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Take it from a shoe obsessive who color-codes her collection: The more pairs you own, the harder it becomes to store them — so much so that you might find limited-edition Stan Smiths in a pile at the bottom of the closet, Prada loafers in the entryway, and buffed-up Docs under the bed. A shoe organizer is the smartest solution, because having all your kicks in one dedicated space means more time wearing them and less time trying to find them. But the best organizer depends very much on the size of your collection and space. Then there’s the design element — a plastic underbed container may feel too sophomoric for your taste, while a mismatched wood rack could clash with the rest of your furniture.
To find the best shoe-storage solutions, I assembled a panel of professional organizers and asked for their recommendations, which include ones they’ve used on the job and in their own homes. There are a couple of Strategist-staffer picks below, too. Read on for all these favorites — from shelves for muddy boots in mudrooms to colorful racks for the aesthetically minded.
What we’re looking for
This might be an obvious point, but most organizers will list how many shoes they can actually accommodate. That’s important for two reasons: You’ll know if your current collection will fit and whether you’ll have any space left over to add to it down the road. The official number is important, but there can be an unofficial number: Some of the experts we spoke to let us in on their tricks to make a rack hold even more shoes, which we’ve detailed whenever possible. If you go for a full-on furniture piece that doubles as an organizer, we’ve included an approximate tally or range instead. It’s important to take stock of your collection before buying an organizer: Depending on the type of shoes you’re storing, you may need to be especially thoughtful about how many pairs a given organizer will hold — a ballet flat takes up decidedly less space than an ankle boot. And there’s a difference between men’s and women’s pairs, as the former usually takes up more room.
Form and functionality
Is an organizer stackable? Does it have shelves? If it’s meant to go over the door, are there plastic partitions between each pair? When it comes to shoe storage, it’s important to consider how an organizer is designed. An open rack won’t be as protective against dust if that’s a top concern. An in-closet option might mean each shoe in a pair is pressed tightly together. We’ve noted any standout design features in each recommendation from our experts.
Ease of incorporation
More storage space is better — sort of. A larger storage solution (a cubby, for example) will fix the problem of shoes everywhere, but it’ll be bulkier in a room or in a U-Haul when it’s time to move. Meanwhile, a smaller solution like a mini–boot rack can make a big difference in a small closet. Dimensions are helpful, but it can be difficult to actually imagine how something will look and function in a room. That’s why we’ve rated the picks below as either easy, medium, or hard based on how difficult each is to install or incorporate into an existing space, and we’ve noted details about how the organizers are to put together whenever possible.
Best overall shoe organizer
Storage space: 24 pairs | Form and functionality: Clear front pockets and open sides | Ease of incorporation: Easy
By far, our experts were the most enthusiastic about over-the-door organizers, which offer a more out-of-the-way system that won’t overwhelm a closet or take up prime floor real estate, making them practical for spaces big and small.
The Container Store’s 24-pocket organizer comes recommended by three pros, earning the distinction of the most mentioned over-the-door organizer. According to Nicole Abramovici of Genius Organizing, while many over-the-door organizers can accommodate only 12 pairs, “this gem has 24 pockets and fits one pair per pocket. Life-changing!” Plus the surprisingly spacious pockets can hold heels and chunkier shoes, according to Natalie Schrier, founder of Cut the Clutter. And you can easily zhuzh up the organizer with decorative nails or hooks to mount it to a door, suggests professional organizer Ann Sullivan.
Since deciding it was our best-overall recommendation, I tried it out myself, asking the Container Store to send the organizer over. It was impressive how incredibly simple the organizer was to set up. As the pockets were already in place, I only had to slip the included hooks on a door and through the top holes on the organizer. The pockets are big enough for clogs and high-heeled loafers (though some pairs of thick-soled shoes are probably better off being divided into two slots instead of one). The canvas that lines the top, back, and bottom of the organizer feels sturdy enough and there was never a moment when I thought the entire thing would fall. (That has happened with other cheaper organizers I’ve owed.)
Best over-the-door shoe rack
Storage space: 36 pairs | Form and functionality: 12 tiers with angled bars | Ease of incorporation: Medium
If you dream of a Devil Wears Prada–esque shoe closet, this over-the-door solution is a good place to start. Home organizer Caroline Solomon recommends it for those with lots of footwear and nowhere to put it. “The beauty of this setup is that it allows your clothes to be on full display in your closet, while the door becomes a shoe closet in itself,” she says. Former Strategist senior writer Lauren Levy is a Whitmor convert, since the organizer combines the best parts of an over-the-door option with those of a standard shoe rack. “When similarly tilted racks sit on the floor, shoes without heels will often slide off, but here, your door will prop up anything (like ballet flats) that can’t grip onto the coated metal bars,” she says. And unlike other over-the-door solutions, it’s a “rare hanging option that doesn’t involve any pockets.” The organizer does take more assembly, according to Levy, “though not more than ten minutes; no tools required.” And Strategist writer Dominique Pariso actually bought her own Whitmor after Levy evangelized about the rack, praising it for freeing up floor space and making getting dressed in the morning much easier as her shoes are all on display for her to choose from.
