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Eco-friendly Packaging Tips for Shipping Shoes Safely

Eco-friendly Packaging Tips for Shipping Shoes Safely

Some of the most purchased items from online shops are shoes. Regardless of the occasion, make sure your customer’s footwear arrives in good condition. How can you safely ship shoes and footwear? Check these tried-and-tested, environmentally friendly tips for packing and shipping shoes!

Essential Eco-friendly Materials for Shipping Shoes

Some eco-friendly packaging materials you can use include; stuff recycled paper, boxes made from corrugated cardboard, crumpled paper, and mailer bags. Also, when shipping shoes, you need to consider these three essential factors; the type of packaging, cushioning or/and labeling.

The packaging should be sturdy, cost-friendly, and appeal to your customers. Eco-friendly cushioning will depend on the type of shoes, while labeling is essential for package delivery and tracking.

Factors Affecting Shipping Cost of Shoe Products

Weight and length of the package

The shipping cost will largely depend on your shoes' dimensional weight and package type. Dimensional weight is the amount of space your shoes will occupy, it relates to their actual weight. When this exceeds the actual weight of your shoes, courier companies will use it to determine the shipping cost.

Ordinarily, the dimensional weight of shoes will be greater than the actual weight, translating to higher shipping rates. While this can’t be undone, the type of packaging and filler will help tremendously. Go for a smaller packaging size and lightweight filler that will snugly fit your shoes but not alter their shape.

Packaging Tips for Shoes

Shipping costs depends on your shoes' dimensional weight and package type


It costs more to ship your shoe products to locations farther away from your warehouse. If you are operating in a localized area, the cost is usually lower than shipping nationwide or to international markets.

Courier companies that cover lots of locations to make shipping less expensive. However, some areas remain out of reach for some couriers. A good example of this is FedEx’s Extended Area Service Coverage. FedEx will charge you extra fees on top of the base rate for deliveries to remote or hard to access areas.

Cost of Courier Services

Courier companies have different rates for the services they render. Size, weight, and distance are the primary factors used to calculate the shipping cost. Some well-known brands also offer tracking and insurance services. These complementary services will also affect the shipping costs.

The rates are often subsidized depending on the shipping volume and frequency to help small shops cut operational costs. Additionally, all these couriers offer free shipping supplies. Check these links to learn more about their shipping rates:

Taxes and Duties

Unless you decide to cover taxes and duties, it’s the customers who will bear these cost most of the time. However, you can opt to settle the levies or share the bill with the customer.

Pro Tip: To avoid returns, always let the buyer know who is taking care of this cost.

Box for Shipping Shoes

For international shipping, always make it clear who will shoulder the taxes

This is applicable to international shipping. Countries usually have duties and taxes on shipments entering their territories. The amount to be paid primarily depends on:

  • Country of origin/manufacture
  • Trade blocs/agreements
  • Product Value
  • Country-specific regulations

These custom fees vary from country to country, making it difficult to have a standard rate. Always check the country’s taxes and duties requirements for international shipments. You can also find this information from international couriers to make the shipping process more efficient.


Sometimes the courier company will add extra charges to the shipping cost. These surcharges are meant to cushion the company against any events that fall outside the scope of its standard shipping and handling services.

Oversize surcharges are the most common when shipping packages like shoes. If your package falls outside the carrier’s standard weight, size, or dimensions guidelines, you will accrue these charges. However, you can easily avoid the surcharges by accurately taking the measurements and using light and compact materials.

Cushioning Shoes for Shipping

To avoid surcharges, use comapct and lightweight packaging materials

Essential Packaging Requirements for Shipping Footwear

1. Box

Shipping your shoe products using a box gives the customer a sense of value for money. To protect the shoes during transportation, the box should be slightly larger than the shoe size. However, do not use a box larger than you need to avoid surcharges and unnecessary packaging. Make sure to have several box sizes ready to choose from for each package.

Pro-tip: Try using boxes that are made from corrugated cardboard. They are lightweight, significantly reducing your shipping costs, and you can easily source recycled ones from home depots or local stores. Recycling old boxes helps not only to reduce the carbon footprint, but also minimize waste management costs. 

Boxes for Shoes

📷 from packhelp | They customize lightweight boxes for shoes

2. Padding

Before sealing your box, it's essential to cushion the shoes against scratches and scrapes during transit. Stuffers made from recycled papers or biodegradable peanuts will keep them from moving around in the box. The lightweight peanuts are hygroscopic, ideally keeping the footwear dry ‘till they arrive at their final destination.

Remember: Avoid using printed paper as the ink can stain the shoes. Bubble and plastic wraps are also not ideal, especially for leather shoes. The moisture can cause mold and fungus, which will damage the surface of your shoes.

Honeycomb Pads for Shipping

📷 from VeriteEcoPackaging | honeycomb recycled paper helps pad products

3. Shoe Tree or Crumpled Paper

While in transit, your shoes need to be protected against compression and creasing. To help keep the shoe shape, use shoe trees or crumpled paper. It’s an inexpensive alternative to shoe trees. It is affordable, easy to find, and can be recycled multiple times.

