I saw a boot dryer at friend’s house last week and was thinking it would be nice to have one. The powered models cost from $40 up so I thought I’d throw something together.
I bought a 2-speed hair dryer with low-med-high temp settings for $6 at a thrift store. It even has a retractable power cord .
I made a U-shaped manifold extending out 12" on each side (including the elbows) of 2" ABS with a T in the center.
I made boot pedestals to rise up about 12".
I cut one end of each boot pedestal at a 45° angle.
I put a PVC Flexible Rubber Coupling with Stainless Steel Clamps on the center leg of the T and clamped the hair dryer into it.
I glued everything except the T connections at the center of the manifold so the whole unit can be broken down for storage or transport.
The 12"x12" manifold is admittedly large but with size 12 wading boots on the pedestals counterbalanced by the hair dryer it is very stable.
I blocked the temp switch on the hair dryer so it will only go to the low temp air contact.
It works great. Drying time for wet wading boots is about 2 1/2 hours with no-low heat, high speed.
Here is the parts list:
4 2 in. ABS 90 Degree Hub
1 2 in. ABS Hub Cleanout Test Tee
1 2 in. PVC Flexible Coupling with Stainless Steel Clamps
2 2 in. x 24 in. Plastic ABS Pipe
1 4 oz ABS Cement
1 Hair Dryer
Total cost if you don’t have any of this stuff lying around is about $40 at the hardware store.
Thinner pipe costs a little less but 2" fittings fit this particular hair dryer perfectly.
Great question! I believe quick drying with high heat is probably not good for most shoes, especially those with natural materials; i.e leather.
In fact my method for drying my expensive full grain leather hiking boots with Norwegian welt soles has been to stuff them with newspaper and change the paper 2 or 3 times a day. Then I apply good a leather conditioner afterwards.
Good modern wading boots are made with hydrophobic synthetic materials that don’t absorb water and are not harmed by prolonged immersion in water. However the glues might not hold up well to high heat.
The hair dryer I used for this simple project has a low temp setting that gets to about correction83°F, or 28°C at the top of the boot pedestals; far below body temperature. The temperature slide switch has detents for low, medium, and high heat. I taped a simple barrier into the switch housing so it physically cannot go to the medium or high temperature contact detents. It is permanent until I remove it.
I am confident that boots made of either synthetic or natural materials will not be harmed by the airflow this boot dryer generates at 83°F, or 28°C.