The 11 Best Backpacks With Separate Shoe Compartments

Keep your footwear separate from the rest of your items with these backpacks with shoe compartments.

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The North Face / Farfetch / Solgaard

Shoes take up a substantial amount of space in suitcases, and squeezing them into a backpack can be even more of a struggle. But footwear is a must-have, no matter where you're headed.

The solution? Backpacks with designated shoe compartments. Not only do these cleverly designed bags have enough space for your kicks, but they also keep them separate. In other words, you won't have to worry about the rest of your stuff getting dirty, wet, or smelly.

Whether you need something for air travel, commuting to work, or heading to and from the gym, the perfect pack is out there.

Best Overall

Monos Metro Backpack

Monos Metro Backpack


Why We Love It
  • This sleek carrier has several pockets, an easy-access laptop sleeve, a stretchy shoe compartment, and a removable locking pouch for all the little things.

What to Consider
  • The overall capacity is on the smaller side.

The Monos Metro Backpack has an undeniably modern, sophisticated appeal. But don't let the sleek construction fool you—it's thoughtfully designed with functional practicality, ensuring there's a spot for all the essentials. It has a spacious main compartment with multiple internal pockets and an easy-access laptop sleeve that fits computers up to 15 inches. There's also a trolly sleeve on the back, allowing you to slide it over your suitcase handle.

More to the point, the Metro has a stretchy, waterproof privacy compartment big enough to fit a pair of shoes, a change of clothes, a packable jacket, and anything else you want to keep separate. On the front is the brand's QuickSnap Kit, a pouch roughly the size of a crossbody purse where you can put your phone, keys, headphones, hand sanitizer, lip balm, wet wipes, you name it. The kit is conveniently detachable and locks into place with a clever magnet system.

This pack comes in either water-resistant nylon or vegan leather and your choice of several hues ranging from forest green and black to camel and cream. With an 18-liter capacity, it is on the smaller side. Still, it's hard to go wrong with the feature-rich design.

Price at time of publish: $200

The Details: 2.4 pounds (nylon), 3 pounds (vegan leather) | 18-liter capacity | Nylon or vegan leather

Best Budget

ItShiny Waterproof Laptop Travel Backpack



Why We Love It
  • This roomy backpack has a media sleeve, an anti-theft pocket, and a water-sealed chamber for your shoes.

What to Consider
  • The shoulder straps are relatively thin.

On a budget? The ItShiny Travel Backpack is a solid choice. This sizable carrier boasts a generous 32-liter capacity with a roomy main compartment and a water-sealed chamber below for your shoes.

There's also a media sleeve that fits laptops or tablets up to 16 inches, multiple dividers, a hidden anti-theft pouch in the back for your keys and wallet, and a front zipper pocket for easy access to your phone, headphones, or charger. This backpack has a built-in USB charging port, too. The entire exterior is waterproof, and, while the shoulder straps are relatively thin, the straps and back panel are both padded for comfort.

Price at time of publish: $30

The Details: 1.3 pounds | 32-liter capacity | Polyester

Best Splurge

Troubadour Aero Backpack



Why We Love It
  • It has a uniquely structured shape, a dedicated shoe compartment, and a laptop sleeve you can access from the back.

What to Consider
  • The chest strap is sold separately.

If you're open to spending more on a high-end design, Troubadour's Aero Backpack is a stellar choice. The structured barrel shape holds its form well without looking too utilitarian, and the rounded upper zipper makes it easy to access the large main compartment. There's a separate laptop section you can access from the back and a dedicated shoe pocket with a waterproof, antimicrobial lining.

The Aero has a three-dimensional top pocket for small items and a trolley sleeve to slide over your suitcase handle. It flaunts padded, ergonomic shoulder straps, a grab handle, and an optional detachable chest strap, (which you'll have to buy separately). We also like that the exterior and zippers are waterproof. This backpack is undoubtedly expensive, but it might still be worth the investment — plus, the brand backs it with a five-year guarantee.

Price at time of publish: $295

The Details: 2.8 pounds | 34-liter capacity | Polyester

Best for Commuters

Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack

lululemon city adventurer backpack Silver Drop


Why We Love It
  • Available in a range of chic hues, this backpack has an exterior laptop sleeve, a water bottle pocket, and an expandable shoe compartment.

What to Consider
  • It's somewhat compact, but this might be a plus when commuting.

Lululemon's City Adventurer Backpack is ideal for commuters in cities around the world. It has a decently sized main compartment, an exterior laptop sleeve that fits computers up to 16 inches, an interior water bottle pocket, and an expandable lower compartment for an extra pair of shoes or a change of clothes.

With a 20-liter capacity, it's relatively compact. This might be a good thing if you like to keep your load light when taking the train or bus or walking or biking to work. In true Lululemon fashion, this backpack comes in a range of chic hues like merlot, sage, and burnt camel.

Price at time of publish: $128

The Details: 20-liter capacity | Nylon and polyester

Best for Outdoor Adventures

Mardingtop 28L Tactical Backpack



Why We Love It
  • This rugged backpack has a ventilated shoe section and a hydration compartment that holds up to 2 liters of water.

What to Consider
  • It's not machine-washable, and you'll have to buy the hydration bladder separately.

Heading on an outdoor excursion? The Mardingtop Tactical Backpack might be your best bet. This carrier has a spacious main compartment and a separate ventilated section for shoes, dirty clothes, or sweaty gear. There's also a water bottle pouch on the side, plus a hydration compartment that can hold a 2-liter bladder (sold separately) and a spot to feed the drinking spout through.

This rugged backpack is made of 600-denier polyester. While the material is super-strong, we should note it's not machine-washable. But all things considered, the price is more than reasonable for a feature-rich, adventure-ready design.

