Simple Hacks That Make Packing Your Shoes Even Easier

Travel brings joy, but let's be honest — packing can be a bothersome task. And when it comes to coming up with a packing strategy for your shoes, it can sometimes feel both frustrating (and a tad gross) but with some basic tips, your shoes will soon be travel-ready.

Let's start with the basics. Tempting as it might be when you're short on time or patience, never put your shoes directly into your suitcase. This way, you'll avoid having to do laundry when traveling. Opt instead for placing them in plastic shopping bags (finally, a use for those) or even shower caps that you can easily fasten to the front and back of your shoes' soles. If you can't find any bags or shower caps handy, make a one-time investment in reusable waterproof shoe storage bags. A water-resistant travel shoe bag is a more compact and sanitary method of storing your shoes and will likely last you years.

As an added bonus, these steps should make easy work of the dirt and grime issues while not contributing to luggage that smells like, well, shoes. But if you still worry about lingering odors, tossing in a dryer sheet or two should solve that problem. 

Clean your shoes pre-packing

Before packing any shoes, You'll want to sanitize them as best you can. Check if your shoes are machine washable, and if they are, place them in a mesh laundry bag on a gentle cycle. If they can't be cleaned by your washing machine, try wiping them with disinfectant wipes or a rag soaked in good old-fashioned soap and water. While wiping them down, pay close attention to the soles and shoe tongue as they are the most touched areas of a shoe. 

Alternatively, consider the cutting-edge technology of UV shoe sanitizer. For around $100, these devices use UV light to disinfect your shoes. You may have even seen something similar for your cell phone. Just note, though, this isn't the tool that will clean scuff marks off those white sneakers. 

Once you've got the outside looking good, TikToker @fastklean recommends employing a classic hack to absorb inner moisture and diminish odor by placing baking soda directly inside your shoes and then gently tapping it out into trash before your next wear.

Different Shoes need different cleaning methods

Experienced travelers tend to become one of three types of packers: minimalists who can jet off for a week with only a backpack and a dream; savvy shoppers who can tell you the most comfortable day-to-night shoe (and send you the coupon code); or luggage Tetris masters. If you really want to be in that last camp (and who wouldn't, given it's the best of both worlds?) you can even find packing strategy videos on YouTube so you can fit every pair of the shoes you absolutely need into that bag. 

When it comes to packing boots, for instance, it's essential to place them at the bottom of your suitcase, optimizing space by positioning them in a heel-toe, heel-toe manner. However, for heels and wedges, consider a reverse approach — heel-toe, toe-heel. As for sneakers, dress shoes, sandals, and flip flops, they too adhere to the heel-toe, heel-toe pattern, similar to boots.

To preserve the shape of your shoes, fill them with socks, underwear, or other smaller garments like crop tops. However, this recommendation doesn't apply to dress shoes, sandals, and flip flops. For dress shoes, always use shoe trees, while for flip flops and sandals, you can flatten and press them into a side pocket of your suitcase for easy packing. Armed with the nifty knowledge of shoe-packing wizardry, you're now a seasoned pro, equipped to jet off to any destination with your shoes in tip-top shape, preserving space, hygiene, and your sanity.