No matter what size your collection is, getting your leather shoes and boots organized and safely stored makes them easy to find and protects them from damage. Even though leather shoes are hard-wearing, they still need proper care and storage. Here are some basic guidelines for how to store your leather shoes short and long term.
What’s the Best Way to Store Leather Shoes?
For shoes you wear regularly, opt for a rack or cabinet with an open front that allows air to circulate around your footwear while keeping dust from collecting on delicate materials. Shelving with open fronts also helps you keep shoes and boots organized. You could also consider placing storage in convenient places where you can quickly put shoes away where they belong on your way in/out of the house.
Assuming you have the space, storing shoes in their original boxes is a great way to keep them protected and organized. You can easily stack boxes without damaging your shoes and it’s easy to recognize what’s in the box. These boxes are already designed to fit your shoes and will allow for needed air circulation. If you opt for different storage boxes, consider photograph storage boxes or some sort of storage acid-free storage box.
While plastic bins may be tempting to use for shoe storage because they’re clear and easy to stack, a sealed plastic bin can trap moisture which allows for mold and mildew growth which will damage your shoes. If you really want to use plastic bins, choose ones that have ventilation holes and ensure both the container and your shoes are thoroughly clean and dry.
Long-Term Storage for Your Shoes
Before storing, clean your shoes and apply a leather conditioner. Once they’re dry, stuff them with enough material to smooth the toe box and heel without stretching these areas. When using paper, opt for acid-free tissue instead of newsprint. While paper may not have enough heft to fill boots and thick leather shoes, unbleached muslin fabric is an excellent alternative. Like paper, muslin wicks away moisture and protects buckles and delicates from scratches.
You can also use wooden shoe trees while storing your shoes. These devices help keep the shape of your shoe, just ensure they’re the right size so they don’t overstretch and that your shoes are dry otherwise they can trap moisture. Next you can wrap individual shoes in muslin or acid free paper, or put them in a shoe bag which protects from scuffs or color transfer from patent leathers. Flannel bags are highly touted as the best option.
Store leather shoes in their original shoe boxes or ventilated plastic ones. A quick snapshot of the shoe can be attached to the box so it’s easy to find the pair you’re looking for. You can then organize by season, style, etc. Climate-controlled storage is ideal for shoes as temperature and humidity extremes turn leather brittle, weaken fabrics and cause glues to loosen. Shoes left too long in attics or basements can become unusable within a season or two of harsh treatment.
While it may seem like a lot, taking proper care of your leather shoes will ensure that they last for years to come. Protect your shoes with our range of products for leathers, suede and more.