Packing Shoes for Air Travel

2023-01-08 02:58:08 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

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Are you curious about the best way to pack shoes in a suitcase to ensure that they take up as little room as possible and take up as little time as possible during your trip? Never forget that you have company.

To put it bluntly, footwear is one of the more inconvenient garment items to transport. Not only do they not fold, but their peculiar shape also makes them prone to deformation and shape loss under excessive loads.

Luckily, you can pack a variety of shoes using a few easy tricks and methods. Let's investigate these approaches together.

Hoping to bring a specific pair of shoes To quickly navigate to a certain section of the article, please use our table of contents. If not, then I suppose we should start at the beginning.

Traveling with Shoes: Proper Packing

How to Pack Shoes in a Suitcase for Travel - 8 Smart & Easy Tips

For your convenience, all images feature unboxed footwear rather than shoes in plastic bags.

Packing Tips for Heels and Wedges

Wedges and heels are among the most elegant footwear options for many vacationers.

Packing a pair of shoes is a must if you plan on going out on more formal occasions. A pair of wedges or heels will help you look the part at any upscale establishment, from restaurants to nightclubs.

One of the most difficult shoe shapes to pack is a pair of heels or wedges. And they're usually the priciest footwear you bring along on a trip. They can't be harmed in any way.

The correct way to pack wedges and heels will be discussed below.

packing wedges in a suitcase
  1. Since your shoes will be touching some of your clothing, be sure to give them a thorough cleaning. It's up to you whether you want to clean your shoes using an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer, a DIY kit, or some other strategy.
  2. Take out any socks or undergarments that can be rolled up or stuffed.
  3. Put the rolled-up items of your choice into both shoes to keep their form.
  4. Separately and securely (but not too tightly) wrap both heels or wedges in plastic bags.
  5. To avoid having to lug around extra weight, pack your heels in the upper, central portion of your suitcase. Put on a couple of tops and a dress to create a base layer.
  6. Place one heel against the layer, sole-down. Finally, layer an article of clothing atop
  7. Align the second heel with the first heel and lay it upside down on top of the article of clothing.
  8. Finally, stuff more rolled-up small clothing items or socks into both shoes to fill the space between the soles and the heels or wedges.

Wedges and heels make packing as fun as Tetris or Candy Crush. The idea is to squeeze them as tightly as possible and fill the empty spots with other items of clothing.

Traveling with Boots: Proper Case Packing

While it's true that boots weigh more than other shoe styles, their durability and size allow them to withstand more pressure than thinner footwear like heels, sneakers, and sandals.

Your trusted boots are coming along on your trip to the place with rough terrain, cold weather, and outdoor activities.

Learn how to efficiently pack boots to minimize wasted time and space.

packing boots in a suitcase
  1. Boots, especially those destined for outdoor use, require a thorough cleaning. Shoe disinfectants, ultraviolet shoe sanitizers, shoe cleaning kits, and other options are all good ways to get rid of germs and bacteria.
  2. Your boots will take up more room because of their height and bulk. In any case, a lot of socks or other small articles of clothing can be stored in the space provided by each boot.
  3. After stuffing, place each boot in its own plastic bag.
  4. Now that you're prepared, you can prevent your suitcase from toppling over by placing its heavier boots inside. Pack your boots into the bottom corners of your suitcase by squeezing the sole and heel against the side.
  5. Wearing lightweight clothing to fill the voids left by heels and other footwear and packing everything in tightly without wiggle room can help.
  6. Dress the boots in an extra layer of clothing to act as a barrier, and then pack the rest of your belongings. Your suitcase will be more stable once upright because most of its weight will be concentrated there.

Taking Sneakers on a Plane and Other Tips

Pack your most comfortable pair of sneakers if you plan on doing any hiking or working out while on vacation.

We have a wide range of shoes, but sneakers are kind of in the middle. Because of their increased volume compared to thinner footwear like sandals and high heels, athletes' shoes are better able to support a greater load.