Best shoe organizer for closets
Storage space: Ten pairs | Form and functionality: Individual tiers and optional drawers to pull out (sold separately) | Ease of incorporation: Medium
Con: You may have to move a few hangers in your closet to make room for this organizer. Pro: Your shoes will be hidden away, even more so than with an over-the-door option. Sharon Lowenheim, owner of Organizing Goddess, uses two of these in her coat closet — one she shares with her husband, and the other is just for her daughter. It helps her know when it’s time to say goodbye to a pair. “Because there are only ten slots in the hanging shoe organizer, it reminds me that when I get a pair of shoes, another has to leave,” she says. If you’d like your closet to look less cluttered, you can also buy separate “drawers” to pull out from the organizer, which will hide them from view (here’s a photo for reference).
Best stackable shoe organizer
Storage space: Up to 8 pairs | Form and functionality: Stackable, two-tier design | Ease of incorporation: Easy
There’s something decidedly minimalist about this two-shelf shoe stacker — though that’s precisely why professional organizer Britnee Tanner thinks so highly of it. The piece is going to blend right in — you can choose between a white or “natural” (read: bamboo-esque) finish — which will help spotlight your shoes rather than the organizer. The utilitarian design makes it ideal for stacking, as you can keep building it up vertically to get the most out of any unused space, Tanner says. And even as you stack, it’s easy to clean. That’s because of the clean lines — the solid, flat surface of each tier can be wiped down effortlessly, she explains, as can the stacker’s “feet,” which are likely to get dusty on the floor. If you don’t have the vertical space to stack, you can place multiples side by side, especially if you’re planning on using this option in a closet, where its relatively low profile can fit under hanging clothes. To maximize the stacker’s storage power, Tanner advises placing each pair of shoes with the toe of the right shoe pointing forward and the toe of the left shoe pointing backward so they can sit closer together and free up space for more.
Best shoe organizer for individual pairs
Storage space: One pair per box | Form and functionality: Drop-front to make stacking easier | Ease of incorporation: Easy
These shoe boxes work well for both passionate sneakerheads and minimalists. This was the solution we heard about the most, but it’s not particularly practical for those with big collections, because the boxes aren’t especially space-efficient (and you’ll have to buy them bulk). But a box is useful for the pairs you do want on full display. “These create an exact home for every shoe with super-easy access and give your closet a beautiful yet functional aesthetic,” explains Jamie Hord of Horderly Professional Organizing.
On the more practical side, each box’s “closed drawers keep shoes protected from dust, while small ventilation holes allow shoes to breathe,” says Jessica Decker of Become Organized. Naeemah Ford Goldson of Restore Order Professional Organizing points out how versatile these boxes are — you can keep them under your bed or stacked on shelves. Emily Matles of Emagine Simplicity agrees that this is part of their appeal: “You don’t have to unstack them to get the pair of shoes you want.” However, as Rachel Winkler of Tidyspot reminds us, it takes space to stack them horizontally and vertically.
The boxes are available in three different sizes, so they can even be high-top friendly. Each size is also available in a set of six (which will save you a little money by bringing down the price of each box). Sara Losonci, founder of Shelfie, likes organizing pairs by color for a coordinated look.
Best under-the-bed shoe organizer
Storage space: Up to 12 pairs each (set of two) | Form and functionality: Adjustable dividers | Ease of incorporation: Easy
For shoes you’re not reaching for daily, an underbed organizer is a good solution. Professional organizer Rolanda Lokey sums these up best: They’re “simple, practical storage for out-of-season shoes” that “conserve closet space.” Winkler recommends them for the same reason, pointing out that the dividers can be adjusted for summer-only wedges and taller winter boots. The clear cover will help you find shoes readily while keeping out dust bunnies, she adds.
Best storage box for shoes
Storage space: 12, 16, or 24 pairs (or small, medium, and large sizes) | Form and functionality: Adjustable dividers with side and front handles | Ease of incorporation: Easy
If you have a “dreaded shoe pile,” Lee recommends this storage solution. You can think of it as a smaller version of the under-the-bed organizer. This box includes adjustable dividers that you can customize depending on the size of your shoes and a clear cover that not only guards against dust but lets you see what you have “without having to dig,” Lee explains. It’s helpful if you like to seasonally switch out your shoe collection. But the best part might just be how unassuming it is.
