The Best Way to Pack Shoes Without Ruining Them

After waiting for weeks or months, the vacation of your dreams is just around the corner. Before you hop into the car or head to the airport, though, you will need to pack everything for the trip. All of your clothing, toiletries, entertainment and, of course, shoes will need to go into your bags. Some people are extremely organized and relish the task of packing, while others dread cramming everything they need into the confines of a suitcase. Regardless of which category you fall into, remember not to procrastinate. About 65 percent of travelers say that giving themselves plenty of time to pack reduces stress.

When you take the time to pack, you can make sure you have everything you need and arrange everything, so nothing gets broken in transit. Opening your bag once you arrive at your destination only to find your favorite pair of shoes ruined is not a promising start to vacation. Use these tips to learn the best way to pack shoes for travel and moving.

How to Pack Shoes in a Suitcase

If you are planning a longer trip, you will likely be packing a big suitcase. The best way to pack shoes in a suitcase saves space for your other belongings and protects your shoes from any damage. Here's what to do.

how to pack shoes in a suitcase

 

1. Decide How Many Shoes You Need

About three-fourths of Americans (74 percent) pack two to three pairs of shoes when going on vacation. While this is a helpful benchmark, how many pairs of shoes you will want for your vacation depends on the type of trip and your preferences. Will you be spending all of your time hiking and lounging on the beach? In that case, you will probably only need hiking boots and a pair of casual sandals for walking across the sand and dining at beachside cafes.

Are you going to be roughing it outdoors some days and going out on the town other days? On that trip, you may need more pairs of shoes — think hiking boots, sandals and heels. After you determine how many shoes you want to bring with you, you can decide on your packing strategy.

2. Check the Size of Your Suitcase

If you are flying, your airline likely has weight and dimension restrictions for checked and carry-on bags. Double check those rules to make sure you don't wind up having to pay extra baggage fees. That last pair of shoes you think you might want likely isn't worth the headache of pushing your suitcase over the weight limit. The size of your suitcase will also give you an idea of how many shoes you can fit before you set your heart on your vacation wardrobe.

To keep the weight of your suitcase down, wear your heaviest pair of shoes while you travel and pack your lighter pairs. For example, wear your heavy-duty hiking boots to the airport and put your lighter sandals, like these espadrille sandals, and flats in the suitcase.

3. Stuff Your Shoes

The insides of your shoes are a useful place to pack all of the socks you will need for your trip. Roll up one or two pairs and put them each pair of shoes. Underwear, swimsuits, belts and t-shirts also make good shoe stuffing options. This trick not only saves space, but it also helps your shoes retain their shape in the suitcase.

While the inside your shoes may be stuffed to help maintain their form, remember never to mash your pairs down to fit more things. Instead, reevaluate your packing organization. Can you rearrange your clothing and toiletries, so your shoes aren't squished? Is there something you don't really need to pack? Placing too many heavy things on top of your shoes or mashing them down to make space will likely damage them.

4. Pack in Layers

If you are wondering how to pack shoes without squishing them, consider careful layering. Take the shoes you are planning to bring (carefully stuffed with socks) and place them on the very bottom of your suitcase. Place each pair as they came in the box, the toe of each one pointing toward the heel of the other. This leaves space to pack tightly rolled clothing around each shoe, maximizing your space and preventing the shoes from moving while your suitcase is jostled in the back of a car or in the belly of an airplane.

Thinner, lightweight shoes like flip flops can be packed along the edge of the suitcase and kept in place by the rest of your expert packing. Plus, packing in layers could save you time when going through security. TSA recommends neat layers to help avoid additional screening.

5. Protect Your Clothing

If you are packing brand new shoes, you do not have to worry about getting your clothes dirty. But, if you are packing worn shoes, particularly something like hiking boots, you will want to make sure no dirt transfers onto your carefully planned vacation outfits. Before placing your pairs in the suitcase, consider wrapping the shoes in a plastic bag or a drawstring bag to keep them from rubbing on any of your clothing.

How to Pack Shoes in a Carry-On Bag

how to pack shoes in carry on bag

If you are flying, you have the option to pack your shoes in a carry-on bag instead of your checked suitcase, and you'll need to know how to pack shoes without ruining them in a smaller bag.

The first thing you need to do is decide how many shoes you need. Carry-on bags are going to be smaller than suitcases you can check. This means you need to be even more conscious of how you use the space you have. Wear your heaviest shoes, just like you would when packing a suitcase. Look through your shoe collection and pick out some lighter-weight options that will take up less space and be easier to carry. Flip flops and flats are always a good choice. If you want to pack a pair of dressier shoes, opt for a slimmer, lighter heel rather than a boot or thicker wedge.

