The Best Shoe Racks and Organizers, According to Professional Organizers
Article by Lauren Ro in New York Magazine Strategist
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 great 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, 18 of their favorite boxes,
shelves, racks, and more.
Best shoe racks
Straightforward shoe racks are great for decluttering spaces like entryways.
“They may be basic, but they get the job done,” says Emily Matles .
“They’re ideal for adding more shoe storage in your closet or by your entryway.”
Jamie 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 likes this one from the Container Store that has grippy, offset bars.
Barbara Reich 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, Jessica Decker suggests trying these Shoe Slotz
that “increase storage space and prevent shoes from getting damaged sitting on top of each other.”
Strat contributor Alison Freer also recommends these adjustable shoe shelves from Harra Home,
which she says are “like individual two-story condos for every single pair of footwear,”
and look a little more streamlined than the ones above. “As everyone on the island of Manhattan knows,
the Golden Rule of creating more space is always to go up rather than out,” she continues,
“and because the Shoe Slots 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 shoe cubby systems
For those who prefer to keep shoes contained in their own compartments instead of on an open shelf,
try this simple cubby system recommended by Lisa Tselebidis, “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.”
Professional organizer Ann 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 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 over-the-door shoe organizers
“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
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 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, 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 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 Jeni 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
“If closet space is an issue and you don’t quite have the space for a shoe cubby, then an ottoman would be a great solution,” says Dulude.
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 clear boxes for shoes
These clear plastic shoeboxes were the most recommended storage solution by our organization experts.
“We never encourage clients to keep shoes in their original shoeboxes,” says Hord. “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, while Jeanie Engelbach recommends
utilizing the height of the closet to store shoes. They’re also easy to label, and Aron 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.
“I love these boxes because you don’t have to unstack them to get the pair of shoes you want,”
says Emagine’s Matles. Hord agrees: “These drop-front shoe boxes create an exact home for every
shoe with super easy access and give your closet a beautiful, yet functional, aesthetic.”
Decker also likes these because “the closed drawer keeps shoes protected from dust, while small
ventilation holes allow shoes to breathe.”
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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