that aren't water repellent. When your wet sneakers or running shoes don't properly dry, the water inside can cause mold, mildew and unpleasant odor. Be sure to get your shoes clean and dry with one of these easy methods.
Newspaper or Towels
The easiest and least potentially damaging option is to add an absorbent material to the inside of your shoe to draw out the moisture. Slip off your damp sneakers or athletic shoes and stuff a few sheets of newspaper, paper towels or another absorbent cloth inside each shoe. After an hour, check to see if the inside remains damp. If the newspaper or towel is soaked, replace with fresh material and continue to let your shoes dry.
Just as you might with a cell phone, dry rice also works wonders. In a plastic tub that can be sealed, lay down an inch to two inches of dry rice and nestle each wet shoe upside down into the rice. Close the tub. Allow your shoes to sit for a few hours. Like newspaper or paper towels, the rice will absorb water out of the shoes.
After the newspaper or rice has drawn the bulk of the moisture out of your running shoes, you may need some more help to carry you over the finish line. Place each shoe in front of a fan for a few hours or overnight. Run the fan on high to speed up the drying process without adding any potentially damaging heat that might result from using a dryer or heater.
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If you need to dry pair of sneakers immediately, you can use a dryer as a last resort. Do not dry leather sneakers this way, as a dryer can destroy leather. Knot the laces of both shoes together, place the shoes within the dryer without any other laundry and close the door while holding onto the laces. Make sure the knot in the laces is outside the dryer door after closing. This allows the sneakers to hang without banging around inside. Set your dryer to low or air fluff, and run for no longer than an hour. If they're still wet, use another drying method.
Cat Litter or Baking Soda
Once your running shoes have dried, you'll want to remove any lingering odor. Fill a knit sock or pantyhose with some cat litter and tie off the ends. Work the sock or hosiery into the smelly sneakers and let it sit for 24 hours. The litter will work wonders by soaking up any nasty smells in each shoe. If you don't have a cat, substitute cat litter for baking soda, and this will also draw out odors the same way it does in your refrigerator.
If a little stubborn moisture continues to linger or you don't have time to give them special attention, you may resort to placing your shoes in direct sunlight to continue drying them out. If there's no rain in the forecast, putting the pair of shoes outside in the sun will allow them to also air out with the breeze.