Packing Shoes for a Trip

Posted on April 15, 2013


What’s the golden rule for how many shoes to bring on a trip? I surveyed my friends and they tell me they bring between three and eight pairs of shoes. Ok, I was the person who brought eight pairs of shoes on a trip – a four day Las Vegas trip! It is so not like me to over pack too. But that was just one trip and I needed boots, heels, sandals, flip-flops, slippers, and so… well… I ended up with more shoes than clothes that trip it seems.

Now I pack three to five pairs. I have a bag that has shoes compartments in the top flap so I get three pairs in the top and pack two pairs at the bottom of my bag, usually wrapped in plastic grocery bags to protect my shoes, or protect my clothes from my shoes. Sometimes I wrap my high heels in my jeans or tuck jeans in between them. When I’m packing boots I will lay jeans on top of them to protect them. It’s more about protecting my shoes from everything else in my bag really.

five pairs of shoes

five pairs of shoes

Here are a few guidelines and some photos:

  • Break in new shoes before bringing on a trip.
  • Clean your shoes of any dirt.
  • Spray them with shoe deodorant spray so they don’t smell up your clothes.
  • Stuff socks inside them.
  • Roll jeans or sweatpants in between them.
  • Pack heavier shoes at the bottom of the bag.
  • Bring light shoes so your luggage doesn’t go over weight and wear bulkier or heavier shoes.
  • Don’t forget to pack slip-ons (flip-flops or slippers) for a quick run downstairs to the front desk, to the pool or spa, or friends room.
  • Plan shoes appropriate to your activities and destination (hiking boots, walking shoes, dress shoes, running shoes (which can sometimes double as hiking boots).
boots packed

boots packed

shoes packed

shoes packed

That Vegas trip I brought eight pairs of shoes I could have gotten by easily with three pairs, but I knew I was checking a bag that time – the first time in three years (and about 45 trips)! My three favorite pairs to bring are Black Converse, Black Nine West Heels, and Reef flip-flops.

Here’s my suggestions of what shoes to pack based on the length & type of trip:

  • One to two day work or pleasure trip: one to two pairs – dress shoes (for your suit), running shoes.
  • Two to five day work or pleasure trip to warm destination: three pair – dress shoes, flip-flops, walking shoes.
  • Two to five day work or pleasure trip to cold destination for sightseeing: four pair – dress shoes, walking shoes, black or brown boots, slippers for your room, flip-flops for going to the Jacuzzi.
  • Six to fourteen day trip warm destination: See two to five day list above – you can go on this longer trip with the SAME SHOES, maybe add a pair of hiking boots.
  • Six to fourteen day cold destination: you might want to add a pair of rain or après ski boots depending on where you are going.
  • in shoe sleeves

    in shoe sleeves

My favorite brands of shoes for travel:

  • Walking shoes: Sketchers, Eccos, Clarks, Converse
  • Dress shoes: Nine West, Naturalizer, Clark
  • Flip-flops: Reef, Sanuk
  • Slippers: Target! Most people like Uggs but they are heavy and bulkier than my warm fuzzy and scrunchable Target slippers
  • Black knee high boots: Bandolini
  • Hiking shoes: Merrill
  • Running shoes: Asics, New Balance