Here is a dilemma that many a runner in Hong Kong will have to contend with.
You want to run every day, but it is raining every day. So do you wear the same pair of running shoes day in, day out, even if it means sticking your feet into soggy, increasingly pungent trainers? Or do you rotate among the several pairs that you have, inevitably getting each pair wet over the course of the week?
It’s a tough call. And whichever option you choose, the perennial challenge remains: how do you get those shoes dry again? It’s no easy feat to have dry feet in the rainy season in Hong Kong.
The humidity is extraordinarily high, torrential downpours are common, and the sun is rarely to be seen amid the gloomy grey clouds.
Add to this the fact that few of us have access to a patio or terrace, let alone a backyard or a rooftop, that gets enough sunlight to dry anything with. The result is sweat- and rain-drenched shoes that start to reek very quickly.
One easy hack is to stuff shoes with scrunched-up newspapers. Two to three pages of a broadsheet paper per shoe, depending on shoe size, stuffed from toe to heel. According to a former college coach, this also helps retain the structural integrity of the shoe, because it stops the shoe from collapsing on itself.
To speed up the drying process, take another broadsheet or two per shoe and wrap it up, as if that stinking wet shoe were a Christmas present. There you have it: a stuffed shoe dumpling.
A dehumidifier, fan, or just a well-ventilated windowsill will help just that much more. And replacing the soggy newspapers with dry ones after a few hours will speed up the drying.
I’ve heard of another trick, though have never tried it: removing the soles, and placing the shoes behind a fridge, where the intake fan supposedly sucks out moisture. I’ve also heard of chucking the shoes into the clothes dryer, though am also disinclined to try that.
One thing I did try years ago and have since learned never to try again: the hair dryer. The heat exponentially worsens the odours, you waste time holding the hair dryer to your shoe, and you’re wasting energy. Lose, lose, lose.
Hopefully, a few sheets of newsprint will ward off the curse of the running shoes that never dry.