Optimal boots
December 17, 2020 5:46 AM   Subscribe

I've got a new pair of snow boots that I plan to wear on consecutive days, all day. Not interested in bringing a pair of non-boot shoes to work. During the rest of the year, I alternate days with my non-boot office shoes (wear one pair on Monday, the other pair on Tuesday) because I hear that letting the shoe dry out between wearings makes it last longer. These boots are too expensive to buy a second pair. So how should I handle them overnight to maximize their life? Northern people, help me out. Thank you!
posted by 8603 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do they have removable insoles? You could take out the insoles at night. Or you could put them on a boot dryer.
posted by bluedaisy at 5:48 AM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


I believe that boot dryers can dry out the leather too fast, and should be used with caution. (Minnesota-raised and living in suddenly-snowy New England now, and I have never owned one of these.)

But pulling the insoles every night is great advice for all your footwear! If the boots have separate wool liners, definitely pull those out to dry as soon as you get home. You can probably hand-wash the insoles, too, to keep them from getting gross after all that foot-sweat.

Wipe off road salt with a paper towel moistened with vinegar.

If airing out doesn't do it, you can always use my wife's technique of stuffing wadded-up newspapers into the boots to soak up some moisture, then replacing therm every half-hour or hour until bedtime.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:13 AM on December 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


Do they have a zipper? I've always unzipped mine and left them open to help them air out between wearings.
posted by XtineHutch at 6:14 AM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


Heated boot dryers can be bad for boots but a boot dryer that's just a fan is probably OK (or just put them in front of a fan!).
posted by mskyle at 6:16 AM on December 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


This is what my household uses, and it's great. The air it circulates is warm but not super hot, and it dries boots in just a few hours.
posted by little king trashmouth at 6:30 AM on December 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


Yeah that Peet dryer little king trashmouth linked is just warm and has never done any harm to my footwear. And my god, the comfort of sticking your feet into warm, dry boots vs cold, damp ones!
posted by HotToddy at 6:53 AM on December 17, 2020 [5 favorites]


We have a nicer boot/ glove dryer like the one linked above that allows you to toggle heated air or just room temp air. Would probably serve your needs and not damage the leather. We picked ours up at Costco.
posted by WedgedPiano at 7:29 AM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


Newspapers work. I was an outdoor educator in Massachusetts for 2 winters and jammed newspaper into my boots each night. In the morning, you'll be shocked how much moisture they've absorbed - and the boots were dry and warm. I wouldn't spend anything on fancy devices until you try this old-timey solution that works pretty well.
posted by Miko at 7:44 AM on December 17, 2020 [10 favorites]


Could you get another pair of liners, and just alternate them? If your feet are anything like mine, wearing winter boots all day every day in a heated environment will render them pretty swampy.
posted by kate4914 at 8:58 AM on December 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


What do the boots look like?

I mean, I wear Steger mukluks in the winter, and the entire, calf-high wool liner comes right out to be butterflied open near the basement dehumidifier. Other, more-fashionable boots might not be that flexible. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


It depends on how long you want to keep your boots. I keep mine 5-10 years and replace the heels or soles as needed.

After you doff them, put unfinished wood shoe trees in them if they aren't thoroughly soaked. (Curse you, slush puddles!) The shoe trees absorb sweat and help the boots keep their shape. If they're polished leather, applying a paste wax (like Kiwi) protects and replenishes the leather. Apply the polish at the beginning of the season and maybe at the mid point and then at the end. The second year, your boots need the mid point and end of season polish applications. Ask a military vet for shoe polishing instructions. It took me about 30 minutes the first time I polished my boots; now they need only 5-10 minutes of polishing each time I polish them. You'll need an applicator brush (not that foam applicator), a buffing brush, water misting bottle, and a 100% cotton rag, about 3" x 12".

If your boots are suede, nubuck or some other non-polish-able leather, there isn't much available to replenish the leather (like paste wax for polish-able shoes). You can spray them with protectant but don't do it too often because there are chemicals in it that will dry the leather. You'd reapply the protectant whenever your feet return to getting wet. Suede and nubuck can use wood shoe tree too.
posted by dlwr300 at 9:52 AM on December 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


If these are quality boots they should not be getting wet at all. I'm confused about the whole post I guess. I've never had to dry out my Sorel boots. I take them off and leave them in the mud room. They are 12 years old and as good as new.
posted by sanka at 9:55 AM on December 17, 2020


My suggestion, if you get a boot dryer, is to get one that has an on/off switch. I had one that was either on or unplugged. The airflow is low so I'm not sure it was a hazard, but I didn't like the idea of it running constantly. And they do better than a dryer vent simply because of the way you put the shoe on it, so the airflow is right to the insides.

If these are quality boots they should not be getting wet at all. I'm confused about the whole post I guess. I've never had to dry out my Sorel boots. I take them off and leave them in the mud room.
I think this post is about the frequent Metafilter advice to take a day off from wearing shoes, to make them last longer (the conventional wisdom here is that two pairs of the same shoes, each worn every other day, last more than twice as long as one pair of the same shoes worn every day). So this is about the insides being damp from foot sweat, etc.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:30 AM on December 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


My work boots, both uninsulated leather summer boots and insulated winters, get damp from sweat. By the time I've wore them 12-14 hours a day for a week straight they'll be noticeably damp in the morning after having aired out over night.

Of they used to be. 7 years ago I got a set of paddle boot warmers. (I need them to fit in a suitcase so the sand up models won't work for me). Depending on brand/model they are only 4-12W each. Mine are barely warm even holding them cupped in your hands so the potential damage is low; IMO much less than mould/fungus from damp boots. I'd guess that while the boot feels warm in the morning it is about the same warmth as after an hour of wear. In fact a common complaint on Amazon is they don't dry wet boots because they don't give off enough heat.

Using them as eliminated the dampness in my boots even after 22 days straight wear. My winters have light weight liners that I remove and dry separately from the heavily insulated outers.
posted by Mitheral at 10:48 AM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


And they do better than a dryer vent simply because of the way you put the shoe on it, so the airflow is right to the insides.
Just want to clarify that I meant a heater vent, not a dryer vent.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:19 AM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


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