Here’s How to Pack Your Shoes for a Move Without Crushing or Scuffing Them

published Jun 27, 2022
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When I moved to my current home, I took a giant cardboard box and threw all my shoes into it. I figured they’re shoes and are designed to take a bit of a beating, so they should be fine. Cue me opening up that box after I moved to find smashed sneakers, a broken sandal strap, and scratches on my purple suede heels.

In my defense, I’ve never particularly cared about shoes. This is a relatively new personality quirk for me. So I didn’t really think about how to move them, and how it should probably differ from my previous “stuff in a box and go” method.

If you want to avoid the same issues I had when you’re packing your shoes to move, here’s what you should do.

Use the original boxes if you can.

If you still have the original boxes for your shoes, great! Pack each pair in its designated box. But if you don’t (and let’s be real, not many of us do) you’ve got a few options.

“An alternative to [shoeboxes] is using a door-hanging shoe rack,” says Beatrice de Jong, Consumer Trends Expert at Opendoor. “You can usually fold this in half and lay it flat or put it in a large box, keeping your shoes in pairs and organized.”

Failing that, you may have to use a big box like I did. But there are some precautions you can take.

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Stuff your shoes.

Don’t want smashed sneakers? You don’t need to have them.

“Use rolled-up newspaper to place inside shoes in order to help keep the shape of the shoes,” says Common’s Chief Move-In Officer, Jodi Farbish.

If you don’t have any newspaper or don’t want to crumple it up, try stuffing your shoes with T-shirts, socks, extra pillowcases, or even plastic bags. Anything soft you have laying around could work. You can also pack your shoes in canvas bags after stuffing them to preserve the material.

Use the right packing method.

When you’re using the big box method, you’ll want to be sure to stack the shoes properly in order to avoid any mishaps.

“Stack your shoes in order of bulkiness and how much you value them,” de Jong says. “For example, your rain, snow, and hiking boots can go at the bottom, followed by sneakers, and then I usually like to put sandals at the top. If you have several pairs of heels, packing those in a hard-top suitcase, laying each shoe on its side and going about it like a game of tetris works best. You can layer in towels or sweatshirts to ensure the heels don’t scuff each other.”

And remember the weight of the box, as well — and that you or a mover will have to actually pick it up and carry it. “Distribute the weight of your shoes in each box you’re packing in to ensure one side isn’t heavier than the other,” Farbish says.