Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Wet feet are not uncommon, especially in winter or during sporting activity. However, they are not only unpleasant, but can even harm our health. Wearing damp shoes weakens our immune system, which can lead to bladder infections or colds.

The damp climate in the shoes also creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. If you often have to deal with moisture in your shoes, you should think about getting a shoe dryer.

With our shoe dryer test 2021 we would like to help you to easily choose a suitable model among the multitude of shoe dryers, so that you can always benefit from dry and healthy feet in the future. For this purpose, we have considered different types of shoe dryers and highlighted the advantages and disadvantages.




The most important facts

  • Shoe dryers usually work electrically by heat or air and ensure the speedy drying of wet and sweaty shoes.
  • Some models work with UV light to kill fungi and bacteria that are responsible for unpleasant odours and even diseases.
  • The choice of a shoe dryer depends mainly on what is to be dried, how much and how quickly.

The Best Shoe Dryer: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a shoe dryer

How does a shoe dryer work?

A shoe dryer is usually an electronic device that helps to dry damp shoes quickly. The drying process is carried out by air or heat. Some models also work with UV light and thus counteract the formation of bacteria and fungi. This also makes the shoe dryer interesting from a health point of view.

The functions of shoe dryers differ depending on the type. The following table provides a brief overview.

Type Functionality
Natural shoe dryer Silicon-containing material that slowly draws moisture out of the shoe.
Electric shoe dryer with fan ambient air is sucked in and fed into the shoe via a hose system.
Electric heatable shoe dryer heating elements are placed in the shoe or the shoe is placed on heating rods.

If the shoe dryer works with air, ambient air is usually drawn in with the help of a fan and slightly heated. The air is then fed into the inside of the shoe through a hose system. If drying is done by heat, the shoe is placed on a heatable hanger, similar to a coat rack. The heat can rise up inside the shoe and thus dry it.

There are also non-electronic, i.e. natural shoe dryers, whose special material removes the moisture from the inside of the shoe. These small dryers resemble a cushion and are simply placed inside the shoe.

Who is a shoe dryer suitable for?

In principle, a shoe dryer is suitable for anyone who frequently has to deal with damp or sweaty shoes, for example in winter or during frequent sporting activity. Children are particularly susceptible to wet shoes, as they like to romp around outside.

Since a shoe dryer usually not only dries the shoes but also warms them, it is perfect for people who are sensitive to cold and like to get into warm shoes in the morning.

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Cold and wet feet can have unpleasant consequences.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Arunas Naujokas)

Damp feet can easily lead to hypothermia, colds, bladder infections or even athlete's foot. You should take a look at a shoe dryer if you are sensitive in this regard and want to spare yourself unpleasant consequences.

How much does a shoe dryer cost?

The price of a shoe dryer varies between 10 and 100 euros, depending on the function and features.

Simple inserts cost between 10 and 20 euros. Electric shoe dryers cost between 30 and 100 euros, depending on the type of drying, how they work and additional features such as UV light. For a shoe dryer that is to be connected to the central heating system, the costs are usually somewhat higher due to the complex installation.

Type Price segment
Natural shoe dryers approx. 10-20 euros
Electric shoe dryers approx. 30-100 euros
Heated shoe dryers over 200 euros

What should I look out for when using the shoe dryer?

When using the electric boot dryer, you should pay attention to the set temperature. A temperature that is set too high can cause the material to become hard, brittle or cracked, especially on sensitive surfaces, such as shoes made of genuine leather.

High temperatures can damage delicate materials. Therefore, if in doubt, set the temperature low.

The temperature should ideally be between 30 and 40 degrees to dry the shoes gently. For very roomy and large shoes such as boots or ski boots, higher temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees are necessary to dry them extensively.

What alternatives are there to the shoe dryer?

There are many home remedies that are used for drying shoes. Shoes are often dried on the radiator or in a fire, for example. However, this is not advisable.

The outer material of the shoes can be severely damaged if heated too quickly or at too high a temperature. Also, the drying effect of such a method is not efficient enough for particularly roomy shoes, as the heat cannot really penetrate the inside of the shoe.

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You should avoid drying your shoes on the heater, in the oven or by the fireplace, as this damages the material.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Hayden Scott)

If it is important to you to always have warm feet when you are out and about, you might be interested in heated soles as an alternative.

These usually work via a separate or integrated battery. Some models generate their heat through a chemical reaction. You can comfortably insert the soles into your shoes and now always have warm feet even during outdoor activities in winter.

Decision: What types of shoe dryers are there and which one is right for you?

