Whether you are a once-in-a-year angler or practically live by the river, knowing how to care for appropriately and maintain your gear is crucial. Without proper drying wading boots will harbor several bacteria and other germs, giving off an odor and prone to many other hygiene-related issues. Cleaner boots also last longer than dirtier ones.
People worldwide have several methods of drying their wading boots after every fishing trip. But there isn’t one way of doing it. I’ll try to cover as many trips and techniques as possible, so you can choose the one that suits you most.
So let’s get drying!
Pre Drying Clean-Up
There are three basic steps for getting your wading boots squeaky clean.
- Scrubbing them at the riverside
- Disinfecting at home
- Drying thoroughly before subsequent use
You can look for scrubbing and disinfecting techniques online because, in this article, I’ll be talking about how to dry wading boots only.
6 Ways Of Drying Wading Boots Thoroughly
Just as disinfecting the boots gets rid of all the harmful germs, drying them is also necessary to keep those germs from growing back in the damp interiors. Keep in mind that your boots are big and heavy and probably padded from the inside, so it’ll take much more than 24 hours for them to dry up entirely.
Related Article: Best Wader Pants
But how to dry wading boots fast? There are a lot of techniques people use for quickening up the process. Here are the five most effective ways of how to dry wader boots:
1. Air Dry
Let’s start with the simplest one. Air is the most natural and easiest way to remove all the moisture from your shoes. Keep your boots in the air for a day to dry them. However, they should not be in direct contact with sunlight since exposure to UV rays may damage your shoes, and prolonged exposure can fade out their color. So find a spot with a lot of air and some shadow.
2. Under The Fan
I set up a small table fan near them when I cannot leave the boots out in the backyard to air dry because of rainfall. A ceiling fan will do the job too, just make sure the air can enter the insides of the boots to dry them.
3. Clothes Dryer
If you cannot find a shady spot for your boots, using your clothes dryer is the best way to dry wading boots.
Tie both boots together by their laces. Then use their laces to hang them from the dryer door, so the shoes are in the dryer but don’t touch the drum. Now run a standard drying round and done! Most of your shoes for wading will be dry within minutes, although this method is not that great for drying shoe inserts.
4. Wading Boots Dryers
Airdrying and using a fan is fine, but how to dry waders fast?
Since drying wading boots is essential, companies have started manufacturing products. One such handy product is a wader boots dryer which circulates subtly warm air through the shoes to dry them in no time. They are especially good at drying wading boots insoles. They are the fastest way to dry shoes and are worth splurging on if you are a frequent angler.
5. Newspaper Stuffing
I once asked on an online forum how to dry waders. Among the many interesting new ways, I learned from my post was stuffing newspaper or any absorbent paper within your boots. Here’s how it works;
Stuff your boots with some old newspaper so they can absorb the moisture from within. You’ll have to change the damp paper after some time, though.
6. Fill Them Up With Rice
Not everyone has a fancy boots dryer. Hence the question, how to dry wading boots without a dryer? I give you the rice hack!
Not only is rice great for absorbing moisture from your cell phone when you accidentally drop it in the toilet, but it also works for wading boots. Fill your wading boots with raw rice up to ankle height or as much as they can hold. The water-absorbing quality of rice will fasten the drying up process, and you’ll have dry shoes in no time.
It is tempting to use a heat source such as a hairdryer or leave your boots near a heater or in the scorching sun to dry them quickly, but high temperatures can be devastating for them and damage the materials and the glue that keeps them together.
Why Is Drying Wading Boots Necessary?
Microorganisms need a humid, warm place with dirt as their food source to survive. Drying wading boots is one way of disinfecting them. The padding in a wading boot’s interior provides the perfect environment for them to grow when wet. Drying the wading boots ensures that no microorganism stays in them, which could later cause a foul odor, mold or mildew, or any skin infection.
Constant moisture can also cause damage to the boot structure and materials. Learn more about wading boots for saltwater
Another considerable threat posed by improper drying felt sole wading boots is the invasive species of organisms. These species live in many rivers and lakes and attach to your wading boots, especially by felt soles (why many states have banned felt). When the shoes are not cleaned and dried between trips, they transfer from one water body to another, causing an imbalance in the ecosystems.
Examples of these invasive species include zebra mussels, New Zealand mud snail, Asian clam, etc.
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Following are some commonly asked questions about drying best boots for fly fishing.
Yes, you can! Drying wading boots in the dryer is my favorite way of doing it.
To wash the insides of your wading boots, take a toothbrush or a small vegetable brush and scrub from the interiors. Use a small straw brush to get to the tightest spaces, including the boot’s drain holes. You may use a 5% detergent solution for scrubbing and then for a five-minute soak too. Finally, rinse with clean water and dry.
Boots dryers are the most effective to dry the boots from the inside. They have a tube that goes in the shoes and circulates warm air through them to dry the interior paddings and linings thoroughly. However, stuffing the boots with newspaper or rice or putting them in the air or under a fan can also do the job a bit slowly.
Proper maintenance and hygiene practices can improve the shelf life of every product. The same is with wading boots. Wash them after every use and disinfect them according to the guidelines provided by your local authorities. After cleaning, give them enough time to dry completely, so no mold or mildew grows in them.
If the insoles are removable, drying them is easy peasy. Just take them out and leave them in the sun to dry. If they are non-removable, check the following FAQ!
If your wading boots have non-removable insoles, you should invest in a wading boots dryer. It is the fastest way of drying the insoles. Alternatively, you can check out the newspaper and rice hacks above.
Drying rubber wading boots is easier as compared to felt. Felt is more absorbent and takes a longer time to dry, and can also transfer invasive species from one water body to another if not dried properly.
Disinfect felt wading boots by soaking them in a saline or detergent solution for more than half an hour and dry them by hanging your shoes upside down on a shoe hanger or just laying them on their side after the upper body has dried. You can also install a table fan to save time.
Clean, dry boots live longer and serve better. Drying wading boots is an essential step in their maintenance that you cannot miss if you wish to avoid several problems caused by the germs that get trapped within them.
While there are many methods and products available to dry your boots fast, I still think air and sunlight are the best way if you have enough patience.
You can read the best lightweight wading boots for more on wading boots.
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- Korkers Wading Boots
- Best Wet Wading Shoes
- Felt Sole Wading Boots
- Best Wading Boots For Women
- Saltwater Wading Boots
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