Fact or Fable #1: Old newspapers in hiking boots

Fact or Fable #1: Old newspapers in hiking boots

It has long been rumored on the internet that you shouldn’t stuff old newspapers into your wet mountain boots to dry them. The solvents in printing ink would damage the leather. In addition, there is a warning that the membrane of your Gore-Tex shoe can become clogged. But is this story actually true? We got to the bottom of it.

‘You can still read a wet newspaper perfectly’

First, we called a shoemaker in Boulder Colorado that specializes in repairing mountain and hiking boots. The shoemaker picks up the telephone himself. “I don’t think it was ever tested, but it seems impossible to me. If you remove a wet newspaper from a shoe, you can still read it fine. So how much ink is left at all? A newspaper also consists of more than ink. The portion of newspaper with ink that also touches the leather is therefore very limited. “

According to the shoemaker, you can therefore safely put a few newspapers in your shoes when they are wet. “But get them out in time, because newspapers are soaking up water.”

Remove insole and laces

However, according to the shoemaker, the best way to dry your shoes is to remove the insole and laces and let them dry gently in a well-ventilated, not too warm room. “Never directly near the central heating or the woodstove. If your shoes dry too quickly, it will affect the flexibility of the leather. When the shoes are dry, you maintain them with a special, acid-free wax and you can put them away. Do not use cheap waxes, because the acids and solvents in cheap wax can damage leather and also Gore-Tex. Continue to lubricate with policy, otherwise, you will literally seal a shoe. “

Dry at a height of six feet

Another shoemaker from New York (also specialized in mountain and hiking boots) can add something to that. “We often wash shoes in our shop and then dry them in a special drying cabinet. Of course, you don’t have such a cupboard at home, but if you place it at a height of at least six feet, you achieve about the same effect. Hot air rises and the drying conditions are ideal at that altitude. At home, you could do that in the utility room, for example. Not in the garage, because it is too humid there. Allow at least half a day for the drying process. You can use a fan to speed up the drying time. “

The realm of fables

A representative of Gore-Tex USA is rumored that newspapers can tarnish Gore-Tex in mountain boots but immediately refers it to the realm of fables. According to him, every membrane in a Gore-Tex shoe is provided with a layer of polyurethane (a plastic) to prevent, for example, skin fat from clogging the pores of the membrane. “That layer should also stop any solvents in ink. But again, this story is really wrong. “

Does printing ink contain solvents?

Finally, the key question. Does printing ink contain solvents at all? For the answer to this question, we turn to Paint and Printing Ink manufacturers. A spokeswoman there: “The ink recipes are not public. But it is well known that inks need water or solvent to be liquid. If they are liquid, they can be applied to a substrate, a surface. For example a newspaper. Once the ink has been printed on that surface, the water or solvent will evaporate as quickly as possible, otherwise, the print will fade. The color of the ink remains. If solvent-based ink is used, a negligible amount of solvent remains after the printing process and the ink drying. When using water-based inks, no solvent is left behind at all. “


Fable. You can safely use old newspapers to dry your hiking boots. The printing ink contains hardly any solvents and water-based printing ink not even at all. Incidentally, it is better to simply air dry your shoes.

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In Fact of Fable, we investigate rumors and stories from the travel world and outdoor sports that no one knows whether or not they are actually true. If you have a Fact or Fable yourself, let us know.

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