20 expert-approved ideas for storing shoes

Product care

You may never need to look for a lost sneaker again.

Last updated: 7 December 2023
7 min read
How to Store Shoes

Whether you're looking to store your impressive sneaker collection, hoping to stash all of your fitness footwear or needing to keep a small wardrobe organised, shoe storage can be a challenge. Let's be real: dumping shoes by the front door, though tempting, just won't do.

"Shoe storage can be quite an art, especially if you've got a collection", said Jean Prominski, certified professional organiser and founder of Seattle Sparkle, a home organisation business. "Not only will you want to be able to keep pairs together so you can find the shoes you need when you want them, proper shoe storage will help you preserve the life of your shoes".

There's no shortage of approaches to this type of organising—from complex shoe storage ideas that require extra shelving to something more straightforward, such as clear-front shoe boxes with an easy-to-access drop door to showcase your kicks. Below, you'll also find shoe storage ideas for small spaces, such as a mud room, as well as decorative accents that can hide dirty sneakers in an instant.

(Related: How to clean shoes)

How to organise your shoes for storage

Before tackling shoe organisation, sift through all your shoes and divide them into categories—whether it's workout shoes, dress shoes or seasonal shoes. This step is especially important because it allows you to purge any pairs you don't wear, have worn-out soles or no longer fit.

(Related: How often should I replace my running shoes?)

Once you've identified the shoes you want to keep, consider when and how you wear them. Separate shoes into ones that are worn frequently and ones that only get pulled out for special occasions or weather.

"If you have a large collection, you may need to dedicate an entire wardrobe to storing your shoes", Prominski noted. Regardless, it's best to position frequently worn shoes on a rack or shoe mat by an entrance.

"The most important part is to keep your system as simple as possible so that it's easy to maintain and put your shoes back where they belong", she added.

Read on for 20 expert-approved storage solutions for shoes, organised by storage location and approach.

7 ideas for shoe storage in your wardrobe

How to Store Shoes

1. Invest in clear-front shoe boxes.

Tempting as it may be to stack shoes in their original boxes on shelves or the floor, it's not an optimal shoe storage solution. "Original boxes don't hold their shape if they are stacked, so the shoes can get dented", Prominski said. "You also can't see what is in the boxes, so it's hard to find the shoes you need".

Clear acrylic shoe boxes are an effective alternative. They're sturdy and you'll be able to see in a glance what's inside.

How to Store Shoes

2. Build wardrobe shelving.

You don't need to be DIY savvy to add floating shelves to your wardrobe. You can either buy ready-to-install shelves or pick up some brackets and wooden planks at a home improvement shop. You can even ask the shop assistant to cut them to size.

This wardrobe shoe storage idea is ideal if you want to line your shoes up on a shelf but don't have room in your existing wardrobe space.

3. Hang a metal shoe rack.

This shoe organisation hack will take minutes to set up. Get a wire over-the-door shoe rack and place it inside a wardrobe door for easy access.

4. Get plastic shoe crates.

Make your wardrobe look like a sneaker boutique with stackable shoe crates that can showcase the side profile of your sneakers. Bonus: Some shoe crates are made from plastic that offers UV protection and can help keep shoes from fading or yellowing.

5. Go with large containers.

Large plastic shoe boxes may not have a drop-front door, but that shouldn't stop you from using them to store seasonal or special-occasion footwear. Clear works well, but if you end up with opaque shoe storage boxes, make sure you mark the boxes with a list or photos of the shoes inside.

6. Add a bookshelf.

A walk-in wardrobe will sometimes have space for a bookshelf, which can make for the ultimate shoe display. Punch up the new shoe shelving by painting it a fun colour.

One thing to bear in mind, Prominski noted: "Open shelving does expose your shoes to the elements and dust, so make sure you keep it clean to avoid any unnecessary wear".

7. Mount a shoe wall.

A designated shoe wall with modular racks is the ultimate shoe storage solution for wardrobes. You can adjust the height and depth of the shelving to create a customised setup which suits your shoe collection and needs.

5 ideas for shoe storage in small spaces

8. Find a shoe rack.

For shoe storage in a small space, consider a shoe rack. There are plenty of options that range in sizes and designs to suit your needs. Just keep the measurements in mind before you purchase.

How to Store Shoes

9. Opt for an over-the-door shoe bag.

This option works well for a hall wardrobe. Select a style made out of clear PEVA material to see the shoes easily. An over-the-door shoe bag is also great at catching debris from your shoes—just don't forget to clean it out once in a while.

How to Store Shoes

10. Decorate with a shoe cabinet.

A shoe cabinet can hide shoes and inject personality into a small space. While the shoes are tucked away inside, use the top of the cabinet as a console or keep a narrow catch-all tray on top.

11. Bring in a bench.

A small bench functions as an item of convenience—after all, it's easier to put shoes on while sitting. Plus, you can place a few pairs of shoes right underneath for easy access.

12. Work in woven baskets.

To tastefully hide shoes, pick out a few woven baskets to store them in. You can keep them under a bench or add them to a storage cabinet.

5 ideas for shoe storage in narrow spaces

How to Store Shoes

13. Go with a vertical shoe rack.

When a traditional shoe rack just won't fit, look for one that's built upwards. "A vertical shoe rack can be helpful for a small or narrow space", Prominski added.

14. Display sneaker shelves.

Even if you don't have much space to work with, take advantage of the wall space you do have by displaying your most beloved pairs of shoes out in the open. While the clear, floating sneaker shelves only fit one pair, you can arrange them any way you like.

How to Store Shoes

15. Find small floating shelves.

You can build a DIY wardrobe system for shoes by arranging several small floating shelves in a vertical configuration. Depending on the size of your space, this setup can range from one to three rows.

16. Create cubby shelving.

Try configuring minimalist cubby shelves in your narrow space, if there's enough room. Little cubby slots help keep shoes organised, out of the way and easy to access.

How to Store Shoes

17. Save space with shoe stackers.

Skip shelves altogether and get some shoe organisers that let you stack shoes on top of each other. That way, you can line them up in neat rows. Some are even adjustable, so you can use them for high tops and casual flats as necessary.

3 ideas for shoe storage in your garage

18. Pick up a rubber boot tray.

Because garages are rarely controlled for humidity, you don't exactly want to store your most prized pairs there. Instead, focus on function. A rubber boot tray is perfect for messy footwear like muddy trail-running shoes or hiking boots.

How to Store Shoes

19. Work with wire baskets.

Wire baskets work well when you need to corral a range of shoes, without needing to prioritise aesthetics. They're especially useful for a household with kids who just need an easy-to-access spot to toss their sneakers.

20. Customise built-ins.

A garage typically has plenty of available wall space, making it well-suited for constructing a built-in storage solution. You can use this as a multi-function area that can hold both athletic equipment and shoes. If you can, make sure there are cabinet doors to keep dust at bay.

Words by Yelena Moroz Alpert

Originally published: 30 October 2023

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