I have a super-huge boot collection. I really do wear most of my boots throughout the seasons. However, there are some boots that I do not wear (either seasonal or don’t fit but I can’t get rid of), so I store them. I am writing this post as a reminder on how to store boots, and also in reaction to…
…a negatively-titled post on a blog that began “6 shocking mistakes you’re making when storing your boots.”
Man, that title would be a winner for those shock-rags you find at the supermarket checkout line.
Being consistent with my positive character, here are six things to remember to do when storing boots:
1. Before storing boots, check if repairs are needed. Are the soles and heel taps okay or do they require replacement? If so, have a cobbler perform required repairs.
2. Also before storing boots, clean and condition the boots with good quality leather (or exotic skin) conditioner. Removing surface soil and dirt also reduces the potential for mold growth because mold spores are everywhere, but particularly in a dirt layer on boots. (After all, where have they walked?)
3. Let the boots dry naturally after cleaning and conditioning. Keep them in a well-ventilated area but out of direct sunlight. Forcing drying (such as using a blow-dryer or placing boots in the sun) can cause rapid drying of leather and damage, including cracking.
4. Deodorize boots before storing. Shoe deodorizers that you can find in any drug store work fine. (Do not spray something like Glade inside boots. It’s not the same thing.) Lacking that, put about a cup of baking soda into an old sock, close it with a twist-tie, and place it inside a boot. Repeat with the other boot. Voila — instant cheap boot deodorizers!
5. If storing boots in a box, stuff the boot shafts with acid-free brown kraft paper, and wrap the boots in that paper as well. Avoid using newspaper or storing boots in plastic bags where humidity can be trapped. Keeping boots in plastic bags in a dark place — such as a box — can be a good growing-ground for mold which will destroy your boots without your even knowing it.
6. A “pool noodle” (cylindrical piece of polyethylene foam) can also work to maintain the shape of boots in storage. But if you don’t have one, regular brown kraft paper as mentioned above works just fine. (Let me assure you from my own experience.)
Additions to what that blog recommended about boot storage–
7. Get bags of silica from a well-stocked drug store or moving supplies company. Silica absorbs humidity. Place a few bags of silica in the box where you are storing boots before closing it. This tactic will keep boots dry and prevent mold growth.
8. Keep stored boots in a cool place such as in a closet, under the bed, or on shelves somewhere indoors. Do not store boxes of boots in a garage, shed, or other space where ambient air temperatures can get very hot or very cold (or below freezing.) The more variation in temperature that leather is exposed to, the worse it is for the leather.
Life is short: if you have to store boots, store them carefully so that you will be able to enjoy them again.