How to Dry Shoes in Dryer – 7 Tips from a Pro

No matter how hard you try, your shoes will get dirty at some point. No one wants to wear dirty shoes; however, washing and drying shoes can take a long time. So, how can you wash your shoes and shorten their drying time?

One option is to toss them in the dryer, but this may bring up the question: “Can you put shoes in the dryer?” In short, not all shoes can be dried in the dryer. Leather and suede shoes should not be dried in the dryer because they can dry out and crack. If your shoes are not made from these materials and you’d like to know how to dry shoes in the dryer, keep reading.

How to Dry shoes in the Dryer the Right Way

You shouldn’t just toss your shoes directly into the dryer. There are a few steps and precautions that you must take into consideration before doing so. Moreover, there are specific steps that need to be followed and failure to do so can result in damages to the shoe and your dryer.

Check the label on your Shoes

Usually, there is a label inside your shoe that states information like size, materials used to construct the shoe, manufacturer origin, and so forth. Look for the drying symbol which is indicated by a square. If the square has a circle inside of it then it means that the shoes can be dried in the dryer. However, if you see an X through that circle, it means that the shoes cannot be machine dried.

On the other hand, some labels are a bit more specific and you may see a square with a circle inside of it and a dot inside the circle. If that’s the case, it means that you can dry the shoes in the dryer at low temperatures.

If there are no labels or it’s been rubbed off, don’t worry – here are a few shoe materials you can and cannot dry in the dryer.

Materials you Can Put in the Dryer


Canvas shoes are typically safe to dry in the dryer. Most of the time, they have a rubber sole and metal or plastic on the lace holes. Canvas shoes are dryer-safe and since they are flexible there’s no need to worry about the shoe warping.

However, some manufacturers may not recommend putting your canvas shoes in the dryer, so be sure to follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid damaging your shoe.


Shoes made with cotton can be dried in the dryer because cotton is used in clothing. However, cotton can shrink in the dryer, so be sure to stuff the shoe to prevent this from happening.


Polyester and Nylon are materials used to make clothing, so if your shoes are made from these materials, then they’re dryer safe. Some running shoes include a blend of these materials and are responsible for their stretchy nature. Just remember to set your dryer to the lowest setting as nylon melts and polyester shrinks at high temperatures.

Materials you Cannot Put in the Dryer


When suede shoes get wet and then dry, they become stiff. Drying your suede shoes in the dryer can cause the material to warp and crack.


Heat and leather don’t mix, so drying your leather shoes in the dryer is a no-no. When leather is heated, the material warps as it relaxes and stretches. Drying leather shoes in the dryer can also lead to wrinkles, creases, indents, and more. In some cases, the dye used in leather shoes can run in extreme temperatures.

If you want to clean your leather shoes, read this article on how to clean leather boots and shoes.


More and more sneakers these days are enhancing comfort by adding gel or foam soles to their products. Depending on the heat levels, foam soles may come apart in the dryer. This is because the glue that is holding the sole will start to separate.

Gel, as you’d expect, melts when exposed to heat and hardens into an odd shape as it cools. This will make the gel sole lose its bounce and become uncomfortable to walk on.

Remember Basic Drying Techniques

Before throwing your shoes into the dryer, try to remember the basics of normal drying. You wouldn’t want to go through the entire drying process only to come out with your shoes still wet or not fully dried. The basics of normal drying in the dryer are:

  • If the article is soaking wet, drain some of the water before putting it into the dryer.
  • Remove lint from the lint trap to help the machine work more efficiently and improve air quality.
  • Throw some fabric softener sheets into the dryer the make the article smell good.

Throw in some Towels

You don’t want to dry your shoes alone because they’ll get knocked around quite a bit. This can warp the shoes or cause damage to the dryer. What you need to do is to grab some large and small towels and throw them in the dryer.

You should also stuff small rags inside your shoe to help with the drying process and stop your shoe from shrinking. You can also use scarves, handkerchiefs, or even socks to stuff the shoes.

Knot the Shoes

One of the best ways to keep your shoes from slamming around inside of the dryer is to tie the laces together. This way the shoes are connected and movement is restricted. Remove the laces from the shoe except for the last hole. Make sure not to tie the laces in loops or bows as you would normally do when tying shoes as they won’t dry properly. Instead, knot them at the ends of the laces so that you have some length because you’ll be hanging them from the door of the dryer.

Hang the Shoe from the Dryer Door

Now that your laces from both shoes are tied together, hold the shoes by the lace and drape them over the dryer door. Keep holding the lace and make sure the shoes are in the dryer. Close the door while holding the laces so that they get stuck in place and your shoes do not drop inside the dryer. You can do this with a top-loading or front-loading dryer.

If your dryer comes with a drying rack, then you can insert it into place and put your wet shoes to dry.

Choose the Right Settings

The best setting to dry your shoes is the ‘air dry’ setting on the dryer. So, if you see this on your machine turn the dial to ‘air dry.’ if that isn’t an option on your unit, then set it to the lowest temperature. It is important to use as little heat as possible so that your shoes won’t overheat, which can cause them to shrink.

Your dryer may have an automatic setting for 60 minutes, but this is too much. Turn the dryer on and check on the shoes every 15 minutes. Because the power of the dryer and how wet the shoes were beforehand will determine how long drying will take, you’ll have to keep checking the dryness of the shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put sneakers in the dryer?

You can put sneakers in the dryer if the care label states that they can be dried in the dryer. Look for a square with a circle in it. If not, air dry your sneakers.

Can I dry tennis shoes in the dryer?

Tennis shoes require frequent cleaning, so it can be a pain waiting 24 hours for them to dry. Check the care label, and if they can be dried, go ahead and dry them using the ‘air dry’ setting or the lowest temperature on your dryer.

Can you dry Converse in the dryer?

No, the manufacturers recommend you air dry Converse shoes.


You can dry your shoes in the dryer only if it says so on the care label.  Hang the shoes from the dryer door by the laces. Use the ‘air dry’ setting or lowest temperature, turn the dryer on, and remember to check on them every 15 minutes until completely dried.

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