Fashion Shoes

How to Store Shoes: Protect Your Collection from Damage

Storing shoes properly is crucial for maintaining their appearance and longevity. Whether you have a modest collection or a vast array of footwear, knowing how to store your shoes can protect them from damage and keep them looking their best. In this guide, we’ll cover practical tips and insights on the best ways to store your shoes, ensuring they remain in excellent condition for years to come.

The Importance of Proper Shoe Storage

Proper shoe storage is not just about organization; it’s about preserving your investment. Shoes are an essential part of your wardrobe, and taking care of them means you can enjoy them for longer. According to The Container Store, “Shoe storage is an essential part of any well-organized closet. Whether you have a few pairs or a vast collection, proper storage can help protect your shoes from damage and keep them looking their best” (Source: The Container Store).

Personal Anecdote: The Impact of Proper Storage

I once neglected to store my favorite pair of leather boots properly, leaving them in a damp corner of my closet. When I finally retrieved them, they were covered in mold and had lost their shape. Since then, I’ve learned the importance of proper shoe storage and have seen a significant improvement in the longevity of my footwear.

Essential Tips for Storing Shoes

1. Clean Your Shoes Before Storage

Before storing your shoes, make sure they are clean. Dirt and moisture can cause damage over time, so it’s important to clean them thoroughly before putting them away.

  • Leather Shoes: Wipe them down with a damp cloth and use a leather cleaner if needed. Condition the leather to keep it supple.
  • Suede Shoes: Brush off any dirt with a suede brush and use a suede cleaner for any stains.
  • Fabric and Canvas Shoes: Use a mild soap solution and a soft brush to clean the surface.

2. Use Shoe Trees or Acid-Free Tissue Paper

To help shoes maintain their shape, stuff them with acid-free tissue paper or use shoe trees. Real Simple magazine advises, “Stuff your shoes with acid-free tissue paper or shoe trees to help them maintain their shape. This will prevent them from getting creased or warped while in storage” (Source: Real Simple).

3. Store Shoes in a Cool, Dry Place

Shoes should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. The Laundress, cleaning and care experts, recommend, “Store shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the color of your shoes and cause the leather to dry out and crack” (Source: The Laundress).

4. Use Breathable Shoe Bags or Boxes

For long-term storage, consider using breathable cotton shoe bags or boxes. Footwear News suggests, “If you’re storing shoes for a long period of time, consider wrapping them in acid-free tissue paper and placing them in breathable cotton shoe bags. This will help protect them from dust and moisture” (Source: Footwear News).

5. Avoid Stacking Shoes

Stacking shoes on top of each other can cause them to lose their shape and get damaged. Use shoe racks or shelves to store shoes side by side.

Specific Storage Solutions for Different Types of Shoes

Leather Shoes

Leather shoes require special care to prevent drying out and cracking. Use shoe trees to maintain their shape and store them in a cool, dry place.

Suede Shoes

Suede is delicate and can easily be damaged by moisture and dust. Store suede shoes in breathable bags and keep them away from direct sunlight and humidity.

Athletic Shoes

Athletic shoes need to be aired out before storage to prevent odor and bacteria build-up. Store them in a well-ventilated area.


Boots can be tricky to store due to their height. Use boot shapers or roll up towels to place inside the shafts to keep them upright and prevent creasing.


High heels should be stored in a way that protects their delicate structure. Use individual shoe bags or boxes to prevent scuffs and scratches.

Advanced Storage Tips for Shoe Collectors

Rotate Your Shoes

If you have a large collection, rotating your shoes regularly can help reduce wear and tear. This also gives you the opportunity to clean and inspect them for any damage.

Climate-Controlled Storage

For high-end or vintage shoes, consider climate-controlled storage to protect them from extreme temperatures and humidity.

Labeling and Organizing

Label your shoe boxes or use clear containers to easily identify each pair. This helps in keeping your collection organized and accessible.

The Science of Shoe Storage

Proper shoe storage is not just practical; it’s backed by science. A study published in the Journal of Testing and Evaluation investigated how different storage conditions affect the physical properties of footwear materials. The findings emphasized the importance of proper storage to prevent damage and maintain the quality of shoes.

The Effects of Storage Conditions

  • Temperature: Extreme temperatures can cause materials to expand or contract, leading to cracks and deformation.
  • Humidity: High humidity levels can lead to mold growth and material degradation.
  • Light Exposure: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade colors and weaken materials.

Consumer Attitudes Towards Shoe Storage

Understanding how consumers perceive and approach shoe storage can provide valuable insights. A study published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies examined consumer practices and perceptions regarding shoe storage and maintenance. The results showed that many consumers are aware of the importance of proper shoe storage but often lack the resources or knowledge to implement best practices.

Personal Anecdote: Learning from Others

Talking to friends and family about their shoe storage habits has been enlightening. My sister, who has a large collection of designer shoes, swears by using individual shoe bags and regularly rotating her shoes. Her meticulous care has inspired me to adopt better storage practices.

Famous Shoe Collectors and Their Storage Tips

Even famous shoe collectors understand the importance of proper storage. Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines known for her extensive shoe collection, once said, “I take care of my shoes because they are an extension of me. They are a part of my history and my personality” (Source: The Guardian).

Storage Tips from Collectors

  • Use clear boxes for visibility: This allows you to easily see and access your shoes without having to open each box.
  • Invest in custom shelving: Custom shelving can maximize storage space and keep your collection organized.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your shoes: Regular maintenance prevents long-term damage and keeps your collection in pristine condition.


Proper shoe storage is essential for maintaining the quality and longevity of your footwear. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this guide, you can protect your shoe collection from damage and ensure they remain in excellent condition for years to come.

Remember, storing your shoes correctly is an investment in their longevity and your overall wardrobe. As The Container Store emphasizes, proper shoe storage can help keep your shoes looking their best. So take the time to clean, condition, and store your shoes properly, and they will reward you with comfort, style, and durability.

By implementing these storage solutions, you’ll not only protect your shoes but also create a well-organized and visually appealing closet. So go ahead, give your shoes the care they deserve, and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained footwear collection.

Serena Mitchell

I'm a fashion-obsessed gal with a passion for sharing affordable finds, styling tips, and body-positive fashion inspiration. I believe great style is about feeling confident and expressing your unique personality – not about breaking the bank. When I'm not hunting down the perfect pair of jeans, you'll find me sipping coffee at my favorite local café or exploring new hiking trails with my pup.

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