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Mastering the art of packing shoes in a suitcase

Whether in the hold or in the cabin, weight and size restrictions in air travel can be a real challenge when it comes to organizing your luggage. Whether you're traveling on business or on vacation, the art of packing several pairs of shoes in your suitcase can seem complicated. How can you protect your clothes from the dirt caused by your sneakers or ankle boots? How do you prevent your dress shoes or pumps from getting squashed? How do you free up space for the rest of your belongings? We'll show you our tips for packing your shoes efficiently in your suitcase without damaging them, in preparation for your next plane trip.
Published on October 6, 2023

Tips for choosing the right shoes for your stay

When it comes to packing your suitcase, you'll need to make a number of choices. Depending on the destination and the context, your needs will be very different. For a business trip, it's more a question of knowing which dress shoes will go with a shirt and suit, or which pair of pumps will match a suit.

For your vacation, it's a different story. As for outfits, try to focus on versatility to limit the number of pairs you need to pack. Opt for a few models that go with all stockings, so you can have as many combinations as possible once you're there.

Of course, your choice will depend in part on the activities you'll be doing during your stay: hiking boots for the mountains or sandals for the beach, booties for winter vacations or flip-flops for the summer break...

If you can't do without heavy shoes or high boots, there's a simple trick to help you save space in your luggage. All you have to do is wear the bulkiest shoes on your feet on the day of departure.

Clean your shoes before packing them in your suitcase

In your suitcase, your shoes will be in close proximity to your clothes and underwear for varying lengths of time, depending on the duration of your flight. A thorough cleaning is therefore essential.

Fabric, suede, leather, synthetic, rubber... Depending on the material, you'll need to use a brush, soft cloth or damp sponge to remove any dirt from the outer surfaces. Mind you, this may not be the best time to waterproof your shoes, as some products have a very strong smell. Unless you use natural waterproofing recipes.

On the other hand, it's essential to deodorize your shoes before the flight. Here again, choose methods that don't add extra scents, as these could end up all over your clothes. Baking soda, for example, can neutralize unpleasant odors naturally.

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How do you pack your shoes without deforming them?

Once you've finished cleaning your shoes, the next step is to pack them in reusable bags. You can choose specially designed covers, or opt for tote bags or small canvas pouches.

To ensure the preservation of your shoes during their journey in your luggage, choose soft, flat models that are more resistant to shocks, such as tennis shoes, soft shoes, sandals or espadrilles.

If you don't want your shoes to lose their shape, shoe trees are an excellent accessory. These wooden or plastic pieces help maintain the original shape of your shoes. However, it's important to note that shoe trees add weight to your luggage, which can be problematic in the cabin or in the hold, where weight limits apply. You can easily replace them with paper, similar to that found in new shoe boxes. What's more, to maximize the efficiency of the space in your suitcase, you can also use rolled-up socks, a belt or a sunglasses case to fill the empty spaces.

Where to put your shoes in the suitcase?

Double-bottom suitcases or suitcases with interior mesh provide a practical solution for organizing your belongings. You can group your shoes on one side with items such as toiletries, cables and chargers, and a bag for hair accessories. On the other side, place your clothes neatly folded Marie Kondo-style to optimize the available space.

If this is not possible, consider placing your shoes on the sides of the case, with the soles facing outwards, but avoid placing them directly on the bottom near the wheels. For better protection against impact, start by adding a layer of clothing underneath your shoes. However, for shoes with heels, favor the center of the suitcase and fill in the remaining spaces with clothing to hold them in place.