Running Shoe Dryer




About: Be limited only by your imagination.

This is a modification of an instructable I posted previously. The device draws air into a box heated by a 60W bulb and expels it through 3/4 inch pipes at the top of the device and this dries the shoes. Here is a link showing the concept and the device in action.

Youtube video of the project

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Step 1: The Original Model and It's Problems

Here is the link to the original model

In the original model I used an old American Tourister makeup bag as the box. This was the first problem. Even after years it smelled like someone's attic. I also aged the pipes to create what I hoped was a cool rusty Diesel-Punk look. That was the second problem. My shoes had rust stains. The pipes were smaller diameter and the fan was smaller and that led to a more limited airflow. It did however have really cool light effects and when I deconstructed it, I incorporated those marbles into another instructable with multicolored blinking LEDs shining into marbles.

Multicolored Blinking LED Project

Step 2: Materials and Tools Used

I'm going to keep this pretty simple here because you can use any configuration of pipes that please you, and can use any kind of wood or enclosure.

  • 3/4-inch diameter pipes with a floor phlange
  • Wood for the case - I used 3/4 inch pine.
  • Wire for 120 V
  • Wire for 12 V
  • 12V transformer
  • 12V fan (I got one for a computer that had LED's in it, but any exhaust fan will do)
  • 60W lightbulb with a base.
  • Lighted 120 V rocker switch
  • Lighted 12V rocker switch
  • Various fasteners
  • Spray Lacquer
  • Plug


  • Drill
  • Drill press
  • Forstner bit 1-inch to remove wood behind the switches so they can be flush
  • Soldering iron
  • Jigsaw to cut out the fan opening
  • Random Orbit Sander with 60 and 120 grit

Step 3: Building the Case

I chose to build a box that had a sloping front but you can make it any shape you want. Any box will do. You can even use pre-made boxes like a cigar box if you want. Mine is held together with 1 1/4 inch Torx screws. The front panel required quite a bit of trimming and sanding.

Step 4: Finishing the Case

After cutting out openings for the fan and drilling a 3/4 inch hole in the top for the airflow and two holes for the switches I began to finish the project. This included

  1. Sand to 110 grit, softening the edges
  2. Use a microfiber cloth to get the sawdust off
  3. Use a tack cloth to get more sawdust off
  4. Apply 4 coats of spray lacquer with 1/2 hour between coats
  5. Scuff with a choreboy(green) pad to remove any dust or blemishes
  6. Apply a very light finishing lacquer coat

Step 5: Wiring It Up and Attaching the Pipe/Vents

  1. The wiring is simple but see the schematic.
  2. All connections are made with wire nuts
  3. All wires are soldered onto the switches.

Step 6: Running Shoe Dryer - the Movie

Youtube of the Running Shoe Dryer

How I use this: After coming home I put my running shoes on the device and turn it on for 2 hours. I use a timer for this but I think I can leave this on indefinitely without problems. I've never seen any char on the wood from the 60 watt bulb and the energy used is pretty minimal.

I've done experiments where I've dried one shoe to see if it actually accelerates the process and there is no doubt about it. The shoe on the dryer is dried in about 2 hours and the comparison shoe is often damp the next morning.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and would love to hear your comments and experiences!

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    13 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Great idea! I like how the hot air is introduced to the toe area because of the way you have the shoes hang. The warmed air will then rise and dry the rest of the shoe. I like the suggestion to add a timer. I would use a mains voltage computer fan and use larger diameter pvc pipe to allow for better air flow. Doing this would probably allow the use of a 25 watt bulb. The pvc pipe would be easy to clean and would not be prone to rusting.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes. All good ideas. In practice, the pipes warm up to about 30 Celsius and I think that also helps to dry the shoes. I've been running in the rain here the past week and this version has really been helpful. I kind of wish now that I had integrated a timer into the build itself as I think that's a good safety measure.


    1 year ago

    If you can move the "arms" up you could dry gloves. Good job.


    1 year ago

    I would think a simple timer would add a safety component. I am thinking about upsizing it so I can dry ski or snowboard boots. Great idea.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    I do in fact plug it into a timed outlet and think that's a reasonable precaution.


    1 year ago

    Step 7: Grab a can of febreeze to remove dat rotten foot funk smell this will spread throughout your house.

    Step 8: Realize that if they are Nike it's just better to burn them and get Reebok or Sketchers instead, will smell better too.

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    An interesting idea. I could see doing this in some form for my son's lacrosse gear (in the garage, of course). Anything to help dry when the season starts in January is going to help.

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Excellent project! It looks quite efficient, I think I'll make one.

    1 reply