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Reviews > Footwear > Footbeds and Insoles > Stuffit Shoe Savers > Test Report by Chad G Poindexter

STUFFITTS SHOE SAVERS
TEST SERIES BY CHAD POINDEXTER
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - January 28, 2010
FIELD REPORT - April 14, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - June 03, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: stick1377 (AT) gmail (DOT) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I am a fairly new hiker and have hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. I initially obtained slightly heavy gear, however, I am currently making efforts to go lighter. I love my tent and appreciate a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. So far my distance has averaged around 10 mi (16 km) per day, depending on terrain. My wife or my son typically tag along with me on my hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1
Stuffitts Shoe Savers

Manufacturer: Stuffitts, Inc.
Manufacturer's Website: www.stuffitts.com
MSRP: (US) $ 24.95
Listed Weight: N / A
Measured Weight: 11.1 oz (315 g) / pair
Measured Length: 11 in (28 cm)
Size Tested: Large (US: Men: 10 - 12.5 ~ Women: 10.5 +)
Also available in: Small, Medium, and X-Large
Color Tested: Black
Other Colors Available: Red, Pink, Royal Blue, and Light Blue
Shell Materials: 100% Knit Polyester
Inner Materials: 100% Natural Aromatic Eastern Red Cedar
Also Included: 1 black nylon hang strap
Warranty: "A shoe-in for dry or your money back." (as stated on sales tag)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Stuffitts Shoe Savers (hereafter referred to as the "Shoe Savers" or the "Stuffitts") is simply an insert that fits inside most types of footwear and aids in odor control and increased drying time when the footwear is wet. The tag states that these Shoe Savers are "shoes' new best friend" and their claim is to dry shoes fast, assist in maintaining healthy feet, and getting closets clean.
The Shoe Savers maintain odor control using a Stuffitts Aromatic Eastern Red Cedar inserts, which actually absorbs the odor-causing bacteria. The inserts are simply cedar chips which are enclosed in a white sack that is then inserted inside the actual Shoe Savers. As for the cedar chips themselves, they are very small chips and the whole insert feels very similar to that of a hacky sack footbag. According to the print on the actual inserts (as seen below) it is recommended that the inserts be replaced every 6 months for maximum effectiveness. I must admit that I have always enjoyed the fresh, natural smell of cedar, so these inserts are very appealing to my smell buds!

IMAGE 3
Insert


As for drying shoes fast, the Stuffitts Shoe Savers claim to be 8 times more effective at drying shoes while using the inserts as opposed to simply air-drying during the first hour. The Shoe Savers dry shoes the same way that they control odors: by absorbing the moisture in the shoes. The Shoe Savers shell is polyester which allows for maximum breathability as well as wicking for excellent moisture management.
The Shoe Savers also come with a black nylon strap that forms a large loop on one end and has snap buttons on the opposite ends that each connect to the shoe savers. I'm not sure what the exact purpose for this is, but I am assuming that it is a hang strap to air out the Shoe Savers when not in use.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The only instructions that came with the Stuffitts Shoe Savers is a sales tag that hangs off the black nylon strap. It has various types of information stating what the product will do, the materials they are comprised of, the MSRP, the sizes, and of course the directions in 3 easy steps. The directions are as follows:
(1) Inset into shoes.
(2) Let Stuffitts absorb moisture and odor.
(3) Remove and reuse.
The sizes are also listed on the tag which are as follows:
Small: (US) Men: Less than or equal to size 5 ~ Women: Less than or equal to size 7 (small also includes child sizes 12 - 6)
Medium: (US) Men: 5.5 - 9.5 ~ Women: 7.5 - 10
Large: (US) Men: 10 - 12.5 ~ Women: 10.5+
X-Large: (US) Men: 13 +
The sales tag concludes with the web address for any further information.

SUMMARY

I think that the Shoe Savers is a very good idea. I hope that they will stand up to the challenges I will present them with. I will get good use out of them with my hiking boots since I like to thoroughly scrub my boots after just about every hike.
I don't believe that I will be taking these with me on any major backpacking trips due to their size and weight. However, for a short overnight trip where I may expect rain I may take them along and let them hang out in my boots overnight to see if I can tell a difference the next morning.

