Can Your Shoes Go In The Dryer?

Can Your Shoes Go In The Dryer?

It’s happened to the best of us. Maybe it’s the day of your son’s big game, and he left his basketball sneakers outside in the rain. Or you accidentally walked into a puddle coming home from work. Either way, it’s a tempting question: can shoes go in the dryer? If so, it can save the day. But your risk both the shoe and your drying machine in the process.

To answer the question, yes it is sometimes possible to dry shoes in the dryer. Doing so is much faster than waiting for the shoes to dry through evaporation. However, if it’s not done correctly, you can damage your shoes and dryer.

The Basics

Take great care when evaluating if your shoes can go in the dryer. Heavy shoes like work boots would make a poor choice. They often have a steel toe and can actually damage the dryer. You’l need to a hire sometime to repair it, which can get expensive.

Likewise, some shoes are very expensive. This is especially true of brands like Dolce and Gabbanna and Gucci. They use delicate materials that are imported from Europe. They cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. If the fabric gets ruined by the dryer, the damage will be permanent. Even the best repair shop wouldn’t be able to help you.

Labeling System

Fortunately, the shoe industry has implemented an easy-to-understand labeling system. If you’re thinking about throwing your shoes in the dryer, check the drying symbol on the tag. If it’s a square with a circle, the shoe is machine-safe. If it has an x, you can’t machine dry it.

Occasionally, a pair of shoes will have a square with a circle inside and a dot inside the circle. This particular symbol means it can be done on low temperature.

Adhere to these guidelines 100%. If the label says you can’t machine-dry and you throw it in the dryer, you’re asking for trouble.

Additional Techniques

There are some additional ways you can help the drying process. If the shoe is soaked with a lot of excess water, do your best to wring as much water as you can out of it. Squeeze it and twist it. The more water you get out, the less time it will need to spend in the dryer.

As always, remove the lint from the lint filter. This only takes two seconds but your dryer won’t have to work as hard. This is a good practice to have whenever you’re doing laundry.

Consider using fabric softner. As shoes age, they acquire odor from absorbing sweat and dirt. A fabric softner will make your shoes smell good.

Even if your shoes are lightweight and flexible, the bouncing about in the dryer might be noisy. The constant collisions might stress out the interior of the dryer. To cushion the blows, fill the machine with towels and other clothing. The impact of your shoe will be softened.

One popular technique is to knot the shoes and hang it from the door. Although the shoes will still bounce around, they won’t fly around as much. Tie the shoe laces so that they’re connected. Remove the laces except for the last hole. Make sure they’re not tied in loops or bow ties. Knot the end together at the end of the laces. Have some of the lace be outside the machine. This will stop it from dropping inside the dryer.

Dryer Settings

It’s critical that you set your dryer to the correct settings. If you do it wrong, it could destroy your shoes.

Shoes are made of fragile materials. You want to avoid melting or even overheating them.

Set your dryer to air dry. If that setting is not available, set your dryer to the lowest temperature possible.

To be extra-safe, check the shoes every 15 minutes. This might seem like a pain at first but you need to be careful.

Canvas, Cotton and Polyester

There are a wide variety of materials that are used to make shoes. Some can be machine-dried better than others. The best materials are canvas, cotton, polyester.

You might have not heard of the material canvas before. It’s the material used in Converse’s classic high tops. It resembles the cloth used in tents or sails. It’s typically safe for drying.

Cotton shoes work great. After all, a lot of clothing is made of cotton. Be aware though that cotton shrinks. One or two drying sessions might be fine. But any more and your shoe might end up too tight to wear.

Polyester and nylon are also fine. They’re common in running shoes because it’s stretch. The nylon is used to boost comfort. Polyester dries rapidly but is known to shrink if it is exposed to high temperature.

Avoid These Materials

Don’t put your suede shoes in the dryer. Unfortunately, if your suede shoes are wet you’re already in trouble. After it dries, it will become stiff. If you dry the shoes with heat, the suede will warp and crack. Your best bet is to simply air dry your suede shoes.

Leather is also a bad choice. As it gets hot in the dryer, it will start to warp. The material will start to relax and stretch. Eventually, it will lead to a deformed shoe.


This is not a very common material. But some sneakers have gel soles or foam that gives more comfort. Foam soles will come apart in the dryer. The glue will often melt and separate.


Some fancy shoes will have various ornaments. Things like sparkles or sequins. These decorations are delicate and might come off. You’ll want to air dry shoes with these.

Many people wonder if they can dry their shoes in the dryer. The answer is mostly yes, although there are some important situations when this is not true. Follow the label. Use the techniques described to make the drying process better.