Footwear isn’t the easiest of clothing items to care for. It can be bulky, awkwardly shaped, and not generally compatible with light-travelling or neat home storage. If you’ve got more than just a couple of pairs to consider, here are some tips for keeping them pristine either on the go or at home.

Effective Storage for Shoe Collections 

Having a different pair of shoes or boots to go with every outfit or meet your needs for every occasion and situation can soon lead to an impressive collection of footwear. Keeping them organised and in good condition (not to mention easy to find when you need them) can be quite a challenge:

  • Build shoe racks into closets – a couple of tension rods set at different heights is an effective shoe rack that doesn’t call for screws or other fittings. Stagger the height for heels and fit them at the same height to hold flats. You could fit them in drawers as well as closets.
  • Hang a fabric or plastic holder from a closet rail. It doesn’t take up much space and will comfortably hold half a dozen or more pairs of shoes.
  • Use transparent shoe boxes instead of the cardboard ones they come in. You can stack them, and instantly identify the contents.
  • Sort shoes into categories, separating those you wear all the time from the ones you only wear once in a while. Go further, and organise by colour, style or season. If you’re collection is really extensive, consider storing out of season footwear somewhere other than at home. Rent a small self storage unit for your overflow, so you can give each pair the space it needs to stay in good condition and not get crushed or dusty.
  • Use boot shapers (or pool noodles) to help boots keep their shape when not in use. 

Packing Tips for Shoes 

Packing shoes for your travels isn’t always easy, especially if you’re trying to travel light.

  • Stuff socks, undies or other small items inside shoes to save space and give the shoe some protection against crushing.
  • Wrap each pair in a separate bag, or put individual shoes into their own bags if you want to distribute them evenly around your case.
  • Tote bags, fabric drawstrings, thin plastic shopping bags or even hotel shower caps are all good shoe protectors while they’re in transit. Different coloured bags for different types of shoe will help you quickly identify them.
  • Pack shoes closest to the wheels of rolling suitcases. It will keep the case balanced and prevent it toppling over.
  • Put them into a backpack first so they’re at the bottom, again to help with balance.
  • Use a wine box divider if you’re transporting or storing shoes in a tote bag.
  • In hold luggage, place heavier shoes at the bottom of the case and use lighter footwear to fill up gaps between clothes.

 Keeping Shoes Fresh when Travelling 

Unpacking, clean, fresh-smelling shoes when you get to your destination is a pleasure, but it’s not always easy to keep them that way, especially if you’re backpacking or staying in multiple destinations during your travels.

Always make sure shoes are clean and dry before packing them. Stuff wet shoes with newspaper to help absorb some moisture, and avoid trying to speed up the drying process by placing them close to a heating source, as this can damage fabrics or leathers.

Having a supply of paper towels or tissues (or baby wipes) handy is a good way of quickly wiping away dirt or mud after a day out. If your feet got hot and sweaty during the day, a sprinkle with talc or baby powder will help eliminate both moisture and odour. You could also try a little rubbing alcohol to disinfect well-worn footwear. Another option, if you have the facility where you’re staying, is to put shoes or boots into the freezer overnight. This helps to kill off any bacteria that may otherwise linger after other cleaning methods.