Storing boots for summer is much more than simply putting them away. You have to make sure you’re properly cleaned, deodorized and properly packaged up. That way, they’ll be good to go once the colder, wetter (and yes, snowier) days come back to haunt us!
1) Clean Your Winter Boots
Of course, before you put your winter boots and shoes away for the spring/summer months, you’ll want to make sure they’re clean & dry. You should be regularly cleaning your winter boots. However, if you live in an area where the winter months last for most of the year, like here in Canada, this can be a huge time-consuming hassle.
An essential time to give your winter boots and winter shoes a proper rubdown is before you put them away.
Cleaning winter boots isn’t the same for every boot type, though. Suede, leather, rubbers and specially treated materials are going to vary in care. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep the care instructions around.
If your winter boots and shoes are waterproof (as shoes to wear in the snow should be!), you’ll want to follow the steps below:
To Remove Dirt:
The first thing you’ll want to do, especially if your winter boots have caked on mud or dirt on them, is getting it off stat. But before you do, stuff your boots with newspaper, clean rags or a shoe tree.
To clean the uppers, use a damp cloth to remove dirt & grime. For suedes & pony hair, use a suede brush & brush following the grain.
To clean your outsoles, I suggest putting 1-2 inches of water in a wide bucket & placing your boots inside for a few minutes or until the dirt, rocks & general filth loosens & comes off. Make sure that only the soles are being soaked. Dry with a rag or let drip dry.
1)To Remove Salt Stains:
Once your boots are dirt-free, it’s time to clear out those pesky salt stains. This is quite easy. You can do it the lazy way, by using specialized shoe wipes, such as Boot Rescue, which are my favorite. These shoe wipes are non-toxic, idiot-proof & you can shop them here or here in Canada.
You can also DIY a salt eliminating solution by mixing 2 parts water + 1 part vinegar and gently dabbing this mixture onto the salt stains with a rag.
Storing boots for summer also means giving them proper care before you pack them away. Leather requires the most amount of care & there is a slew of great products to maintain your leather shoes.
And all winter boot materials, including leather, can use a good all-over shoe spray! My fave shoe protecting spray is Magik by Jak Snow. It can be used indoors as it’s non-toxic, has no foul odor & creates a water-repelling shield for all materials. This is good stuff!
If you notice rips on the upper material of your boots or the heels starting to thin out, get them repaired at your neighborhood cobbler. The outsoles are the most important element because, after a certain amount of wear/tear, you won’t be able to salvage them.
If you’re handy or need a temporary solution, you can use ShoeGoo or Aqua Seal for a decent fix for upper & even outsole repair.
Because who wants to store a pair of stinky shoes? Not, me! So here are a few tips:
Start with the insoles & take these out. If washable, follow instructions from the manufacturer. If they’re consumed & weathered you’ll want to replace them. Check with the boot brand website to purchase replacement insoles or buy similar ones online. You can find an amazing variety of insoles from Amazon.
If airing out your winter shoes and boots haven’t helped in the stink department, you’ll want to take extra steps. You can find a wide variety of products to eliminate odor from shoe inserts, to shoe sprays & powders. I’ve written a whole post about how to get rid of smelly shoes that include different products & DIY options.
If your boots are stinky, it’s time to take out the big guns & use a contraption such as StinkBoss or similar. I’ve reviewed this specific ozone shoe deodorizer, here.
Now that your boots are clean & smelling fresh, it’s time to store them away for a few months. Do not underestimate this process! Firstly, you’ll want to make sure your winter shoes and boots will keep their shape. You can do this with minimal cost using tissue paper or crumpled blank paper.
But better yet, if you can afford to spend a bit, these top-rated & easy to use boot shapers are fab. Or you can also opt for a more solid boot forms, which are inserts to put inside your boots to keep their shape.
I keep all of my shoe boxes + dust bags, which = the perfect storage solution. However, if you don’t have either, cover your boots with either cotton cloth or place them in clean plastic bags. This will protect them from dust. You can also buy shoe & boot bags, like these nifty ones.
You’ll want to then find boxes to store them in. I don’t recommend putting them all in a big bin, where they will weigh on each other & potentially alter their shape. Boxes allow you to store them easily in your closet, under your bed, or wherever.
Make sure you store your winter boots for summer in a cool, dry place and in a container where they can breathe (read: don’t seal them airtight). The last thing you want to do is store them in a damp basement & risk mold.
Another alternative is putting away your winter boots for summer by storing them in your closet with boot hangers. Yes, this is a thing and paired with appropriate boot bags, they work wonders. I even wrote a whole blog post on the subject of this hanging boot holder system for your closet!