This concludes my IR on the Stuffitts Shoe Savers. I would like to once again thank Stuffitts, Inc. and Backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test this product. Please check back in 2 months for the FR.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have only used the Shoe Savers while at my home. Due to some back problems I have not been able to go on any overnight trips during the last two months. My only outdoor activities other than going to work has been three rather short day hikes. These hikes, or rather walks, were between 3 - 5 miles (5 - 8 km) each and on the paved roads that are near my home. These walks were not overly strenuous being that the roads were mostly flat with a few large hills. However, on one of the walks I actually walked down a railroad track for about 1 mile (2 km) so the terrain was very rocky. The temperatures were between 60 and 70 F (16 to 21 C) and skies were nice and blue. These hikes typically lasted anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have used the Shoe Savers every day since their arrival at my door. They have found a new home inside my mid-height Merrell Moab boots, however, on occasion, after a long day they can be found inside my shoes that I wear daily.

Since I have not worn my hiking boots any over the last two months, I have not been able to test the Shoe Savers effectiveness in my hiking boots after a hike. However, I have been able to test them inside my Adidas ZX 750 running shoes after a few day hikes during the last two months. While these hikes were not quite long enough to work up an extreme sweat, my shoes were a little moist on the insides upon my return. At this point I would stuff the Shoe Savers inside the shoes and let them sit for at least an hour. The inside of the shoes were always dry after this short time frame and would have a slightly more pleasant smell than they did before the Shoe Savers were inserted. Other than this they have been inside my hiking boots as their permanent home.

I have put the Shoe Savers to the test by using them inside both my Adidas running shoes and my Merrell hiking boots after a good thorough (and needed) washing. The test was conducted inside my home where the temperature was managed between 68 - 70 F (20 - 21 C). I did not use the nylon hang strap that was provided with the Shoe Savers for this test.

I pulled the insoles out of my hiking boots and threw them into a bathtub filled with water (no soap was used) and went to town with a toothbrush. I scrubbed those boots inside and out. After this I held the boots up and let as much of the water drip out as I could stand and then set the boots upright on a towel. I then inserted one of the Shoe Savers inside the right boot, leaving the left boot without.

Next I did the same with the Adidas running shoes, except the insoles cannot be removed from the shoes. I threw the shoes into the bathtub, scrubbed them down, let them drip as much as I could stand and then set the shoes in the same manner on the towel next to my boots. Next I inserted the remaining left-sided Shoe Savers insert into the left shoe and left the rest up to the Shoe Savers and time itself.

IMAGE 1
The Shoe Savers working their magic


While I did not have a scale to measure weights I had to simply go on feel. The boots and the shoes sat on the towel until they were completely dry (as seen in the picture above). I checked the shoes and boots each hour. After only two hours I could tell a difference on the inside of both the shoe and boot that were using the Shoe Savers, however only a slight difference compared to the shoe and boot not using the Shoe Savers. After 4 hours I pulled the Shoe Savers out of both the shoe and the boot and stuck my hand inside them to get a feel and I was amazed at the difference between the shoe and boot using the Shoe Savers and the ones not using them. The shoe using the Shoe Savers was very nearly dry on the inside; however, they both were still fairly damp on the outside. On the other hand, both boots were taking a little longer to dry, both inside and out. However, I could tell a bigger difference on the inside of the boot using the Shoe Savers than inside the boot not using them.

Six hours later, the inside of the shoe with the Shoe Savers insert was nearly completely dry however the outside was still wet. The boots were still a little behind. The insides of both boots were on the way to drying but the outsides were still very wet. When I pushed on the boot I could still see some water come to and gather around my finger. I believe the outsides of the boots were not necessarily benefiting from the Shoe Savers due to the GORE-TEX liner inside the boots.

Twelve hours later the inside of both shoes were dry to the touch but the outside of the shoes were still slightly wet. The inside of the boot with the Shoe Savers insert was considerably drier than the boot without, however neither of the boots were still not completely dry.

Twenty-four hours later, both shoes were completely dry and both boots were completely dry on the inside. The outside of the boot with the Shoe Savers insert was still slightly wet to touch but not as wet as the boot without the Shoe Savers. Some thirty hours later the boot with the Shoe Savers insert was dry to the touch and it took almost another 4 hours for the boot without the Shoe Savers to feel dry to the touch.

SUMMARY

As for the condition of the Shoe Savers, they are still the same as they were when they arrived at my door, both in appearance and by the smell of the Red Cedar inserts.

