Today we’re going to take a look at the proper way to dry your footwear when it’s wet. I’ve worked in outdoor retail for years and more than not people come back with complaints about the upper of their footwear falling apart and most of the time this is due to poor maintenance, no maintenance or, 90 percent of the time, it’s a lack of drying the boot correctly. So, basics for how to dry your boot; here are some things that you don’t want to do. Do not dry your boot with a direct heat source and by direct heat source I mean woodstoves, heaters, campfires, blow dryers. Anything that seems like a great idea, that would dry your boot really fast, which is usually what we’re looking for at that stage, all of those things are going to be harsh to the leather on the outside of the boot as well as the glues that are used to hold the layers of the outsole together and attach it to the upper of the boot itself. So, in a perfect world that sounds like a great way to dry your boot. For those of you out there backpacking and you get in the idle of a 4 day trip and it’s pouring rain and your boots are wet and you just want to put them by the campfire at night, that can be really tempting. For those of you in those situations just try to remember to keep them at respectable distance from the fire, don’t set them on the hot rocks around the fire ring or expose them directly to that heat source; it can greatly extend the life of your boot. The best way to dry your boot is to let it air dry slowly over time. Sunshine does a good job at this if you’ve got a porch or yard you set them in to dry after you come home from a wet trip, that’s a great way to dry them out. What you’ll want to do is remove the insoles, which might be wet or dry, clean any grit off of them and set them aside or tuck them loosely in the boot so you don’t lose them and let them dry that way. To get the boot to dry, the best thing you can do is to take some newspaper, roll it up into a ball and tuck it down inside the toe of the boot. Newspaper is extremely absorbent, you might need a couple of sheets, and you can tuck another one in the top of the boot and let the boot sit like that and air dry. You’ll have to change the newspaper in them over time, let’s say about once an hour. Just take the wet sheets out and put some dry ones in there so it can keep absorbing the moisture. This is a pretty effective method at drying footwear without damaging the upper and materials on the outside of the boot. Usually within 24 hours you can get most of that moisture absorbed out of w wet shoe.
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