Whether you’re a sneakerhead or a Manolo devotee, you’ve likely grappled with the question of how to store all of your precious shoes in a cramped city apartment. Under the bed just won’t do, and a jumble of mismatched pairs cluttering your entryway isn’t a great look either. To find the best storage solutions that also keep your shoes in tip-top shape, we spoke to professional organizers all throughout New York City for their recommendations. Below, 17 of their favorite boxes, shelves, racks, and more.
Best overall shoe organizer
These clear-plastic shoeboxes from the Container Store were the most recommended storage solution by our organization experts. “We never encourage clients to keep shoes in their original shoeboxes,” says Jamie Hord of Horderly Professional Organizing. “Clear, uniform shoeboxes let you see exactly what you have, maximizes your space, and gives you an aesthetic look in your closet that makes it impossible to mess up.” They work for both shoes that are worn regularly and ones that need to be stored for the off-season. They’re also stackable. “You want to mimic creating shelves in some way,” says Amanda Wiss, founder of Urban Clarity, while Apartment Jeanie’s Jeanie Engelbach recommends utilizing the height of the closet to store shoes. They’re also easy to label, and Jeni Aron of Clutter Cowgirl says, “If you’re done with a pair of shoes, you can use the box for something else not even shoe related (bathroom, kitchen, pet stuff, meds, etc.).” They come in standard, large, and tall sizes (for heels), but can get pricey if you need a bunch of them.
Here’s something similar from the Container Store that three of our experts also highly recommend. “I love these boxes because you don’t have to unstack them to get the pair of shoes you want,” says Emily Matles of Emagine Simplicity. Hord agrees: “These drop-front shoeboxes create an exact home for every shoe with super-easy access and give your closet a beautiful, yet functional, aesthetic.” Jessica Decker of Become Organized also likes these because “the closed drawer keeps shoes protected from dust, while small ventilation holes allow shoes to breathe.”
Best over-the-door shoe organizers
For an organization system that’s more out of the way, three of our experts recommend sticking them on the back of a door. “In my opinion, the best place for shoes (in terms of space-saving) is on the back of a door or inside a closet door,” says Tori Cohen of Tori the Organizer. Decker agrees: “An over-the-door shoe organizer is the easiest, simplest way to store shoes. It goes up in a second and can hold 24 pairs of shoes in an otherwise unused space.” Nicole Abramovici of Genius Organizing notes that the average shoe bag accommodates only 12 pairs, but “this gem has 24 pockets [and fits] one pair per pocket, hence 24 pairs are up in there. Life-changing!” To make them look a little more appealing, professional organizer Ann Sullivan suggests using decorative nails or small hooks to mount them on doors instead of using the over-the-door hooks that come with them.
Another over-the-door option is this nifty organizer that Lauren Levy wrote about, and is “the rare hanging option that doesn’t involve any pockets.” While it takes more assembly than one with pouches, “the benefit is that it comfortably carries both heels and flats,” she adds, “and it won’t suffocate shoe leather, a material that requires sufficient breathing room to stay fresh.”
Best shoe cubby systems
For those who prefer to keep shoes contained in their own compartments, try this simple cubby system recommended by Lisa Tselebidis, a KonMari-certified consultant. “This minimalist cubby organizer can be placed anywhere in the home, whether in the entryway or in a closet,” she says. “You can put two or more of these together and create as large of a shoe organizer as you need.” Sullivan also recommends a similar system and notes that it is “great for a mudroom,” and “if you don’t want to do built-ins or have the budget for them.” Amelia Meena of Appleshine is also a fan: “I love using them for flats or sneakers — sometimes heels can be a bit tricky if they’re too high.”
To display all of your shoes in a streamlined manner, Kadi Dulude of Wizard of Homes recommends this tall cubby cabinet that can hold 36 pairs of footwear.
Best shoe racks
Straightforward shoe racks are also great for decluttering spaces like entryways. “They may be basic, but they get the job done,” says Matles. “They’re ideal for adding more shoe storage in your closet or by your entryway.” This one from Home Bi is stackable.
Hord’s go-to pick for shoe organization is this stackable mesh rack. “We love this shoe-rack solution for many reasons. One big reason is that it has straight, solid shelves,” she says. Another reason is the fact that it stacks, which means maximizing vertical space. You can even fit an extra row of shoes on the floor below the bottom shelf.
For a bare-bones rack that expands, Anna Bauer of Sorted by Anna likes this one from the Container Store that has grippy, offset bars.
Barbara Reich of Resourceful Consultants likes the West Elm shoe rack for “its simple, clean aesthetic,” she says. “It is a neutral addition to any entryway.”
Best shoe stackers
To squeeze even more space out of your shelves, Decker suggests trying these Shoe Slotz that “increase storage space and prevent shoes from getting damaged sitting on top of each other.” These are similar to ones that Strategist contributor Alison Freer recommends, which she says are “like individual two-story condos for every single pair of footwear.” She continues: “As everyone on the island of Manhattan knows, the Golden Rule of creating more space is always to go up rather than out, and because the Shoe Slotz allow me to stack two shoes on top of each other within the same footprint, I essentially halve the amount of space each pair takes up on my shoe racks.”
Best hanging shoe organizers
Vertical fabric cubbies are another great hanging option for utilizing limited space in a closet. Just attach it to the rod off to the side and you instantly have designated room for your shoes. Dulude recommends this canvas organizer that holds a surprising number of shoes.
Best closed-storage shoe organizers
For those who want their shoes completely out of sight, our experts Bauer and Matles both recommend Ikea’s Trones system, which “is slim and compact and can be used in various areas of your home,” according to Bauer. Matles likes that it “fits perfectly on a wall in a narrow space and keep shoes off the floor.”
Here’s another Ikea solution that keeps shoes concealed behind a sliding door. “This Ikea shoe cabinet is great for a small space and perfect to keep in a hallway by the front door,” says Aron. “If you have the height, you can stack one cabinet on top of the other and store less frequently used shoes and other accessories up top.”
Best seating with shoe storage
Juli Oliver of OrganizeNY recommends this bench with shelves that makes it easy to put on your shoes — and put them away when you’re done. Perfect for a mudroom or an entryway.
Best storage for boots
Storing boots — especially tall boots — is trickier because of their shafts and how much real estate they take up. And because they’re often made of “supple leather or suedes,” as Engelbach noted, they need a little extra TLC to keep fresh. If you have extra space in your closet, Bauer and Engelbach suggest hanging them with these handy clip hangers.
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