Shipping shoes to familiar folk is different from sending them to customers.

Family and friends will forgive you for packaging flat shoes in an unstylish poly mailer. Or even boots in a dilapidated Atari box.

But in retail, giving buyers unforgettable unboxing experiences can take you far. So it’s best to pay more attention to your packaging, as it can make or break your business.


In this article, we share a guide on how to package shoes and boots for shipping. But first, you need to know the things that can affect your shoe packaging strategy.

What Important Details Matter When Packaging Shoes and Boots for Shipping?

Shoes protect your feet and adjust to your mobility. They are subject to physical damage coming from the ground you run on, your weight and your body movement. They are built to endure these forces, regardless of how they are designed.

But does that justify haphazard packaging?

The simple answer is: it doesn’t. More than half of online buyers prefer to have their deliveries wrapped like gifts—shoes are no exception. And when they get a good unboxing experience, their first instinct is to share it on social media. A good shoe packaging plan is vital to marketing as it can give you free word-of-mouth advertisement from such customers.

Here are the main factors to consider when packaging footwear for shipping:

Design Complexity


Presence of the Original Box

Packaging Materials


Design Complexity

Ballet flats are simple yet heavy-duty. Many women like them because they are comfy and can go with any style of clothing. Others, however, would rather go for Cinderella’s glass shoes, or at least, their functional version.

Customers would like to receive their purchases the way they look on their internet pictures. But only your packaging can make that possible even after a long journey. And some are more difficult to pack than others.

Footwear can get ruined by internal forces during transport, particularly from parts like buckles, beads, zippers, heels and other sharp objects. The rough handling and bumpy journey also risk damage. It is best to address these factors by packaging your merchandise durably before you ship.



For lighter parcels like shoes, size matters more than weight in determining the final shipping costs. Getting the right size of packaging helps you get the best rates.

USPS, the go-to carrier of most online sellers, has a standard-size, zero-cost shoebox that suits most flats, low heels and low-cut sneakers. But it is too small for tall boots and heels and too big for single flat pairs. You can go for a different-size standard box if your shoes don’t fit the complimentary ones. However, you must also be open to non-USPS packaging, as the right-sized one may be more likely to reduce your shipping costs.

Learn More:

Should you make arts and crafts out of USPS boxes and create your own? That is a rather tempting option. Some sellers have done that, but we do not encourage it. It constitutes an abuse of free shipping supplies and may get you sanctioned. That is more costly for your brand than getting the right packaging for a few bucks.

The USPS shoebox does not have a FedEx or UPS counterpart, but these carriers have standard boxes you can use for double-boxing branded shoe packaging. You may need to use their services if USPS does not offer the kind you need.


Presence of the Original Box

Most branded shoes come with their own packaging. However, UPS experts caution against using original boxes as the main shipping containers for reselling goods.

For one, most branded boxes are too thin and frail. They’re light enough for pallet-shipping but not suitable for individual transport.

For another, these original boxes are already worn out from the first shipment. They may not adequately protect your merchandise in the next one.

On the other hand, branded boxes are important to shoe collectors. If your customers demand them, you may consider the double-boxing technique to protect them and send them along with the shoes. This style makes packaging a little more complex and costly, but it leaves many customers happy about their purchases.

different types of shoes


Packaging Materials

The shipping materials you choose must protect your product and optimize your shipping costs at the same time. Below are some considerations:

To Box or Not to Box?

This decision depends on what clients expect from you. If you cater to groups that prefer minimal shoe packaging, you may keep giving them that. If your customers don’t mind paying a little more for style or security, you should also aim to please them.

But like we’ve said before, most customers love to have superb unboxing experiences. And for that, we recommend sending footwear in a box. Many retailers box everything, even flats, and they are the ones who are more protective of their reputation.

If you want to be in the same league, go ahead and box those shoes and boots. Corrugated boxes are best, so long as you can pack them snugly.

To Cushion or Not to Cushion?

Again, this depends on what your clients expect from you. With some customers, it’s okay to ship shoes with as little cushioning as possible. That way, they can lower shipping costs and minimize packaging waste. Most, however, mind the little scratches and dents that downsized packaging leads to. So really, you won’t be missing out if you pad your footwear a bit.

Here, you have a choice between tissue paper, newsprint paper and bubble wrap.

You can shield buckles and other sharp objects with tissue paper. However, newsprint paper, which is a little stiffer, has more cushioning power than tissue paper. It provides greater protection for any shoe type. Both may be used for keeping stains away from shoes.

Alternatively, you may use bubble wrap to prevent internal and external shoe damage. It may be a bit pricier, but it is convenient, lightweight and more aesthetically pleasing. It also keeps packages from getting wet.

Poor packaging leads to shipping damage, which can ward off customers. However, when these cushioning materials are applied properly, they can safeguard any merchandise you ship.