Best shoe rack
Storage space: 12 pairs | Form and functionality: Made from steel, three-tier design | Ease of incorporation: Medium
The realm of shoe-storage solutions is dominated by plastic and bamboo, so this rack stands out for its clean lines and colors including lavender and light pink. (I was a sucker for the dark green.) It’s meant to be displayed. Even better, it combines style and substance, walking the line between a shoe rack and full-on furniture. Elsa Elbert, founder of Composed Living, describes it as “beautiful enough to be out in the open, and the solid shelves ensure your heels won’t fall through the cracks.” Losonci loves how it has room for grab-and-go items before you walk out the door. I’ll add that it surprisingly didn’t take much time to put together — all the tools are included and the thoughtful packaging is designed to serve as an extra pair of hands that holds the shelves in places as you build the rack — and when empty, the handle makes it easy to move around (especially when I’m in a change-everything-up kind of mood). So while it’s more of a splurge than some of the other organizers on this list, I thought it deserved the top spot (plus it’s multifunctional — you can put a plant on it, no problem.)
Best (less-expensive) shoe rack
Storage space: Up to 12 pairs | Form and functionality: Stackable, three-tier design | Ease of incorporation: Medium
As a more affordable rack, this Seville Classics rack is a favorite of Heidi Lee, founder of home-organization service Prune + Pare. It’s meant to be interlocking — you can connect several racks vertically (though it’s recommended that you stack no more than three on top of one another) or horizontally. If that sounds complicated, don’t fret, as Lee notes how simple it is to assemble the system by “clipping” the shelves into the iron frame. Lee appreciates the rack’s sturdiness and that it can hold up to nine pairs on its three shelves — with extra space beneath the for low-profile shoes such as sandals. The rack is so functional-looking — the slats on the shelves are its lone decor embellishment — that it works for both a dorm room and an entryway, she says.
Best expandable shoe rack
Storage space: Up to 12 pairs | Form and functionality: Expandable, three-tier design | Ease of incorporation: Medium
Japanese homeware company Yamazaki is known for its thoughtful, understated designs — it’s topped our lists of the best laundry baskets and dish racks. This expandable shoe rack — one of only two we heard about — is Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo’s favorite buy of 2022. You can expand it width-wise to hold between two to four pairs of shoes across, she explains, “giving the illusion that our shoes are kind of elegantly floating in space.” Like we’ve come to expect from the brand, the rack is “calming to look at, like the décor you’d see in a boutique hotel upstate,” Corsillo explains, adding that it’s “surprisingly slim and unobtrusive for how strong it is.” She likes how she can easily pick it up — the rack is currently one of the first things you see when you walk into her apartment — she can clean it up underneath without making a fuss.
Best (less-expensive) expandable shoe rack
Storage space: 15 to 21 pairs | Form and functionality: Expandable, three-tier design | Ease of incorporation: Medium
Three of our organizing pros recommended this expandable rack: Schrier, Anna Bauer of Sorted by Anna, and certified KonMari consultant Kelley Jonkoff all swear by it for its grippy bars. “The foam coating is key,” says Schrier. “It keeps the shoes from slipping off the rack.” So if you’re a flats fanatic, this is your best bet. Jonkoff singles out its adjustable width, which she says is nice if you move often. “Moving is expensive enough without having to replace your things to fit your new smaller or larger space,” she says. “I’ve had a similar design to this for over ten years, and it’s still going strong.”
Best shoe rack with wheels
Storage space: 50 pairs | Form and functionality: Ten-tier design, four wheels | Ease of incorporation: Medium
“This rack is ideal for someone with a large shoe collection and a small, multiuse space,” Jonkoff says. It’s tall, so it doesn’t leave a large footprint. But it’s rather bulky, making it not necessarily the easiest to incorporate — unlike our aforementioned picks. The wheels are a big bonus, though, making it “perfect for a closetless room,” because it “can be rolled out of the way when company is over or anytime a space is needed for something else,” according to Jonkoff.
Best shoe cubby
Storage space: 48 pairs | Form and functionality: Detachable dividers, translucent doors | Ease of incorporation: Hard
Freestanding shoe cubbies take up floor space, but they’re probably a better option for those with many shoes. A recommendation from Lokey, this organizer is made up of individual “boxes,” with each holding up to four pairs of shoes. There’s a horizontal divider in each section that can be removed to make space for taller pairs. You could go for translucent or white doors, too. Lokey adds that because every cubby closes, it’s easy to transport. “It’s a great, versatile choice for those who prefer visibility as well as people who may want to keep their shoes mostly out of sight,” she says.
