Make sure you've got a place for all your shoes.

Make sure you’ve got a place for all your shoes. (Anastasia Shuraeva via Pexels/)

The one thing sneakerheads, stiletto fanatics, and regular Joes and Joannes have in common is a surfeit of shoes. Because even if you aren’t particularly obsessed with footwear, chances are just the number of pairs you need to cover all the seasons and occasions in your life—snow boots, rain boots, flip-flops, flats, running shoes—amount to more than just a few pairs. And if you do have a thing for shoes, multiply that times 100.

Perhaps until now you’ve shoved them underneath the bed, created a Leaning Tower of Shoeboxes in your closet, or peppered your entire home with shoes, making it virtually impossible to find a matching set when you need it. (What a fun game!) The best shoe rack can spiff you right up, putting all your organized pairs within arm’s reach.

Features to consider when shopping for the best shoe rack for your space

The best shoe rack for someone with walk-in closets is not the same as someone living in a studio apartment, even though both likely have the same goals: making footwear easier to find, keeping it safe and protected, and making your home neater and more organized.

The first order of business is to get your shoes off the floor. The floor may feel like the most natural place for them, but raise your hand if you’ve ever tripped over your clogs, moccasins, or cleats; damaged your floors; damaged your shoes, or felt a general sense of claustrophobic clutter with kicks kicking around all over the place.

After that, it’s different strokes for different folks when it comes to the right shoe-storage option for you and your family. Maybe you want to display them, maybe you want to hide them, maybe you don’t really care where they go as long as you can find them. The good news is there are loads of options at multiple price points, whether you’re looking for a furniture-grade cabinet, a standalone cabinet, or something cheap and easy that you can hang in your closet and forget.

I don’t have a lot of space—how do I pick the best small shoe rack?

What’s small to one person may be palatial to another, so having exact measurements handy is key when choosing a shoe organizer.

For our purposes, a small shoe rack is one that you can stow in a foyer or mudroom to contain a limited number of shoes (not all of the shoes in your entire house). A small shoe rack is a great option for adding just a little bit of organization to an otherwise busy spot in your home, or if you have just a handful of pairs.

Best small shoe rack: Honey-Can-Do SHO-01600 Bamboo 2-Tier Shoe Shelf

Two rows of moisture-resistant slatted shelves hold six to eight pairs of adult-sized shoes.

Two rows of moisture-resistant slatted shelves hold six to eight pairs of adult-sized shoes. (Amazon/)

At 15.75 inches tall, 27.5 inches wide, and 10.25 inches deep, this relatively small shoe rack can easily slide into a corner or against a free patch of wall. It can also double as a storage rack for other items, like towels or bathrobes.

I like the idea of a hanging shoe rack—what are the pros and cons?

A hanging shoe rack isn’t necessarily the same as an over-the-door shoe rack. These styles hang in your closet or on a clothing rack the same way hangers do—only, attached to the hanger is a long tower-like soft rack, where you can stow shoes and other small objects.

A hanging shoe organizer is a great option if you’re short on space and don’t have an obvious place to put a shoe rack.

Best hanging shoe rack: ZOBER 10-Shelf Hanging Shoe Organizer

Two metal hooks fasten this baby to the rod, with reinforced canvas shelves hanging down, taking up virtually no space.

Two metal hooks fasten this baby to the rod, with reinforced canvas shelves hanging down, taking up virtually no space. (Amazon/)

A swiveling stainless steel hook makes this hanging shoe rack move effortlessly. Ten mesh pockets (five on each side) give you a moderate amount of room for your shoes and other accessories like belts and scarves.

What about over-the-door shoe racks? They seem complicated.

It is definitely hard to picture hooks hanging over a door without making the door unusable, but the right over-the-door shoe rack model fits perfectly and requires no additional hardware.

This is a great shoe storage option for anyone so short on space that the only blank surface to be found is literally the other side of the door.

Best over-the-door shoe rack: SimpleHouseware Crystal Clear Over The Door Hanging Shoe Organizer

Though not the prettiest of shelving options, this one features 24 clear shelves—pick from pink, brown, or white backing—and is 64 inches high and 19 inches wide.

Though not the prettiest of shelving options, this one features 24 clear shelves—pick from pink, brown, or white backing—and is 64 inches high and 19 inches wide. (Amazon/)

This goes for all hanging shoe organizers, but make sure to measure the length and width of the entire unit, along with the size of each shoe compartment, to make sure yours will fit. Some users have reported that their sneakers don’t fit in this over the door shoe rack.

