Shoe dryers and sanitizers come in different types. The basics behind all these devices is the same.
They reduce moist in your shoes and boots. The technology used may differ. Some models have extra disinfecting features.
Getting rid of moist is important since smell-causing bacteria thrive on moist. After wearing, and thus, sweating the moist needs to be able to evaporate.
Otherwise the bacteria get the chance to set up camp, feast on your feet, and cause the typical cheesy smell.
- Boot dryers are very useful after hiking, hunting or fishing, snowboarding and skiing,
- Especially parents of young kids playing in the snow, dealing with a seemingly constant supply of wet boots and gloves know that dryers are lifesavers.
- People who play a lot of sports are probably aware of this too. (if you were not you may now know how come your feet start smelling almost as soon as you put on your sports shoes).
Shoe dryers are more useful than many people think
People commonly think that the benefits of boot and shoe dryers are limited to these groups and uses.
People who tend to drench their shoes during certain activities and need their footwear to be dry for the next time you’ll wear them.
Matter of fact is that shoe dryers are highly useful in case of sweaty feet. Even if you don’t play sports or wear boots. Since everybody’s feet sweat about a half pint to a pint per foot per day (sources differ on the exact amount) it is crucial to thoroughly dry shoes in between wearing them.
You may think they are dry but the shoes interior, the inside of the fabric could be still moist.
Especially if the place your shoes are put to air out, the garage or the hallway doesn’t have an ideal relative humidity (rH) e.g. a high temperature and low humidity, evaporation of water is slow. And thus, bacteria and fungi continue to proliferate and cause smell and possibly other problems such as Athlete’s foot.
These devices remove contaminants like viruses and mold that can cause skin irritation as well as deteriorate the materials your shoe is made of.
In other words, by using a dryer you are ensuring your footwear will be completely dry after a few hours. No matter if it concerns your smelly surfing booties, your safety toe boots for work, or your normal shoes.
Which is helpful in preventing smelly feet because the less chance you give the bacteria to take over your shoes the better. Even if you make a habit out of rotating shoes.
When shoes are stored at home often they don’t get the chance to dry completely.
That’s why these devices are an important factor in combating smelly feet. They utilize heat able to dry garments without causing damage.
Apart from shoes and boots here are some more applications:
- (boxing/mma) gloves,
- shinpads and groin guards.
Shoe dryer types available on the market:
- Electric shoe dryers that utilize heat, either with a fan that blows the hot air into the shoes for a set period of time or with elements that radiate warmth. They generally emit hot air at about 40C / 99F to up to degrees 80°C/ 180F.
- Footwear dryers that use ultraviolet light as an additional method to sanitize shoes. UV light kills off bacteria. Standalone UV shoe sanitizers exist too.
- Similarly, some devices feature Ozone technology as a secondary method to rid shoes of microbes. Some models make use of PTC heating materials.
- You can also use a mesh shoe sneaker dryer bag to put your shoes in the dryer without them being tumbled and possibly damaging.
Things to consider when buying a shoe dryer
- Make sure the device you are considering has a drip tray if you need to dry shoes or boots that are soaking wet.
- Auto-shutoff fan(some dryers stiffen up shoes if they overdry)
- Portable or not. For example when taking it with you to work or on vacation but also for easily relocating it at home (some people sometimes place it turned off on a vent grid)
- Dry with radiant or forced heat. Drying with forced heat (fans) is useful in cold climates or during winter time.
- Think about capacity. does it have to be able to dry multiple pairs at a time?
- Modest heat level protects your footwear and keeps your electric bill low
- Do you need additional sanitation? For instance UV light or Ozone gas to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
- Some fans make noise, check the reviews to see what buyers say
- Some devices make use of a fan to move air through the shoes, which shortens drying time.
The best shoe dryers on the market
In my opinion, the best portable shoe dryer is the PEET Dryer PEET Power Cell. Because it’s not too big but still powerful it is great for when you are traveling or for example when on sports camp.
If you want a bigger dryer, one to use regularly at home, go for the PEET Dryer M97-FSB (also referred to as the Peet Original) on which you can dry two pairs simultaneously.
This is a well-reviewed dryer that will thoroughly dry the wettest shoes or boots within half a day or so.
Reasons to get this dryer:
- If noise is an issue, go for the Peet Original dryer. It’s completely silent.
- According to some reviewers it’s able to dry the toe box really well too (other models less so)
- Other pros, it’s very sturdy and stable and affordable.
I’m a fan of the Peet brand because they not only make quality devices but also provide up to 25 year warranty. They don’t get too hot, don’t slurp electricity, and just do what they are supposed to do. Also important, they are relatively affordable too.
Both are available on Amazon. Check out the reviews to see if they fit your needs. (I bet they will)
There’s another ‘best’ shoe dryer
Depending on your needs the following boot dryer is another great choice.