The Shoe Savers make a wonderful difference in the smell of both my boots and my shoes, and for this I am grateful and happy to continue using the Shoe Savers inside my less-than-pleasant smelling footwear. As far as drying there is an obvious difference, but in my experiment so far, there is not a huge difference when the shoes are completely soaking wet. So far I feel that the Shoe Savers are better suited for aiding in quick drying of daily or casual sweaty shoes. However, I will be acquiring a scale of my own (so I can quit using the scale at my work) very soon and will again put the Shoe Savers to the wash test, this time using weights that will provide more accurate data. I also plan to use the hang strap to see if it will improve the drying times.

This concludes my field report. Please check back in around two months for my next test series that will be posted in my long term report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTING, IN DETAIL

I have not carried the Shoe Savers with me outside of my home, however, I have used them every night since they have arrived at my home back in the middle of January. They have become quite comfortable inside my hiking boots, and at times in a pair of running shoes.

For this report I was sure to do a full washing of my boots (inside and out), and document the results by using weights as well as time frames, and of course, by that good old fashioned testing method: touch. To prepare the boots for the test I took them out on a 10.5 mile (16.9 km) hike at a local state park. The terrain at the park is rated easy to moderate, and the hike was during a dry spell so there was hardly any mud to get into except for at an occasional small stream crossing. The boots did not need a washing, but for testing purposes they were ready! So, without further a due...

I used my Merrell Moab Mid GORE-TEX XCR hiking boots to conduct this test. (There is a GORE-TEX liner in these boots, hence the "GORE-TEX XCR".) I did remove the insoles from the inside of the boots before washing (the weights listed are without the insoles inserted), but the shoestrings were left in place. I washed the boots in my bathtub with warm water only. I did not use any soap or any other cleaning agents (except an old toothbrush). I washed the inside and the outside of the boots so the boots are completely soaked through. (Just to make note, the boots were not extremely dirty at this time. The last time I had used the boots, the trail was not muddy so the measured dry weight, even though while dirty, should be almost the same as the clean weight.)

After I washed both pairs I weighed them and then immediately inserted the Stuffitts Shoe Savers. Then, I carried them to a room that is not in use and spread out a towel on the floor. I put the left boot sitting upright on the towel to dry, and I used the supplied hanging strap to suspend the right boot about 8 in (20.3 cm) from the floor to dry. The shoestrings were resting inside the boot on top of the Shoe Savers. The drying process took place in the same room until the boots were dry. The temperatures inside the room ranged from about 65 to 74 F (18 to 23 C). (The cooler temperatures were during the night.)

IMAGE 2

THE RESULTS ARE IN...

IMAGE 3


Immediately after the wash and upon insertion of the Shoe Savers, the right boot weighed a full 1.3 oz (37 g) more than the left boot. At 2.5 hours after the wash, the left Shoe Saver had absorbed 0.8 oz (23 g) of water, and the total weight of the left boot was decreased by 1.7 oz (48 g). The right Shoe Saver absorbed a full 2 oz (57 g) of water and the total weight of the right boot was decreased by 2.9 oz (82 g). Regardless of the amount of water absorbed, each boot still lost an additional 0.9 oz (24 g) of water, most likely from the material on the outside of the boot by means of convection, being as the outside of the boot felt drier to the touch at this point.

At the 6 hour mark after the washing, the outside of the boots felt considerably drier, however not completely dry. The Shoe Savers weighed the same measurement as they did at the 2.5 hour mark, and the inside of the boots still felt damp. Each boot had lost another 0.6 oz (17 g) in weight, which brings the boots to within 1.6 oz (45 g) of the original measured dry weight.

Nine hours from the time that I washed the boots and inserted the Shoe Savers, neither boot was quite dry. Not by feel, nor by weight. The Shoe Savers still measured the same weight as was measured at the 2.5 hour mark after insertion. From the last check, 3 hours before, the left boot had lost another 0.2 oz (6 g) and the right boot had lost 0.3 oz (9 gm), bringing each boot weight to a total of 19.5 oz (553 g). This was only 1.3 oz (37 g) more than what the boots weighed dry, before the washing.

Twelve hours after the wash, the boots felt dry to the touch on the outside, however, the insides were still slightly damp, such as after working up a mild sweat from a day hike. The insides were also cool, likely from being inside the air-conditioned room during the test. The boots now measured 1.1 oz (31 g) from the original dry weight, which judging by the damp feel of the inside of the boots, this is more than likely the area where the 1.1 oz (31 g) of moisture was residing. At this time, the Shoe Savers still retained the same amount of weight as was initially gained after placing them inside the boots. So, at this point, I decided on removing the Shoe Savers from the boots to allow air flow to make its way into the boots and finish drying them out. (Just as note, if I needed to wear the boots at this point, I feel that they would be dry enough not to cause any concern for me.)

