Commuting 101: Keeping footwear dry

In the wake of the tropical storms, we’ve had a lot of rain in the past week. My cycling shoes have gotten so wet that they don’t get a chance to dry out before it’s time to leave for work in the morning. Here are some tips for keeping your footwear dry in monsoon season.

It makes sense that the easiest way to keep your footwear dry is to not let it get sopping wet in the first place. On wet roads,

Fenders work wonders at reducing the amount of water that gets splashed onto your feet from the road. If it’s raining, however, you’re going to get your feet wet. Fenders will potentially lessen it a bit.

Once your shoes are wet, though, the most obvious choice is to use the clothes dryer. Cycling shoes with cleats can damage the inside of a dryer, though, and shoes bouncing around in the dryer not only make a lot of noise, but it can harm the shoes as well as making them “Kick” the door of the dryer open, stopping the cycle before they’re dry. One way to take care of this is to use a rack inside your dryer (some new dryers come with a shoe-drying rack that fits inside) or simply untie the laces, tie a knot in the very end of the laces, and allow them to hang with the knot keeping them suspended against the dryer door. This is how I do it at home. Alternatively, twine or a re-purposed metal clothes hanger can be used to hang your shoes on the inside of the dryer door. This way, your shoes don’t make a lot of noise. Be careful with racing shoes that are made of stiff plastic or carbon fiber. Excess heat can damage them.

Newsprint, wadded up and stuffed into the shoes is another suggestion I’ve seen “kicked around” lately. If you get the newspaper and never seem to come up with a good creative use for the newsprint after you’ve read it, now’s your chance to re-purpose it. If your shoes are quite damp, you may need to remove the old newspaper and repeat the process a few times. I don’t subscribe to a newspaper, so I haven’t been able to try this theory myself.

The last suggestion I got from several friends of mine was to use a good pair of cycling sandals. These clipless cleat-ready sandals, when worn with wool socks often remain comfy year round, even in the cold season. There isn’t a lot of material to get soaked. Sandals dry quickly. Wool socks do as well, but also retain much of their insulating value even when wet.

One trick I use occasionally at the office is to place my wet socks and/or shoes on top of my computer monitor after I’m sure they won’t drip water into the sensitive electronics within. The heat from my computer monitor isn’t too extreme, but over the course of my entire work day, it’s often warm enough to dry out a few articles of soggy clothing.

Got more cool ways to keep your toes dry? Drop us a line in the comments!

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