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What To Do With Your Wet Shoes

Suede, leather, canvas, rubber—save your fave pair with these tips
by Khatrina Bonagua | Jul 8, 2016
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What’s worse than drenched clothes? Wet, totally submerged in flood water, shoes. Boxed for protection, polished to perfection—now soaked, drowned, and all other awful wet states that describe the horrible fate the rainy season brought to your favorite pair.  

But don’t throw them shoes away just yet. There’s still hope. Whether its leather, suede, canvas, or rubber, there are tons of ways to restore footwear.


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Step 1: Blot
Take a microfiber towel, paper towel, or even toilet paper, and blot the suede. Soak up as much water as quickly as possible. If you allow the suede to dry on its own after being soaked, you’re in trouble. The sooner you can care for them, the better.

Step 2: Brush
Get a soft/medium bristle toothbrush and brush the suede back and forth for a minute or two.

Step 3: Dry
Continue to brush the suede back and forth under a dryer. The goal is to revive the suede before it dries and hardens.

Step 4: Revive
When you get home, take a soft bristle brush and brush your shoes back and forth like you did earlier in the day. Next, take a suede cleaner (which you can purchase locally, such as this) and apply light to medium pressure to the entire shoe. This will not only help to remove any dirt, but will aid in lifting the dampened suede. Finish with more brushing. If the dirt is still there, use a cleaning solution meant for suedes. Brush some more.

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Step 1: Wipe
Wipe your shoes thoroughly with a clean cloth. Make sure you get to wipe all sides—interior, exterior, even the sole.

Step 2: Stuff
To help it maintain its shape, and to soak up some of that moisture, stuff your leather shoes with newspaper. Skipping this step will make the process take longer, and deform your shoes.

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Step 3: Save
The soles are just as wet as the leather. Be sure to let the bottom get some air so it can dry properly. To do this, just lay the shoes on its sides. It's not advisable to dry it via a heat source, such as a radiator. So, no, stop putting them behind your refrigerator.

Step 4: Pop
Once they’re nearly dry, replace the newspaper with a shoe tree (also available locally, check it out here) to help further maintain their shape.



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Step 1: Wipe
Your canvas shoes are made of cotton, so you should feel free to use a lot of the same techniques you'd use to deal with stains on your clothing. Spot clean it once you are on dry land—grab a napkin and wipe away.  

Step 2: Wet
If wiping didn’t work and your shoes are still caked with dirt or mud, either rinse them with running water or put them through an entire washer cycle. Pad the washer with plenty of old towels, use warm water, and add a mild detergent to get them clean.


Step 2: Stuff
If you’re in the office and running water or washing machine isn’t available, use newspapers to dry your shoes instead. After wiping, stuff the shoes with newspapers until the shoe is filled with it. Also wrap the exterior of the shoes in newspaper. String a rubber band around the midsection of the shoe so that the paper will stay. Repeat the process until shoes are dry. 

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Step 3: Dry
Air dry them. The best way to dry your canvas shoes is in indirect sunlight or in a dry, warm area of the house. It takes longer than the dryer, sure, but putting it inside the dryer or using a hand dryer will deform and even shrink it.  


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Step 1: Open
Loosen the shoelaces and lift the tongue of the shoes to expose as much of the inside as possible. Also take the insoles out, if they are removable. 

Step 2: Dry
Allow the shoes to dry in a well-ventilated area. Or better yet, place the shoes in front of a fan set on medium speed. The moving air from the fan will flow through and around the fabric of the rubber shoes and dry them in no time. Just like canvas shoes, do not machine dry your rubber shoes unless you want it to be deformed.

Once your shoes have been dried and cleaned, take preventative measures by applying water and stain repellent so that they’re easier to deal with the next time you get caught in the rain. Better yet, always bring your flip-flops or an extra pair of ready-for-rain shoes if you feel like a storm is coming.

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Photos via,, (suede shoes), (leather shoes), (canvas shoes), and (rubber shoes)

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