Shoes have a tendency to end up scattered around, especially if you have a large collection or a busy family. Organizing shoes can be difficult, but fortunately there is a simple and surprisingly versatile solution: shoe rack ideas.

Without a shoe rack, your shoes can end up flopped all over each other in a giant pile. It can be hard to find complete pairs, and searching them out might result in an even more scattered and disorganized show collection.

The best shoe rack will allow you to organize your shoes while allowing you to easily see and access them without much effort. It should be able to accommodate almost any kind of shoe, whether you’re storing sneakers, sandals, heels, work shoes, or boots. You can purchase some great shoe racks in a lot of cool configurations, or you can even build one designed specifically for your home.

6909-East-Oak-Lane-Orange-CA-by-the-Canaday-Group Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Canaday Group

Here’s a list of some great shoe rack ideas.

First Things First

You need to figure out how you want to organize your shoes into a shoe rack before you start spending money.

Sort Out Shoes into Categories

Divide your shoes into two simple categories: shoes you wear often and shoes you wear less often. The category a shoe falls into will change how you end up storing it. Shoes that are worn less frequently can be stored in less accessible places, like a high shelf or deeper in a closet. Depending on what you do, these shoes might be snow boots or stilettos.

Clear plastic boxes are a great storage option since they allow you to clearly see what’s in them. Think about creating a system to allow you to switch easily been summer and winter shoes since you probably won’t need your beach flip flops in December or your snow boots in July.

This can end up saving you a lot of space and keep your shoe collecting from getting too messy.

Shoes that you wear on a regular basis need to be stored in more accessible places. You should organize these shoes into even smaller categories so it’s easier to find them and also to make it easier to decide between options.

A few groups would include, shoes for work, shoes for going out, shoes for walking, and athletic shoes. This way you’ll know exactly where to look when you’re getting ready to go do something.

Robeson-Design-Fabulous-Shoe-Storage-by-Robeson-Design Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Robeson Design

Decide if You Need Separate Storage

You may have a very large shoe collection. For some people, collecting shoes is a hobby. There’s no reason to think you need to shrink your shoe hoard down in order to organize it.

Instead, since you now know that you know what shoes you need regularly and what shoes you don’t need as much, you can decide which ones need to be placed on an easily accessible shoe rack and which ones you need to store.

You may end up needing separate storage for shoes. Be honest and realistic about this, as at the end of the day you will still have the number of shoes you really do have.

Evaluate Your Needs for a Shoe Rack

Depending on where you live and your overall lifestyle, how much room you have for a shoe rack might vary. You may have a large, tall perfect spot for a wooden shoe rack, or you might live in a tight apartment that may make an over the door shoe rack the right choice.

Other factors can be a big consideration, as well. If you move often, you might want to make sure you get a portable shoe rack instead of a more permanent wall mounted shoe rack.

If it’s going to be used by children, teens, or just generally destructive people, a shoe rack with a bit more durability would be wise. As always, your budget will be a determining factor.

Closet-Organizing-by-Neat-Method-San-Diego Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Neat Method San Diego

For more complex shoe racks, you may need to assemble them on your own. Certain kinds of wall shoe racks may need to be installed, a process that might require a drill from Powertoolbuzz or screwdriver.

A shoe rack is like any other piece of furniture. You should first decide what you need it for and where it will be going before you start shopping. With so many options out there for shoe rack designs, it’s wise to think through what works best in your home and in the space you want to place it.

What Kind of Shoe Rack to Use?

Now that you’ve sorted out the basics, you can take a look at the kinds of shoe racks you can purchase. A quick perusal of a home goods store or website will show you just how many shoe rack variations there are. Since there are so many options out there, so the best way to decide what kind you want is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What style do I like?
  • Where am I planning to store my shoes?
  • What styles of shoes do I have?
  • How many pairs do I need to store? (If you like to add to your shoe collection, look for a modular system that can grow with your collection)

Shoes with heels will require more room to store than flat shoes. Boots, especially work boots, will need more room to be stored as well since they are taller. If you’re thinking that you might expand your shoe collection, you may want to consider a modular stackable shoe rack system that can easily be expanded while keeping the same look and level of organization.

Whimsical-Design-by-Jeneration-Interiors Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Jeneration Interiors

A closet shoe rack can look like anything, since it’s a much more utilitarian spot not concerned with aesthetics, but instead with organization. If your shoe rack is going to be out in the open, make sure it fits with the room’s décor.

Building a Shoe Rack

A homemade shoe rack can be a great option if you just can’t find the right one on the market. Learning how to build a shoe rack can be a great introduction to woodworking for adults and children alike, since they are typically comprised of simple wooden cubbies and/or shelves and can typically be entirely made from finished wooden boards.

It might also be the best option for your budget depending on your needs, so give a homemade shoe rack some serious consideration. There are a lot of nice online guides for different kinds of shoe rack designs, ranging from step-by-step written instructions with photos to videos made by woodworkers.

