Have you ever embarked on a long journey probably to attend a friend’s wedding and by the time you got to your destination, your box had taken the shape of the car trunk and the sledgehammer that was mistakenly placed on top of it?

And as if that was not enough, you started unpacking just to realize that your $17m Antonio Vietri Moon Star shoes have also taken the shape of what looks like a sledgehammer.

As funny as the above illustration may sound, learning how to pack shoes without squishing them is the only escape route from what happened in the above illustration.

What if the wedding was not your friend’s wedding but yours? You’ve spent months saving for your wedding gown and the Debbie Wingham high heels you would wear?

You would be forced to wear those old white sandals that mom has been rooting for you to wear!


Bag to neatly pack shoes

Let’s assume you are a beauty pageant going for a fashion show in Denver. How would you neatly pack your shoes in a box?

The first thing that would come to mind is to throw all the shoe bags in a large box and zip them, when you get there, you can sort things out.

But what if you don’t have an opportunity to organize yourself before the pageantry? How would you know which shoe bag contains which shoes?

Arranging them into categories becomes the best option here.

Arrange by colors or labels. Traveling with more than 20 pairs of shoes as a pageant is not child’s play. You can decide to use different colors of shoe bags for different shoes.

At a glance, you should know that any shoe in a black shoe bag falls in the class of casual shoes. Shoes in red shoe bags can be very expensive or special shoes designed for specific outfits and so on.

Where using different colors becomes a little too confusing, labels can do a better job. You can use labels like, “sneakers”, “Boots” “Slip-on shoes”, etc.

Arrange by function. Your box can be divided into different layers. Shoes that serve specific purposes can come in separate layers.

The ready-to-wear at anytime shoes should be on the top layer, followed by the not too usually worn shoes and the rarely-worn shoes.

Arrange by size. The very long boots can be arranged neatly at the bottom part of the bag. Followed by the smaller sizes and the smallest ones on top.

A little secret about arranging your shoes in categories is this, it becomes difficult to do haphazard packing when your shoes have been carefully arranged in categories in your box.


how to pack shoes without squishing them

How to pack shoes without squishing them can be done in 2 ways:

  • Pack in their original shoe boxes or
  • use the layering method.

Let’s see the steps of the 2 methods below:

Box method:

Align the shoes you would be needing for your travel in their pairs so that you don’t forget a pair along the line.

Clean thoroughly using, water, dishwashing liquids (any brand can go), and a microfiber soft cloth.

Please note that if you are not familiar with how to clean your shoes with water, especially for leather materials that are prone to peeling when exposed to water, then use just the microfiber cloth and clean thoroughly.

Shoe organizing box for travel and packing

Leave them in an airy place to dry for 45 minutes, it’s preferable to keep them on the front or back porch where sun or sun rays can easily penetrate.

Arrange them carefully in their original boxes using the head-to-toe method, and let their soles face the opposite directions

Pack them carefully in your box, you can keep them in the middle layer for more balance and security.

Do not pack your shoes in the same box where you’ve packed your work tools or other sharp objects as these objects can either tear or squish the shoes.

Avoid putting very heavy stuff directly on top of the shoe boxes. Shoe boxes if made of paper, no matter how thick the paper is can serve as little or no protection for shoes when heavy items are placed directly on them

If you must carry heavy items in your box, use plastic boxes or containers for your shoes and place the shoes above the heavy items.

Layering method:

Arrange the shoes you plan to travel in pairs.

Brush thoroughly with a toothbrush to remove dirt in between soles.

Clean thoroughly using water, microfiber soft fabric, and dishwasher.

Wipe the inners with vinegar to neutralize all odor and bacteria.

Air for 45 minutes.

Stuff the shoes with soft fabric like singlets, stockings, and clean clothes. This technique helps to keep them taut and in shape even while packed.

Keep them lying beneath the box and in between clothes for more protection from the hazards that can come with traveling.


how to pack shoes in a Duffel Bag

3 ways on how to pack your shoes in a personal duffel bag are:

  • the bottom layer pattern
  • kiss the sides pattern
  • the nylon wrap technique.

In the bottom layer pattern, the shoes are lain at the very bottom part of the bag which normally contains a rubber pad that helps in retaining the shape of the bag when stuffed with items.

Now, this rubber pad can also serve as some sort of protection for the shoes.

Outside the bag are strong knots, sometimes made of plastic that can serve as legs for the bag. These knots also protect the shoes inside the bag, especially if they lie at the bottom layer of the bag.

Duffel bag for arranging Shoe

Dropping the bag with a thud has minimal impact on the shoes since the hard floor meets the bag’s legs, followed by the rubber pad before getting to the shoes.

Kiss sides pattern is a popular shoe packing technique where the shoes are stuffed by the sides of the duffel bag. The clothes are kept in the middle while the shoes are placed by the sides of the bag.

Duffel bags have more balance especially when filled.

Hence, it becomes rare for the bags to topple and fall on their sides.

Dropping the bag with loud thuds here and there has zero impact on the shoes since the shoes are resting peacefully by the sides and not on the bottom part of the bag.

The nylon wrap involves the use of Ziploc bags, shower caps, and other types of bags to wrap the shoes. Here, the shoes can be placed on the topmost layer of the bag.

These shoes are protected except for cases where heavy items are placed directly on top of the bag.

To avoid shoes from squishing, the nylon wrap technique can be replaced with the container approach, where plastic containers are used in place of Ziplocs.

Let’s remember that the duffel bag unlike the suitcase is a travel bag, made of soft fabric with a unique shape.

Canvas Duffel Bag for packing shoe

A duffel bag when empty can be folded and put into a suitcase but the reverse is the case for an empty suitcase.

Duffel bags are comfortable to carry and are designed to contain more clothes than a backpack, due to their shapes and peculiar sizes.

There are some duffel bags with a U-shaped zip at the top, opening this zip reveals a slim flap that is easy to zip even when the bag is filled to the brim.


how to pack shoes and clothes in a suitcase

Packing your shoes together with your clothes in the same box can be very messy if the appropriate measures are not taken. This is because shoes have a higher chance of retaining odors than clothes.

The easiest way to pack your shoes and clothes in a suitcase is this, get a shoebag!


Shoe bags are very affordable and can come in varying shapes and sizes.

They are mostly made of box-like fabrics that can serve as protection for the shoes while protecting your clothes from bacteria that are likely to come from shoes.

If you have sweaty feet then it’s advisable not to pack your shoes in the same suitcase as your clothes. If you must pack them together, it’s important to clean your shoes properly with odor-removal chemicals before packing.

Also, ensure that they are well wrapped in drawstring bags before putting them alongside your clothes.

Wrapping your clothes around your shoes for protection can be a bit messy for someone who is not used to this technique.

Hence, separate your suitcase into compartments, stack your shoes around the 4 corners of your suitcase and place your clothes in the middle.

Here, the corners become the compartments for shoes while the central region is for clothes.

Shoes can be heavier than clothes and if they are not properly arranged with clothes can cause an imbalance which may result in the bag tilting to the left or to the right.


suitcase for shoes that won't squish them

If you are putting other things like clothes and toiletries in your suitcase then aim for at least 2 pairs of shoes plus the one you will be wearing which will make the number of shoes you would be carrying 3.

This is because packing lots of shoes that you may end up not wearing can increase the weight of your suitcase which will be uncomfortable to carry or pull.


Diverse ways how to pack your shoes when traveling abound. However, a core thing to always look out for is the avoidance of heavy materials on top of your suitcases or duffel bags as this alone can squish the carefully arranged shoes in your bag.

Now that you know this, let’s go packing!

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