I was involved in treating a home with bed bugs and as I was speaking with the client I noticed something moving on her shoe. The shoe was an ordinary running shoe with velcro closures. I looked more closely and noticed a bed bug peaking out from behind the velcro. I informed the client and an effort was made to remove the bugs from the shoe. At least 4 bugs were killed. At that point I suggested she simply find another pair of shoes and I would heat this pair in my trailer along with the furniture.
As an exterminator I often heat my shoes. I find that 160f for 8 hours is too much heat – the shoes smell hot and the toes curl a bit. 150f for 8 hours appears to work better. But I often do not want to heat up my trailer just to sterilize shoes. So I started putting the shoes in my dryer. I have found that 19of (max heat in my dryer) for 20 minutes does not damage my shoes. That is interesting because 160f for 8 hours does cause damage.
There are some problems with the dryer and heating shoes. Firstly the shoe often hits the door and opens it slightly causing the dryer to stop before the cycle is done. And secondly the shoes make an awful racket as they tumble in the dryer. To this point my dryer appears to be undamaged by the shoes but I do have to watch and make sure the door does not pop open. Perhaps modern dryers are more fragile – I can’t comment on the ability of all dryers to withstand the banging of shoes.
I have also on one occasion ruined a pair of decorative boots at 160f for 8 hours. The glue holding the sole and the upper appeared to dissolve and the boot fell in half!! All told I have learned to be careful with how much heat I apply to shoes. Most shoes can be heated but you have to take some care.