How to Organize, Display
& Store Your Sneaker Collection
It all started when you landed the white whale of sneakers – the 2016 Nike Air MAG Back to the Future. This beautiful leather and rubber foot holder gave you the sneaker collecting bug. Now you’re up to 100 pairs of shoes and they’re all overflowing your closet. So, you’re at a crossroads: do you store them or show them off? Storing them correctly will lengthen their life and preserve your investment. But showing them off would give you so much pride (and you’d be the envy of all your friends.)
First Things First
Before you decide on how to display or store your collection, you’ll want to go through it and determine which shoes you wear (or want to wear). Separate these out of your collection and keep them in the closet. The reason is, if you’re displaying your shoes, pulling pairs off your display will leave ugly gaps in the presentation. If you’re storing them, you won’t be wearing them because this will decrease their value.
Shoe Displays: A Work of Art
For the shoes you want to display, count the total you’ve decided you want to show off. Knowing this will help you determine the kind of display unit you plan on purchasing or constructing.
Thankfully, today there are a lot of displays that are designed specifically for sneaker display. Let’s take a look at them.
The Shoe Store
This is a great design that shows off the shoes well through the use of individual shelves that are backlit to highlight the sneakers. The downside to this design is that you’re only displaying one shoe, meaning you’ll have to store the other one of each pair.
This design by Sole Stacks creates an aesthetic look that some might like. The angles of the shelves are interesting and the design is modular so you can add shelves as your collection grows.
This is a very modern design from Ikea that can be expanded if needed and shows off the pair of shoes in broadside.
Experts suggest that you also put effort into the organization of your sneaker display. You could combine like colors as well as like styles (high-tops, low-tops), or by sport (basketball, running, etc.) You want to be sure and leave room between each pair or individual shoe so that they don’t look like a cluttered mass.
Storing Your Sneakers
If you’ve decided to store your collection you’ll want to do it properly. When we say “properly” we mean keeping them in a protective environment that eliminates exposure to damaging UV rays, which can break down and crack the materials. You’ll also want to limit their exposure to air, which can cause oxidation and yellowing of the rubber. (if you have any shoes with this condition, you might consider using Angelus Sole Brightener.) The environment should be cool with relatively low humidity.
In terms of enclosures, the bare minimum storage option is the box they came in. If you do this, be sure to remove the paper that came with the shoes. This paper is slightly acidic and can cause your shoes to yellow. If you still want paper in your box, consider adding acid-free tissue paper.
The next level of storage is using purpose-built plastic shoe boxes. The Container Store carries a line of these that are made of polypropylene and polystyrene and have a drop-front opening with ventilation holes. Iris USA also offers easy-open shoe boxes that come in tall or wide orientations.
You could also opt to use resealable bags to keep out as much as air as possible. Last, but not least, you can vacuum-seal or shrink-wrap your shoes to completely remove all air from the shoe environment. If using a heat gun or hair dryer, ensure that you only heat the plastic as much as needed, as overheating the shoe can damage it.
From the website SoleCollector.com, shoe collector Brooklynson suggests putting silica gel packs in your box or shoe to absorb any water vapor created from excess humidity. You’ll want to be sure that this doesn’t create conditions that are too dry, which can cause cracking. Some collectors also remove their sneakers from their airless enclosure every few months to let them breathe.
To Keep or Not to Keep…the Boxes
One of the conundrums of a large sneaker collection is whether or not to keep the boxes. This is especially true if you’re going to be displaying a large portion of your collection. The downside to not keeping the boxes is that when you go to sell any of your prized kicks they become less valuable without the box. If you’ve gotten rid of the original box, you may be able to purchase boxes online for some pairs of shoes. Boxes for your Jordans can set you back a bit though. A recent sale on eBay for an Air Jordan XI Retro 11 Win Like ’96 sold for $40.
Where to Store your Sneakers
Given the above advice regarding storing your collection in a cool, dry environment you’ll want to consider a place other than your basement, attic or garage. If you have an unused room in your home (and you have air-conditioning and heat) this will work. But most people don’t have this luxury. A better idea is to rent a storage unit. Many facilities now offer climate-controlled storage units that regulate temperature year-round. Plus, this will free up space in your home for, oh I don’t know, people? Although, we’ve heard of sneaker collectors that care more about their kicks than their relatives!
So, you’ve now got some options and ideas for storing or displaying your sneaker collection. Here’s hoping you land that pair of mint Air Force 1s soon.
About the Author: Derek Hines
Internet Marketing Specialist
Derek is originally from the great state of Wisconsin (go Badgers), but is slowly becoming a Pacific Northwesterner. As part of the Internet Marketing team, he writes extensively on storage, moving and life for West Coast Self-Storage, based in Everett, Washington.