Fall is now falling into place. It’s time to switch out cocktails and canapes for pumpkin spiced latte and a moist, eggless vanilla cake recipe. It’s also time to start moving your summer clothes, shoes, and accessories into off-season storage. With that in mind, here are some tips for storing your summer shoes until next year.
Assess what you have
Take a good look at all your pairs of shoes and assess their condition realistically. Are they in good enough condition just to store or pass on as they are? If they’re not, can they be repaired so that they are? If they can be repaired, are they worth the cost of repairing?
If you decide that shoes need to be repaired then just do it now. That way they’ll be ready for you when summer 2022 rolls around. Similarly, if you’re not going to repair shoes, move them on now. Either donate them as they are or recycle them.
Once you’re left with shoes that can be worn next year, assess which ones you actually want to keep. If that’s all of them, fine. There’s no right or wrong here. If, however, you decide you have shoes you can pass on, then you have a choice. You can just do so now or wait until spring/summer next year.
The advantage of passing on shoes now is that it clears up storage space (and may get you some money now). The advantage of waiting is that you may get more interest in them nearer the time to start wearing them again. If you have higher-value shoes you want to sell, for example, from a premium/designer brand this is definitely worth considering.
Fill in any blanks
If you notice that you’re missing shoes you’re going to need for next year, then now might be a good time to buy them. Obviously, you want to stay away from trend-led pieces. Look for wardrobe staples like a good pair of flats. Now is the time to look for those premium/designer pieces you might not otherwise have been able to afford.
Clean your shoes thoroughly
There are all kinds of reasons why it’s a bad idea to put away shoes when they still have dirt on them. Right now, probably the most obvious one is that the dirt can become a home for germs. It can also start to smell. Besides, when the warm weather comes again, pulling out a pair of fresh, clean shoes will be so much nicer than pulling out a pair of dirty ones.
Once you’ve cleaned your shoes, check for odor. You may have to wait until the smell of the cleaning products is gone. If you catch even a hint of foot odor, deal with it before you put your shoes away. Air will generally do the trick and you can speed the process along with products like shoe deodorants. Just make sure that the smell really is dealt with rather than just masked.
Prepare your shoes for storage
What this is going to mean in practice will depend on what shoes you have. Really, there’s very little you can do to flip flops and strappy sandals other than clean (and, if necessary, repair them). They have no shape to protect and support. It is, however, advisable to think about how to keep them together. Ideally, put them in a shoe bag. If you can’t tie or clip them together.
With lighter shoes, like canvas ones, stuff the toes with acid-free paper. Consider putting in a small bag with a deodorizing product. You can buy these but it’s easy enough to make your own. The best filling is bicarbonate of soda as it deals with both moisture and odors. You can also add some essential oils.
For shoes with more structure, use shoe trees, preferably wooden ones. If there’s space, you could also pop in a deodorizing bag. If there isn’t, don’t force it. You can keep deodorizing bags near the shoes rather than in them.
Put your shoes in a box or bag
If you’re storing shoes for a long time, it’s best to put them in a cardboard box or a cotton bag. This gives your shoes protection from the drying effect of the air but still allows them to breathe. Ideally, put deodorizer bags in with them to capture any moisture in the cold air (and keep them smelling good).
If you absolutely must use plastic, wrap your shoes in paper or cloth and leave plenty of room for air in the container. Try to open the container every so often to let the old air out and bring fresh air in.