20 Expert-Approved Ideas for Storing Shoes
You may never need to look for a lost sneaker again.
Whether you’re looking to store your impressive sneaker collection, hoping to stash all of your fitness footwear or needing to keep a small closet organized, 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 organizer and founder of Seattle Sparkle, a home organization 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 organizing — 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 mudroom, as well as decorative accents that can hide dirty sneakers in an instant.
(Related: How to Clean Shoes)
How to Organize Your Shoes for Storage
Before tackling shoe organization, 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 closet 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, organized by storage location and approach.
7 Ideas for Shoe Storage in Your Closet
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.
2. Build closet shelving.
You don’t need to be DIY savvy to add floating shelves to your closet. You can either buy ready-to-install shelves or pick up some brackets and wooden planks at a home improvement store. You can even ask the store associate to cut them to size.
This closet shoe-storage idea is ideal if you want to line up your shoes on a shelf but don’t have room in your existing closet space.
3. Hang a metal shoe rack.
This shoe-organization hack will take minutes to set up. Get a wire over-the-door shoe rack and place it inside a closet door for easy access.
4. Get plastic shoe crates.
Make your closet look like a sneaker boutique with stackable shoe crates that can showcase the side profile of your sneakers. Bonus: Some shoe crates are made with 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 to mark the boxes with a list or photos of the shoes inside.
6. Add a bookshelf.
A walk-in closet 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 color.
One thing to keep in mind, Prominski noted: Open shelving does expose your shoes to the elements and dust, so make sure to 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 closets. You can adjust the height and depth of the shelving to create a customized setup that 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.
9. Opt for an over-the-door shoe bag.
This option works well for a hall closet. Select a style made out of clear PEVA material to easily see the shoes. 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.
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. You can keep them under a bench or add them to a storage cabinet.
5 Ideas for Shoe Storage in Narrow Spaces
13. Go with a vertical shoe rack.
When a traditional shoe rack just won’t fit, look for one that’s built upward. 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.
15. Find small floating shelves.
You can build a DIY closet 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 organized, out of the way and easy to access.
17. Save space with shoe stackers.
Skip shelves altogether and get some shoe organizers 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.
19. Work with wire baskets.
Wire baskets work well when you need to corral a bunch of shoes, without needing to prioritize aesthetics. They’re especially useful for a household with kids who just need an easy-to-access spot to toss their sneakers.
20. Customize 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