Prevent Shoes From Dry Rotting: #1 Effective Solution [2024]

Written By Mahia

Who wants a fusty and musty pair of shoes whereas shoes are made to adorn your feet. Dry rotting of shoes is a very common problem that most people face.

Dry rotting of shoes happens for a couple of reasons, among which the most important cause is not to store the shoes properly and eventually, make the shoes obsolete to use. And discarding those beautiful pieces of shoes definitely gives an aching heart.


But now it’s time to say good-bye to dry rotting. In this article, I have explained the prevention of dry rotting and discussed why and how it happens. So buckle up to learn the easy and exciting ways to keep your shoes from rotting dry.

What Does Dry Rotting Of Shoe Mean?

Dry rot simply means the shoe’s material has become too dry and eventually decays due to lack of moisture.

A fungus called Serpula Lacrymans is the reason for dry rotting; unless you are allergic to fungus or asthma patients, it will not risk your health.

When the shoe decays, it becomes fragile to touch, and a white powdery matter appears on the surface. If the shoes are made of leather, then dry rot will cause discoloration of the shoes.

However, if the shoes are made of rubber, then the scenario will be different. Your shoes will still dry rot but this time not by any fungus but by the molecules’ breakdown. The polymers break apart, causing your shoes to become too dry and crack.

But before that, you check out Do Nubuck Shoes Get Ruined in The Rain.

Why Does Shoes Dry Rot?

The leading cause of dry rotting of shoes is the temperature or weather where you keep your shoes.why-does-shoes-dry-rot

When you keep your shoes in a closed and damp environment for a long time where there is no airflow, the shoes’ oil or moisture evaporate, making the shoes too dry that ultimately it cracks and breaks apart.

Whereas, high-quality leather shoes can last for a lifetime if you take proper care, and it is always suggested to keep leather shoes conditioned so that the moisture remains intact.

Check out my new post on Can You Polish Nubuck Shoes.

How To Stop Dry Rotting Of Shoes?

Remember, once your shoes have dried rotten, there is no going back. It means you cannot fix the shoes no matter what magic you spell on them once it has dry rotten.

Prevention is better than cure- this proverb is a perfect example of dry rotting. You have to take certain precautions in the first place so that there is no chance of dry rotting your shoes.

Here are the steps to prevent your shoes from dry rotting:

Spend In A Very Good-Quality Of Shoes

One of the most crucial steps to prevent your shoes from dry rotting and other problems is to invest in high-quality shoes.

Low-quality or counterfeit leather shoes will decay faster than satisfactory quality or real leather shoes. If you store high-quality shoes with precautions for a long time, it will prevent dry rot and make sure the stitchings and glue stay intact for a long time.

Check out our separate post on 7 Best Shoes for Delivery Drivers.

Keep The Shoes In A Dry Environment

Temperature plays a vital role in dry rotting shoes. To prevent this, do not keep your shoes in an extremely hot or cold environment. Too much heat can crack the leather, and excessive cold can make the insole foam stiff. Also, keep your shoes away from direct sunlight.keep-the-shoes-in-a-dry-environment

Keep your shoes in controlled and dry surroundings where there is no chance of loss of moisture. A walk-in closet can be the right place for your shoes.

But before that, go through our epic guide Can A Cobbler Make Shoes Smaller.

Stuff The Shoes With Newspaper

We often make the mistake of storing wet shoes, but this is a grave mistake. Wet shoes give birth to awful odor and damage the shoe material. To prevent these problems and keep shoes from dry rotting, when you store your shoes, pack them with newspaper so that if the shoes are wet, the newspaper will absorb all the extra wetness.

Also, stuffing newspaper inside the shoes ensures the shape of them remains the same.

Avoid Storing Shoes In Plastic Boxes

Keeping your shoes in a plastic box makes the dry rotting process fast. When you store the shoes in a plastic container, it will prevent your shoes from getting dusty, but at the same time, shoes will be deprived of fresh air, and the moisture gets trapped in, which results in the molding of the shoes.avoid-storing-shoes-in-plastic-boxes

Molding the shoes triggers dry rotting, after which the shoe fabric gets too dry and eventually crumbles. So keep your shoes in an open space like a shoe rack where there is enough air ventilation.