Maxxdry XL boot dryer
Contrary to the Peet dryer which is a low heat convection device that employs radiant heat, the Maxxdry dryer is a so called forced air dryer. The addition of the fan allows for faster drying than the Peet dryer.
The Maxxdry is relatively silent considering the fans blow lots of air but does make some noise.
The noise is comparable to “the hum of a small room fan” according to one reviewer and similar to a “bathroom exhaust fan” according to another user. It is less stable, more likely to topple over than the Peet Original.
Reasons to get the Maxxdry XL boot dryer:
- When a little bit of noise isn’t much of a problem
- and if short drying times are important to you, (e.g. after washing sneakers in the washing machine)
- and if you want to dry a pair of boots and gloves simultaneously *,
- the Maxxdry XL may be your best buy.
(* to be able to dry two pairs of boots at the same time you need to purchase a 2nd set of boot extensions at about $15)
More quality shoe dryers
There’s a plethora of dryers available so I won’t list them all. Here are some more well-reviewed dryers utilizing various drying and sanitizing techniques.
Shoefresh shoe dryer
If you suffer from nasty fungi that cause toenail infections or Athlete’s foot you may want a machine that offers more than just drying your footwear.
Shoefresh is a shoe dryer that dries with heat and disinfects with ozone.
By employing two techniques, ozone (O3) and fans distributing heat, it promises to be more effective in killing bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi.
Ozone is a naturally-occurring, potent oxidizing agent used commonly in municipal water and bottled water disinfection.
Studies show ozone gas is effective in sanitizing footwear and is useful as an additional therapy to antifungal medications for toenail fungus (onychomycosis) and Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).
Reasons to get the Shoefresh shoe dryer & refresher:
- When you need something extra to fight off harmful microbes
- If you don’t mind that it’s more costly
- The sound it produces is less than 30 decibel which can be compared to the sound level inside a library.
- It is advertised to dry shoes within 30 minutes.
- More info at Shoefresh.
Another forced-air garment dryer for shoes, boots, gloves, pants, and more. Here are some of its pros and cons.
DryGuy is claimed to dry most garments within the hour.
As one reviewer notes, it is able to dry damp shoes within the 3 hour timer setting. Soaked shoes need longer forcing you to reset the timer since 3 hours is the max.
This device is fairly light. Heavy boots may cause it to fall over.
Prago Hy’n Dry dryer
Just like the Peet Original dryer, this dryer utilizes ceramic heat.
The Hy’n Dry also features a dripping tray collecting water which helps you keep your floor clean. According to users it is stable and silent.
It does not have an on and off switch. You could get around this by putting it on a timer.
What about a dryer with UV?
The Peet Go is a portable boot dryer that utilizes UV light for additional sanitation. It is however not really well reviewed and seems somewhat delicate.
Another UV warmer/dryer is the Sidas Drywarmer however not much user experiences are available. Another model is the DryGuy Circulator, again not very well reviewed.
If you are adamant on UV sanitation of your footwear, go for Sterishoe. Keep in mind that this is not a dryer.
More sanitizing and deodorizing devices that use UV and ozone:
Where to buy shoe dryers offline?
Besides online you can also buy them offline at Costco, Target, and Wallmart to name just a few.
In case you can’t buy a shoe dryer
Maybe you can’t afford it. Perhaps there’s no power outlet available. Or there may be another reason purchasing a boot dryer device isn’t an option for you.
In that case, here are some shoe drying methods that do not work as efficient as dryers but are better than doing nothing about the moist in your footwear.
- Store your shoes in a well-ventilated, dry place.
- Stuff your squishy sneakers with crumpled up newspaper.
- Dry them on the radiator. Downside, drying from the inside out is better and excessive heat may cause damage.
- Dry them with a blow dryer. Do this very carefully though since too high temperatures may cause damage to glue and fabric.
- Put the shoes on the inside of the dryer door and pull the shoe strings up over the outside of the dryer door. When the door is closed the strings will hold the shoes in place keeping them from tumbling around. Put the dryer on a lower heat setting to prevent deteriorating adhesives and damage to leather.
- Some dryers feature a shelf that fits inside the drum made to hold shoes while the dryer drum spins around them.
- A DIY shoe sanitizing hack some people use is putting shoes in a plastic bag and run an ozone tube into it for about an hour.
Whether it’s to cope with excessive sweating or unexpected puddles, whether it concerns tennis, golf or running shoes, sneakers or work boots, especially for people who suffer from sweaty (and stinky) feet, these devices can make a huge difference.
Addional smelly feet cure tips
- More advice on why and how to dry your shoes.
- Remember, wearing appropriate socks, using a good soap, and an effective anti-perspirant all help in getting rid of foot odor.
- Another common method to give bacteria and other troublemakers less chance to wreak havoc on your footwear and feet is to use shoe dryer inserts.
- Do you have smelly feet in your Ugg boots? A boot dryer can help you out. Or read this post about curing smelly Ugg feet.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.