The weakness and lack of rigidity are most noticeable in comparison to boots. Sneakers can be packed in a suitcase in one of two ways:

packing sneakers in a suitcase
  1. In addition, you should clean each pair of shoes on this list before packing them. For this, you can use whatever means are most convenient for you, whether it be a shoe disinfectant, an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer, a shoe cleaning kit, or something else entirely.
  2. Put a sock inside of each pair of sneakers. While the back of a pair of sneakers will not give, the upper part will. Because of this, they will be able to maintain their form.
  3. Pack your sneakers securely by placing them in individual plastic bags and tying them shut. To make more room, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag.
  4. If you stack your sneakers heel to toe, one on top of the other, you'll get a near perfect rectangular shape because of how they're designed. Like high heels, they can be zipped together, separated by a layer of clothing, and stowed in the suitcase's middle or bottom.
  5. If you don't want to put too much pressure on your sneakers, you can also separate the soles and pack them sole to side.
  6. After stowing the shoes, add a protective layer of lighter clothing above and around them.
packing sneakers in a suitcase and layering

As an added bonus, sneakers are the perfect footwear for exploring new places. You can pack your heavier, less practical shoes and still be comfortable on the plane if you wear these.

Methods for Safely Storing Sandals and Flip-Flops

Without a doubt, sandals and flip-flops are the most hassle-free footwear options when traveling. They take up a lot less room than high heels or regular shoes because they are lower to the ground.

Their framework tends to be a lot more flexible The result is that they are much less likely to balloon out of proportion. Some people enjoy being crammed in close quarters with them, while others find it uncomfortable.

However, there are some tricks that packing pros use to minimize wasteful handling of the items.

packing flip flops and sandals in a suitcase
  1. Be sure to clean them thoroughly before packing them so that they retain their pleasant scent.
  2. Instead of trying to stuff them, stack them heel to toe with the outsoles facing each other.
  3. To store the cleaned shoes, place them in a plastic bag or a shoe storage bag.
  4. Flip-flops and sandals are convenient for using mesh or side pockets, provided they are large enough, due to how easily they flatten.
  5. Simply place them closer to the top of your suitcase if this is the case. Layer clothing on either side of the shoes, just like you would with any other pair of shoes, for added safety.

Avoiding Squishing Your Shoes When Packing

All the techniques we consider aim to pack shoes in a way that reduces strain on the structural elements.

Keep the following tips in mind for a general shoe packing guide.

  1. Socks or other easily creased small articles of clothing should be used to pad the insides of shoes at all times. The shoe will maintain its form and you'll have more room in your bag thanks to this packing hack.
  2. When packing your suitcase or bag, place your shoes so that the soles face outward. The harder sole will absorb more of the shock from any sudden movements in weight.
  3. Lightweight shoe trees can keep your shoes from flattening out during travel, which is especially helpful if you're taking your nicer shoes on a trip or if you don't want to crumple them up with socks and underwear.
  4. Except when packing shoes in a suitcase, shoes should always be put together heel first, toe second, with the sole facing out. When shoes are stacked in this way, their overall shape becomes more rectangular, making them more convenient to store and transport. In addition, the upper and midsole of the shoe are better shielded from damage.
  5. Be sure your footwear is safe by building up layers around and in between them. A heavy hoodie, a pair of jeans, or even just a few shirts folded in half would do the trick here.

Learn the Art of Backpack Shoe Storage

If you're going on a trip where you'll need to bring an extra pair of shoes but are otherwise packing light, you can put them in your backpack.

Naturally, the amount of available room will vary from one pair of shoes to the next. Wear the heavier, bulkier pair and store the lighter pair in your bag if possible.

You can try this with any spare pair of shoes, but it works best with shoes like sneakers and flip-flops.

packing shoes in a backpack
  1. To pack your shoes like a suitcase, clean them out and stuff them with rolled-up clothes or socks.
  2. Protect your footwear by placing it in a plastic bag and sealing it shut.
  3. When you're finished stuffing and wrapping your shoes, slot them together so the heels and soles are facing in opposite directions.
  4. Heavy items should be packed in the middle of a backpack, rather than at the bottom, to reduce the strain on your back. Organize your backpack so that your base layer of clothing is at the very bottom; these items won't be needed for emergency situations.
  5. Put your wrapped footwear in the middle of your backpack.
  6. Finally, bring some less bulky top layers with you that you'll need.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't cram your shoes into your backpack unless it's absolutely necessary.

Even if your shoes aren't very big, they'll still take up a lot of space in your backpack if you plan to bring them with you.

Learn the Art of Duffel Bag Shoe Packing

An advantage of a duffel bag over a backpack is that it can hold a lot more stuff. As a result, you don't have to get particularly creative when packing.

packing shoes in a duffel bag
  1. Make use of the space in your shoes by storing socks and underwear after a good cleaning.
  2. Wrap each pair of shoes in a separate bag and tie the ends securely but not too tight.
  3. The load is much more comfortably carried with a duffel bag. Thus, the bottom is a suitable place to set your shoes. Put them in the bag's middle heel-first, stacked toe-first, and side-up.
  4. Pack your heaviest, thickest, and bulkiest items on either side of the shoes to make a heavier base layer. Because of this, the bag will be less cumbersome to carry, and the insoles of your shoes will be safe from damage.
  5. After that, make a lighter outer layer and fasten it with a zipper.