What distinguishes a natural shoe dryer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Natural shoe dryers are small silicon pads to be inserted, which draw the moisture out of the shoes and can be reused after subsequent drying. Some of them also have an antibacterial effect. Natural shoe dryers are small, uncomplicated and very good for travelling. However, the drying is less efficient than with the other variants.

Advantages
  • Uncomplicated to use
  • Very good for travelling
  • Partly antibacterial effect
Disadvantages
  • Drying effect usually only sufficient for small shoes

What distinguishes an electric shoe dryer with fan and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Electric shoe warmers dry a wide variety of shoes quickly and efficiently. If they work with a fan, the shoes dry very quickly. They often work for several pairs of shoes and are therefore also popular in families. On the other hand, the noise level is higher and they tend not to be mobile.

Advantages
  • Very fast drying effect
  • Suitable for every shoe
Disadvantages
  • High noise level
  • Not suitable for travelling

What distinguishes an electric shoe dryer without a fan and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Heated shoe dryers work silently. You can either insert them into the shoe or put the shoe on a holder. The former is very suitable for travelling, but may not fit every shoe. The second variant is less suitable for travelling, but every (hand) shoe fits on the heated holder.

Advantages
  • Noiseless drying
  • heating effect for (partly hand) shoes
Disadvantages
  • Sensitive material can be damaged by strong heat

What distinguishes a heated shoe dryer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This variant is connected to the central heating system and mounted on a wall. Here it usually offers space for many pairs of shoes and works via hot water flowing through the holders for the shoe.

Due to the complex installation and the high costs, heated shoe dryers are hardly profitable for use at home. They are often found in ski rooms of holiday flats, where many holidaymakers want to dry their ski boots.

Advantages
  • Space for many pairs of boots
  • ideal for ski rooms in holiday flats
Disadvantages
  • Elaborate installation
  • Profitable at home

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate shoe dryers

Type of drying

As an important purchase criterion, you should consider the type of drying. Shoe dryers can dry your shoes using a specific material, air or heat.

If you want your shoes to dry particularly quickly, an air blower is the best choice. If, on the other hand, you want to dry your shoes as quietly as possible or while travelling, you should look for a shoe dryer that draws moisture from inside the shoes through its material or uses heat.

The type of drying also results in differences in the intensity of the drying. A silicon pad will not dry spacious shoe interiors as reliably as the other types of shoe dryers.

Drying time

The drying time depends mainly on the type of drying and the performance of the shoe dryer.

Drying the shoe takes between one and six hours, depending on the wetness of the shoe and the type of drying.

An electric shoe dryer with a fan takes about one hour to dry. For models that use heat, the process can take 2-3 hours. The temperature at which the shoes are dried is important here. Gentle temperatures around 30 degrees will take longer to dry than high temperatures of 50 degrees or more. With natural shoe dryers, it usually takes 4-6 hours until the shoe is dry.

Note, however, that the drying time also depends on the type and wetness of the boot. A very wet ski boot will take longer to dry than a damp sneaker.

Size

Shoe dryers can vary significantly in size. If it is important to you to be able to use your boot dryer on the go, you should look for a small and portable model. A shoe dryer that works with a fan and hose system is rather unsuitable for this.

Think about what you want to dry, how much you want to dry and whether you want to dry on the go to find the right size of shoe dryer for you.

The size of the shoe dryer also determines how many pairs of shoes can be dried at the same time. A model with capacity for several pairs makes sense if you live in a larger family.

You may also want to dry small shoes or even gloves. In that case, a shoe dryer with heated holders might be right for you. Insertable shoe dryers may be too large for some shoes.

Timer function

A very useful additional function of electric shoe dryers is the timer function. This allows you to preset the drying times of the appliance so that it switches off automatically at the desired time. This prevents unnecessarily long operation.

A timer function is useful because it allows you to leave the shoe dryer unattended.

This is especially interesting if you want to use the shoe dryer unattended. If the device does not have a timer, you have to keep an eye on the time yourself and should not be out for a long time during operation.

If the device does not have a timer, you can alternatively plug a timer between the shoe dryer and the socket.

Overheating protection

Another important feature to look for when buying a shoe dryer is overheating protection. Most, but not all shoe dryer models are equipped with this function.

This means you don't have to worry about the appliance getting too hot and getting damaged. In that case, it will switch off automatically beforehand. The inside of the shoe is also not exposed to any risk with the overheating protection.

UV light

Some shoe dryers also work with UV light. This is especially recommended if you sweat a lot in your shoes. The UV rays ensure the active containment of bacteria and fungi, as these are effectively killed by the light.

The devices can therefore not only significantly reduce perspiration odour by killing bacteria, but also prevent unpleasant consequences such as athlete's foot. In this way, they contribute greatly to your overall foot health.

Image source: Volkov/ 123rf.com

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