What Can You Do with Labels?

Shoe packages need labels both for communicating with the customer and carrier.

Shipping labels bear important information about your package, particularly its destination and origin. They speed up delivery and make your parcel easy to trace in case there’s a transport problem. To create professional-looking shipping labels, you need two 4″ x 6″ stickers for each shipment—one for attachment outside the package and another to remain unpeeled inside it.

Thank-you stickers endear you to clients and help earn their loyalty. Customer appreciation is an effective marketing strategy that costs little but pays big dividends. You can create your own thank-you stickers by customizing sheet labels and marking them with your logo. The more unforgettable they are, the better for your brand.

Fragile stickers are unnecessary unless your shoes have glitzy designs, contain breakable parts or are very expensive. They help you protect your investment. Ask your carrier if using these stickers will cost you extra.

We highly recommend taking a little more effort in securing your parcels, even for durable products like shoes. Rest assured that the competition is doing it. You may as well do it, too, so you can stay ahead.

Packaging Shoes for Shipping

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How Should You Pack Shoes and Boots for Shipping?

First, get the shoes out of storage. Clean up previous shipment barcodes, leaving only the tags that prove brand authenticity. Then, get the following materials ready:

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If you have only one pair of shoes and do not have a branded box, pack them in the following way:

  1. Seal the bottom of the shipment box with tape. Close all the seams to make an H-pattern.
  2. Cover the buckles, heels and other sharp edges with newsprint paper or bubble wrap. Secure the cushioning material with tape. 
  3. If the shoes have toe vamps—the hood-like parts that cover your toes—crumple sheets of newsprint paper and put one inside each shoe. If they have straps instead of toe vamps, protect the straps with newsprint paper or bubble wrap. Make sure that sharp edges are not protruding.
  4. Get a continuous sheet of bubble wrap. For flats and low-cut shoes, 12″ x 24″ is enough. Bigger ones require 12″ x 36″.
  5. Put both shoes in the middle of the bubble wrap’s “bubbly” surface. Position the shoes such that the toe vamps face each other but point in different directions. They should look like the yin-yang sign, which maximizes box space.
  6. Fold the bubble wrap around each shoe, ensuring that they are well-wrapped and have a layer of cushion between them.
  7. Secure the bubble wrap with some tape. 
  8. Attach your thank-you sticker to a prominent location on the wrap.
  9. Put the wrapped shoes inside the box carefully.
  10. Place one unpeeled shipping label inside the box.
  11. For boots, high heels, and intricately designed shoes, you may put additional padding in dead spaces. You may also line the box interior with a 2″ layer of bubble wrap on all sides. This extra cushion ensures that the package does not shift and get damaged during transport.
  12. Seal the shipping box, taping the flaps in an H-pattern. Make sure that the flaps do not bend when you close the box, as over-packing can also ruin parcels.
  13. Attach your shipping label to a prominent site on the shipping box.
  14. Attach fragile stickers if you need to.

If you’re shipping multiple pairs, get a box that can house all of them, including their cushions. Wrap each pair separately, following steps 1-8 above for single pairs. Make sure that each pair is separated by bubble wrap when you put them inside the box. Pack them snugly, but avoid cramming them in a small space. Seal and label the shipping box in a similar manner.

If you’re double-boxing a pair of shoes, do the following:

  1. Wrap them first according to steps 1-8 above before putting them in the original box.
  2. Seal the branded box with tape.
  3. Tape the bottom of the shipment box in an H-pattern.
  4. Line the shipment box’s interior with a 2″ layer of bubble wrap at the bottom and all sides.
  5. Place the original box in the middle of the bubble wrap cushions.
  6. Put an unpeeled shipping label on top of the branded box.
  7. Put another 2″ bubble wrap layer above the unpeeled label and branded box.
  8. Close and tape the top of the shipping box.
  9. Attach your shipping label to a prominent site on the shipping box.
  10. You may add fragile stickers if necessary.

Now you’re ready to ship your merchandise to your customer!

This guide is here to show you the basics for packaging shoes and boots for shipping. You can modify any of the steps according to your style or need. For expensive shoes, consider getting insurance for your security and that of the customer.

buying shoes online


In retail, the product packaging is a highly important marketing element. The same applies to shoes and boots sold online. Footwear is durable and can go with any shipping material. However, creating a unique customer experience through unboxing helps promote your brand.

To package your shoes for shipping and unboxing, the materials you need are:

    • An appropriately-sized shipping box
    • Packing tape
    • Newsprint paper
    • Bubble wrap
    • 4″ x 6″ labels
    • Sheet labels
    • Fragile stickers (optional)
    • The shoes’ original branded box (optional)

We showed you the basic guides for using these materials on your merchandise. You can modify them to suit your style or needs.

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