Best shoe cubby for small spaces
Storage space: 12 pairs | Form and functionality: Stackable, Three- or four-tier design | Ease of incorporation: Medium
If you like the look of a cubby but don’t have the space, this is a more minimalist version of the style. Two experts recommend this simple cubby system. Solomon calls it the best shoe-storage solution she’s ever used in a client’s home. She used one of these organizers for an everyday-clothes closet and another for heels in a dressier closet. She credits the grid format for making it especially easy to pick out a pair of shoes. Lisa Tselebidis, a certified KonMari consultant, likes how you can use it to “create as large of a shoe organizer as you need.”
Best shoe-storage bench
Storage space: Up to ten pairs | Form and functionality: Cushion, adjustable side shelves | Ease of incorporation: Hard
For a piece that combines seating with shoe storage, Lokey recommends this cushioned bench with cubbies. She calls it “functional storage that is great for kids, the elderly, or anyone who would like the practicality of having built-in seating adjacent to their most frequently worn shoes.” The bench comes with a removable cushion, and the side shelves can be adjusted for taller boots.
Best wall-mounted shoe storage
Storage space: Up to four pairs | Form and functionality: Two cabinets, must be wall-mounted | Ease of incorporation: Hard
For those who want their shoes completely out of sight, Bauer, Matles, and Losonci recommend Ikea’s Trones mounted-cabinet system. Bauer says it’s “slim and compact and can be used in various areas of your home,” while Matles likes that it “fits perfectly on a wall in a narrow space and keeps shoes off the floor.” Losonci bought these for her small Hell’s Kitchen walk-up years ago and still has them three apartments later. “They are super-narrow, so you don’t even notice they are there.” And if you lay your shoes on the side as opposed to up and down, you can get another pair or two in there, she tells us. If you want to spruce it up some more, Losonci recommends adding a piece of wood or marble on top to make it an entryway console.
And if you have even more shoes to store and want them near an entryway, both Elbert and Solomon mentioned Ikea’s bookcases. Elbert recommends the Billy/Oxberg Bookcase, as it “offers a glass display to show off shoes on top, and you can leave those ‘less attractive’ options behind the solid door.” Solomon prefers the classic Billy Bookcase, using the following organizing system to find a pair easily: More-frequently worn shoes are at eye level, less-frequently worn pairs are up high, and slippers are on the lowest shelf to slip on anytime.
Best shoe organizer for boots
Four pairs | Oak, steel fasteners, folds flat | Medium
Storing boots — especially tall ones — is trickier because of their high shafts. Allison Dunn, founder of Neat Rules, introduced us to this rack. It has more structure compared to other options (which usually involve clips or hooks) and keeps boots visible while preserving their shape, she says. It does take up space on the floor but folds up whenever you need it to. (If you have extra room in your closet, Boottique’s Original Boot Hanger got two thumbs up, too. Both Bauer and Apartment Jeanie’s Jeanie Engelbach like the handy hangers, which don’t mess with the construction of the boots.)
Best shoe-storage add-on
Storage space: One pair per slot, six-piece set | Form and functionality: Saves space on shelves | Ease of incorporation: Easy
To squeeze even more space out of whatever solution you choose, Decker suggests trying these Shoe Slotz, which “increase storage space and prevent shoes from getting damaged sitting on top of each other.” These are almost identical to the ones Strategist contributor Alison Freer likens to “individual two-story condos for every single pair of footwear.” Schrier uses something similar, agreeing that these “literally double the amount of shoes you can store on a flat rack or on the floor.”
Some more shoe organizers we like
• Nicole Abramovici, owner of Genius Organizing
• Anna Bauer, owner of Sorted by Anna
• Liza Corsillo, Strategist senior writer
• Jessica Decker, professional organizer at Become Organized
• Elsa Elbert, founder of Composed Living
• Jeanie Engelbach, founder of Apartment Jeanie
• Alison Freer, Strategist contributor
• Naeemah Ford Goldson, owner of Restore Order Professional Organizing
• Jamie Hord, co-founder of Horderly Professional Organizing
• Kelley Jonkoff, certified KonMari consultant
• Heidi Lee, founder of home-organization service Prune + Pare
• Lauren Levy, former Strategist senior writer
• Rolanda Lokey, professional organizer
• Sara Losonci, founder of Shelfie
• Sharon Lowenheim, owner of Organizing Goddess
• Emily Matles, professional organizer at Emagine Simplicity
• Dominique Pariso, Strategist writer
• Natalie Schrier, founder of Cut the Clutter
• Caroline Solomon, home organizer
• Ann Sullivan, professional organizer
• Britnee Tanner, professional organizer
• Lisa Tselebidis, certified KonMari consultant
• Rachel Winkler, founder of tidyspot
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