How Long to Wait After Pedicure to Wear Shoes

How Long to Wait After Pedicure to Wear Shoes

How long to wait after pedicure to wear shoes can be something difficult for people who want to attend an event immediately after a pedicure. Pedicures are a great form of self-care and an even better way to treat yourself after a long, hard week. But the question is how long to wait after a pedicure to wear shoes.

There are various kinds of pedicures, differing between the type of polish used, the amount of time spent getting it done, and the methods used by the nail technician. One thing that is consistent, you will always have to wait for your polish to dry before putting on shoes, especially closed-toe shoes.

The amount of time that needs to pass before putting on shoes after a pedicure will depend on a few factors, including the type of nail polish used, the type of shoe, and the drying method the salon uses.

Type of Shoe Worn for Pedicure

It is recommended to wear sandals, more specifically flip flops, to the salon when you are going for a pedicure. This makes it easier for the stylist to work, as well as decreases the risk of you messing up your toe polish after the pedicure. Even in the fall and winter months, I would recommend wearing sandals or flip-flops to the salon.

If you do not have flip flops when entering, the nail tech will likely give you a temporary pair of foam flip flops to wear until your toe polish is completely dry.

However, these are not stable shoes as they offer no support or protection. They are not to be worn on outside terrains or while driving, as the lack of stability could cause an accident or injury to you. 

If you opt to wear a closed-toe shoe or sneaker, you need to wait until your pedicure is completely dry before putting the shoes back on. The amount of time will depend on the drying method of your pedicure and the type of polish used.

Pedicure Drying Method

When getting a pedicure, you can either let your toes air dry or put them under a drying machine which is used at most salons. Most often, your nail technician will direct you to one of these drying machines after your pedicure to ensure your toe polish is dry before leaving the salon.

Drying machines are usually a semi-strong fan or a UV light that works to dry your toes. Using these dryers takes approximately 15-20 minutes to fully dry your pedicure. If air drying, you should wait up to a full hour before putting on your closed-toe shoes again.

Even then, you should be careful as sometimes the polish can appear dry when it is still somewhat wet or gooey underneath the top layer. To check, very gently tap the nail with a nail tool like a cuticle stick rather than your finger, which will smudge the polish if it is still wet. Alternatively, ask your nail tech to check if the polish is dry.

Type of Nail Polish

The most common types of polish for pedicures are regular polish and gel. Regular nail polish will take about 20 minutes under a dryer or 1-hour air drying before they are suitable for closed-toe shoes. Gel polish is cured under an LED machine, similar to gel nails, so it should only take about 60-90 seconds under the LED light machine to dry completely. 

How Long Should I Let My Toes Dry After Pedicure

How Long to Wait After Pedicure to Wear Shoes

The length of time you let your toes dry after a pedicure will depend on the type of nail polish used for the pedicure. Different polishes require different dry times and methods.

For regular nail polish, which will be your standard pedicure, it will take about 1-hour of air drying or 20 minutes under a toe drying lamp or fan to ensure your toes are completely dry. It is important to wait the full amount of time, especially before putting on closed-toe shoes, so that your new pedicure does not smudge.

For gel polish, which many people opt for during special occasions, your pedicure should be cured under a designated LED gel polish lamp, which should be operated by your nail technician. This process will take about 60 to 90 seconds to cure after each layer of polish. Once cured, that layer of polish is completely dry. 

Can You Put Shoes On After a Gel Pedicure

You can put shoes on after a gel pedicure as long as the gel polish is completely dry. This means the polish has been cured under an LED gel polish lamp for 60-90 seconds after each layer of polish.

Once the polish is dry, you can safely put on shoes without having to worry about your polish smudging. For many people, this is one of the main factors that sway them to get gel pedicures as opposed to regular polish pedicures. 

Can I Take a Bath After a Pedicure

You may think that as soon as your pedicure is dry, you can take a dip in the bath or shower. However, you may want to take extra precautions just in case, as freshly painted nails are still susceptible to cosmetic damage.

You may want to follow these tips before bathing after a pedicure. These tips are going to apply to pedicures done with regular nail polish. Gel polish pedicures should be dry and wearable after they are cured under an LED gel light

A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 6 hours after a pedicure to shower or bathe. This will ensure your nails are totally dry. Sometimes they may appear dry to the touch, but the water pressure of the bathtub may say otherwise. 

If you have to bathe or shower after your pedicure, stick to cool or room temperature water. Water that is too hot can cause the polish to smudge or chip if it is not fully set. Cool and room temperature water can let your pedicure continue to breathe. After about 1 day, you can return to your normal hot baths or showers.

Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools

How Long to Wait After Pedicure to Wear Shoes

While taking a bath can be safe after a pedicure with precautions in place, you should not go into a hot tub or swimming pool. Chlorinated water can damage nail polish since chlorine is a chemical.

If your pedicure has not fully set, the chlorine can ruin all of your nail tech’s hard work. Even after your pedicure has set, chlorine can dry out your nails and cuticles which can cause nail polish to crack. This is important to keep in mind whenever you enter a pool or hot tub with your nails done.

Can You Wear Socks After a Gel Pedicure

You can wear socks after a gel pedicure if your gel polish was correctly cured under the gel LED light. However, it may not be worth the risk. Socks can ruin a pedicure very quickly if not fully dry by smudging the polish, making it bumpy and uneven. It can also ruin your socks if polish transfers onto the material.

Again, if your gel polish was properly cured for 60-90 seconds after each layer of polish, it should be totally okay to put on socks. But to err on the side of caution, you may want to wait a few hours before you slip into your cozy socks. 

How to Protect My Pedicure in Closed-Toe Shoes

If you must wear closed-toe shoes after your pedicure, at the very least ensure your toe polish is totally dry. If possible, have your nail technician check to make sure they are completely dry and safe to put shoes on.

With a fresh pedicure and closed-toe shoes, it is good to have a buffer between your shiny new nails and the rough shoe material. Wear socks, tights, or stockings to create a barrier between your toes and the shoe. This will prevent friction, which in turn can cause smudging or chipping.


In this article, we learned about the proper protocol for pedicures when it comes to drying and continuing on with your daily life. Pedicure dry times depend on the type of polish used and the way the polish is dried.

Furthermore, you should take precautions with different footwear and submerging your new toes in water. Hope you enjoy your new pedicures!

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