Introduction: Vertical Shoe Rack

Picture of Vertical Shoe Rack

The idea here is to create a wall mounted 'ladder' of sorts to store shoes. I've built things like this before - one is a great Instructable called a Shoe Tower. But I recently moved into a new place and needed to create something that is next to the front door, but doesn't take up too much space.

Materials:

  • Vertical supports - I used Redwood 2x2 from the local big box store that are intended for decking railings. The 1.5 inch thickness is just enough to sneak in the sneaker toes; but not so deep to take up floor space; and
  • Horizontal slats - these don't need to be super strong, but not so flimsy they will break under the weight of shoes. I ended up with some sections of molding (3/8 inches thick, 1 inch high), normally used for floor molding, but again, I just needed something straight (ish) and strong enough; and
  • Mounting hardware - the vertical supports are screwed in with 3 inch wood screws (tight threads) and the horizontal slats are secured with small brass brads.

Tools:

  • Measuring Tape, Level, pencils
  • Drill, counter-sing drill bit, hammer (or stapler if you opt for that route; see note in Installation of horizontal slats)
  • OPTIONAL: Stapler.

Other Resources:

  • Time (after sketching it out and thinking it through, this is quick): about an hour
  • Cleaning supplies - I had crudely piled the shoes for several weeks, so lots of dirt and other things had ended up around the area.

Step 1: Prepare Vertical Supports

Picture of Prepare Vertical Supports

Long ago, I learned the virtue of the well measured pre-drilled screw hole. No splitting, no over exerted force, no regrets.

My vertical supports are three feet long, so I pre-drilled (with a counter-sink drill bit) a hole at the top, middle and bottom of each support. I decided to go with the counter-sink for several reasons. The first was aesthetics, and the second was practical. The horizontal slats will be placed at various heights and I didn't want to over plan and try to avoid a horizontal slat going over a screw. This way, the slats can land anywhere.

NOTE: If you wanted to stain, paint, decoupage or in any way adorn your shoe rack - now would be the time to do so. I didn't want to (most of my place is wood in raw form).

Step 2: Installing Vertical Supports

Picture of Installing Vertical Supports

For each support, I started with the middle hole, then lined each up square to the world. I started with the right support (in the corner of my entry way), then left, then measured the center point between the two. I was a little concerned that my walls were not totally straight, but they turned out to be.

I took a final measurement from the outside of the left vertical support to the outside of the right vertical support so I would know how long each horizontal slat needed to be. These vertical supports are rounded at the edges, so the measurement is a bit off - and the right side of each horizontal slat will run into the wall, so the measurement is rough only.

Step 3: Preparing for Horizontal Slats

Picture of Preparing for Horizontal Slats

The first step is to install the lowest horizontal slat. It needs to be flush with the bottom of the vertical supports. I ended up getting three 9 foot lengths of my horizontal slats, so the first was a bit of a trick to line up to measure. But I found it best to measure each slat on site and then cut.

Alternatively, you could take the engineer/math-is-great route and measure, then cut all slats at once. Or take a step further into obsession with exactness and set up a fence on a chop saw to ensure absolute uniformity. But I majored in Philosophy with a focus on existentialism and fundamentally don't believe in absolute uniformity. Even amongst thin pine boards.

But, to each his/her/their own.

After each cut, it is worth running over the edges (especially the cut edges) with some sandpaper. Your shoes are going to slide in and out of these and a smooth edge will make that a bit easier and not give your shoe splinters.

Step 4: Installing the Horizontal Slats

Picture of Installing the Horizontal Slats

After each slat is cut, I nail it into the center support, then ensure it is level and nail into the other two. Grab a pair of shoes and place on the slat. Then bring in the next length of slat material and roughly place over the toes of the shoes, just above enough to get a grip, but high enough to make it simple to get the shoes in and out.

Here, gravity is the unseen helper. The shoes should go in just far enough to create a fulcrum with the horizontal slat, then 'drop' down by the weight of the rest of the shoes and thus press up against the next horizontal slat.

This is where I am glad I switched to nails as this may take a bit of adjustment. Also, it is good to put like thickness shoes together.

Lastly, I decided to keep heavier shoes (hiking boots, motorcycle boots, etc.) on the bottom and lighter (sandals) towards the top. Again, Newton had it right and things are proportionally attracted to the center of the Earth. Meaning the heavier the object, the stronger the desire to be closer to the ground. And, it kind of makes sense from an organizational point of view. But again, to each her/his/their own.

Repeat each row accordingly - taking all the shoes out each time. I know, I know, tedious, but hey, I had some time and enough Virgo in me to do this somewhat systematically.

Step 5: Top Row / Finishing

Picture of Top Row / Finishing

Once you get near the top, you may find you have odd spacing. I did.

I noticed that some lighter shoes with thicker toes actually needed more space than heavier shoes with thinner toes. For those rows, I went to a larger gap, each time trying to make it just wide enough to hold the shoe and not let it drop too much. There were lots of adjustments (removing and replacing a row).

For that last few rows, I knew I would have at least one really small row, so I left it open. I'm going to let it set for a few weeks and see if the choice of thin slats was the right one. If any break or splinter, I will re-do with thicker slats. The trick with the ladder style rack linked in the introduction allowed for shoes to be inserted as far as they needed. Here, Space is a premium, so I may need stronger slats to hold up the shoes.

For the topper, I picked up some corner finishing (also pine) and nailed it into the top. Upon further reflection when I was done, I think I want to paint this, but not sure, so I am leaving it raw for the time being.

Comments

andysewell (author)2015-10-09

Octaviob2: Estoy de acuerdo - algo suave que sería una buena idea. pero yo no quiero cambiar la apariencia. Quiero mantener todo el proyecto de limpieza de aspecto.

octaviob2 (author)2015-10-09

pienso que se podría mejorar un poca colocando fommi u otro ,material esponjoso, en el área donde va recargada la punta del zapato

Grunambulax (author)2015-10-01

I can see using this for trainers and sandals but my concern would be that gravity would eventually cause an abnormal bend in good leather shoes that would be unsightly and uncomfortable. Does this happen?

andysewell (author)Grunambulax2015-10-07

Yes, Grunambulax:

After a week or so of having it around, some of the leather toed shoes are showing signs that they may leave marks. Two ideas: 1) adding some sort of cloth cushion to the horizontal slat; or 2) adding toe inserts to those shoes that may need more support.

Originally, I thought of using dowels for slats - reducing the touch points on the shoes. However, I don't think it would make that much of a difference.

Grunambulax (author)andysewell2015-10-07

There is going to be an inverse relationship between the width of the support and the pressure on the shoe. For instance if you replaced the slat with a knife the weight of the shoe and force would be the same but the distribution of that force would be over a smaller area and thus there would be even more creasing, or even cutting.

I think the only solution is going to be putting good leather shoes on the floor or a shelf of some type. Your slat system is an aesthetically good idea and will work for plastic shoes, flip flops etc., but I fear that even bolstering the stiffness of the shoe by stuffing it is going to fail because you will still get a pressure groove on top.

Jlfenter (author)2015-10-05

Great concept and one that immediately leads to innovations and improvements. As Grunambulax asked about good leather shoes, yes it would seem to cause issues in them. However, (I only assume) this is placed at the door where only outdoor shoes would be and the issue of the good leather shouldn't become one.

One could put the horizontal slats closer. close enough that a 1/4" piece of ply could be wedged in-between, forming a platform for shoes. These platforms would be moveable, positioned anywhere on the support.

LavadaS (author)2015-10-01

wow....the shoe shelves you buy ate so flimsy cheap. i like this

NirL (author)2015-09-29

nice1

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