Change the way you prep for vacations with this suitcase-packing essential.

By Rachel Sylvester
Updated August 01, 2019
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Why Travel Shoe Bags Are a Game-Changing Packing Essential
Credit: Getty Images

After years of regular work trips, I like to consider myself a semi-pro packer. And yet, with every two-day jaunt or weeks-long excursion, I would always struggle to figure out how to properly store my shoes. Before I lament any further on my packing woes, let me explain.

I’m one of those apartment-dwellers who recently adopted the concept of going shoeless in my own home. After residing in New York for almost a decade, I became increasingly aware of all the dirt, grime, and subway grit I was regularly tracking into my 800-square-foot apartment. Shoeless homes are a hotly debated topic, but once I considered the sheer amount of filth present on the bottom of my soles, I started to put more thought into the other items in my home that make regular contact with my shoes. One such item: All of my carefully curated outfits that took up space in my suitcase next to my less-than-sanitary footwear.

To combat the inevitable spread of germs, I began stashing my travel shoes in a plastic bag amid the contents of my suitcase, but that approach quickly felt temporary and unnecessarily wasteful. In an effort to pack smarter, I purchased a set of fabric shoe bags ($11; that have since turned into a game-changing travel essential.

Available as a set of 12, the water-repellant bags range in color from lime green to classic white, and the durable fabric is designed to repel odors. I get the most use out of the basic black bag (since it tends to conceal stains) and each shoe bag is equipped with an easy-close drawstring to help keep your kicks in place. They’re the perfect solution for packing shoes, and the roomy bags are just large enough to store other travel necessities, like toiletries or dirty clothes. (They work wonders for shielding dry clothes from wet bathing suits, too.)

Not only do I keep the pouches at the ready while packing, but the shoe bags come in handy for stowing away bras, socks, and underwear—I even store my commuting sneakers in them after changing into heels at the office. In short, I’ve owned them for only a few months, and the shoe bags have proven to be a lifesaver while at home and away.

Purchase a set of bags here, and prepare yourself to become a better packer.