Packing a Backpack

If your carry-on bag is a backpack, it will need to fit beneath the seat in front of you or in one of the overhead bins. If the dimensions do not meet the airline's requirements, you may need to check the bag. A soft backpack means your belongings are at higher risk for being smashed by other, heavier suitcases as bags are loaded on and off of the plane. It is also important to remember you will need to be able to bear the weight of the bag while in transit. Sure, the bag can fit in the overhead bin, but can you carry it from the airport to your hotel without falling over?

How do you pack shoes in a backpack without making it too heavy? Unlike a suitcase, shoes should not be the bottom layer in your backpack. Put lighter clothing items at the bottom, and then make your shoes the middle layer. Aim to keep the shoes as close to the back of the bag as possible. This will help evenly distribute the weight and make carrying the backpack less of a burden.

Packing a Rolling Case

How you pack shoes on vacation depends a lot on what type of bag you choose. Many people opt for a rolling carry-on bag, so they do not have to lug their belongings on their backs. When packing a rolling carry on, pack your heavier shoes, like sneakers or heels, at the bottom of the bag, near the wheels. This will help keep the bag more balanced as you race through the airport trying to make your connection. Lighter shoes, like flip flops or flats, can be packed on the edges of the bag.

How to Pack Shoes When Moving

how to pack shoes when moving

Sometimes packing up your shoes is more involved than selecting a few pairs for a vacation. When you decide to change homes, you will need to pack up all of your shoes to make the move with you. American men own an average of 12 pairs of shoes, while American women own an average of 27 pairs. The best way to pack shoes when moving depends on how big and how organized the collection. Here are a few tried and true tips to get you started:

1. Organize Your Shoe Collection

Before you start tossing shoes indiscriminately into a bag or a box, take the time to organize them. Which ones are used to the wear and tear of everyday walking? These shoes do not need to be packed with as much care. For example, sort out your running shoes and walking sneakers. You can even tie the laces together to make sure a pair doesn't get split up during the move. More delicate shoes, like those made of leather or high heels, can be sorted into a different pile that requires more care.

You can also sort your shoes into further subcategories, like seasonal or dressy, to make unpacking and organizing at your new home an easier task.

Next, look at your collection with a critical eye. Do you actually wear all of them, or are some just collecting dust? If there are shoes you won't wear again, either because they are too old, no longer fit or don't agree with your sense of style anymore, consider tossing them out or donating them. If you aren't wearing them at your old place, you probably won't start at your new place.

2. Search for the Original Boxes

Do you keep any shoe boxes? If you store all of your shoes in their boxes in a closet, packing them up is a simple task. Simply provide some padding and put the shoes in a box. If you keep the boxes somewhere separate from the shoes — think stuffed in a closet or attic — see if you can hunt them down. Even if the box does not match the shoe exactly, it is a handy and safe way to pack and store them for the move.

3. Wrap Each Shoe

If you no longer have shoe boxes, you can wrap up each shoe to protect them for the move. Wrapping material can be anything like socks, packing paper or bubble wrap. Make sure you use some of the wrapping material inside each shoe to ensure they keep their shape during the move.

If you are worried about the packing slipping during the rush of moving, you can tape it down around the shoe. It may also be helpful to tape pairs together to avoid any confusion when unpacking. You can pop wrapped shoes into large bags or boxes for easy transport.

4. Get Creative With Storage

Take a look at what you have when you start the packing process. Are there any open containers you can use to hold the wrapped shoes? Things like magazine baskets or even dresser drawers can be useful receptacles for your carefully wrapped shoes.

How to Pack Shoes to Save Space

how to pack shoes to save space

Whether you are going on a trip or you are packing up your things to move to a new home, saving space is an essential packing skill. The best way to pack shoes for travel or moving is by prioritizing efficiency. Here are a couple of space-saving tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a hanging organizer. This tip is for anyone moving their entire shoe collection. If you want to keep all of your shoes together, you can use a hanging closet organizer. This type of storage has multiple pockets to keep pairs of shoes together, and it can easily be packed as a flat, contained layer. You can still pack the inside of each shoe to avoid any damage to the shape. Add an extra layer of security by wrapping the exterior of each shoe with bubble wrap or packing paper. Bonus, when you unpack, you can hang the organizer up in your new closet. All of your shoes are ready for you to take out and wear.
  • Maximize empty space. How do you save space when packing shoes? No matter where you are going or what kind of suitcase or bag you are using, using everything you have to work with is the best way to save space. Fill your shoes with soft items, like socks and t-shirts. Fill any space between your shoes with more clothing. Stack everything in layers. If there is a gap, fill it. If your suitcase has an outside pocket, pop your flats in there. Keep in mind the weight of your boxes and bags. You want to use your space efficiently, but you also want to be able to move what you've packed.

Vacation, or even just the urge to shop, is a great reason to breathe some new life into your shoe closet. Check out our versatile collection of Resort shoes perfect for that vacation getaway. Shop to show off that new pedicure on vacation or your next poolside weekend. Anytime you bring your news shoes somewhere new, remember these packing tips to keep them in top condition. Happy walking!


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