If you live in a cold climate that experiences lots of snow in the wintertime or a wet climate that gets a lot of rain, or you're into outdoor activities that can get a little messy, you probably know what it’s like to go to put your boots on—only to realize they’re still wet from the last time you wore them. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it also can cause bacteria, mildew, and fungus to grow inside of your shoes!
While placing your footwear near a heater may help them dry out, it’s not optimal. You need something that will help your boots dry from the inside out, especially if they're leather. With boots that have an especially thick-lined inside, a boot dryer is especially necessary.
How Do Boot Dryers Work?
Boot dryers work by using thermal convection. The air that’s at room temperature is sucked in through the vents and warmed up to get rid of any excess water or moisture in the boots. Boot dryers prevent mold and bacteria from growing within your boots and prevent that gross feeling of having to put on a wet boot. They can also help prevent the gross odors that often come wafting out of wet shoes.
On top of that, you’ll also always have warm, dry footwear to put on when you’re ready to go outside into the snow or rain. You can also use them for similarly study items like ski gloves if you're in a pinch.
Different Types of Boot Dryers
There are many different types of boot dryers available on the market for your purchase. Each specific type of boot dryer will fit different needs. For example, some top pick versions will have tube extensions that allow you to use the drying ports for taller boots. While they mostly have the same purpose, drying boots, there are a few other key factors that need to be taken into consideration when you're looking for the best boot dryer.
Forced Air Boot Dryer
Forced air dryers are known for providing fast results. They have a built-in fan that blows hot air into the shoes, allowing them to dry shoes, boots, and other garments quickly. That said, they do make use of fairly loud fans.
Convection dryers use a small heating unit that slowly warms the air after you turn it on. It uses convection technology to pull in room temperature air and converts it into hot air by running it through the heating unit. Convection dryers are very quiet, so they’d be a great choice in small apartments. However, they’re not as fast as forced air dryers.
Positive Temperature Coefficient dryers or PTC dryers use ceramic heating elements. Inside the boot dryer is a stone-like component that can only heat up to a certain temperature. They heat up quickly, drying your boots as quickly as possible while also using less electricity and having no chance of overheating.
This technology is commonly used amongst portable boot dryers, although stationary boot dryers can employ this technology as well.
UV dryers use ultraviolet light technology in order to get rid of the bacteria that collects in wet boots. They also dry the bots, but it can take a bit longer than regular dryers with heating elements. Ultraviolet dryers are great for taking care of bacteria, so if you’re worried about dirty boots, this is the option for you.
Portable vs. Stationary
You can get boot dryers in both portable and stationary varieties. Stationary boot dryers are great for the whole family. You can buy boot dryers that have multiple hooks on them, allowing more than one person to dry their boots at the same time.
Portable boot dryers are usually very small (you could hold them in your hands). They come with two small warming devices that can be slipped down into each boot. They’re attached with a wire that can be plugged into a wall.
Portable boot dryers are great for camping trips, skiing trips, and more. You could even use them on your child's soccer cleats after a game or dry out your outdoor gear in a pinch. If you need access to a boot dryer and you’re on the run, they’re a great, convenient option. They’re also often much more affordable when compared to stationary varieties.
How Fast Do They Dry?
The type of heating element that your dryer contains plays a big part in the time it takes to work. If your boots are soaking wet, it’ll take a lot longer to completely dry them out than if they’re just a bit damp.
Different materials also take different amounts of time to dry, although you can generally use boot dryers on most modern fabrics, from neoprene, PVC, and synthetics to microfiber and vinyl. On average, here’s how long of a drying time you can expect from types of boot dryers:
- Forced air dryers: one to three hours even if the article of clothing is completely soaked through. Put on an hour timer and check how your boots are.
- Convection dryers: three to eight hours
- PTC dryers: four to eight hours
- UV dryers: three to eight hours
Are Boot Dryers Bad for Boots?
It seems like excessive heat and air may not be good for the life of your shoes and boots, but that’s actually not the case. Boot dryers are totally safe, and you can use them over and over again. In most cases, they actually help to elongate the life of your shoes and boots. When you have rubber, fleece-lined, or sherpa-lined ski boots, keeping them dry will increase their longevity.
You should, however, take some precautions when using boot dryers to avoid damaging your favorite shoes. Make sure to wipe the wet footwear clean with a cloth before placing them onto the dryer.
If the boots are completely soaked through, wait for them to air dry a bit before using the boot dryer. The excess water in the boots could cause your boot dryer to short circuit, ruining the machine.
You should also make sure to place the boot dryer away from any other heating elements. Don’t keep it near a radiator, stove, or fireplace. The excess heat could make it overheat, although most boot dryers have built-in temperature controls that keep them from reaching over a specific temperature of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, no. Boot dryers will not damage your boots. However, you do need to make sure you take care of your boot dryer to avoid it short-circuiting, overheating, or otherwise breaking.
How to Choose a Boot Dryer for Your Home
If you’re looking for a better way to go about drying shoes, you should take notes on what features are important to you before you start shopping. Are you looking for something you can easily take with you? Are you looking for something that has attachments for smaller accessories like gloves and mittens?
Asking yourself these questions will help you decide which boot dryer is right for you. After you take off your boots or sneakers and let them dry, you can kick your feet up, curl up with a nice blanket, turn on your essential oil diffuser, and relax.
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