How to Keep Shoes from Dry Rotting | 6 Effective Solutions

  • By: Christopher
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Are you tired of buying new shoes only to see them dry rot in a few months? Are the soles cracking, and do you see signs of wear and tear on the material? You are not alone, as this is a prevalent issue that plagues shoe owners.

The good news is that we can take several simple steps to help prevent the damage that leads to dreaded dry rotting.

In this post, we will explain some tried and true tips for protecting your footwear from the elements and preserving their quality for years to come.

Read on to learn how you can keep your shoes looking good as new!

What is Dry Rotting?

Dry rotting in shoes can be a frustrating problem for any shoe owner. This process occurs when the material of the shoe starts to break down from exposure to air and moisture, causing it to become brittle and crumbly.

If left untreated, this can cause the shoe to fall apart completely, leaving you with a useless and uncomfortable pair of shoes. This problem can be especially prevalent in leather shoes, as they are more susceptible to dry rotting.

Preventative measures, such as storing shoes in a cool, dry place, can help prolong the life of your shoes and avoid the headache of dealing with dry rot. Remember, taking care of your shoes is an investment in both style and comfort.

How To Keep Shoes From Dry Rotting

It’s essential to take proactive measures in order to protect your footwear from this often unpredictable weathering process. This type of deterioration is a result of the environment, sunlight, dust, or even water exposure.

In this section, we will explore six techniques to keep shoes from dry rotting with some tips that should help preserve them for more extended periods.

1. Moisturize Shoes Before Storing Them

Keeping your shoes in areas with excess heat or cold can cause dry rotting in your shoes. Dry rotting happens partly because of a lack of moisture and oil in the fibers of your shoes. 

If you plan to keep your favorite shoes in storage, consider using shoe conditioners to lock in moisture to prevent dry rotting. We recommend using FootFitter Professional Shoe Cream Polish for Leather Shoes.

FootFitter Professional Shoe Cream Polish for Leather Shoes can protect shoes from dry rot by moisturizing and conditioning the leather material with natural waxes and oils. 

It creates a barrier against moisture and other environmental factors that can damage the leather. Regular use of the shoe cream can maintain the health and appearance of the shoes, but proper care and storage is also essential for their longevity.

Steps To Follow:

To use FootFitter Professional Shoe Cream Polish to protect leather shoes from dry rot, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the shoes: Before applying any shoe cream, it is important to clean your shoes thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Use a soft brush or cloth to wipe away any dirt or dust gently.
  2. Apply the cream: Using a soft cloth or applicator brush, apply a thin, even layer of the FootFitter Professional Shoe Cream Polish to the leather surface of your shoes. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the shoe, including the toe, heel, and sides.
  3. Allow to dry: Let the shoe cream dry completely before buffing. This will usually take around 10-15 minutes.
  4. Buff the shoes: Using a soft cloth or shoe brush, buff the shoes to a shine. This will help seal the shoe cream and provide added protection against dry rot.
  5. Repeat as needed: For best results, repeat this process every few months or as needed to keep your leather shoes looking great and protected against dry rot.

In addition to using shoe cream, storing your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources is also important. This will help to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking over time.

2. Cedar Shoe Trees

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Another way to prevent dry rooting is to use cedar shoe trees. Cedar shoe trees help absorb excess moisture and odor from your shoes and therefore eliminate the conditions for dry rotting to take place. 

A great shoe tree we always recommend to our clients is the highly-rated Stratton Cedar Shoe Tree. It is one of the best shoe trees on the market and is widely used to absorb moisture from shoes while leaving them with a crisp cedar scent and in great shape. 

It’s also easy to use. Simply insert a cedar shoe tree on each shoe before storing them. However, for the best results, follow the steps below.

Steps To Follow:

Here are the summarised steps on how to use cedar shoe trees to prevent or cure shoe dry rot:

  1. Dry inside your shoes with a clean cloth or microfibre towel to remove any moisture.
  2. Once dried, insert the cedar shoe tree into the shoes.
  3. Leave the shoe tree in place for at least 24 hours to absorb moisture and maintain the shape of the shoe.
  4. Remove the shoe tree and repeat the process if necessary.
  5. Finally, store shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent the shoes from drying out and cracking over time.

3. Silica Gel Packs

Use silica gel packs to keep your shoes dry and free from mold attacks. Silica gel packs are cheap and readily available. They help protect your shoes from moisture accumulation, thus preventing dry rotting. 

One of the most recommended products is  Dry & Dry Premium Silica Gel Packets Desiccant Packs. It comes in assorted sizes, including 30, 40, 120, and 240 packs which are reasonably priced. 

In addition, these silica gel packs are safe for use and can be recharged once they are saturated by placing them in the oven for 2 hours at 250F or in the microwave for 7 to 12 minutes in defrost mode. Place one silica gel pack inside your shoes before storing them. 

4. Store Shoes Appropriately

Dry rotting is partly caused by the lack of moisture and oil inside shoe materials, especially leather. The lack of moisture makes the shoes brittle and prone to cracking and breaking down permanently. 

To prevent this from happening, store your shoes in cool, airy, and slightly humid areas such as shoe closets. This move will help your shoes retain the necessary moisture to ensure they remain in tip-top condition. 

Dump rooms such as basements are not recommended for shoe storage as they are known to speed up the rate at which dry rotting occurs. 

Alternatively, you can use stackable shoe organizer containers such as the Seseno 12-Pack Shoe Storage Boxes. They are made of durable, high-quality plastic. They are practical and designed with rear ventilation holes to allow air circulation to prevent dry rotting.

5. Wear Shoes Occasionally

Despite the name, dry rotting can also be caused by moisture accumulation in your shoes. This moisture created the perfect conditions for mold to form and attack the materials your shoes are made of.

Shoes stored in humid areas such as basements are most culpable to dry rotting. To prevent dry rotting from taking place, wear your shoes often.

Wearing shoes allows them to aerate and dry in the sun, eliminating the conditions needed for mold to grow and attack your boots.

6. Purchase Shoes Made From High-Quality Materials

Finally, all other methods of preventing dry rotting will not work if you purchase shoes made from poor material, counterfeit or fake leather, and rubber deteriorates at a much faster rate than original leather and rubber.

Shoes with soles and upper mesh held together with glue instead of stitching also rot faster. To prevent this phenomenon, ensure that you buy shoes made of genuine leather and have their soles stitched to their upper mesh.

This will ensure that your shoe will remain in a good state for longer while in storage.

Final Words

As we can see, there are many ways to prevent your shoes from dry rotting, some simple and some more time-consuming.
Fortunately, following these preventive measures is manageable and can help keep your favorite shoes looking good for extended periods.

Whether you have canvas sneakers or leather dress shoes, it’s worth investing a few extra minutes of maintenance to ensure the longevity of your footwear.

With the right precautionary steps and regular cleaning, you won’t have to worry about dry rot any time soon. So get out that shoe brush and start caring for your shoes today!

Remember, if you take care of your shoes, they’ll take care of you!

Last update on 2024-04-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API