Shoe racks are essential for maintaining an organization. While you might not give them much thought, there are lots of different types of racks to choose from beyond the standard one seen in the photo.
To learn more about shoe racks — and find which one is the best for you — check out this comprehensive list.
Main Category of Shoe Racks
Shoe racks often come with individual cubes to place the shoes in. You might also see these as storage pouches or pockets on the rack. Whatever they are, one thing is clear: each shoe has its unique place to go.
Cubes are great for those who like knowing each pair of shoes has a specific designation to avoid shoes getting lost or becoming separated on the shoe rack. There’s also a limited number of shoe cubes or pouches on the rack, which will inspire you to curb your shoe purchases if that is an issue for you.
The shoe rack itself could be hanging, or you could place the shoes on the rack. In the case of the latter, the shoes would be angled at a 45 degree or vertical angle to facilitate storage. Depending on the rack, the hanging method could save you lots of space and allow you to store many different pairs of shoes on it.
These racks look like shelves on which you place your shoes. You’d place the side of the shoe by side on the stand and then pull them out by the heel when you want to retrieve them. Flat racks are by far the most standard option for shoe racks that you’ll find in retail stores or online stores.
People have made creative shoe racks that transcend the boundaries seen here, but the general rules apply. Below are some common types of shoe stands you’ll see.
Three-Tier Shoe Rack
You’ll see a three-tier shoe rack by the front or side doors of most homes — places where people tend to enter and exit the most.
Those coming in will take off their shoes and have an organized, designated place to set them. When it’s time to go, they’ll pick up the pair they want to put on, slip them on, and continue out the door.
Three-tier shoe racks are great for individuals up to a family of four. Past that, the number of shoes people will wear can outnumber the available space on the rack.
Despite that, three-tier shoe racks are an efficient choice for the shoes you and your housemates wear most often. They could also be suitable for your shoe collection, depending on how many you have.
Shoe shelves will look like a short bookshelf, allowing you to lay your shoes one three, four, or five available shelves. You can go higher, of course, depending on the number of shoes you have. Since shelving units are common, you can find a size that fits your needs anywhere you go.
You could also build shelves at home if you’d like a DIY endeavor. Floating bookshelves offer a sleek and stylish look while still allowing you to store your shelves easily. However, floating bookshelves look a bit odd when by the floor, so only build them if you don’t mind placing your shoes at chest or eye level.
If you don’t have that many shoes and want to be able to store your shoe rack easier, a folding shoe rack will do the trick.
These racks have hinges in the joints that let you fold the rack flat or into itself. If you want to transport your shoe rack in a car, it would be best to get one that lets you save as much space with it as possible during transportation.
Folding racks are best for small living spaces since you can set this shoe furniture away if necessary to use that space for other purposes. Otherwise, a folding rack functions much like a bookshelf when in use — letting you keep your shoes together and organized with ease.
Wooden Crate Racks
You can create your shoe rack by drilling a bunch of wooden crates together. The effect would be like giant Legos that let you mix and match to suit your style depending on how you want the rack to look.
If all the racks are cubic, you can create a uniform-looking rack that expands to whatever length you want. If the wooden boxes are rectangular, you can make a heterogenous appearance with some vertical and horizontal crates for a more dynamic-looking rack.
Wooden boxes are available in most craft stores. If worse comes to worst, you can make wooden crates if you have some extra wood lying around. Wooden crates aren’t tricky to make, so you can create an utterly DIY shoe rack with a vintage look if you’re so inclined.
Otherwise, buying the boxes and assembling them yourself will be just as functional.
Metal Mesh Rack
A metal mesh rack is another fine option to hold your shoes. The metal racks tend to be more durable than wooden ones, letting you keep the same rack for years to come.
A mesh rack provides no functional difference from, say a wooden shelving unit other than that they provide a different aesthetic. A sleek, polished metal rack offers a lavish look to your bedroom or closet while keeping your shoe collection under control.
Boot Storage Rack
Boots can be the bane of many shoe owners’ existence. While looking cute, they’re often hard to store on a rack, especially if they’re tall. Folding the boots can cause creases in the material, which could be detrimental if the boots were expensive or made from fragile material.
Therefore, if you own a lot of boots, you’ll need a shoe rack designed to accommodate them. These types of racks have taller lengths between the shelves so that they won’t interfere with the boots, allowing the material to stand up straight.
Tall shelves can take up more space than necessary, but other shelves are made with mesh so that they not only accommodate the length of the boots but keep the sides of them erect for preservation.
If you live in a cold, snowy climate, a boot rack will be essential for organizing your boots and ensuring their longevity.
Shoe Rack and Bench
Pluck your shoes off the rack and have an immediate place to sit to put them on. The combination of these two has been popular for older or disabled folks who have a difficult time putting their shoes on while standing.
The shoe rack and bench let you have the best of both worlds while saving the most amount of space. It would be best to place this rack by the door, but if you don’t mind walking throughout your house with your outdoor shoes on, you can put the rack and bench in your bedroom or closet.
Revolving Shoe Tree
Revolving shoe racks look like if a bunch of wire crowns was placed through a tall rod. Most hold up to twelve items, so you can have six pairs of shoes on each row.
Their curved nature allows you to save space in your room, closet, or house. The shoes are suspended above the ground as well, so you can keep any germs off the floors you’ll be stepping on.
Revolving shoe trees make organization simple and effective by hanging up your shoes instead of letting them lay flat. However, it would be best to pad the hanger props on which your shoes will hang, as flat metal can dig into the soles of your shoes and damage them.
