8 Tips for Packing Your Shoes During a Move

Kaitlyn Pacheco
Written by Kaitlyn Pacheco
Updated January 11, 2022
A woman packing a pair of winter boots
Photo: Oscar Wong / Moment / Getty Images


  • Keep pairs of shoes together during the move by tying the laces together.

  • Use moving as an opportunity to donate or recycle unwanted shoes.

  • Dry shoes entirely before packing to avoid mold growth.

  • Stuff your shoes with rolled-up socks to maintain their shape during transit.

What everyday item is bulky, possibly smelly, and intimidating to pack? The answer is shoes. Packing different types of shoes can prove to be a challenge, but by following these eight helpful tips, you can rest assured that your loafers, heels, and everything in-between will get to your new home safely.

1. Donate Shoes You Don’t Wear

Although we hate to admit it, most of us own a few pairs of shoes that have spent more time in the back of the closet than out on the town. Moving is the perfect opportunity to declutter your home and donate items you no longer use. 

Start by dividing your shoe collection into three categories: pack, donate, and recycle. You can donate shoes that are still in good condition to a local charity or a thrift store, but you should plan to recycle well-worn or broken shoes. That way, you can avoid packing unnecessary items and start fresh in your new home.

2. Don’t Separate the Pairs

A man packing a pair of shoes
Photo: Grace Cary / Moment / Getty Images

There’s nothing worse than realizing you lost one shoe sometime during the moving process. To avoid finding a lonely sole, keep pairs intact by tying the laces together before packing them away. For shoes that don’t have laces, consider wrapping them in shrink wrap to keep the pair together. Plus, this extra step will make it easier to unpack and organize your shoes once you reach your destination.

3. Dry Shoes Completely Before Packing

Unfortunately, trapped moisture can cause mold to grow on your favorite pair of shoes. If you pack your rain-soaked sneakers before they have the chance to dry, they could look (and smell) funky by the time you unpack them.

Dry your shoes thoroughly before packing them away to prevent surprise mold growth. You can do so by leaving them close to a small fan overnight or stuffing them with balled-up newspaper and placing them near a radiator. If the shoes in question don’t have hard soles, you can tumble-dry them in a clothes dryer.

4. Stick to Clean Packing Paper

While it may be tempting to reuse newspaper as packing material, the black ink can rub off the paper and onto your clean sneakers. Avoid a streaky disaster by wrapping your shoes with clean, unused packing paper or paper towels. If you’re really in a packing jam, you can use newspaper as a second outer layer of wrapping, as long as it doesn’t touch your shoes.

5. Store Seasonal Shoes Separately

Three pairs of heeled shoes in a box
Photo: Isabel Pavia / Moment / Getty Images

When preparing to move your shoes from one home to another, take the time to consider where you’ll put each pair in your new place. Will you have room to display every pair, or will you need to store away less-used or seasonal shoes? 

One way to store seasonal shoes is by packing them into clear storage containers, organizing them by occasion or season. That way, you can easily view the contents of each box when you need to reach for a certain pair. Luckily, storage containers come in tons of shapes and sizes, making it easy to store them on shelves or stacked in the closet.

6. Stuff With Socks

There’s no better way to pack your socks than stuffing them inside your shoes. By filling each pair of shoes with one or two pairs of rolled-up socks, you’ll help your shoes maintain their shape during the move and avoid packing your sock collection separately. It’s a win-win.

7. Fill a Suitcase With Shoes

If you prefer to pack your shoes in a suitcase instead of moving boxes, we’ve got you covered. Start by wrapping your shoes in plastic wrap or plastic bags and stacking them sideways into your suitcase, with the heels and soles facing opposite each other. You can even fill the zippered compartments with flat, slim shoes.

When packing boots, high heels, or wedges, place each shoe in an L shape, facing the other shoe in the pair. To take advantage of the space between each shoe, fill the gap with rolled clothing or a pair of socks.

8. Put Heavy Shoes on the Bottom

Whether you’re packing your shoes in storage containers, moving boxes, or suitcases, always place your heavy and bulky pairs on the bottom. This packing method will balance out the weight of the shoe-packed container, plus make it easier to carry. Most importantly, you won’t risk damaging your lighter, more delicate shoes.