Above: A shoe box is the idea place to keep your shoes.
If you’re a shoe fanatic like we are, you’re familiar with the pain point of shoe storage. How exactly are you supposed to store shoes to maximize their longevity?
This article is focused on how to properly store shoes and is part of a guide on overall shoe care. If you’d like to see other aspects of shoe care, take a look at the following articles:
- Ultimate Guide To Shoe Care For Men
- Proper Shoe Storage (You Are Here)
- Typical Shoe Repairs & Average Costs
- How To Care For Suede Shoes
- How To Care For White Shoes
- All About Polishing Shoes
The Best Way To Store Shoes
There’s a three-pronged approach we advise when storing shoes:
- Shoe trees go in the shoes.
- The shoes go in flannel storage bags.
- The bagged shoes go in their box.
It doesn’t seem like much, but this is hands-down the most effective way to store shoes from a longevity standpoint. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into each of the aforementioned steps:
Store your leather or suede shoes with shoes trees in them, always. This is less important for sneakers.
Shoe trees made from either cedar or alder woods are the single most important thing you can use to increase your shoe’s lifespan. How?
This is perhaps a bit gross, but it’s true: our feet sweat approximately one cup (approximately 1/4 of a liter) every day. This moisture seeps into leather and initially, this is a good thing. It softens shoe uppers and makes them pliable, increasing comfort.
If left to dry, however, the leather curls, gets deep creases, and can crack over time. This damage is irreparable, cobblers are powerless against it. This is where shoe trees come in.
The best shoe trees are made from woods such as cedar and alder. These have wicking properties, meaning that they remove moisture from their surroundings. When you put shoe trees in your shoes after they’ve been worn, you remove this moisture before it can damage the upper. Creasing is minimized and curling barely occurs. In short, your shoes will last much longer than they would otherwise.
Shoe trees should be in your shoes whenever your feet aren’t.
Once shoe trees are in your shoes, put those shoes in bags, with flannel being the best option.
Higher-end shoes will often be sold with flannel shoe bags included. If they aren’t, you can head over to Amazon and buy them a la carte quite inexpensively. regardless, why are shoe bags important?
In a nutshell, they protect your shoes from each other. Heels and soles can easily scratch the uppers of a shoe, and that’s not something you want to happen to you. An additional benefit is for travel: not only do shoe bags protect your shoes from each other, but they protect your clothes from your shoes.
This applies to dress shoes and sneakers, especially if they’re suede.
Whenever your shoes aren’t on your feet, they should be in shoe bags.
The box that your shoes came in is akin to their home. High-quality shoes should live in their home when they’re not being worn. Shoe boxes stack easily and offer the best protection for your shoes when they’re not being worn. A cool trick to easily identify your shoes without having to open boxes is to simply take a picture of the shoes and tape it to the outside of the box. Works like a charm!
Shoe Storage Solutions
If you live in a smaller house or have limited closet space, keeping your shoes in boxes may not be ideal. This is understandable. While it’s best to keep as many of your shoes in boxes as possible, there are other options:
- Hang on the back of a closet door
- Remove from boxes and organize into shoe racks along a wall
Should you need to go with these options, we still highly recommend using shoe trees and flannel bags to store your shoes.
Proper shoe storage is key to maintaining your shoes and extending their lifespan, but it’s not the only thing you can do to keep your footwear looking great. See our other shoe care guides for more tips, trick, and best practices on these topics: