Novel Displays for a Vintage Shoe Collection

  A vintage shoe collection can be used as a unique form of artwork to accessorize a bedroom, dressing room, or even living room for a single woman or houseful of women, but displaying the collection can be tricky. You do not want to simply toss the shoes into a heap, risking damage or loss, but neither do you want to lay them on the floor and hope no one messes with your neat rows of vintage shoes. So, how do you find novel displays for a vintage shoe collection?

Use a bookshelf or shelving system to display the vintage shoe collection. This can be a unique use for a bookshelf, but shelving is a great way to create a novel display for your vintage shoes. You can take a color coordination approach, sort them by the year they were popular, or come up with a method all your own for arranging them. Other shelving systems, such as an around-the-ceiling approach, are also a great way to display the collection without risking harm from little fingers or pets.

Curio cabinets are another great display option. Although shoes are not normally the curios stored in this type of display system, it is a great choice for really old vintage shoe collections because they often offer a glass barrier between touchy fingers and the shoes. Some even offer locking mechanisms for added protection, which is really important for very valuable collections. Similarly, glass fronted library display cases are a great idea, if you can afford them. They are relatively expensive, but a great investment if the vintage shoe collection is worth a lot of money.

Framed designs are unique and trendy. You can create the illusion of a shoebox with framed boxes that are deep enough to hold the shoes, but shallow enough to look more like picture frames. These are often known as shadow boxes, and are very easy to find or build with little help required. You can paint the boxes in many different colors, or use wood stains to make them look like traditional picture frames.

Build a shoe wall. This unique design will make use of all of your shoeboxes, and can keep the shoes safe without looking tacky or cheap. Keep the shoes in the original shoeboxes whenever possible, and take a picture of the shoes. You can also look the shoe up online and get a great picture that way. Then, glue the picture to the box so that you can show off the shoe without leaving it out for everyone to grab. You can use shelves, cubes, or simply stack the shoeboxes to create an interesting focal point in the room.

Display by the season. In other words, create a novel display for a vintage shoe collection by rotating your shoes out by season. Display using one of the other methods above, or create something totally unique. You can do the same thing with color coordination, choosing a different color for each season, month, week, or however you want to rotate them.

Caring for Your Vintage Shoe Collection

Once you've purchased your vintage shoes, it's important to know how to care for and display these new treasures. First, be sure to know what decade your shoes were made, as the older the shoe (1930s-1960s) the more likely the rubber and glue used in construction can become brittle and lose its adhesiveness. To be sure your vintage shoes are at their best, look for cracks or crumbling in the rubber heels or soles. These heels are easily replaceable at any shoe repair shop. Be sure to do this quickly as the rubber will only continue to crumble over time.

A less likely problem to be fixed can be found in the glue sometimes used to keep the sole of a shoe attached to its upper. To check for this problem, bend the sole to check for cracking or shifting. If you notice the adhesive on your vintage shoe is drying away or becoming brittle, this can be easily fixed with shoe repair glue. Do not use craft glue as it is not strong enough for use on shoes. Leather shoes can lose their moisture as they age, leading to tearing. To avoid this problem, use saddle soap to keep your leather shoes moist.

To remove excess moisture from leather shoes, place newspaper in the shoes. As the leather dries, buff out any moisture lines with a soft cloth. Lastly, vintage fabric shoes are most likely to show damage and fraying. To stop these frays in their tracks, use a product called Fray-Check which will stop the damage from continuing.

Beyond caring for the exterior of the shoes, it is important to be able to be comfortable. Walk around inside in your shoes before taking them to the streets. Get comfortable in them and see if there is anything you need to replace or enhance. One thing that can make your shoes more comfortable and extend their life is a foam insert, which will give more support to a possibly worn down heel as well as freshen the interior of the shoe.

If your vintage collection is more for admiration than daily use, there are numerous creative ways to display your treasures. The vintage shoe devotee can use bookshelves, shadow boxes or even racks to display their finds. If your shoes are particularly old and/or costly it is important to keep them as safe as possible and away from any pollutants such as dust and sunlight. The best way to do this is through the use of a glass curio cabinet. In this way, you can display your beautiful shoe collection, while keeping them away from clumsy hands as well as dirt and dust. 

Tips on How to Organize Your Shoe Collection

Whether, we see a good shoe sale, or feeling down, or actually need a pair to match that dress we just bought, we're guilty of buying a new pair. Basically, if you love shoes, you will find a reason to buy one more pair! Being a shoe lover ourself this is fine and dandy with us., However, one day, we all find that our shoe collection has outgrown the closet.

Sometimes, as we're looking through our closet for a stashed away pair, we realize that we bought two pairs of the same or similar looking shoes! I am guilty of that. We all forget, thanks to the growing mess, disorganization, and a bevy of shoes boxes stacked on top of each other that we already had a pair. This is a sign. It's time to do some major shoe organization work. The goal is to find that pair you want for any outfit with no fuss and without buying a whole new close space.

There is no right way when it comes to shoe organization, but here are some tips to guide you when you realize that you need to organize your increasing shoe collection:

Count and take inventory of the shoes you already own: Simply take them all out, and count how many you have of each type (casual, formal, sporty, winter, summer, etc.) and shade. Don't forget to note that all of them fit properly and are in good shape.

For every new pair you buy, give away an old pair: This rule helps everyone involved. You get a new pair, and made space for them by getting rid of an old pair. Along the way you helped another woman. Win-win all around.

Find out how much space you have: Based on the number of shoes you are keeping, figure out which place is best to store for ease of use. For those with small closets, look for other places to store out of season shoes. Usually, for under the bed, a compartmentalized shoe crates works well. If you are lucky enough to have a spacious closet, get some shoe shelves, and use them! If you have the space, but no shelves, look into building them yourself or investing in plastic shelves or crates to get the effect for less money.

Categorical organization: Like we mentioned earlier, seasonal categorization of your shoes is an excellent idea, even in a spacious storage area. It makes no sense to have flip-flops lying around in the dead of winter or letting your summer open shoes mold in January. If you have the space, put your seasonal shoes in the front part of your closet. The most commonly used pairs, or your favorite, go in the most accessible location (e.g., at eye level or lower). You may create your own categories like occasion, color, style or material depending on your overall lifestyle and preference.

While you are organizing, don't forget to look into the shoe maintenance. For example, give your leather shoes a little polish and weatherproof any other softer material to get ready for the first snowfall. Before storing boots and shoes, keep their shape and stiffness by stuffing them. Keep any bedazzled or jeweled heals in plastic heels to avoid unwarranted damage.