Taking care of your wetsuit boots is important and because of their shoe-like shape they can be difficult to dry. If you don’t dry them properly your booties can become stinky…plus no one wants to slip on cold wet boots right before a surf or dive. So, what’s the best way to dry your wetsuit boots out quickly?
To dry your wetsuit boots quickly first rinse them with fresh water, ring them out and towel off as much water as possible (inside and out). Hang them upside down in a well ventilated area. To speed up the drying process place in front of a fan or heater (not too close or they'll melt) and turn them inside out. You can also use towels, newspapers or silica gel packets inside to absorb extra moisture
Drying your wetsuit boots will usually take up to a day, less in warmer windy weather and more in cold rainy weather. Thankfully, there are some ways to speed up the process. Keep reading to learn some of the best ways to dry your wetsuit.
Preparing Your Wetsuit Boots After Use
The first thing that you want is wash them off. This will remove any sand or salt that you got on them. This is annoying once dry but also sand can hang onto excess moisture making your wetsuit boots take longer to dry.
Use freshwater to give your shoes and good rinse.
To make life easier, it might be a good idea to take the boots off while you are still in the water. This ensures you aren’t walking along a beach to get back to the car.
You won’t need to use any soaps to clean the boots. If you’ve had them for a while, they might be starting to stink. To solve this problem, you can use a wetsuit shampoo. This is the only chemical product you will need to use on your boots.
Sometimes, you will get stains on your boots. You don’t want to scrub the neoprene. Instead, you should rub the wetsuit boots against themselves.
The Basics of Drying Your Wetsuit Boots
The basic process associated with drying your wetsuit boots is fairly simple. You just need to follow these steps:
- Rub the boots with a towel. This will remove as much moisture as you can. Do it on both the inside and outside of these boots.
- Hang them upside down. You can balance them on a hook, or place them onto a broom handle. Some will come with a pull tab on the back, to make hanging them up easier. You can put a water bottle inside the boot. This will keep them open, allowing the air to flow through them freely.
- Leave them to dry. Then, you just need to wait. Make sure that they are completely dry before you put them away. If they are still damp, there is a chance that they could encourage mold growth.
How long a wetsuit boot will take to dry can vary. Usually, it will be based on the thickness of the wetsuit material as well as the external weather.
The thicker your boots are, the more moisture it can retain. Generally, though, you can expect it to take around a day to dry. Some of these tips might be able to get it down to around eight to nine hours.
Where to Dry Your Wetsuit Boots
There are a few places where you can put your wetsuit boots, depending on the weather conditions. If it is a pleasant, sunny day you might want to leave the wetsuit boots outside. You just need to make sure that you put them in a shady area, out of the direct sunlight.
To speed up drying you can put them in direct sunlight however just be aware that excess exposure to sunlight, especially for long periods of time whilst dry, will degrade the neoprene in your boots and give them a shorter lifespan.
During the winter months, leaving them outside will slow the cooling process, especially if it's very cold and/or raining. There might even be a risk of your boots freezing depending on where you are located.
Because of this, it’s best to put them inside. You’ll need to find a well-ventilated room. You can use a garage. Though the best option is usually the bathroom.
If you're running a heater inside then putting them near the heater, but far enough away that they won't melt, can speed up the drying process without costing you any extra money given the heater is running anyway.
Can You Put Wetsuit Boots in the Dryer?
Sometimes, it can be tempting to think about putting your boots into the dryer. After all, it is designed to dry clothes quickly. But this will be a big mistake. When you put wetsuit boots into the dryer the neoprene fabric will shrink. This is because of the high heat.
Many wetsuits will come with a warranty. But if you put the wetsuit into the dryer, it will void the warranty.
The exception to this is that you MAY want to put your wetsuit boots in a dryer with NO HEAT turned on. If it's just cool air then shrinkage of your boot should be minimal. However, this isn't something I would do regularly.
How to Speed up the Drying Process
Drying out your wetsuit boots will likely take at least 8 hours if not a full day. But there are a few simple ways that you can speed up this process. Here are some ideas that you can explore:
- Putting them outside. This is the best option in warmer weather. You’ll get the heat to boost the evaporation process. If it’s a windy day, it will allow the boots to dry faster.
- Use a fan. Blowing air through the boots will boost the evaporation process. This is great on wet days where your boots are unlikely to dry otherwise.
- Add newspaper or teatowel or silica gel packs. After you’ve finished toweling the boots, they should be damp, but not dripping wet. Because of this, you can add some newspaper inside the boots. The paper will absorb the water, sucking it out of the boots. You just need to be a little careful with this tip. If you use it with wet boots, the newspaper will congeal and stick to the inside of the boots. You can also use tea towels or silica gel packs to adsorb the excess moisture from the boots.
- Avoid humid rooms. The more moisture in the air, the harder it will be for your boots to dry. It also raises the risk that they will develop mold.
Common Wetsuit Boot Drying Problems to Avoid
Drying your wetsuit is a fairly simple process. But there are a few things that you should avoid. Some of these problems include:
- Drying your wetsuit in the sun. The sunlight can damage the fabric. It might become discolored. The heat can also cause the boots to shrink.
- Using a heater. You don’t need to leave your wetsuit boots in cold rooms. But you should be careful about using a heater, especially if you are cranking it up to the higher settings. Always keep your boots far enough away that they won't melt.
- Don’t put your wetsuit boots in the washing machine. The washing machine as well as the detergent used in washing machines can damage the material of your boots. Stick to rinsing with cold water or using a wetsuit wash.
- Avoid bleach and other chemical cleaning products. These will damage the neoprene fabric. Often, they aren’t even necessary. Using freshwater is the best way to wash out any sand or salt on the boots.
- Don’t soak your wetsuit boots in hot water. Understandably, you want to keep your wetsuit clean. But you shouldn’t soak it in warm water. This will cause it to become less flexible.
As long as you take a common-sense approach, avoiding too much heat, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Storing Wetsuit Boots
Finally, once the boots have been dried, you’ll need to make sure that you are storing them properly. This is a fairly simple process. You’ll want to leave it in a cool, dry place. This can be in the closet in your bedroom or the garage. Just make sure that it won’t be exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat. If you are storing it in the garage, avoid any fumes or substances that might damage the wetsuit.
Sometimes, you will notice a small tear as you are drying your wetsuit boots. This isn’t a big problem. You should be able to patch it up using some neoprene glue. If the zipper has become sticky, you can lubricate it with some beeswax. If you do this, the boots will last for many seasons.
Drying your wetsuit boots will often take around a day. But there are a few simple tricks you can use to increase the speed they dry at.
For example, you can use a fan to blow wind through them. You can also stuff them with old newspaper. Remember to be selective about where you are drying them, so you don’t accidentally shrink the suit.
We've also got a variety of tips on how to dry wetsuits gloves if you're looking to dry them along with your boots.