How to Pack Shoes

What’s the best way to pack shoes?

There are two kinds of people: those who have closets full of neatly stacked shoes in the original boxes, and those who have a jumbled collection of shoes and boots. No matter which camp you fall into, when it’s time to travel or move, you need to take care of your shoes. Not only do you want them to arrive in good condition so you can wear them again, they can also transfer dirt and odors into other items if they’re not packed properly. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but there are a few steps to take when packing shoes for a move or travel.

Person packing shoes for a move.


How to pack shoes for moving

The process for packing shoes involves a lot of prep work, but the actual wrapping and boxing is pretty straightforward. This method will also protect your shoes for shipping if you’re selling them online.

Watch this video overview, then read below to learn how to get every sandal, boot and shoe ready for a long-distance move:


1. Sort your shoe collection

Start by setting aside any closed-toe shoes you want to wear on moving day, and also any shoes you’ll need while you travel to your new home. Then go through all of your shoes. Take any damaged shoes to be repaired or get rid of them. Donate or sell any shoes that no longer fit your shoe size or taste.

2. Clean, dry and air them out

Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt from the exterior, and give them time to dry thoroughly. Moving and storing shoes with moisture can breed mold, so make sure they’re completely dry before packing. If there are any lingering odors in any pairs, treat them with deodorizing powder or spray. For stubborn smells, place the shoes in a zip-top bag and put them in the freezer overnight. The extreme cold can kill stinky bacteria. Give them time to thaw out and release any moisture before packing.

3. Fill shoes to hold their shape

For any boots, high-heeled shoes or leather items that will easily lose their shape, fill them with crumpled packing paper.

4. Wrap them up

Use packing paper to wrap shoes for moving. Newsprint or colored tissue can transfer print or color to your shoes. If you have any fragile high heels, you can protect the heel with Bubble Wrap®. Then spread out a piece of packing paper. For shoes that need to retain their shape, place one shoe down and bring the paper up and around it. Then add the second shoe (toe to heel like they typically come in a shoebox from the store), wrap the other shoe, and fold the paper around the bundle. For flat sandals or kids’ shoes, you can cover several pairs in a single sheet of packing paper.

5. Place them in a box

Line a moving box with a layer of paper to provide cushioning. If you have the original shoe boxes, place the shoes inside those and then stack everything inside a small or medium moving box. If not, layer the shoe bundles in the box, keeping boots upright. Fill any open spaces with crumpled packing paper, then seal the box with packing tape and label it “shoes”.

6. Use care when loading

When loading the boxes of shoes in the moving trailer, be careful not to stack anything heavy on top of them.

How to pack shoes for travel

Whether you’re going on a weekend getaway or traveling across the world, these are the best tips for packing shoes for a trip:

  1. Clean, dry and deodorize shoes as described above. For any that still seem dirty or smelly, place them in a plastic bag or the original shoe bag.
  2. Fill them with small items like socks and underwear to hold their shape.
  3. Strategically pack them. In a rolling suitcase, place tennis shoes, boots and loafers along the bottom and sides, heels in between the handlebar frame, then sandals and flats in extra compartments or on top of the clothing. In a duffle bag or backpack, place shoes at the bottom to provide a base for clothes.

Have questions about packing shoes?

If you need help with the process of wrapping up shoes for moving or travel, let us know. We’re here to help!

Check out our collection of packing guides for help preparing all of your other household goods.