This Life-Saving Boot Dryer Keeps Your Hiking Boots Stench-Free
As a climber, I’m no longer shackled to the idea that my climbing shoes have to be gross.
There’s beauty in simplicity. For proof, look no further than Peet’s electric shoe and boot dryer, which does exactly what it says: dries your shoes. Yes, it’s just a simple device with two tubes that silently blow air into your footwear, but the results speak for themselves.
Peet advertises its gadget as a way to keep your shoes and boots dry, so think work boots, hiking shoes, soccer cleats, running shoes, or the like. For me, it has one crucial purpose and that’s to prevent the overbearing stink that always tends to build up in climbing shoes.
If you ever step into a climbing gym, you’ll be immediately greeted with the gross stench of feet that assaults your nose. With climbing shoes, the norm is to wear them without socks. Combine that with hours of physical activity that requires precise footwork, and you’re bound to sweat a whole bunch in them. All that inevitably leads to some biohazard-level grossness developing in climbing shoes. I’ve since grown used to how bad mine are, but I’m not a monster, and I still understand that my climbing partners may not have the same tolerance.
I’ve tried every measure of addressing the stink; shoe sprays, charcoal inserts, or just plain washing my shoes. But the stink always returns. For all of you saying I should just wear socks with my climbing shoes, I can only say that we all make decisions in life and we must face the consequences of said decisions.
HOW PEET’S SHOE DRYER WORKS
In this day and age where everything has digital buttons and touchscreens, it’s refreshing to see a device with such a simple design. You just plug in the Peet shoe dryer and it dries your shoes by blowing a stream of warm — not hot — air into your shoes. The warm air is an important distinction because if you use hot air, like say via a blow dryer, you run the risk of ruining your shoes by either burning them and making them smell even worse, or delamination by melting the glue that holds them together.
I usually leave my climbing shoes slipped onto the top of its stems overnight, so they’re ready to go the next day. I understand that leaving something like this plugged in overnight seems like a potential safety hazard, but Peet actually recommends leaving your shoes on the dryer overnight. It’s so silent that I couldn’t tell it was on the first time I used it. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised with dry climbing shoes the very next morning. The best part was they didn’t reek as much as they normally do after a long climbing session.
NO FRILLS, JUST FUNCTION
Sometimes, a straightforward, effective design is all it takes to win me over. With the Peet shoe dryer, it’s just two tubes gently blowing warm air into your shoes. It hasn’t let me down yet and it dries out my shoes much faster than air-drying so that bacteria doesn’t fester.
Peet also designed the shoe dryer in a way that can accommodate a few different attachments. If you really want to tackle the odor emanating from your shoes, there’s a $70 deodorizing attachment that streams ozonated air into your shoes to actually get rid of the odor molecules swimming around inside. So far, the base shoe dryer itself has been great at ensuring that my shoes don’t get any worse, but I may end up buying this deodorizing attachment for some particular pairs of climbing shoes that seem to attract funk a lot easier.
You can also swap out the stems for attachments that are better suited for gloves, taller boots, or hydration bladders. Even though this shoe dryer may seem like a single-purpose device, if you’re outdoors a fair amount of time, it can definitely serve to dry multiple pieces of gear.
NOT EXACTLY PORTABLE
While it’s not particularly heavy, the Peet shoe dryer does take up a fair amount of space with its long stems. That’s fine for someone who’s just drying their shoes at home, but if you’re on a week-long backpacking trip, it’s less than ideal. However, even Peet acknowledges this space issue since it offers a portable version of its shoe dryer.
Now that I’m a near-daily user of the Peet shoe dryer, I don’t think I can go back to the days of praying that my climbing shoes don’t end up smelling rank. Of course, I’ll probably still have to wash my climbing shoes eventually when they get especially grimy inside, but I’ll still be able to dry them off with this shoe dryer.
So if you’re desperate not to have your shoes feel like they should be quarantined when you’re out in public, the Peet shoe dryer gets the job done. It’s not a miracle fix, but it sure helps keep shoe odor in check.
Photographs by Jackson Chen