How to Store Winter Boots and Shoes

Howard Shooter/Dorling Kindersley RF/Getty Images

Even the most everlasting winter snows give way to summer sun -- and so should your winter wardrobe. When you're ready to make room in your closet for summertime flats and sandals, prepare your snow boots and rain gear for longterm storage. Do it right and you'll have happy feet when the first winter storm hits.

Keep Them Clean

Rain, snow and ice often leave salt deposits and lingering mud behind, which can damage your footwear over time. Before storing shoes, give them a good cleaning. Wipe nylon snow shoes with plain water on a clean cloth. Lather up a suede bar and give suede shoes a good brushing with a stiff suede brush. Work a bit of leather polish into leather shoes with a polishing cloth, then buff them clean with a soft bristle brush. Give all shoes a thorough waterproofing in preparation for next year's weather with a silicone-free waterproofing spray. Let shoes dry between spray applications if you're making multiple passes.

Be Prepared

Make all repairs to damaged winter boots and shoes before you put them away. Otherwise, next year you'll kick yourself when you find a loose heel, torn seam or untidy boot lining. Once your repairs are complete, put deodorizers in each shoe to keep things fresh.

Storage Solutions

Pack tall boots with tissue paper to help them keep their shape throughout the summer months. Or if you can afford a bit extra, purchase boot and shoe forms. Stand all shoes upright in plastic bins, then cover them with a cotton sheet. Do not make the bins airtight -- this can trap moisture inside and cause damage. Pack the plastic containers away in a dark, cool, dry place.

Dark and Dry Location

Plastic bins commonly fit in the top or bottom of a closet, or under a bed. If you don't like the look of plastic or have no closet space for shoe storage, place them in a decorative chest, box or hollow bench. Avoid shoe racks, cubbies, shelf-style or tree-style shoe holders, and other open storage. Aside from leaving you with clutter, open storage allows your shoes to pick up new dirt during the off season and exposes them to many hours of unnecessary sunlight, which can fade some materials.