Shoe trees are typically made from wood or plastic. Wood is eco-friendly, and the best ones are made from cedar. It’s lightweight, has a pleasant scent, and naturally absorbs moisture, keeping the inside dry. Go for cedar shoe inserts fitted with metal spring coils between the front and heel sections. They are more flexible, and one piece can accommodate a variety of shoe sizes.

Crumpled Paper for Packaging Shoes

To help keep the shoe shape, insert crumpled paper inside the shoes.

4. Mailer bags

Corrugated boxes may be sturdy but tend to disintegrate on exposure to moisture or water. Placing your box inside a poly mailer will protect the box and shoes from high humidity, rain, or an accidental liquid spill.

Mailer bags come in different sizes and would easily fit any shoe box. They don't weigh much, and you will not incur additional shipping costs. For environmental sustainability, recycle poly mailers or opt for biodegradable options such as our biodegradable mailer bags.

Biodegradable mailer bags

Use biodegradable mailer bags to protect the shoes and box from moisture

5. Labels

Shipping labels should be concise, with the delivery information printed and bolded if necessary. You can customize your labels or use one from the courier company. Label the box as ‘FRAGILE’ or ‘HANDLE WITH CARE’ to prevent the shipping company from placing heavy packages on top of the shoe packages.

Box Label for Shipping Products

Don't forget to add the 'Fragile' or 'Handle with Care' sticker

6. Packaging Tape

Packing tapes securely seal the parcel and deters any tampering while the shoes are in transit or storage. Apply the tape type across all the top and bottom seams of your package. Customized or branded tape gives the shipment a premium feel and portrays your brand’s attention to detail. Since your products stand out, they can help trace lost or misplaced packages.

Packing tape for sealing packages

Always seal your box properly to avoid tampering

Shipping Shoes Without a Box

You can use eco-friendly bubble mailers and envelopes to ship your shoes. They are lightweight and affordable, which will significantly lower your shipping costs. Also, most of them are water-resistant.

However, they are only suitable for certain types of footwear like sandals and slippers. Shoes with buckles and metallic tips may puncture through the packaging. You can't stack the packages during transit, and placing heavy objects on them will damage the shoes.


Shipping shoes with special notes

Some stores that sell sandals and slippers use mailer bags

While sending shoes without a box is an option, the packaging is a reflection of the value of the shoes. This is why some brands often go to great lengths to create a luxury or creative unboxing experience. A customer may be forgiving if you use mailers for sandals or slippers. However, it would be best to use an aesthetically pleasing box for designer brands, limited-edition sneakers, or hand-made shoes.

Taking a Photo of the Product

On the e-commerce platform, photographs are more receptive than word descriptions. Also, taking a photo of the shoes before shipping absolves the business of any damage during transit. If the customer receives any damaged products, you can fill a compensation claim with the courier company.

Similarly, taking a photo lets the customer know what to expect. A good-looking package builds anticipation and makes them feel more comfortable buying from your online shop. Share these photos on a visible section of your e-commerce platform listing or website.


Take Photos of Shoes Before shipping

Taking a photo of the shoes protects the seller from damage during transit


1. Will it be cheaper to ship using your own box?

It depends on the size of the box and the weight of the package. To cut the cost of sourcing for boxes, you can avail of the free shipping supplies offered by courier services.

2. Will it be cheaper to ship one shoe or multiple shoes in one box?

It is cheaper to ship multiple shoes in one box. You can use one large box for all the shoes or alternatively double box and ship them as one package. Since the dimensional weight of shoes rarely exceeds the actual weight, you will pay less shipping costs than shipping each shoe individually.

Pro-tip: To use bulk shipping, launch marketing campaigns, and product discounts that will encourage multiple purchases. Buy One, Get One Free (BOGOF) campaign works well in encouraging more purchases.

Shipping Tips for Shoes

Launch marketing campaigns that encourage multiple purchase, so customers can save on shipping

3. How do I put the shipping label on a box?

It would be best to place the shipping label on a clean visible surface on the largest flat side of the box. Place the completed shipping label inside the box before sealing it. In the event the outer label comes off during transit, the courier can still be able to complete the delivery.

Shipping labels are highly adhesive, so avoid running tape over them. The packaging tape may cover pertinent shipping information or the barcodes on the waybill, which might affect the tracking and delivery of the package.

4. When shipping a box, where do I put the address?

Where you put the address will depend on whether you’re using handwritten or printed addresses. You can place printed addresses at any position on the box's surface.

For handwritten addresses, use a dark permanent marker on the largest surface of the box. The senders/ return address goes in the top-left corner of the box, while the recipient’s address goes centrally on the same box’s side. You can add the prefix “From:” and “To:” for safety measures.

Focus on Personal Experience

Shoe shopping is always a personal purchase. It reflects the wearer's style and preferences. Shoes are an extension of themselves, so make sure to package them beautifully! Make sure to look for packaging that resonates with your brand identity.

Shipping Shoes

Make sure your customer's unboxing experience is unforgettable (in a good way!)

We appreciate your feedback. Speak to us about any available shipping and packaging tips you would like us to address on our blog. You can also checkout the article we made on eco-friendly tips for packaging clothes!

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