Sneakers. Photo by Camila Damásio on Unsplash.

How To Pack Shoes

Thinking about tossing all your shoes in a box and calling it good? Your shoes certainly take a beating when you wear them, but packing them when preparing to move is much different. If you don’t choose the right container and pack them properly, your favorite shoes could easily get crushed, scuffed, or otherwise damaged during transport. Read on to find out how to pack shoes for moving to make sure your footwear arrives at your new home in style.



Sort and Declutter


If you have a large shoe collection, not every pair has to make the cut. It’s never easy to say goodbye, but narrowing down your footwear can make the move easier. You’ll have less to pack, which saves you space in your moving containers.


Thinning Down Your Collection


Start by lining up all your shoes to see what you have. This gives you a chance to find shoes that are damaged, outdated, or never get worn. Sort your shoes into piles based on what you want to do with them. The keep pile is what you’ll eventually pack for your move. If you have high-end shoes that you no longer want, consider selling them. You can also donate the shoes you no longer want. Finally, make a toss pile for anything that’s too worn to be repaired or donated.

Not sure what to keep and what to toss? Here are some things that might make you consider getting rid of shoes:


  • Worn material, thin soles, or broken straps
  • Outdated shoes that aren’t in style
  • Shoes that don’t fit your personal style
  • Uncomfortable shoes
  • Pairs that you never wear


Cleaning What You Keep


Cleaning up your shoes can make them easier to pack and keep them in better condition during the move. Give stinky shoes a chance to air and dry out. You can get shoe spray or odor-absorbing gadgets to help with smelly insoles.

Check the soles of the shoes for dirt or debris and clean it off. You might also need to clean off the rest of the shoes, so be sure to check for dirt and stains anywhere on your footwear. Wipe those areas to remove the marks and let everything dry before packing them.



Gather Packing Materials


Choosing the right materials can ensure your shoes make the trip without damage. The main packing materials you’ll need for your shoes are containers and protective wrapping. Shoe boxes or other small cardboard boxes work well as the containers, just make sure the boxes are sturdy and won’t bend or fall apart during transport. Cloth storage bags can also work, but you’ll want to put them inside something sturdier like a larger box or suitcase to avoid them getting crushed.

Clean paper wrapping without any print is best for wrapping your shoes. If you’re worried about your shoes getting squished, stuff them with paper so they hold their shape. Avoid using plastic of any type, including wrap or bags, as it can hold in moisture and doesn’t let the shoes breathe.



Packing Techniques

The packing techniques you use can vary depending on what type of packing container you use. Decide how you want to transport the shoes and pack them accordingly.


Shoe Boxes or Small Boxes


If you still have the original boxes for your shoes, they make an ideal container that’s perfectly sized for the job. You can also find smaller cardboard boxes with enough space to hold the shoes without crowding them. Follow these steps to prep and pack your shoes in shoe boxes or small cardboard boxes:


  1. Fill the shoes with something soft. This keeps them from getting squished while you move. Good options include crumpled paper, socks, or shoe shapers.
  2. Wrap the shoes in paper to keep them from getting scuffed or scraped during the move.
  3. Place both shoes inside the shoe box.
  4. Add paper around the shoes to keep them from shifting in the box.
  5. Secure the lid with tape or a large, strong rubber band.
  6. Label the outside of the box.


You can pack the shoe boxes into a larger box to keep them together if you want.


Larger Cardboard Box


Putting your shoes in a larger cardboard box is an option, but you run the risk of the shoes getting damaged. Wrap your shoes carefully and make sure to fill them with paper or something sturdy so they hold their shape. Then follow these steps:


  1. Tie laces together or connect the shoes in some way to keep them as pairs.
  2. Wrap them well with a print-free paper.
  3. Place heavier shoes or pairs that you don’t care about as much at the bottom of the box.
  4. Put crumpled paper between each layer of shoes to add padding and protection.
  5. Fill the box to the top and add a layer of crumpled paper at the top.
  6. Tape the box closed.
  7. Label the box.


With this option, it’s best to choose a medium-sized box. It can get very heavy if you load too many shoes into an oversized box.




If you have suitcases you need to move anyway, you can put your shoes in them along with some of your clothes. A hard-sided suitcase offers the most protection. Soft-sided luggage can get squished, which could damage your shoes. Follow these steps on how to pack shoes in a suitcase:

  1. Place a layer of clothes in the suitcase.
  2. Wrap the shoes with paper or place them in small shoe bags.
  3. Position them on top of the layer of clothes.
  4. Fill in the spaces between the shoes with more clothes.
  5. Add another layer of clothes and shoes if the suitcase is deep enough.


Shoe Holder


If you have a soft over-the-door shoe holder, put it to use for moving. Here’s how to use it:


  1. Stuff paper in each shoe to keep it from being flattened.
  2. Place a pair of shoes in each compartment. If you want to give them more space, place one shoe in each compartment.
  3. Fold the shoe holder in half if possible to help keep the shoes inside and save space.
  4. Put the holder inside a cardboard box and tape it shut.


Additional Packing Tips


Specific types of shoes can benefit from special treatment. Here are some tips for different types of footwear:


  • Boots: For boots, you can cut a pool noodle to the length of the boot and put it inside to hold the shape.
  • Athletic shoes: Tying together the laces of your athletic shoes helps keep them together during your move.
  • Sandals: When you’re packing sandals, consider interlacing the straps or using rubber bands to keep them together.
  • Embellished shoes: Dress shoes, especially ones with sequins, beads, or other delicate detailing, can benefit from a layer of tissue paper first. Then, wrap them with packing paper. Add plenty of cushioning around them for extra protection.


How much effort you put into packing shoes often depends on how valuable they are to you and how delicate they are. For example, the nap on suede shoes can get scratched or crushed if they’re not packed carefully, and sequins can pop off your dress shoes if they’re not protected.



Labeling and Organizing


Another important part of packing shoes is keeping them organized so they’re easy to find. Labeling and organizing your shoes can help you get your footwear unpacked faster when you arrive. Write directly on the box or use labels to show which shoes are inside the box. If you have multiple family members, write the person’s name on the box to make sorting easier when you arrive.

Packing the shoes that make the cut is easier when you sort them by type. You might sort them by season with summer sandals in one pile and winter boots in another. Sorting by shoe type, such as sneakers, dress shoes, and boots, can also work well and it’s often easier. Additionally, if you have multiple people moving, you may consider keeping each person’s shoes together so it is easier to unpack.

Don’t forget to keep a few pairs of shoes out for the move. You might need a few different types for moving day and once you arrive. It could take you a while to find your shoes once you arrive, so it’s easier to keep the pairs out that you’ll need.



Transporting Shoes


When it’s time to move, choose the location for your shoes wisely. Place them near the top of the moving container or pile of boxes. You might consider putting them in your car to protect them even more. Avoid putting them near anything that could leak since moisture can damage shoes or cause mold and mildew growth.



Kick Your Feet Up and Let cend Do the Heavy Lifting


Knowing how to pack shoes for moving can save you a lot of stress, time, and money. With proper shoe-packing techniques, everything arrives in the same condition you packed it in. You don’t have to worry about broken heels, scuffs, or misshapen shoes. Putting your footwear in sturdy containers with adequate wrapping can make all the difference as you complete your move.

If you’re dragging your feet about packing your shoes and other belongings, consider using a service like CEND. You can choose the moving services that work for you and fit your budget. Our expert packers can handle all aspects of the move. We deliver your moving containers and handle the transportation for you. Add on packing, loading, and unloading services if you don’t want to worry about every little detail. Learn more about CEND’s moving and storage services to see if it’s a good option for your move.