Rain is an inevitable factor of life. Depending upon where you live in the country, you may have more or less rain, but the fact remains that you will get wet at some point during the year. While the rain may cause some discomfort to your day by ruining your commute to work (who likes the stop and go traffic on a rainy day) or soak your clothing, it does not have to ruin your shoes.
You do not have to walk around sloshing all day just because the rain has wet your leather or suede soles. Here are a few ways that you can quickly dry wet leather and suede shoes.
1. Take Off The Shoes
The first and most practical thing to do is take off your shoes. This is not only good for your shoes, but also for your health. Staying in wet shoes can cause your feet injury. Wet feet absorb moisture and can become blistered and/or cracked if they are left in a wet place. This is one reason why anyone in the armed forces will tell you that they keep care of their feet. Foot health equals overall body health.
When you take off your wet leather shoes, dump any accumulated water out and remove the inlets from the shoes. In many cases the shoe will be slightly wet, but the inlet will be soaked due to the material being cotton, wool, or a blend of such absorbent materials. If possible, simply throw those inserts into a dryer. If you are at work and cannot use a dryer, put the inserts in a warm place (don’t use the employee microwave as food and feet do not mix) until they dry. Once dry, Menshealth suggests that you use a leather cream or lotion to soften the outside and then reshape the shoe with a natural cedar shoe tree.
2. Blot, Brush, Repeat
If you have worn your suede shoes out in inclement weather and the weather has done damage to your suede shoes or nubuck leather shoes, you need to recondition the leather. GQ magazine states that you should blot your shoes with a non-abrasive towel. If you must use something quick, such as if you are in an office setting where towels are not available, grab a paper towel and blot the shoes until they are as dry as you can get them.
The next step is to take a soft bristle brush and brush the suede back and forth for a few minutes to work out any lingering moisture. If you are at home, then you can use a hair dryer to dry the suede as you brush. Of course, if you have a spare set of shoes at the office, you can use the hand dryer in the bathroom (don’t go in there with just socks or bare feet).
3. Use Rice
This method is more for those which have suede shoes which have gotten wet on the way home. Once you are at your residence, take a container which has an air tight lid and can hold both shoes without cramming. Pour an inch to 2 inches of dry, uncooked white rice into the container. Place the shoes on top of the rice and close the lid. The moisture will be sucked out of the shoe by the rice.
This is not a quick method and can take several hours. However, if you have wet shoes and have to get to work or another appointment, this is one way in which to dry them while you are gone. It is recommended that once you have time to get back to the suede leather shoes or nubuck leather, that you use leather cleaners and conditioners to revitalize the surface.
4. The One Thing You Should Never Do!
When drying leather, you should never seek the quick dry solution. Do not put the shoes in the dryer at high heat, always use low heat if you must dry the shoes in such a method. Do not place the shoes in the oven to dry. You will literally cook the leather, and could potentially weaken the glue and other parts of the shoe.
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Additionally, if you do not have the shoe within a natural cedar shoe tree or other such forming device, a quick dry is very apt to warp the leather into an unnatural form. Should you find after drying your shoes that there are warps, discolorations, weak seams, dislodging of the glue around the sole, or any other defects, do not discard the shoe.
Most of these issues can be fixed by your local professional leather artisan. Just bring in the shoes, explain that you got them wet, and I am sure that you will find a solution which will restore your suede or nubuck leather shoes back to wearable condition.