Another difficulty with revolving shoe trees is shoe visibility. Since you’re pretty much only seeing the bottom, you might not be able to immediately discern which shoe is which right way, especially if you tend to wear multiple pairs of the same shoe brand. Converse All-Stars and Vans tend to have the same rubber pattern on their soles.
Lastly, germs are an issue as well. Since the shoes will be hung up with the sole facing up, it will be the first thing you touch to get your shoe. This means, if you live in a big city with dirty streets, you’ll expose your hands to street germs, which means you’d have to disinfect your hands immediately after putting on your shoes to avoid contaminating your fingers.
You might be able to pick up the shoes without an issue if you find the right grip, but the germaphobes out there should beware of their finger placement when picking up their shoes.
Despite their flaws, revolving shoe trees help condense many pairs of shoes into a small space, which could outweigh everything negative aspect about them depending on your living situation.
Over-the-Door Shoe Rack
They’re cheap, readily available, and simple to install. There are dozens of pouches in which to store not only shoes but socks, stockings, and other shoe related needs.
While simple and easy to use, over-the-door shoe racks are typically made of plastic pockets that can break easily, so these types of shoe racks aren’t much of an investment in the long-term unless you shell out a lot of money for a higher-end one.
It’s likely that these types of racks will get scuffed or punctured through use, especially if you wear heels. But if you want a cheap place to organize your shoes, you can go to an over-the-door shoe rack with no problem.
A Towel Rack
You read that right. A towel rack can be used to store shoes — if you have the right pair of shoes for them.
A towel rack can hold anything that’s thin enough to fit between it and the wall. This means that most tennis and running shoes, sneakers, heels, or boots won’t fit there. But if you wear a lot of sandals, specifically sandals in which you slide your feet over a sort of dome, your shoes will fit perfectly. They’ll even keep themselves upright.
If you own a lot of slides, you can install a simple towel rack to keep them organized. When you want to take them off, you can slip them between the rack and the wall and be on your way.
While not applicable to every shoe, you can use a towel rack to store sandals.
Shoe cabinets are like bookshelves, just with small swinging doors at the front. Shoe cabinets allow you to store your shoes without people knowing you’re storing your shoes in it. If you don’t want your shoes to be out in the open for an observer’s gaze, you can keep the shoes hidden behind a cabinet.
Not only are they sleek and stylish, but you’ll most likely have the space to hold more than just your shoes, such as your socks and stockings. However, shoe cabinets will be a little heavier than, say, a bookshelf because of the extra material to construct it.
For the more private folks out there who would prefer people don’t see your shoe collection, a shoe cabinet is for you.
There are different kinds of shoe cabinets. There are the standard ones that look like what you would see as a filing cabinet of sorts with a rolling bin, straight shelves that are behind two doors, and even pull-out cabinets for easier accessibility.
If you want to invest in shoe organization, shoe cabinets are a durable solution for maintaining your shoe collection for years to come.
If you don’t have much room to play with, storing your shoes underneath your bed can be an excellent way to reduce shoe chaos. It’s not a rack, per se, but the rolling drawer you put under your bed still acts like one.
There are covered or non-covered options, walled and not-walled to ensure your shoes don’t fall off the edges and remain unreachable under your bed. Whatever way, storing your shoes under your bed, especially if you’re not using that space, is an excellent way to keep your shoe collection together.
Caring For Your Shoe Racks
As you can see, there are lots of shoe rack options for every shoe owner. Whether you have a few pairs of staple shoes or a pile of shoes at your disposal, there’s always a rack you can use to keep your shoes organized.
However, while the shoe racks are necessary for personal organization, what isn’t as heavily discussed is how to ensure your shoe racks remain clean and usable for the next few years.
Shoes are meant for the ground, and the ground can get dirty. Sometimes you walk through dirt, mud, puddles of water, the gum on the street, or someone’s beer they accidentally spilled. While you’ll be able to self-clean your shoes just by walking around for the rest of the day, you can still track some of that gunk home to your shoe rack.
After a few years, your shoe racks could get discolored, riddled with germs, or look gross. But with a sanitation routine, you can keep your shoe rack looking squeaky clean for every pair of shoes coming in.
To sanitize, you’ll need to assess the best plan of action for your shoe rack. Clearly, the maintenance for a plastic shoe rack won’t be the same for a lacquered wooden one, but commonalities can still arise.
Mainly avoid bleaching products. Even though it will be effective at killing germs, the bleach could damage the shoe rack. Not only that, but some shoe racks, like a wooden shelf one, have poor internal circulation, so not enough air might come into the back of the cubby to dry the bleach.
You could slide in a pair of black shoes into the cubby into a small puddle of bleach. Pull them back out and see that the shoes have been discolored. You want to avoid that possibility at all costs.
You could use natural disinfectants like vinegar to do the job as well. Your shoes probably already smell, so what’s there to lose? Get the spray and a rag and wipe down the rack where the shoe goes every few months to avoid the concentration of germs.
If the smell of your shoes genuinely concerns you, you could invest in some deodorizing products. There are smell-wicking sprays you can buy in a retail store, perfumes, and the most basic — baking soda.
Since your shoes will be collected in one area, your whole rack can likely start to smell after a while. But regularly deodorizing the rack ensures no strong scents keep you at bay when putting on your shoes.
There are almost as many types of shoe racks out there as there are shoes, so purchase one if you need to impart control over your chaotic shoe collection. Life’s too short to spend fifteen minutes trying to find the other half of your cute black pumps.
Never lose a shoe again and get a smart, functional shoe rack.