So many shoes, so little space. You may not be able to bring your entire shoe closet with you on your travels, but with a little creativity, you can squeeze an impressive amount of shoes into your suitcase.
And it just so happens that we’ve got some strategic hacks in our toolbox that will help you fit more footwear than ever before.
In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to pack shoes in luggage. Our favorite philosophy is “no shoe left behind”. Okay, so maybe some will have to stay home. But with the tips in this article, you’ll be set to pack shoes like a pro so you can travel in ultimate comfort and style.
How To Pack Shoes in a Suitcase to Maximize Your Space
It’s no surprise that the best way to pack shoes is to use the suitcase space you have wisely. But few actually know how to pack shoes for travel in the most efficient way. In fact, a survey conducted by New Trunk Club in 2019 found that a whopping 65% of Americans were not packing their luggage with maximum efficiency.1
So if you feel like you could use some help in the shoe packing department, you’re certainly not alone.
If you’ve ever honed your skills at Tetris, those stacking skills are about to come in handy. That’s because the easiest way to fit more shoes in your suitcase is to use one of these handy tips. With a little bit of finagling, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
Let’s explore a few of our favorite techniques on how to pack shoes in a suitcase so you can make every inch of your luggage space count.
#1 Stuff Your Shoes
If your shoes aren’t able to lie flat, you can make use of the big empty holes where your feet normally go. A clever trick you can use is to stuff the insides of your shoes full of smaller items such as:
Really, anything that is small enough to fit can be stored tidily inside your shoes. This solution also saves you from having smaller items haphazardly rolling around in your luggage and keeps your belongings safe and secure.
(If you’re storing delicates in your bulky shoes, just be sure to clean or deodorize the shoes first if needed. This way, your item won’t end up smelling suspiciously similar to a gym locker room.)
#2 Organize Intentionally
When you pack with more method and less madness, you free up more space and avoid the headache of rummaging through your luggage or carry-on travel backpack during your trip to find what you’re looking for. Here are 5 of the most effective pointers for purposefully packing shoes:
- Store your shoes with the soles lined up against the suitcase edge – Since the frame of your suitcase is flat and your shoe soles are flat, they’re a match made in heaven. Placing several shoes along the straight edge is a perfect method for maximizing your suitcase’s space and preventing unnecessary empty gaps.
- Utilize bags to keep your footwear and clothing separated – No matter how well you clean your shoes, you may feel uncomfortable having their soles make contact with your clean clothes. You don’t need fancy or expensive packing supplies to pull off this quick fix. Although you could use a specially made shoe bag, plastic grocery bags work just fine. This can also help save your delicate shoes from scuffing while you’re traveling.
- Align your footwear toe-to-heel – Your suitcase only has so many sides to line your shoe soles up against. If you have many pairs to pack, you will need to store some in the center space as well. When doing so, pack each pair side by side with the tops touching, but with heels lined up with toes. This will give you the tightest pack possible.
- Keep your shoes at the bottom of your bag – When you go to the grocery store, the clerk bags your items starting with the heaviest products at the bottom. Use the same method while packing by placing heavier shoes as a base. This will prevent your clothing from getting crushed by the weight of your footwear. It also helps keep your suitcase from tipping over by centering its weight.
- Don’t forget about extra compartments – Many suitcases have at least a few pockets on the outside to hold additional belongings. Despite what it may seem, these aren’t just there to confuse you with extra zippers—they can in fact be used for an extra pair of shoes. These compartments are often a bit flat, making them ideal for smaller, more flexible footwear.
Once you try these techniques a few times, you can perfect your packing routine to a science. Then, efficient and effective luggage organization will bring you one step closer to your blissful vacation.
#3 Look for Collapsible Shoe Styles
Certain shoes are crafted with traveling in mind. These styles are specifically designed to pack neatly into suitcases.
Our Uptown Loafers are a great example. We were uniquely inspired by jet-setters like you when we engineered this shoe. It is intelligently constructed to collapse flat, so it takes up as little space as possible in your luggage.