Invest In Shoe Tree And Desiccant

Use a shoe tree made from softwood, usually cedar, to keep your shoes free from foul smell and absorb the moisture keeping the shoes fresh for a long time.

The antibacterial properties of cedar tree shoes absorb the moisture and prevent dry rotting and keep your shoe bug free.

Shoe trees are quite affordable and last for a lifetime, so it is better to invest in a good-quality shoe tree that can protect your shoes. However, if you don’t want to use shoe trees, you can use desiccants such as silica gel of any brand. Desiccants are a drying agent that keeps excess moisture out of the shoe, keeping them fresh.

Condition The Shoes Regularly

We human beings need fresh air to feel rejuvenated, the same as shoes also need fresh air to increase their lifespan. Wear your shoes often and condition them with a good quality leather conditioner to keep the shoes nourished and new for an extended period.

Make sure to clean your shoes after every wear, ensuring there is no build-up of bacteria.

Follow our guide to know how to Condition Nubuck Shoes.

Proper Care Of Shoes

Proper care is a must if you want a healthy and increased life span of a pair of shoes. So far, I have explained the prevention of dry rotting, but taking care of shoes weekly or monthly also has a big hand in keeping your shoes free from dry rot.

Here’s how to take care of your shoes properly:

  • Soles are the only part of the shoes that endures the most pressure, so make sure to protect them. Use a good quality sole protector to shield the sole. You can get various brands of sole protectors, both online and in physical stores.
  • After every use, clean the shoes with a baby wipe or dust the dirt with a duster. Cleaning after every wear will ensure there is no build of dirt or germs. After washing, pack the shoes with newspaper to suck up all the extra moisture and make your shoes smell nice.
  • Do not wash your shoes in a washing machine; it can make the shoes erode faster. Instead, clean the shoes by hand with a clean cloth and soapy water.
  • Do not dry your shoes in direct sunlight; it can make the shoe color fade and make the shoe too dry.
  • Always spray your shoes with a water repellent. But make sure your shoes are clean before you apply water repellent spray. If you do not have access to water repellent sprays, then beeswax will also work. Apply a thin coat of melted beeswax all over the shoes.
  • If you think your shoes are damp, do not store them. Firstly dry them out completely and then keep.
  • Apply a good quality shoe moisturizer to keep the shoes healthy and fresh. But try to avoid shoe creams that just sit on top of the shoes and don’t absorb into the leather.
  • Use a shoehorn while putting your shoes; this will prevent crunching of the shoes. Shoehorn makes sure the heel and collar of the shoes remain in shape.
  • Do not store your shoes in a dark and less ventilation place. Instead, keep them in such an area where there is enough airflow.
  • The most crucial step is to wear your shoes frequently. Do not keep a pair of shoes unused for a long time; this is when the mold grows.

Also, in a day or two, alternate your shoes. Do not wear the same pair of shoes for more than two days in a row. It will make sure your shoes look new for an extended time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do shoes deteriorate in the box?

No matter how expensive your shoes are, if you do not store them in appropriate boxes, they will surely deteriorate. I will strictly suggest not keeping shoes in plastic containers because storing them in plastic boxes eventually mold the shoes, making the shoes dry and fall apart and eventually decay.

How do I keep my shoes from getting moldy?

Always keep your shoes in an airy and dry place and before storing the shoes, ensure the shoes are thoroughly dry. The growth of mold increases in humid and low-temperature areas. If you keep your shoes in these conditions, the leather becomes fragile, the stitching and glue used in the sole loosen.

Can dry rotted shoes be repaired?

Unfortunately, you cannot repair dry rotted shoes. When your shoes dry rot, the leather cracks, and the fibers get broken, so there is no way you can fix them. So it is always advised to follow all the precautions beforehand so that your shoes do not dry rot.


Dry rot is an awful thing that can happen to your favorite pair of shoes. So, without wasting any more time, take out all your unused shoes stored for a long time and keep them in the right way and a suitable place.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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