Storing Shoes for Ultimate Longevity

I’m a shoe collector and would have mountains of shoes if they were piled together.

And they were not cheap I must say.

So I do everything in my power to make sure they stay in tip top condition while slowing down the disintegration process.

It’s a fact, shoes don’t last forever and that’s why our mom and dad don’t like our sneaker head addiction.

However, this is our hobby and we love to collect shoes so the best thing we can do for them is look after them, the proper way.

So that’s what I want to show you in this article.

I’m going to show you how to store your shoes for long periods of time and prevent disintegration/rotting for as long as possible.


1. On a Shoe Shelf

Trust me, your shoes won’t last very long if they’re sitting on the floor of your wardrobe or under piles of shoes at the front door.

In fact if you’re a collector, you probably don’t wear your shoes often so it’s best to keep them in a safe place at all times.

That’s where shoe shelves comes into play. Shelves stop shoes from getting lost or squashed by other items.

My recommendation?

Shoe Shelf

An open front shelf. The enclosed top will eliminate dust buildup and the open front will allow air to circulate around the footwear.

Both are good for longevity of shoes.

2. Store in the Right Place

Shoes exposed to direct sunlight will reduce life span.

Shoes hidden away in a dark, damp basement will collect moisture, mold and mildew and will eat away at the shoe.

The trick is to find a balance.

My recommendation?

Somewhere with ventilation, a dry temperature (no humidity) and safe from being dropped, squashed and damaged.

On a shelf in the corner of the room is great place.

Even in the closet as long as it’s on a shelf to avoid accidental damage.

3. Avoid Enclosed Spaces and Boxing Your Shoes

Shoe Box

Like I mentioned above, shoes need proper air circulation to avoid moisture build up.

Shoes disintegrate faster when exposed to moisture. The mold will eat away at the shoes and rot them incredibly fast.

So basically, leaving your shoes in the box it came in is a recipe for disaster.

Furthermore, a cold and damp drawer in your basement is another way to kill your shoes.

4. Use Shoe Trees For Shoes Not Worn Often

Crinkles, curls and folds can form on shoes and create permanent deformations.

So my recommendation is to use them on shoes you wear often, not long-term.

An example would be your going out shoes.

I do not recommend trees for shoes that you barely wear. Use acid-free paper for that.

5. Stuff Your Shoes With Acid-Free Paper

Acid-free paper is much better than normal paper or newspaper.

When acid-free paper comes in contact with water it will bring the paper to a neutral pH level.

In layman terms, mold and mildew does not grow in neutral pH levels 🙂

Don’t stuff the shoe to the point where it stretches, but just enough to fill the toes and heels.

6. Organize into Categories

Place the shoes you wear frequently at the bottom of the shelf and the ones you wear less at the top of the shelf.

Here’s how to properly categorize your shoes for ultimate convenience.

  • Shoes you go out in
  • Shoes you run/exercise in
  • Work shoes
  • Casual/Around the city

7. Clean Shoes Before Storing and General Maintenance

You’ll definitely want to clean your shoes before storing them for the long-term

This means doing a THOROUGH clean, wiping off dust and placing acid-free paper inside them.

Polish up your tan leather boots at least once a year and remove dust and dirt with a toothbrush for the best possible clean.

For shoes you wear frequently?

Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoe after every gym workout and wipe down your going out shoes with a cloth after a night out on the town.

This is going to ensure ultimate longevity and keep them smelling fresh and brand new.

To take this step even further, wash the shoelaces but keep them in a laundry bag or pillowcase to stop tangling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use plastic containers?

Definitely not for longevity.

Plastic containers do not provide proper air circulation and will make the shoes rot and disintegrate even faster than leaving them out in the open.

Can you store shoes in plastic bags?

Again, it lacks proper air circulation and creates a breeding ground for fungus.

Some people may do this but it’s only going to create an even bigger problem later on.

Plastic bags are full of humidity and moisture!

Can you store shoes in the garage?

I would not recommend storing shoes in the garage if you’re trying to protect them for as long as possible.

The garage is a breeding ground for mold and mildew due to the cold conditions they experience.

You can definitely store shoes if they’re everyday shoes, but in my opinion, garages are one of the worst for long-term storage.

Can you store shoes in draws?

Draws are also known to be cold and dark, which basically means, moisture and mold.

Although your shoes may be safe for a little while, over the long period, moisture may fill the shoe and mold could grow.

It may not happen but this is taking a huge risk, one I would not take on expensive shoes.

Can you store in the basement?

Absolutely not.

Basements experience extreme coldness in the winter and hotness in the summer.

This is a bad idea and the chances of your shoes lasting more than 2 years are slim.

Can you store them under the bed?

This is definitely a viable option depending on your storage choice.

A plastic container or shoe box will not work, but a storage space with an open front is a great idea.

It promotes airflow, it has good temperature and keeps the shoes safe from dust and moisture build up.

However, be sure to use acid-free paper for for extra security.

The Key Takeaway

As you can see, the best way to keep shoes for the long-term is to prevent accidental damage, eliminate dust, eliminate mold and have enough ventilation.

The best possible way is a shelf with an open space, in my opinion.

It’s simple, promotes air flow, nothing’s going to get damaged and stops dust buildup.

Well that’s exactly how I store my shoes and it’s worked well for me over the years.

What are your storage techniques? Let us know in the comments below 🙂

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