How To Take Care Of The Shoes You Don't Wear

Give them some care

It's been a few months since stay at home measures have been put in place in different areas in the region. As we spend more of our time indoors, our the things we wear outdoors are not getting as much love as before — especially our shoes. Stowed away and out of sight, it's easy to forget about them. Give your heels and running shoes proper care before it's too late. Here are some tips on how to take care of the shoes you don't have a chance to wear regularly these days.

Thoroughly clean your shoes before storing them

Vacuum And White Sneakers

(Photo from: The Creative Exchange via Unsplash)

It may be tempting to skip this step but it's in your best interest that you don't. Remember: you want to store your shoes and not the old dirt that accumulated on its soles. If your shoes have some of those stubborn dust stains, then it's more important to clean them before storage. Cleaning shoes is a tricky task because each texture requires a different set of care instructions. You shouldn't clean leather pumps the same way you would suede sandals. Below are cleaning tips for common shoe types:


Suedes, whether on they're sandals or closed shoes, are one of the most high maintenance shoe textures. They're oh so soft and look super pretty, but they're prone to stains that won't budge. What's even more frustrating is when the footbed starts to become discoloured because of sweat and dirt from your toes. Some say that investing in a suede-cleaning brush is a must, but a soft-bristled toothbrush does the job well too. Clean gently in only one direction; don't brush back and forth or else the fibres will stick out and you'll get a dishevelled look instead of a smooth texture. For tiny stains, you can try dabbing some good old vinegar and gently brush them off.


If suedes are high maintenance, fabrics are the opposite. But don't throw them in the washer like a t-shirt; you never know if it can survive a spin cycle. Go the safer route and use an old toothbrush dipped in dishwashing or hand soap then gently brush the soles and uppers. To get rid of the soapy residue, dip a washcloth in water and wipe it off. Remember to air-dry it before storing.


Leather is another delicate material, so if your shoes are particularly expensive, just send them to a professional cobbler. But if you can't make the trip, you can always purchase a clear shoe polish (if you're sure that the shoe polish shade matches your shoes then go ahead with the coloured variant). Otherwise, if it's not that dirty, you can vacuum the soles and gently wipe off any dirt with a damp washcloth. 

Add reinforcements

Let's face it, we don't know when we're gonna be attending big social events again so our fancy shoes are gonna be in storage for some time. To keep them in shape, add reinforcements. For this, you have two routes. The cheaper one would be to use the shoes as storage for socks and other trinkets to fill them out. But if you're someone who doesn't own a lot of stuff, you may want to consider buying shoe trees. It's a piece of plastic or wood designed to prevent any shoe disfiguration from happening. Each piece costs about two dollars so it won't burn that much of a hole in your pocket.

Keep them fresh

Yellow Pointed Shoes

(Photo from: Dids via Pexels)

When everything comes back to normal again, and we'll have countless opportunities to go out and about, you're gonna want to slip into a fresh pair of shoes. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to do this. First, you can go the traditional way and slip some silica gel packets (don't throw the ones that come with your online delivery packages!) in the shoes to help absorb humidity and prevent that old, mouldy scent from taking hold. Another way to do it is to stuff your shoes with acid-free tissue as this also helps to balance moisture levels. Our tip: putting dried used tea bags and taking them out after a day.

Store your shoes smartly

Assorted Women's Shoes

(Photo from: Jaclyn Moy via Unsplash)

Most of us store our shoes in the foyer for convenience, but it's not the best practice to leave the shoes you haven't worn for a long time (and don't plan on wearing anytime soon) at the entrance of your house. For one, this section of your home can gather outdoor dirt easily because it's the closest to your main door and the dust will likely settle on some of your favourite pairs. To avoid this, look for another dry spot in your living room or, if available, an empty space in your closet. Make sure it's somewhere cool because heat may weaken the glue holding your shoes together and high humidity can make your pairs susceptible to mould

Another thing to remember is to not cramp your shoes together, give them some breathing space to avoid squished uppers and heel scratches. If you don't have a dedicated shoe shelf, most organising gurus recommend placing your shoes at the top of your cabinets.  

Wear them out once in a while

Woman With Bag Wearing Shoes

(Photo from: Analise Benevides via Unsplash)

What's the best-kept secret of shoe collectors when it comes to how to take care of the shoes you don't wear? Simple: wear them. That's right, even sneakerheads with huge collections can attest to this tip. In an interview with Solscience, collector Jumpman Bostic reveals that he wears his sneakers in order to prevent the materials and glue from hardening. On your next grocery run, instead of going out in your usual sandals, why not take your other fancy shoes for a spin? As always, after you've used them, don't forget to clean them before storing!

With these tips, we hope you learn a thing or two about how to take care of the shoes you don't wear. Just remember that preventative care is key to prolonging the life of your shoes. Let's keep them safely stored so they'll be good as new when they're back in the spotlight. 

(Cover photo from: Dids via Pexels)

Next, learn about the five shoe styles every woman should own.

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