Shoes and boots are some of the heaviest, bulkiest items to pack. Accordingly, it’s important to choose lightweight travel shoes and to pack them so they save space—and don’t soil an entire trip’s worth of outfits. Figuring out how to pack boots and shoes is a challenge, sure, but there are strategies for doing it better.
Narrow Down Your Number
How many shoes you should pack on your vacation depends on where you’re going and what you plan to do. For example, if you’re planning on staying at the beach for a week, a pair of sandals and a pair of shoes for dinners may suffice. But if you’re going to Paris in October, you may want individual options for sightseeing, dinner, and rainy weather.
For women, foldable flats are at the top of the packable-shoes list. Flat-folding styles come in almost every color and in versions that are appropriate for virtually every budget. At the economical end of the scale are Silky Toes. The pricier Tieks might last a bit longer, though, as the brand handcrafts each flat using Italian leather. Consider it an investment, as you can use them beyond travel, carrying them in your purse as “emergency shoes” when heels get too painful.
Wear Your Bulkiest Pair
Wear your bulkiest, heaviest shoes on the plane—that is, as long as they’ll be comfortable enough during the long hours in transit. While wearing slip-on shoes through the airport security line can be handy, if your primary goal is packing efficiently, it’s best to sport those heavy hiking shoes or knee-high boots instead of trying to find room for them in your suitcase.
Keep It Clean
Remove dirt from your shoes and freshen them up before packing them. You’ll want to do this before you leave for vacation, but you may even consider packing some cleaning items, such as a small brush, if you’re expecting inclement weather. Another easy way to keep shoes fresh is to pack dryer sheets: a dryer sheet stuffed in a shoe overnight can help neutralize unwanted odors.
The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination to discover that the soles of your shoes have streaked clothing with dirt. Separate your shoes from the rest of your items with a reusable bag. Even if your shoes start out clean, it’s a good idea to bring shoe bags. Water-resistant bags are helpful if you get caught in a downpour or have trekked through muddy areas and need to pack before your shoes have had time to fully dry.
Stuff Every Corner
If your shoes are relatively clean, and you can’t compress or bend them in your suitcase, don’t let that empty space go to waste. Fill your footwear with socks, jewelry, belts, chargers, adapters, makeup, and other smaller items. Packing items inside your shoes has another benefit as well: it can help them maintain their shape.
Packing shoes is one of the trickiest parts of packing well. By thinking strategically about your shoe choices and packing carefully, you can make the most of every square inch of suitcase and have the shoes you need on your adventures.