Posted on February 26 2020
Sometimes you need to put your fine leather boots and shoes into storage, but if you aren’t careful that can lead to unwanted problems. Leather is tough stuff, no doubt. But it does benefit from a little bit of routine care and maintenance.
That may not be possible to do if your footwear has been packed away while you move to a new place or are away from home for an extended period of time. Fortunately, it’s still possible to keep your shoes and boots in great shape, even in your absence, by just following some expert storage tips.
Protect Leather from Moisture
Where you store your shoes may seem to be dry. But even the smallest amount of imperceptible humidity in the air can be bad news for leather. Over time your beautiful shoes and boots can become a magnet for mold and mildew, which thrive on moisture.
Control any hint of dampness, to ensure that the leather is safe. Store shoes and boots in a climate controlled area. Never leave them in an attic, a storage unit that doesn’t have a thermostat, or a garage that’s subject to temperature fluctuations.
Use Moisture-Absorbing Silica Packets
Instead of keeping them in a cardboard box that can wick moisture from the air, consider using a sealed plastic container. Inside it, add some packets of moisture-absorbing silica gel desiccant.
Silica gel is what’s in the tiny packets you often find in vitamin bottles and other items. Place larger silica-based desiccant packets in the same container or closet where you put your shoes, for added protection.
Use Cedar Shoe Trees and Shoe Socks
It’s wise to use cedar shoe trees in your shoes whenever you aren’t wearing them. But that’s especially advisable if they are going into long term storage. You can also place each shoe or boot in its own moisture resistant fabric pouch.
You’ll find those sold by retailers for the purpose of protecting silverware from tarnishing, tools from rusting, or firearms from corrosion. Just find one large enough to hold a shoe or foot, and repurpose it.
Avoid UV Rays, Too
It’s not just moisture than can be problematic. If you leave your shoes exposed to sunlight, the leather can become too dry and crinkly. Or it may lighten the pigment of the leather and leave unsightly sun-bleached areas on your footwear.
Just because the sun is great drying agent, too much is not good. So store shoes away from windows or any other direct source of light−while also keeping them away from direct heat.
Give Your Leather Extra Polish
Before putting your shoes or boots away, always give them a thorough cleaning. Then polish them using a good quality paste-type shoe polish. Once it dries, buff it and apply another coat. Then repeat the process. With four coats of polish on the leather, there will little opportunity for moisture, mildew, or mold to creep in and do any harm.