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 16 professional organizers all throughout New York City (and one in Raleigh) for their recommendations. Below, 21 of their favorite boxes, shelves, racks, and more.
Best overall shoe organizers
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, maximize your space, and give 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, four 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, meaning 24 pairs are up in there. Life-changing!” Natalie Schier, president and founder of Cut the Clutter, also recommends this particular style for heels or chunkier shoes. To make this organizer look a little more appealing, professional organizer Ann Sullivan suggests using decorative nails or small hooks to mount it on doors instead of using the over-the-door hooks that comes with it.
This one is even simpler (and less expensive), and it’s Schier’s pick for flats, sandals, and sneakers. “The clear pockets mean you can quickly spot the shoes you want to wear,” she says. “It’s also super easy to mount this rack directly to the inside of a door or even a wall. I use it with my clients not just for shoes, but for winter accessories, too.”
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 says, “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.”
Best shoe racks
Three of our experts — Anna Bauer of Sorted by Anna, Schier, and Kelley Jonkoff, a certified KonMari consultant based in Raleigh — swear by this expanding rack with grippy, offset bars. “The foam coating is KEY,” says Schier. “It keeps the shoes from slipping off the rack.” Jonkoff calls 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.”
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 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.
Jonkoff also likes this one made out of bamboo because it not only provides storage, but also “creates a visually pleasing, calm environment.” She’s partial to storing shoes on a slight slant with the toes facing out, and this three-tier shelf “helps make the shoe more visible, making footwear choices easier,” she adds. “To go full-Kondo for a minute, having the toes facing forward creates a sense of facing the day and the future.”
Barbara Reich of Resourceful Consultants likes the West Elm shoe rack — which is definitely a splurge — for “its simple, clean aesthetic,” she says. “It is a neutral addition to any entryway.” The industrial-looking rack is made from mango wood and steel.
According to Jonkoff, “This rack is ideal for someone with a large shoe collection and a small, multiuse space.” Made from chrome-plated steel with ten tiers and nonslip bars, it can hold up to 50 pairs of women’s shoes of various styles, and because it’s tall, it doesn’t create too large a footprint. It also has wheels, which Jonkoff says is “perfect for a closetless room” because it “can be rolled out of the way when company is over or anytime their usual space is needed for something else.” And the fact that it looks a bit industrial can be plus: “When I’m helping a client organize their clothing, I tell them we’re going to make their closet feel like a boutique.”
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.” They’re 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.” Schier also uses something similar, saying, “They are a game changer for sandals and flats. They literally double the amount of shoes you can store on a flat rack or on the floor.” Schier adds rubber bumpers to the bottoms to keep them from sliding around on the shelf.
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.