It’s amazing how many different designs people think of for homemade shoe racks. Do a quick web search to see what you can find and if it will work for your home.

Cool and Clever Shoe Rack Ideas

Shoe Rack Bench

A great addition to your home is not only a place to store your shoes but a place to sit to put them on as well. It will quickly become a household convenience, especially when leaving in the early morning or coming home after a long day.

You can find a shoe rack bench in variety of styles and configurations. Many have cubbies for specific pairs of shoes, but there are also a lot of them that have shelves for quick storage. You can even find some that store shoes in clever drawers so that the shoe rack bench just looks like normal bench when they’re shut.

Hall-Developments-Latimer-Project-by-Hall-Developments Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Hall Developments

More expensive, elaborate shoe rack benches include a cushion on top for comfortable sitting. Cheaper, simpler kinds usually have a plan wooden top. Some kings of shoe rack benches have a variety of storage options, like drawers below the seat and above the shoe cubbies, that can be used for other items like socks, shoe polishing kits, or gloves.

Shoe Rack Cabinets

Another option to integrate your shoe rack into your décor is to hide it inside a shoe rack cabinet. These pieces of furniture look like ordinary cabinets when they’re closed, but they actually contain cubbies and shelves for shoes.

Like shoe rack benches, there are a variety of styles and size available. Some are ultramodern and don’t try to hide their shoe-storing nature, while other look much like any other kind of cabinet.

Keeping the Shape of Your Boots

A lot of boots lose their shape over time, especially if they’re not used for several months. There are couple options to help them keep your shape when you’re not wearing them often.

A cheap, quick way is to store your boots with empty soda or wine bottles sitting inside them. This will keep them upright and help maintain their shape. It’s not the prettiest option out there, however, though it does have a certain quirky aesthetic.

Dorothy-Street-Cromer-NSW-by-Smith-Sons-Renovations-Extensions-Dee-Why Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Smith & Sons Renovations & Extensions Dee Why

You can also hang your boots like you would hang clothes. Clip your pairs of boots to pants hangers. This will also help them keep their shape, as well keeping them off your closet floor. There are a lot of other fun variations on this idea that work better for public display, as well, such as using clothes pins on a clothes line.

Hanging Sandal Storage

Hanging is also a great way to store sandals, whether they’re flip flops or hiking sandals. These easy, do it yourself sandal hangers make for wonderful off-seasons storage for your sandals, making sure they don’t end up in a pile in some corner or scattered somewhere you can’t find them when the weather finally changes again (or you go on a warm weather vacation).

Get some wire hangers, then use need-nosed pliers to snip off their bottom rungs. Bend the wire ends upwards to create two U shapes on both sides of the hangers. Make sure you curl the sharp ends of the wires back in so that you don’t end up stabbing yourself with them when you sue the sandal hanger. You can easily slip the straps of your sandals over these U shapes and hang them up.

Wet Shoe Rack

If you find that you’re ending up with puddles on your floor because of snow or rain—or worse, mud on your floor—offer people a shoe rack specifically for their wet or muddy shoes. Place a simple dishrack over a baking tray. This will protect your floor while making sure the shoes can air and dry out.

After the shoes are dry, try to get as much mud as possible off on the dis tray, which you can just wash off like you normally would. When the weather is drier, you can out this setup away for a rainy day very easily. It’s a cheap, easy, and effective solution to wet and muddy floors.

2929-by-Morgan-Howarth-Photography Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: Morgan Howarth Photography

Shoe Polishing Kit

Augment your shoe rack with a shoe polishing kit. Use an old empty wipes container to hold polish, leather wipes, brushes, cloths, and deodorizers. Store it in a nearby drawer or cabinet (here’s where the drawers in bench shoe racks come in handy!).

It’s easy to forget to freshen up leather shoes, as a shoe polish kit Is often easily lost or even easy to forget to buy, but this solution is simple and cheap to keep on hand.

What to Do About a Smelly Shoe Rack?

Smelly shoes can make for a smelly shoe rack. Eventually this smell will become obvious to anyone near the shoe rack, or even start smelling up the rest of the room. What can you do to prevent your shoe rack from smelling? Here’s a few possible solutions:

ShoeCase-Shoe-Carousel-by-April-C.-Schmidt Shoe Rack Ideas: Wall Mounted, Closet, Cabinets, and Homemade
Image source: April C. Schmidt

  • Sprinkle on baking soda on your shoes. The cleaning properties of baking soda can apply to shoes, too!
  • Occasionally apply rubbing alcohol on your shoes. This will help kill bacteria
  • Use dryer sheets when you wear your shoes. This will help keep them from smelling and won’t be uncomfortable.
  • Sprinkle baby powder in the shoes after you wear them. This is another way to kill bacteria.
  • Keep tea bags in unused shoes. Tea bags will absorb the bad smell.

Ending thoughts on shoe rack ideas

There is a great shoe rack out there for you and your home. Take a look at your shoe collection and how best to store them. From there, take a look and see what options work best.