Work boots aren’t designed to be the flashiest nor the most comfortable shoes. They are, however, designed to be the most protective. What they lack in a fashion-forward sense, they more than make up for in practicality.
As much as they might not have the best insoles for flat feet or fallen arches, they do have the ability to take a beating and remain standing. These protective qualities are particularly important if you work in a hazardous environment that tends to get wet or you are prone to sweaty feet.
You might be wondering why we have singled out “wet environments” here, seeing as there are many different types of hazardous environments and wet conditions within which work boots serve a purpose.
One of the main reasons wet environments stand out is that many health problems come with wearing wet boots or other wet shoes; something that will occur when you work in wet conditions.
These health hazards include:
- Skin tears and abrasions
- Painful blisters
- Bacteria growth
- Athlete’s foot
Depending on where on your feet these issues occur, you could have mobility issues, not to mention discomfort. Apart from these health problems, there are a host of other problems that come with wearing a wet work boot, including bad odor.
How to Start
Unless you are in an emergency situation where all you want is to dry your work boots as much as possible before putting them on again, there are some steps you need to take in preparation. Properly drying your work boots is very much like anything else you do.
You must first gather all the materials you will need and prepare for the procedure. With that in mind, here’s what you need to do in preparation for properly drying your work boots.
- Clean them: You have to make sure that your work boots are as clean as possible. This involves wiping off any mud or dirt that might be left on them.
- Remove the laces: You will also need to remove, clean, and dry the laces. Besides, the insides of your boot will have a better chance of not only drying up faster but more thoroughly when the boots aren’t laced.
- Use a mild detergent: If you have the time, you can use a mild detergent to clean the boots. This would be more effective than just using water.
These preparative steps will ensure that the dirt or mud on your boots doesn’t dry up as well, making it harder to clean them in the process.
Quick Tips on How to Dry Your Work Boots
It should be noted that there really isn’t one particular way of drying your work boots. Work boots differ in nature and material. Your boots might be thick with woolen insides, which means that they would take much longer to dry than thinner boots that have a leather inside or shoe insert.
Where you live also comes into play. How often you receive sunlight and the overall weather of the region determine which kind of outdoor drying methods you can use to dry work boots.
That being said, there are a few excellent tips that you can use to dry work boots on most occasions. These include:
Tip #1: Make Use of a Fan
If you have access to a traditional fan, one that is much larger than both of your work boots combined, you can use it to blast fresh air and, quite essentially, air dry your work boots. For this method to work, the fan needs to be positioned in such a way that it can run through the night (or however long you have to get your boots dry) without interruption. It should also have a wide base.
To do this effectively, you need to keep your shoes unlaced and if they happen to have removable insoles or a removable shoe insert, make sure that they are removed and placed beside the boots because they will probably need drying as well.
If they are made out of traditional foam, you can simply throw the shoe insert into the dryer, but if they are made out of leather, you might need to put the shoe insert out in the sun or place them by your boots and let the fan dry them as well and remove any excess moisture.
There are two ways of doing this:
- Find a stool and place your wet boots upright with the insides facing the fan, then turn the fan on and let it run through the night.
- The second option (most effective) is to craft an “S” hook using a durable wire. One end of the curve should be hooked to the fan’s wire housing, while the other end should be big enough to hold at least one boot, if not both. Once you have finished rigging this contraption, simply turn on the fan and let it run through the night.
Tip #2: Allow Your Boots to Dry in the Sun
If you are lucky enough to live in a place that gets plenty of sunlight, sun drying your wet work boots is most likely the best option. Granted, it won’t be the quickest unless you live in a desert, but it will be the most thorough method.
This method is simple enough. All you have to do is:
- Make sure that your boots remain unlaced
- Remove the insoles
- Place the boots with the tongue as far out as possible and the insides facing the direction of the sun
- Leave them out until dried or until it looks like it’s going to start raining
It’s that simple. The beauty of drying your wet boots out in the sun is that that natural energy and heat combined with the wind and fresh air helps to get rid of bad odor as well as other pathogens that might have been trying to find a home inside your boots.
Tip #3: Stuff Them With Rice
This is an old trick people use when they drop their phones in water. All you have to do is put it in a jar of rice overnight. You need to make sure that the rice fully covers the phone and absorb any water that might have seeped into the phone. The same principles apply when you want to dry your wet work boots using rice.
There are two ways to go about this:
- Fill up a plastic bag with rice and throw your boots in there overnight. While this is a much cleaner option, it isn’t exactly the most effective
- The other option is to pour some rice into your boot. If you can, fill it up completely with rice. As you can tell, this method is a little messy since you will have to meticulously remove all the rice from your boots. That being said, it’s also the most effective of the two as far as drying your boots with rice is concerned
Tip #4: Use Towels
The principles that apply when you use a towel to dry yourself will also apply here when you use a towel or a few towels to dry your work boots. For this method to work, you need to find thick and very absorbent towels that you don’t mind not using for a few days.
Once your boots are prepared for the drying process (cleaned and unlaced), take the ends of the towel and tuck them inside each boot. You will need at least two towels, one for each boot. Once the ends are securely inside each boot, wrap the rest of the towel around the respective boot.
Granted, this isn’t the quickest nor the most effective method for dry boots, but it works in places where sunlight isn’t in plenty. Double up by placing the boots with the towels around them in front of a fan for the night to get the best effect.
Tip #5: Use a Boot Dryer
There’s a good reason this tip comes at the end of the list – it’s the most effective method to use for footwear in any weather. There are boot drying devices such as this DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer and Garment Dryer you can buy it.
Depending on the boot care and drying device you choose, it could either blow hot air or radiate heat to dry your work boots and remove excess moisture. This method is by far the easiest and most efficient method to use. In fact, buying a boot dryer should be an essential need for everyone who uses work boots on a day-to-day basis.
The best thing is that there are many different types of boot dryers available to suit your needs. You can find boot dryers that are designed to use electricity or gas. Some are stationary and do more than just dry your boots; they dry your clothes too.
Some are portable. It’s simple to use; simply place your boots in the dryer as directed by the manufacturer and go about your business. Once the time is up, you will find bone-dry boots ready for use.
If you have leather work boots, you will find any kind of boot dryer should work well, as long as you use the device correctly with your leather boots. The boot dryer will use low heat, so it shouldn’t shrink or damage leather work boots as they dry.
Wet work boots or any wet shoes in general are not only uncomfortable to wear, but they can also be a health nuisance as far as the integrity of your feet is concerned. With these methods, you never have to wear wet work boots again.