Shoes created to optimize the traveling experience are an investment you’ll earn peace of mind on for years. Seek out styles with travel-friendly features like collapsibility and flexible fabrics.
Make Fewer Shoes Stretch Further
Now you’ve got a few extra tricks up your sleeve to help you make room for more shoes in your suitcase. But what happens when you’re confined to a small bag or space for only one or two pairs?
It’s equally important to know how to pack shoes in suitcase space that is more limited.
When space is limited, packing shoes that serve many functions might help you make the most of your luggage space. For instance, active sneakers or walking shoes can be used for hiking, exploring the city, and grabbing lunch with friends.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can take the “less is more” approach when packing shoes.
#1 Coordinate With Your Outfits
You already know what kind of activities your trip will entail. You’ve packed the perfect outfits to cover each day of your excursion. Now, use that information to be intentional about the walking shoes you bring.
Choose pairs that will complement more than one outfit, such as shoes that you can dress both up and down. For instance, a comfortable and stylish pair of heels or wedges can elevate jeans or a sundress. With this strategy, you can easily half the amount of shoes you’d otherwise need to bring.
#2 Invest in Multifunctional Travel Shoes
Some shoes are statement pieces that are perfect for very specific occasions—that’s part of the fun of fashion. But as dazzling as they may be, your bedazzled zebra-print platforms may not be the most versatile pair to bring on a trip.
That’s where travel shoes come in. Travel shoes like breathable loafers or collapsible sandals can support your long walks and help you look great when you get there. When it comes to travel shoes, you should never have to sacrifice functionality and comfort for style. The right footwear can bring you both.
#3 Travel in Your Bulkiest Shoes
Whether you’re driving or flying to your final destination, one trick to help you bring especially large shoes along is to wear them while you travel.
After all, just one pair of bulky hiking boots could take up a quarter of your suitcase space. It’s best to pick out your heaviest pair of footwear and wear those on the road or to the airport.
(Just be sure your shoes aren’t too difficult to take on and off if you plan to move quickly through airport security.)
Why Smart Packing Is Important
The most obvious benefit of strategic packing may be increased storage space, but there are many additional reasons to make this a priority. Intentional suitcase organization helps you:
- Protect your footwear – Shoes are long-term investments. When you find walking shoes or athletic sneakers that check all your boxes, you want to keep them in stellar shape to get more wear out of them. But if they’re not packed with care, shoes can acquire unsightly wrinkles, permanent creases, and even irreparable damage. Treat your shoes with kindness and they’ll thank you with increased longevity.
- De-stress your process – Whether you travel weekly or once in a blue moon, you deserve to enjoy an easy, streamlined travel experience. In some ways, packing is the great equalizer. We all have to do it, so why not learn how to do it right? After all, you only have to learn this new skill once. Then, it will serve you for countless trips throughout your life.
- Keep wiggle room in your suitcase – Anne McAplin, author of “Pack It Up: The Essential Guide to Smart Travel” says that smart packing is about more than just squeezing in as many of your belongings as possible. As she points out, a wise traveler also has the forethought to leave a little extra wiggle room so you can bring back souvenirs from your travels.2
Travel in Confidence With Shoes From Vionic
We hope these packing tips will help you optimize your suitcase storage space and avoid paying pesky fees for extra carry-ons. Now, you can save those funds and invest in even more shoes you love.
Here at Vionic, we take pride in curating a shoe selection that can support your exploration and help you look sharp no matter where you venture.
Our designers specialize in crafting the best travel shoes that are perfect for packing, catching trains and planes, and most importantly, exploring the world. Now that you’ve got a little extra suitcase space to spare, learn more about the best travel shoes and browse our diverse collection of timeless styles to find your new favorite pair today.
- “How to Pack a Suitcase More Efficiently.” WorldTrips. 15 July, 2020.https://www.worldtrips.com/blog/posts/how-to-pack-your-suitcase
- Stephens, Steve. “Guide to Life: How to pack efficiently when traveling.” The Columbus Dispatch. Updated 4 September, 2015. https://www.dispatch.com/story/lifestyle/travel/2015/09/04/guide-to-life-how-to/23635836007/