Using the dryer is a great way to dry shoes, as long as the proper guidelines are being followed.

Most shoes can be dried in the dryer, although not all shoes can. To check if your shoes can go in the dryer, look at the care label on the back of your shoe’s tongue. If you see the tumble dry symbol on the care label, then you may proceed to use the dryer. 

The dryer can also purposely be used to shrink your shoes.

Before putting your shoes in the dryer, make sure to remove all dust, dirt, and debris from the outer surface and sole of the shoes. Put extra effort into shoes that are creased, dirt will sit in the crease and if not 100% cleaned out, the dirt will be baked into the shoe.

To help avoid this issue let our articles on how to get creases out of shoes and how to not crease shoes help navigate this issue.

If you do not have access to a dryer, skip to the bottom of the page where you will find information on alternative methods you can use today in order to dry your shoes. 

Table of Contents

How To Dry Shoes In The Dryer

How To Dry Shoes In The Dryer

Total Time: 1hr 30min

Cost: $0

Supplies & Tools

  • Drying machine
  • Fabric (old socks work great)
  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Extra fabric garments
  • Wet cloth
this is a photo of a drying machine to dry shoes
Drying machine
this is a photo of extra fabric garments, towel and sweat pants, to dry shoes in the dryer
Extra fabric garments
Fabrick (old socks)
this is a photo of a wet cloth to dry shoes in the dryer
Wet cloth
This is a photo of a mesh laundry bag to dry shoes in the dryer
Mesh laundry bag

When drying your shoes their may be extra room available in the drying machine. Go ahead and put a second pair of shoes if they fit, and even some clothes if you have recently washed them.

Know how to use a dryer for clothing & understand how long does a dryer take + how hot does a dryer get.

Follow the instructions below to properly dry shoes in the dryer. 

1. Check the care label on your shoes

On the back of the tongue of yours shoes will be a care label that will indicate whether you can or cannot dry the shoes in the dryer. If you see the tumble dry symbol on the care label, it means that you are able to dry the shoes in the dryer safely. “Do not tumble dry” means they should only be air dried.

The symbol for tumble dry low is a square with a circle inside of it, that resembles the design of a dryer. The dot inside of the circle indicates that it is tumble dry low, which is the dryer’s low heat setting. 

tumble dry low laundry symbol -
this is a photo of the care label of new balance 550 shoes

2. Remove dirt and debris from the shoes

Check the treads on the sole of your shoes to remove rocks, mud, dirt, and any other debris before you place them into the dryer.  Turn the shoes upside down and shake them out to make sure that there is no dirt or debris on the inside of the shoe. 

Use a wet cloth to wipe the outside of the shoe if there is mud, rocks, or any other substance. 

this is a photo of the bottom of new balance 550 shoes

3. Stuff the shoes with fabric

Stuff your shoes with things like socks, washcloths, or small towels in order to speed up the drying process. Socks and cloths soak up water which helps to speed up the drying process, and they will also help to shoe to keep its shape which helps to avoid the occurrence of shrinkage. 

this is a photo of socks stuffed in a new balance 550 shoes

4. Put your shoes in a mesh laundry bag

Place your shoes in one large mesh laundry bag and tie them together to make sure they don’t get damaged during the tumble dry cycle. If you do not have a mesh laundry bag, be sure to still tie the two shoes together by the shoes laces. This will prevent the shoes from bouncing and tumbling around too much. When using the mesh laundry bag, throw in your recently clean shoelaces as well.

this is a photo of new balance shoes in a mesh laundry bag

5. Fill the dryer with more than your shoes

Add some other absorbent items to the dryer in order for the shoes to dry faster. If the shoes are drying in an empty dryer, it will take a long time to dry and the shoes will be bouncing off the walls frequently. Try putting the shoes in with some towels, blankets, duvet covers, sweaters, joggers, or sweatpants.

this is a photo of blankets and shoes in the dryer

6. Dry your shoes with air dry or tumble dry low

Dry your shoes using the dryer’s air dry or tumble dry low settings. Air dry uses no heat, and tumble dry low is the lowest heat setting possible. Both of these settings will effectively dry your shoes, without having any negative repercussions such as shrinkage or melting. Avoid using tumble dry medium as well as tumble dry high when using the dryer to dry your shoes.

this is a photo of a drying machine on tumble dry low to dry shoes

7. Check on the shoes often

Periodically open the dryer to check on your shoes to make sure that they are not over drying. Remove the shoes from the dryer when they are still slightly moist, to avoid over drying. 

this is a photo of tall paul checking on new balance 550 shoes in the dryer

Alternative Ways To Dry Shoes

If you don’t have access to a dryer try using one of these alternate techniques to dry your shoes!

1. Go to dry cleaners

Some shoes, such as shoes made from leather or suede, should not be machine dried and usually must be taken to the dry cleaners or a shoe specialty shop.

Some dry cleaners will also be able to wash athletic shoes and other types of shoes. Take a look at how much dry cleaning cost and how long does dry cleaning take.

2. Line dry your wet shoes

Save money on your electricity bill by tying your shoes together and hanging them off a clothesline on a hot day to dry out. This is especially good for white shoes as the suns UV rays help to brighten whites.

Learn how to line dry & dry flat in how to dry clothes without a dryer.

this is a photo of a new balance 550 shoe line drying

3. Use a fan on your shoes

If your shoes are wet, try placing them in front of or in close proximity to a fan. The wind from the fan will help the shoes to dry faster, and the increased air circulation in the room will help to expedite the process as well. 

4. Use a blow dryer in your shoes

If you are using a blow dryer to dry your shoes, make sure you either turn the heat level down, or only use the blow dryer for a short period of time. 

The high level of heat put out by the blow dryer can damage shoes if used for too long. 

this is a photo of a blow dryer and a pair of new balance 550 shoes

Check out our guides to cleaning your shoes, to get a better idea of what ‘clean’ should be.


Dry shoes in the dryer by first checking the care label, and then removing dirt and debris. Stuff washing fabrics such as socks or washcloths into the shoe, tie them together by the laces, and place them into a mesh laundry bag. Put them into the dryer on air dry or tumble dry low. 

Stuff the shoes with absorbent fabrics such as socks, washcloths, or face towels to help the shoe dry faster. Also, add thick items such as towels, covers, sheets, or sweaters to the dryer to increase the speed at which the shoes dry. 

Tie your shoes together and hang the shoes from the door of the dryer. Do this by opening the dryer door, dangling your shoes from above, and then closing the dryer door so that the shoes are dangling in the middle. 

The fastest way to dry shoes is by putting them in the dryer. The second fastest way to dry shoes is by hanging them on a clothesline to air dry in the sun on a hot day.