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Shoe Closets

Six shelves of womens shoes from a shoe closet.

Tired of having piles of shoes on your closet floor, under the bed, or piled by the door? Do you ever have trouble finding your matching shoe among the scattered piles footwear? Banish the mess for good by building a separate shoe closet.

Build a Separate Closet for Footwear

A pile of shoes by the door.
Shoes can easily get out-of-hand when left piled by the back door, no matter how hard you try to keep them neat.

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. Whether you simply love them and can't get enough, or you have a big family (translating to a lot of feet), shoe closets can be a practical addition to every household. Put them near the entrance to the home if you are in the habit of removing your shoes when entering the home. If you wear shoes in the house, consider a separate shoe closet for your bedroom, or even within a large walk-in closet. Life will seem so much tidier when all the shoes are neatly stored away, quietly waiting for their chance to be worn.

A wall of shoes inside a large walk-in closet.
Consider dedicating an entire wall of your large walk-in closet to nothing but shoe storage.

You may think that you don't have enough room in your home for a whole closet dedicated to nothing but footwear. But there are different types of closets for differing needs and spaces. Any of them can be made into the perfect shoe closet.

It is important to remember that you will need between 7 and 8-inches width for each pair of adult women's shoes and between 9 and 10-inches width for each pair of adult male shoes. The amount of space needed for children's shoes varies by the age of the child. You might want to measure the width of your kid's shoes in advance, adding a couple of inches per pair for growth.

4 Types of Shoe Closets

  1. Reach-In/Wall Closets for Shoes

    A child plays dress-up in her mothers shoe closet.
    The attraction of a shoe closet is ageless. You can usually tell who is going to become an adult shoe lover at an early age.

    When we talk about shoe closets, the first thing that comes to mind is a separate reach-in closet filled with shelves dedicated to shoes. If you have an empty wall closet like this near your entrance, mudroom or bedroom, consider converting it into a shoe closet. Convert your reach-in closet to a shoe closet by filling it with shelves. Ideally, shelves will be 14-inches deep and no more than 30-inches wide between sections. Keeping the width at 30-inches or below will ensure your shelves won't sag.

    This type of closet is best made from laminate rather than wood or wire. The laminate shelves are more easily kept clean by wiping them with a damp cloth than wood. Wire shelves allow dirt from the bottom of one pair of shoes to fall onto the footwear below. High heels will also fall through the wire spaces. If you do use wire, make the extra effort to put your shoes away inside cardboard shoe boxes before leaving them on the wire shelf to prevent these problems.

  2. Walk-In Closets with a Shoe Wall

    Large walk-in closet with shoe wall.
    This large walk-in closet uses an entire wall with glass shelves lit by LED lights to display and store the owner's shoe collection.

    Walk-in closets make great shoe closets. Not only do they offer plenty of room to get shoes organized on shelves, but there is often enough open space for some type of seating in the center so that you can conveniently put your shoes on inside the closet. With a larger walk-in closet, you may only need one wall for shoes. The rest of the space can be dedicated to other storage needs. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, try glass shelves for the shoes illuminated by LED closet lights. The same rules for spacing, depth, and width apply as for laminate shelves. But the final result is an easy to maintain, upscale, knock-out look you're sure to enjoy.

  3. Wardrobe Style Shoe Closets

    A woman puts on shoes in front of her shoe closet.
    This happy woman puts on her shoes while sitting in front of her wardrobe style shoe closet. Notice how the 24-inch deep shelves are constructed on pull-out slides so that shoes can be arranged in rows that are two-deep. This set-up keeps the back row of footwear visible and easy to access.

    Many people don't have an empty closet in their homes to dedicate to shoe storage. That's where the wardrobe closet comes in. A wardrobe closet is built against the wall like a cabinet and is always enclosed by a door. This distinguishes it from a built-in shelving unit which is left open. Because this type of closet is often custom, it can be constructed to any size or dimensions needed. This makes it an extremely practical and desirable way to add storage to a home that may be lacking in closets. You'll want your wardrobe shoe closet to be a minimum of 12-inches (for women) to 14-inches deep (for men) so that adult shoes fit nicely. A deeper wardrobe closet, like the 24-inch deep unit pictured above, can hold the shoes in rows two-deep. In this situation, you should use pull-out shelves to make sure that you have easy access to any shoes stored in the back row. Supplement the shelves with built-in drawers for your socks and slippers for added functionality.

  4. Rotating Closets for Shoes

    The 360 organizer rotating shoe closet.
    Simple, attractive and practical. The 360 Organizer® Shoe Spinner is a rotating shoe closet that can sit in the corner of any room or walk-in closet.

    If you're short on space but have a lot of shoes, a rotating shoe closet that turns on a lazy Susan type of mechanism may be the best solution for you. Rather than using deep shelves that slide out, rotating shoe shelves let you turn the shelf so that the back becomes the front. This type of shoe closet is best used in a corner. Use it by itself or between other cabinets and closet organizers. It eliminates the dead space so often found in dark corners and brings everything out into the light. The 360 Organizer® Shoe Spinner model pictured above can hold between 85 and 200 pairs of shoes in a 40-inch by 40-inch corner. Trim the built-in cabinet with cabinet doors for more of a finished shoe closet look that looks nice anywhere in the home.

Be a Shoe Collector with a Passion for Organization

The secret to living a more organized life is having a place for everything. This includes your footwear. Shoe closets are still somewhat of a novelty item in most homes. But why? They organize all your footwear so that it is out of the way, yet easy to find. Who wouldn't want that?