Some of you know that I officiate high school and college ice hockey in my spare time, when I'm not writing for Operation Gadget or maintaining a website for one of my consulting clients. December, January, and February are the peak period for hockey-- there are games going on seven days a week.
One of the problems I run into on weekends is that the insides of the boots of my skates often don't dry between games. This is not a problem if I don't take the skates off, but if I do, it's hard to get the skates back on my feet. Sometimes when I put them on and I haven't adjusted them carefully, I get blisters on my heels.
The solution for this is to use a device like the Peet Shoe Dryer. These shoe dryers use convection to remove sweat and other moisture from the inside of the shoes, boots, or skates that you put on the end of the feet that extend above the base. The base takes air in and heats it. The warm air rises into the shoes and dries them faster than they would dry by themselves.
I first saw a shoe dryer in use in an NHL team's locker room about 10 years ago. At the time I thought this was a neat idea, but I didn't think to ask whether you could buy an appliance like this or whether it was homemade.
When I was in college, my team's equipment manager would just turn the heat up in the locker room overnight to 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit to dry out the equipment. This worked, but it isn't an option for me at my house since I pay the utility bill.
I saw a Peet Shoe Dryer in a catalog today, ripped out the page, turned to my wife and said, "I need one of these." She reads Operation Gadget, so this will serve as a bit of a reminder to her.
At $30 to $40, a shoe dryer makes an inexpensive gift for someone who plays hockey, snomobiles, works outside, or has kids who play in the snow. I should have gotten one years ago.