Shoes are probably the hardest working accessories, yet they tend to be delicate in storage. Humidity, gravity, and dust all take a toll on your shoes, damaging the materials while creases and folds form over time that can permanently deform the structure of your shoes. Given how costly footwear is to replace, knowing how to store them properly will help keep them in good condition and last for several years. Here are some long-term storage tips to help keep your shoes in wearable conditions whenever you need them again:
Choose the Right Storage Unit
The most critical aspect of storing shoes long-term is where you keep them. There’s a wide range of specialized shoe storage options, including wire racks, boxes, custom cabinets, etc. Open storage like shoe racks is not ideal for long-term storage as these areas are open to all kinds of environmental factors like humidity, moisture, dust, and pests that can cause damage to your shoe. Original shoe boxes offer the highest level of protection from these factors; plus, they stack nicely and uniformly and are easy to label. Alternatively, you can use clear plastic bins with lids; just ensure the container and shoes are dried thoroughly to avoid trapping in moisture.
Add Silica Gel Packets in Storage Units
Silica gel packs help to absorb moisture and prevent warping and mould. This is especially true for shoes that contain fragile materials like espadrilles and cork soles, which tolerate humidity changes poorly. Leather shoes are also susceptible to moisture damage, so silica gel packs should be in their storage containers too.
Stuff Shoes Using Acid-Free Tissues
Shoes that you won’t be wearing for a long time need structure, and stuffing them with paper can help retain their shape while absorbing residual moisture. It’s important to opt for acid-free paper as the alternative could damage shoe materials. Also, avoid newsprints as they could discolour your shoes. Shoe trees made out of cedar are a great alternative as they also repel moths and other pests while keeping your shoes smelling fresh.
Choose an Optimal Storage Location
When storing shoes for a long time, you might want to do so in a dark, climate-controlled environment. Direct sunlight can cause your shoes to fade colour, while fluctuations in humidity and temperature can damage the fabric of your footwear and even cause mould. This means no storing shoe in the basement, garage, or attic as they tend to experience higher temperatures in the summer and winter.
Prepare Shoes for Storage
It’s important to clean shoes thoroughly before storing them. Dirt, dust, and other residues are abrasive and will damage shoes in long-term storage. They also serve as a great base for mould to grow. After cleaning, allow them to completely dry in the sun as any residual wetness/moisture will lead to mould and mildew growth and damage the shoes.
If you’ve been stocking all your shoes in one big pile, it’s time to organize them. This prevents your shoes from getting damaged because they got squished and also helps in staying organized. You can group them by season, purpose, or frequency of use.
Poor long-term shoe storage leads to disorganization and causes instant degradation in the shoes’ quality. Hopefully, the storage tips listed above have helped steer you in the right direction. What’s important is to consider the type of shoes you’re storing. For example, plastic flip-flops will need less attention and care compared to leather shoes.