How to Correctly Dry Sneakers in the Dryer

Front view of sneakers in the dryer

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 mins - 12 hrs
  • Total Time: 20 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Drying sneakers in the dryer is a common practice, but it can actually cause a lot of damage to your shoes. In this article, we will teach you how to correctly dry sneakers in the dryer so that they last longer. Follow these simple tips, and your sneakers will be good as new.

How to Clean Sneakers in the Washing Machine

Sneakers can be washed in the washing machine, but there are a few things you need to do to make sure they come out looking and smelling fresh.

  1. First, remove the laces and insoles from your sneakers. These can be washed separately in warm water.
  2. Second, put your sneakers in a mesh bag or pillowcase to protect them from getting damaged in the wash.
  3. Third, set your washing machine on a gentle cycle and use cold water.
  4. After the cycle is finished, remove your sneakers from the washing machine quickly, then get ready to dry them.

How Often Should You Dry Sneakers in the Dryer?

Many people make the mistake of putting their sneakers in the dryer too often. While dryers are certainly a handy device when it comes to getting clothes ready to wear quickly, they can also damage your clothes if used too often or too severely—and this is no different for sneakers.

Putting your sneakers in a high-heat dryer can actually cause damage to the fabric and glue holding the shoe together. Your best bet is to stuff your sneakers with newspaper or towels to absorb moisture and let them air dry at room temperature. Avoid placing them near direct heat or sunlight, as this can also harm the material.

If you must dry your sneakers in a machine, do so sparingly and follow the tips below.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 dryer


  • 1 pair of shoes


Sneakers on a stool next to the dryer

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  1. Check the Label First

    Before you start drying, double-check the label on your shoes to be sure you can dry them. As a rule, you should never dry animal fabrics, like leather. You should also avoid drying shoes that have a lot of plastic or glue in them, as those frequently melt under machine temperatures. Canvas and fabric shoes are usually okay.

    Checking the label on a pair of shoes

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Air Dry First, If You Can

    As stated above, running your shoes in the dryer for a long period of time can damage them. If you can, try to air-dry your shoes as much as possible. This will significantly decrease the amount of time you have to leave your shoes in the machine to get them dry, making it less likely that the shoes will get damaged.

    Letting the sneakers air dry first

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Tie Laces Together and Shut Them In the Door

    Now for the trick—did you know that throwing your shoes in the dryer and letting them slam into the sides of the machine is actually really bad for your dryer? It can break your dryer, and we all know those are expensive to replace.

    To avoid damaging your shoes or your dryer, tie a knot at the top of your laces to connect the shoes together. Then, shut your laces into the door of the dryer so the knot is outside and the shoes are inside. This will prevent your laces from getting tangled and your shoes from damaging your dryer as it spins.

    Pulling shoe laces out of the dryer and shutting the door

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Turn your Dryer to the Lowest Heat Setting

    If your dryer offers an "Air Dry" setting, turn it to that. If not, simply choose the lowest setting available (this is usually called "Delicates" or just plain old "Low"). This will help reduce the damage done to your sneakers.

    Turning the dryer on

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. After 20 Minutes, Check the Shoes

    If your sneakers are not fully dry after 20 minutes, put them back in and run the dryer for an additional five minutes, then check them again. Repeat as needed. Again, if you can remove the sneakers at this time and allow them to air dry for the remainder of the time, do so now.

    Checking the sneakers mid-drying cycle

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  6. Remove Them From Dryer

    You may have to do some minor reshaping on your sneakers, depending on what material they are made out of and how long you dried them for. After a little manipulating, your shoes will look good as new!

    Removing the sneakers from the dryer

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena