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How to Store Shoes

Krista Diamond | March 27, 2017 @ 3:00 PM

Do you believe in only owning essential footwear or are you a total shoe addict? Either way, at some point you’re going to have to store those kicks.

Storing shoes correctly not only helps them keep their shape but also prevents cracking, fading and molding. Whether you have a giant pile of shoes in your closet or you’ve made a serious investment in specialized sneaker shelving (#shoegoals), you probably already have some idea of how to store your footwear at home. But what if you have to store shoes long term? As in, inside a storage unit?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here’s how to store your shoes at a storage facility.

Why Self Storage?

So...wait. Are we telling you to pay for a storage unit instead of storing shoes in your garage, attic or somewhere else that doesn’t cost money?

Here’s the thing: Your shoes are an investment. Whether you’re investing in style (Oh hi, $4,595 Jimmy Choo pumps.) or in performance ($150 for a shoe that makes you run faster? Okay.), your shoes have a big impact on your life. They can make you feel like a stronger athlete, a more comfortable commuter or even a fashion icon.

Storing them in a garage or attic leaves them vulnerable to damage from excess moisture or dryness, drastic temperature changes and even theft. A storage unit will safeguard your shoes against all of the above and it’s cheaper than you think.

Prepping Your Shoes for Storage

Don’t toss your shoes into a storage unit without giving them a once-over first. The most important step to storing shoes is actually the one you take before you even drive to the storage facility. We’re talking about cleaning them.

It makes sense, right? Even those special occasion high heels you wear twice a year can get dirty. After all, they spend all of their time on the ground.

For sneakers, remove dirt with a soft toothbrush (not the one you plan on putting back in your mouth), then dip a sponge into a bowl of warm water and a small amount of laundry detergent. Wipe clean, towel dry and then air dry. Some sneakers can go into the washing machine. If you go this route, remove the laces, shake sneakers over a trash can to get rid of excess dirt and wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water along with soft items like towels or blankets.

For satin shoes, wipe with a dry cloth then follow with a wet cloth. Be careful to use a blotting motion rather than a rubbing motion. Let air dry.

For leather shoes, remove excess dirt with a soft, damp cloth then follow up with a soft, damp cloth with added dish soap. Pat the shoes dry and use leather conditioner if you’d like.

If you’re dealing with a special type of shoe (rock climbing shoes, for example) or a very expensive brand, consult the manufacturer before doing anything.

Essential Shoe Storage Supplies

If you’re the kind of person who holds onto shoe boxes, you’re in luck. Those are the perfect storage vessels for your shoes. If you don’t have shoe boxes, you can order them online or purchase boxes directly from your storage facility, as many sell packing and moving supplies.

Consider purchasing a shoe tree (or shoe shaper) to help your shoes hold their shape. There are options available for all different sizes and styles of shoes. For boots, you can find shoe shapers that are designed to help the ankle and calf part of the shoe hold its shape in addition to the foot/toe area. Be wary of shoe trees that claim to be one size fits all. It’s better to get something that’s tailored to your shoe’s needs, so go to a shoe store or cobbler if you have to.

As an alternative, you can stuff shoes with acid free tissue paper.

Other Shoe Storage Tips

Putting your shoes—or anything, for that matter—into self storage can be unfamiliar if you’ve never done it before. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Choose a storage unit with climate control. This is especially important if your shoes are made of leather.

  • Choose a storage facility with great security features. Your designer shoes belong on your feet, not in the hands of a thief.

  • Don’t stack shoes on top of each other as this will compromise the top portion of each shoe.

  • Avoid placing shoes directly on the floor. Raise them up off the ground in order to prevent moisture or flood damage.

  • If your shoes are very expensive, rare or maybe just special to you, consider storage insurance.

Follow these tips, and your shoes will be ready to get back on your feet and hit the streets whenever the season or the mood strikes you.

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