Shoe Packing 101

Is there anything more difficult than packing shoes? I say, no!

It doesn’t seem to matter how big my suitcase is, or how “light” I try to pack- shoes are ALWAYS my issue (and we only have a family of 4!)

Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years:

  1. Assess Your Needs: The first thing I do when I’m packing for a trip is lay out all the shoes (for all 4 of us) that I would ideally like to bring. This is usually a HUGE pile. I check the weather to determine if I need to add or subtract any shoes (ex. if the forecast is for lots of rain, rain boots become a ‘must.’)
  2. Be Realistic: I almost always throw a pair of tennis shoes in my initial pile. Tennis shoes take up a lot of space, and honestly, they are usually my least worn shoe. Even with the best of intentions, I rarely make time to work out on a vacation. That’s me though. For you, it might be a pair of heels, a boot, or even some cute flats. Most likely there will be one pair of shoes in your pile that stands out as a real extra. Eliminate those!
  3. Coordinate Clothes: After I’ve pulled out all the clothes I want to travel with, I go through each outfit and decide which shoes I will wear. If I find that there is a pair of shoes I’m only planning on wearing with 1 outfit, I try to either settle for another pair of shoes with that outfit or I will try to replace the outfit with something that works with other shoes. In my husband’s case, I encourage him to travel with either black or brown shoes and clothes.
  4. Pick the First Shoe: Before I pick the outfit I plan to travel in, I consider my shoes. I make every attempt to wear the largest, bulkiest or heaviest shoe. If it’s on my foot, it doesn’t need to be in the suitcase. For my children I also consider how quickly they can get the shoes on and off. It’s worth it to have them travel in manageable shoes since they frequently take them off.
  5. Fill the shoe: Once I’ve narrowed down our shoes, I fill them with as much of our clothing as possible. Our kids shoes are small so I usually fill them with socks, or underwear. I usually roll undershirts or pj’s and stuff them in my husband and my shoes. Not only will this save a little space, but it will also protect the shoes.
  6. Don’t forget Flip Flops: It’s easy when you travel in the winter months to not think to pack flip flops, however if there is any chance you’ll be staying in a hotel with an indoor pool- you’ll DEFINITELY want to find room for them! Otherwise you’ll end up heading to the pool in a swim cover up and snow boots.
  7. Keep it Clean: As much as I love shoes, I still view them as pretty dirty and germy. I always pack my shoes inside a bag of some sort. There was even a tip in my post on the Coolest Travel Hacks where they suggested putting hotel shower caps over the bottom of your shoes. I love that idea and can’t wait to try it.
  8. Pack Strategically:  Once you are 100% set on which shoes you are packing, be sure to maximize your space by packing the shoes strategically. Here is a great post with a video to demonstrate (PS. I don’t necessary agree with her 3 pair rule of thumb…depending on the length of my trip, I’m more of a 5 pair girl!) : click here to watch video.

Do you have any tips to make shoe packing easier?

You might also enjoy reading:

Packing Strategies: What Works Best

Packing The Ultimate Children’s Carry-On

Strange Things We Bring On Family Vacations

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