I prefer the idea of a shoe storage cabinet or armoire.

Do those exist? They do! You can expect to pay a bit more for this style of shoe storage—they’re meant to look like a regular piece of furniture, so concealing all your footwear with doors comes with a premium—but if hiding your mess in plain sight is important to you, then a shoe storage cabinet is worth it.

The best part is that a shoe cabinet is like any other kind of cabinet, with flat, sturdy shelves, so you can store whatever you want inside, whether that’s shoes, barware, or anything else you want to hide behind a door.

Best shoe storage cabinet: Baxton Studio Warren Shoe-Storage Cabinet, Espresso

Not your standard shoe shelf: Three hinged doors conceal four fixed-height shelves inside specifically made to fit footwear.

Not your standard shoe shelf: Three hinged doors conceal four fixed-height shelves inside specifically made to fit footwear. (Amazon/)

This shoe storage cabinet is made of medium-density fiberboard, an engineered wood frame, and a veneer finish. Assembly is required, but when you’re done, you’ve got a spiffy piece of furniture that no one will know houses your stinky shoes.

What are the features to look for in a closet shoe organizer?

Closet shoe racks run the gamut, from hanging to over-the-door to floor shelf. If you’ve got the room, a freestanding shelf gives you the easiest access to your shoes and is guaranteed to fit all pairs (tall boots and chunky styles go on top, everything stows neatly below).

If the amount of room you have in your closet changes with the seasons (or your shopping patterns), opt for a closet shoe organizer that expands and retracts with your wardrobe.

Best closet shoe organizer: Seville Classics 3-Tier Expandable 24-Pair Shoe Rack

Choose from two-, three-, and four-tier models, then add one extra—on the floor underneath—to get the total number of shelves available.

Choose from two-, three-, and four-tier models, then add one extra—on the floor underneath—to get the total number of shelves available. (Amazon/)

This closet shoe organizer, with solid steel wire and a chrome finish, extends from 25.4 inches wide to 46.6 inches wide at its biggest. Some minor assembly is required.

What’s the best shoe rack for someone on a budget?

Some of the best shoe racks listed already won’t break the bank, but you can find even more affordable options if you go looking for them.

You won’t get anything fancy, like a wood-veneer buffet-style cabinet, but if all you’re looking for is a place to easily store your shoes, there’s no reason to spend a lot.

Best cheap shoe rack: Fiducial Home 8 Tiers Shoe Rack

Eight tiers fitting up to 20 pairs of adult shoes means you’re paying just a dollar a pair!

Eight tiers fitting up to 20 pairs of adult shoes means you’re paying just a dollar a pair! (Amazon/)

This 58.6-inch high, 18-inch long, and 12-inch wide vertical shoe rack slides easily into closets, small rooms, garages—basically anywhere you need storage. And you don’t have to stop at shoes: The strengthened corner connectors mean it can support heavy objects, so maybe throw in a plant or sculpture to add some flash to your footwear collection.

FAQ: Everything else you need to know about choosing the best shoe rack

How deep should a shoe rack be?

Shoe racks only need to be as deep as your shoes are long, so for many people, 12 inches—the depth of many racks—will do. (That will accommodate up to a men’s size 13.5.) But always compare your shoe lengths with the rack depth, and also check whether the rack you’ve chosen has flat or slanted shelves. Slanted shelves need to be a bit bigger.

What else can you use shoe racks for?

Anything you want, truly! If you’re getting a bench style, consider using it to stack bathroom linens; hanging shelves are great for jewelry and accessories; and tower shelves can hold whatever you want, from books to plants to crystals. If it fits and seems supported, you can stow it in a shoe shelf!

What is the best way to store shoes?

That depends on your space constraints and particular shoe collection. You may want to invest in different shelving options for different areas and pairs of shoes. Flats and sandals may easily slide into a cubby or over-the-door pocket, and your fancy, expensive heels may be happier perched at the top of a tower unit, where they can’t get damaged or accidentally walked on. The only key is not to shove a shoe into a space that’s too small or forces it to compromise its shape (e.g., don’t fold down the shaft of a tall boot to make it fit onto a shelf—instead, find a place where its height can flourish).

A final word on shopping for the best shoe rack for you

There is no one best shoe rack. If it will make it easier for you to locate your footwear, keeps it safe from scuffs and damage, and is within your budget—and you don’t hate how it looks—then that’s the best one for you!