A little while ago, we wrote a guide on how to dry out wet walking boots – you can read it here. Sidas, under their Conform’able brand have quite a cool little gadget that helps speed up the process, and also kills off any bugs which are breeding inside your fetid and dank footwear.
The Drywarmer is a set of two spaceship-shaped plastic heating elements which plug in to a standard UK socket and sit inside your wet boots. They then gently warm up to around 50C and dry your boots from the inside… which is the best way.
You’ll read in our guide that drying out any boot from the outside (on a radiator, or in an airing cupboard) reverses the action of any waterproof lining (Goretex, eVent etc) and pushes the warm water vapour into the boot. That means that the inside is the very last thing to dry out and you end up with damp-feeling boots in the morning.
The Drywarmers also kick out a gentle UV light, which acts like an anti-bacterial death ray and kills off any bugs left in their by your manky socks. In practice you can see them giving off a dull purple glow (see long exposure picture) and I’d imagine that if you were stuck miles away from a tanning salon, you could turn yourself an interesting shade of Oompa-loompa, given enough time.
The Drywarmers pull 12W of power, so they’re about equivalent to leaving a low-energy lamp bulb burning.
I decided to give them a bit of a test using the Carn Kaieteur boots which we recently reviewed. These boots are made from an organic cotton and get wetted-out (soaked) quite easily. They also have an eVent waterproof membrane, so whilst your feet stay dry, they can get sweaty under warmer circumstances.
I did a couple of hours’ wander through wet fields and then popped the boots in the kitchen with a Drywarmer inside the right-foot only. I decided to leave them on the floor, rather than face the wrath of The Wife and possibly the wrong end of a rolled-up newspaper. The first thing I noticed was that the power cable was long enough to stretch up to a high-level socket with ease – good thinking.
2 hours later I checked in on the boots and the right foot was considerably dryer than the left. It was still damp in places, but felt warm and totally dry on the inside. The Left foot felt cool and clammy, and the outside was still very wet indeed.
So, one can only conclude that the Comform’able Drywarmers do their job rather well. They act like your foot (albeit slightly warmer, but not so warm as to melt any glue) and heat the boot from inside, drying it properly. I can’t fully atest to the anti-bacterial death-rays making a huge difference, but the principle is proven by brands like Steripen, who use UV to kill bugs.
SUMMARY: Dry your boots the proper way – from inside out – much quicker than a warm room would, and kill off any stink-bugs whilst you’re at it. Whilst newspaper and an airing cupboard might be cheaper, it could be that your boots last a bit longer if they’re dried properly. And who wants a cupboard full of bedding to smell like damp boots!?