MY OBSERVATIONS

What is interesting to me is that, even though the left Shoe Saver weighed slightly more than the right Shoe Saver (according to the initial dry weight measurement), the right Shoe Saver absorbed more water. I assume that this was possibly due to more water remaining on the inside of the right boot than in the left boot after the washing. This would make sense since the boots weighed the same to begin with, but the right boot was 1.3 oz (37 g) heavier after washing. Another thing that is interesting is that, while the right Shoe Saver increased more in weight than the left initially, they both retained these weights throughout the remainder of the test.

It seems that while the Shoe Savers are quick to absorb any moisture they come into contact with, they are slow to release that moisture. Of course this very well may have been due to the fact that the Shoe Savers were crammed inside the boots with no place for the moisture to go. This makes me think that for a completely soaked boot, the Shoe Savers are great initially, however, they may actually hinder the drying process after a certain point. With this in mind, I could see how the Shoe Saver is beneficial both to a soaked boot, as well as a sweaty boot. I also feel that had the test been conducted outdoors in direct sunlight, the times and weights would have moved along quite faster than what they did being in an air-conditioned room. Of course, the Stuffits Shoe Savers claim is to be "8 times more effective at drying shoes while using the inserts as opposed to simply air-drying during the first hour." My test reveals this in that they soaked up a bunch of moisture very fast.

I could tell no dramatic difference in the boot which was sitting in the floor with the Shoe Saver inserted as opposed to the other boot which was suspended in the air using the supplied nylon hang cord and Shoe Saver. Initially I thought that since air was able to get at the boot easily from all angles it may increase drying times, however I could tell no difference. Granted, the right boot (which was the suspended boot) did decrease in more weight than the left after the first 2.5 hours, this fact was counter-balanced in the fact that the right Shoe Saver when measured alone also weighed more than the left Shoe Saver. This simply means that there was more water to absorb initially in the right boot than in the left boot. After the Shoe Savers absorbed this initial amount of water, the boots were only 0.1 oz (3 g) apart from each other in weight. The Shoe Savers weights remained the same for the remainder of the testing time, and only tiny amounts of weight was dropped from the boots over the remaining 9.5 hours. Judging by the small amounts of weight lost over the time frame, I would assume it was more so by convection rather than simply being absorbed into the Shoe Savers.

The Stuffitts Shoe Savers have accomplished what they have set out to do. Number one, they have absorbed moisture from my footwear, and number two, they have improved the smell of my footwear. However, for drying out a large hiking boot that will be completely soaked through, in my findings the Shoe Savers only begin to help the drying process out. Once the Shoe Savers absorb enough water, they do not seem to be of any real assistance. Rather they seem to prolong the drying time because air is not able to enter into the footwear, and the Shoe Savers are just laying in there unable to breath and lose any moisture they have absorbed. By doing this, the inside of the footwear remains wet until the Shoe Savers are removed and air is allowed to enter. For simply drying out damp shoes due to sweating, the Shoe Savers seem to be ideal. Maybe even ideal for a soaked through, light-weight, mesh running shoe or the like. But just not ideal for a soaked through hiking boot.

The Shoe Savers are nice at keeping my boots nice and fresh smelling, which is always a plus, both with myself and my wife! They are simple enough to use, so it doesn’t make sense not to use them. The inserts have printed instructions on them to replace them after 6 months. I have had mine for almost 5 months now, and while the smell of the Eastern Red Cedar is not as strong as when they first arrived, I believe that the smell will last another 2 to 3 months.

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to use these Shoe Savers inside my boots, however I do not see myself purchasing another insert for them anytime soon. The inserts should still function to help dry out my footwear, they just may not smell quite as good. But honestly, my footwear has never really been the subject of complete foot funk. Anyway, the inserts still have a strong enough smell to them that I would imagine they will retain their pleasant smell for a few more months to come, but time will tell.

THE GOOD

1. They are good for a quick dry after a sweaty day.
2. They make my boots smell much better.
3. The inserts can still be used to dry my footwear even after the cedar smell is gone (without replacement).
4. The cedar smell seems like it will linger around for more than 6 months.

THE BAD

1. Once they absorb so much water, they seem to hinder the drying time unless removed.
2. The inserts have to be replaced every 6 months.
3. The inserts take a while to dry out.
4. They are too big and heavy to want to carry on a backpacking trip.

ME

IMAGE 1
Chad Poindexter
"Stick"

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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