The shoe's softer structure is better shielded from wear and tear when the soles are facing outwards. They won't get squashed or deformed thanks to the lighter clothing on top.

Packing Instructions for Shoes in a Suitcase

As we've seen, a garment bag is one of the most shoe-friendly options among the various bags and cases we've considered.

This is so because the bottom of the majority of garment bags features either a pocket or a zippered section designed to store shoes.

If you're packing a suit, you'll probably also bring your best pair of dress shoes. So, the garment bag will protect your clothes.

The good news is that there are a few tricks you can use to efficiently pack your footwear.

  1. Shoes should be cleaned and polished before being packed. Any method you like, such as the use of a shoe disinfectant, an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer, a shoe cleaning kit, etc.
  2. Spray some shoe deodorizer inside after you've cleaned them.
  3. Once you have your shoes covered, you can place your socks inside of them.
  4. Don't forget to place each pair of shoes in their own plastic bag. This will prevent grime and polish from sticking to your clothes and skin.
  5. Leave your footwear in the bottom compartment. Line them up, bottoms touching.

What Else Should I Keep in Mind When Packing Shoes?

shoes and a suitcase

Prepare for your trip by spraying your shoes.

Every pair of shoes has the potential to harbor a foul odor. It's a good idea to occasionally clean your shoes, but doing so constantly is impractical.

It's a lot more work to clean and dry a pair of shoes. You'll want to have them handy, as you'll be wearing them frequently.

Carrying around a shoe deodorizer or spray is a must. Once a day, spray them thoroughly, and give them another good spraying a day or two before stuffing them with underwear and socks.

Items of value can be concealed in your footwear.

For more compact garments like socks, we've discussed the stuffing method. The soles of shoes are not only great for walking in, but they can also be used to safeguard other, more delicate items.

Shoes in a carry-on or backpack, as opposed to a checked suitcase, are a great place to stow valuables like earrings, necklaces, other jewelry, memory cards, and spare cash.

Pack them in small containers or bubble wrap, and then tuck them into your shoes along with your socks and other undergarments. Just remember to never put anything of value in your checked luggage.

Now your footwear will maintain its form, and the rigid exterior will shield your valuables from harm.

Don't cram your shoes in with your expensive camera gear.

You shouldn't put your shoes in the same bag as your expensive camera or drone if you're traveling.

Try to create some sort of clothing layering system in between the two. Or you could use bags, bubble wrap, and packaging to safeguard your electronics.

Your footwear features extremely rigid soles and heels. Your expensive equipment could be damaged if the suitcase is not packed tightly and the hard heel presses against it.

No more than three pairs of shoes should be brought on a trip.

Avoid the temptation to cram as much into your suitcase as possible before your trip. In order to reduce clutter and anxiety, it's best to prepare ahead of time.

Three pairs of shoes is the norm for most travelers. This usually consists of a pair of sneakers, a pair of dress shoes, and a pair of shoes appropriate for the weather in their destination.

These could be light sandals for a trip to the beach or sturdy boots for a trip to the mountains.

It's important to evaluate whether you'll actually use each item you pack. If you don't normally work out, the odds of doing so while on vacation are already low. As a result, you probably won't need to wear shoes.

Try to bring at least three pairs of footwear; one to wear and two to store away. That way, you can pack lighter and have more room in your bags.

The Condensed Guide to Suitcase Shoe Packing

In every situation requiring careful packing, creative problem-solving and thought-out execution are required. Although shoes are stiff and cumbersome, they can be packed efficiently.

All types of footwear, including high heels, boots, sneakers, and sandals, can be packed using the techniques discussed here.

You should remove any dirt or debris from your shoes before packing them, then use them as a stabilizer in your suitcase and pack multiple layers of clothing.

Get rid of the hassle of dealing with squished, damaged shoes on your next trip. You can pack quickly and efficiently by using our 8 suggestions.

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I really appreciated some of these easy but brilliant shoe packing tricks. Add this article to a board on Pinterest to keep these tips in easy reach for your next trip.

How to pack shoes in a suitcase - 8 smart tips

British content creator and strategist Dale Johnson penned this piece. Since 2016, he has been a full-time digital nomad, and his writing focuses on various aspects of traveling, such as efficient travel and cutting-edge technology.

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