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How to Store Shoes and Boots: 5 Handy Tips

With the exception of shoe-phobic people who only own a few pairs, most of us struggle with keeping our footwear tidy and in decent condition. But, it's actually not difficult to get into a more organized routine of storing shoes and boots. There are some considerations to keep in mind, but as with most things, the process is about creating good habits and sticking to them!

1. KEEP YOUR SHOES AND BOOTS CLEAN

The first thing to remember is that all boots and shoes need to be put away clean. If you don't care for your boots and shoes properly, it doesn't matter where or in what manner you store them because they’ll soon be ruined! Make sure they are fully dry when you put them away. Wipe or brush off any lingering dirt and check them over carefully for damage.

2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT

If at all possible, choose a place that's cool, dark and dry for your footwear collection. Extreme temperatures and damp will hurt the fiber of your shoes and boots, and sunlight may cause them to bleach out. Don't store your shoes and boots with mothballs or any other chemical pest repellent. Over time they will take on unpleasant odors that will be very hard to remove. Using cedar chips is a much better alternative.

3. HAVE A SORTING SYSTEM

Go through your shoes and boots carefully and sort them by type and season. There’s no reason to keep sandals close at hand during winter, or boots in the summer, especially if your space is limited.

Out-of-season footwear should be examined, cleaned, and kept in the best climate controlled area of your home so that it will be in excellent condition when summer or winter rolls around again.

How do you tell if a shoe or boot is better suited for spring, fall, or winter?

Well, beyond the practical reason of comfort, shoes flatter seasonal clothing differently. Obviously, sandals are better worn with lighter clothes – whether simple leisure clothing or lightweight fabric dresses – in warmer weather.

Cowboy boots work for any season! Many other styles that are more purpose-built in nature are suitable for particular conditions or activities rather than seasons, such as riding boots, hunting boots and rain boots.

More fashion oriented boots are most appropriate when the weather is colder, but during those periods of serious snow, as well as the accompanying salt, delicate leather and suede are not the best choice.

Loafers are a great choice for fall. They fit back-to-school styles and can also coordinate with scarves and gloves for those cooler football game nights. When the weather finally warms up again in spring, it’s time to get out lighter footwear – flats, slip-ons, or spots shoes – and enjoy the outdoors again.

4. FIX OR GET RID OF YOUR OLD BOOTS

Once you’ve sorted out your footwear by season and purpose, go over everything again for condition. Toss anything that’s in bad shape, or have it repaired.

How do you know if it’s worth repairing? Well, an old rule of thumb is: if a repair costs less than half the price of new shoes, repair them. In many cases, the repair may be as simple as using a bit of shoe polish and elbow grease to get a scuffed looking pair of shoes looking like new again.

Often people will choose to repair footwear for reasons other than monetary value. If you have a favorite pair of shoes or a pair of very comfortable shoes you’ve finally broken in perfectly, putting a new heel on them to keep them around longer is worth the investment.

5. BOOT RACKS ARE BEST

Once you’ve decided between which pairs of shoes and boots you will be using currently and which ones you’ll be storing, then you can begin putting them away. Neither shoes nor boots should be stored in piles or on top of each other. It’s bad for them, and it makes dressing more complicated if you’re searching for the other boot.

There are many different shoe storage solutions, including shoe racks, shoe cubbies, and shoe ladders. It’s helpful to work with a professional organizer to decide which solutions will work best for your space. This will allow you to create ideal solutions for storing footwear you wear every day, footwear you wear only on special occasions, and footwear that is especially delicate.

If you are planning to store your footwear for any length of time, stuff them with acid-free paper or shoe trees so they will hold their shape. Boots are best stored with the Boot Butler boot rack. Boot Butler is designed to store and support all kinds of boots, from fashion to cowboy, in a way that maintains their shape and keeps them organized and accessible.

Here's a short video of how it works:

For longer-term storage, boxes and appropriately sized plastic containers work well for shoes. Boots can be stored in tall wardrobe boxes or covered garment racks, in conjunction with Boot Butler. You can just hang them on the metal bar, exactly like you would with a closet rod.

Boxes like these allow for careful storage and good use of limited space. They can store seasonal wardrobe pieces at the same time, so you can access your winter wardrobe at the flip of a box lid. Much less complicated!

While storing your footwear may be more involved for people with large wardrobes, it doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about maintaining both condition and access. Any storage solution that doesn’t accomplish both seamlessly is not one you should consider for this crucial storage project!

4 comments

Aug 14, 2016 • Posted by Boot Butler

Hi Barbara,

We apologize that we’re just getting to your comment.

You said that the material on your boots is starting to peel away from the boot when you store them in the original box.

Did this happen just with one pair of boots, or multiple pairs?

If it’s just one pair, something might be off with the manufacturing of the boot, because that shouldn’t be happening.

But if it’s something with more than one pair of boots, then something in the immediate vicinity might be the culprit. You may have an unusual amount of moisture in the air in the place you store your boots. Or, conversely, the temperature might be much too dry and the leather is starting to crack and peel away.

Sometimes the cardboard that the original box is made of might be having an adverse reaction to the boot. A good remedy is to get the boots out of the original boxes. Hang them up on our Boot Butler in a well-ventilated closet and see if the material still peels off.

Let us know more details and we’ll try to help!

Aug 14, 2016 • Posted by Boot Butler

Hi Penny,
Apologies for the belated response; we had some difficulty with our commenting system but are back on track.

You asked if it was OK to store your winter leather boots in a metal trunk.

If you’re going to do this, then we recommend a couple of extra steps:

1) Clean and condition your boots thoroughly before you store them
2) Store them inside something made out of cotton or a natural fiber—an old t-shirt, a bag made out of cotton or linen.

Those steps will ensure that your boots remain conditioned throughout the time they are in storage. If you put them directly into a metal trunk without extra precautions, the leather may dry out, and it may take a while to restore their suppleness when you’re ready to wear them again.

We hope that’s helpful!

Mar 28, 2016 • Posted by Penny

I want to store my winter leather boot in an metal trunk. Is this OK?
If not what?

Nov 27, 2015 • Posted by Barbara

I noticed when I have stored my boots in the original box that the material is starting to peel away from the boot, what am I doing wrong?

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