Keeping Your Shoes in Good Shape While in Self-Storage

Shoes are an obsession for many. So many styles and uses – the most significant accessory. Shoes and boots are an expensive obsession though, and if you need to store your shoes in a self-storage unit, then you need to pack your shoes away so that they are still the fashionable accessory they are when you pull them back out of storage.

At Real Storage, we want to make sure all of your storage projects are successful, so we’ve compiled the following tips for how best to protect your shoes for life in self-storage, whether for the short- or long-term.

Protect the shoe’s shape

Shoes can lose their shape more easily than we’d all like to admit. Gravity can pull on materials over time that hang without support below them. Humidity, dampness can wear down the materials and increase marks from regular wear. Particularly dry conditions can also wear down the materials, drying them out, forming creases and cracks.

If you’re putting your shoes into storage, then you need to be aware of such potential dangers, and pack your shoes in a way that avoids these conditions. Tossing them into a box, or, worse, simply on the floor of the storage unit will only encourage the shoe’s deformation and degradation.

For the short-term

Short-term shoe storage requires a basic shoe tree: one made of plastic is fine for temporary storage. The plastic tree will keep the shape of the shoe. Be sure to be using the correct size of a shoe tree for your shoes. Some will be adjustable, but if the one you have isn’t, be sure it’s for the correct sized shoe, or there may be little purpose to utilizing one.

For boots with tall shanks, roll acid-free cardboard inserts, stuffing them in the shanks to keep their shape and prevent creases from further degrading the shoe’s material, especially at the ankles.

For the long-term

Use wooden shoe trees, preferably made of cedar, for storing show for the long-term. Wooden shoe trees have the advantage of soaking up any moisture from the sole insole of your shoes, preventing any possible damage. Cedar has a further benefit: cedar will also soak up any smells, and keep your shoes from stinking up your storage unit.

Again, be sure you have the correct sized shoe tree if it is not an adjustable version. Keeping your shoes shape is perhaps the most important aspect that needs to be protected while in storage.

Clean your shoes for life in self-storage

Shape is perhaps most significant factor to be warry of when storing your shoes, but cleanliness cannot be a far second.

Give your shoes a good clean with a damp cloth. If you have a cleaning solution for rubber soles, then do clean the edges of your soles. Allow the shoes to air dry, and then spray them with a water-resistant spray, also allowing it to air dry.

Once the shoes have dried, apply a coat of leather conditioner to complete the clean. Leave this to dry as well before preparing your shoes any further.

Extra protection for fragile shoes

Some shoes, such as sandals made with cork soles, or light canvas shoes, require some extra care. These types of shoes often contain weak materials that react poorly to changes in temperature or humidity. The answer here is to place a packet of silica gel inside the shoe or their storage container to remove any dampness.

Brightly coloured shoes should be kept out of any direct sunlight or particularly bright lights, as the colours can fade in the light.

Packing shoes for the short-term

If you’re packing shoes away for short-term storage (under one month), then your best solution is to leave them in the open air to allow them to breathe and remain fresh. Wire racks, open shelving, and the like will work just fine. Be sure not to simply pile shoes on top of each other (or the shape will be sacrificed), and rather place them neatly on their shelves, one at a time.

Peg boards and shoe pockets can also work here, but be sure to rotate the shoes on their pegs or in their pockets to prevent gravity from harming the shape. Reserve these for more casual and frequently worn shoes though, rather than leather dress shoes.

Packing shoes for the long-term

Long-term shoe storage is a much different beast than the short-term. Do not leave your shoes out in the open for the long-term, as they will not have the proper support this way. Instead, look at a number of options to protect the shoes from their surrounding environment.

Shoe boxes are the best solution, as they cater specifically to shoes, and fit them very well. Otherwise, shoes can be packed together in larger boxes or in closed cabinets. Use clean, acid-free paper to wrap your shoes individually: this will keep the dust, dirt, and light from harming them. If you are packing a number of pairs of shoes in one box, be sure to add crushed paper in between shoes for added protection.

You can also use plastic containers to store your shoes, as in a box, but with plastic always be warry that it will trap moisture and encourage mildew growth, so if you are going to use plastic conduits for your shoes, be sure that your shoes are completely dry before storing them.

(For more information on packing boxes, read our article here.)

Climate-controlled storage

For shoes being stored for any longer than one month, we strongly suggest utilizing a climate-controlled self-storage unit. Shoes that are exposed to fluctuating temperatures, humidity, dryness, or dampness can be ruined in a short amount of time. Leather will dry and crack or stretch and warp. Glue can loosen or dry out.

Climate-controlled storage lockers will sustain a median temperature that keeps your shoes in a climate conducive to their survival in storage.

Shoes are something most of us love, and all of us never want to be ruined. Life in self-storage can have an effect on the life of your shoes if you do not take the necessary precautions to keep your shoes protected.

If you have any further questions about shoe storage, or any storage-related question whatsoever, speak with your Real Storage agent today.