Price at time of publish: $49

The Details: 2.9 pounds | 28-liter capacity | Polyester

Best for Sports

Adidas Utility Team Backpack



Why We Love It
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty, the Utility Team Backpack has a large section for shoes or a helmet and adjustable side straps to attach a bat, racket, or stick.

What to Consider
  • It doesn't have much structure.

Whether you play golf, soccer, basketball, pickleball, or tennis, you need a reliable bag to hold all your gear. We like the Adidas Utility Team Backpack. The extra-large design boasts an exceptionally roomy main compartment and another sizable section for stashing your cleats, trainers, uniform, or helmet.

There are also adjustable side straps for attaching a baseball bat, tennis racket, or lacrosse stick. And that's not all: This backpack has a laptop sleeve, a media pocket, an insulated pocket for drinks and snacks, and a water-resistant base. While it's not very structured, this makes it easy to stuff full. In the end, we think the price is more than fair—and Adidas backs it with a lifetime warranty.

Price at time of publish: $65

The Details: 1 pound

Best Carry-on

Solgaard Lifepack Endeavor (with Closet)



Why We Love It
  • The Lifepack Endeavor has a removable closet system that fits up to a week's worth of clothes, plus a shoe section and a zippered expander.

What to Consider
  • It's pricey and weighs over 3-and-a-half pounds when empty.

Looking for a carry-on suitcase alternative? Check out the Solgaard Lifepack Endeavor. This all-in-one travel backpack comes with the brand's signature Carry-on Closet. Featuring three zippered compartments and compression straps, the removable system allows for efficient, organized packing. You can fit a week's worth of clothes and hang it up for easy access during your trip.

But that's just the closet component. The actual backpack has several pockets, a separate shoe section, a water-resistant base, and a zippered expansion feature that increases the capacity from 27 to 35 liters. Just a heads up, it weighs over 3.5 pounds when empty. And although the price is pretty steep, you can definitely count on quality.

Price at time of publish: $245

The Details: 3.6 pounds | 35-liter capacity | Shore-tex

Best Organization

The North Face Women's Never Stop Utility Pack


The North Face

Why We Love It
  • This backpack has several pockets and pouches, a designated shoe section, a laptop sleeve, and contoured straps for comfort.

What to Consider
  • It's technically a women's style but is pretty versatile.

We also like the Never Stop Utility Pack from The North Face. This mid-sized bag has a 26-liter capacity, with a roomy main compartment and a zippered shoe chamber you can access from the bottom. There are also two expandable water bottle pouches, a front zipper pocket for small items, and a 15-inch laptop sleeve in the back, allowing you to remove your computer without opening the main compartment.

This backpack is made of tear-resistant nylon with a water-repellent coating. While the contoured straps and sternum clip are designed to offer comfortable support for women, they adjust to fit most bodies—and the overall appearance is unisex.

Price at time of publish: $139

The Details: 2 pounds | 26-liter capacity | Nylon

Best Design

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack

Saks Fifth Avenue

Why We Love It
  • A perfect balance of functionality and style, the Dakota holds all the essentials and flaunts a cool, modern aesthetic.

What to Consider
  • The shoe storage is a removable pouch.

Dagne Dover really nails a balance of style and functionality with its bag designs, and the Dakota Backpack is no exception. It's compact yet spacious, with a large main compartment, a zippered laptop sleeve that fits devices up to 16 inches, a separate tablet pocket, an exterior phone pouch, a key leash, a trolley sleeve, and multiple other pockets throughout.

What about your shoes? You can stash them in the removable dust bag to ensure they don't get your other stuff wet or dirty. From olive green to dusty mauve to heather gray, the color options are pretty great. We're big fans of the soft, water-resistant neoprene exterior and smooth-gliding, oversized zippers too.

Price at time of publish: $215 for large

The Details: 2.6 pounds | 20-liter capacity | Neoprene

Best Duffle-backpack Hybrid

Under Armour Project Rock Box Duffle Backpack


Dick's Sporting Goods

Why We Love It
  • This convertible carrier has a compartment that fits shoes up to size 15 and a water-repellent exterior to protect your belongings from the elements.

What to Consider
  • It could use more outer pockets.

Not sure if you need a backpack or a duffle? A hybrid bag might be the perfect solution. From Under Armour's Project Rock collab with Dwayne Johnson, this rugged 30-liter carrier has a large main compartment with a tech organization panel under the lid. There's also a padded laptop sleeve, a valuables pocket, and a laundry compartment that fits shoes as big as a men's size 15.

A water-repellent finish helps protect the contents from the elements. And there's a stretchy water bottle sleeve on the side, though more exterior pockets would be nice. The Box Duffle Backpack also has military-style elastic webbing on the front for attaching things like a hat, keys, a luggage tag, or carabiners.

Price at time of publish: $90

The Details: 30-liter capacity | Polyester

Best Backpack-tote Hybrid

ShortyLove Boxer Backpack



Why We Love It
  • The Boxer can be carried on one or two shoulders, and the large capacity, feature-rich design has a spot for just about everything.

What to Consider
  • This bag is pricey and doesn't have much structure.

If you like a slouchier style, you'll appreciate the ShortyLove Boxer. This backpack-tote hybrid has two padded back straps, plus a grab handle and a longer strap you can sling over one shoulder. The large-capacity design can hold anything from a toiletry kit and a lunchbox to a packable jacket and going-out clothes.

Thanks to a bottom zippered compartment, you can separate your shoes from the rest of your belongings. There are also two side pouches for water bottles, a padded media sleeve for devices up to 17 inches, a zippered front pocket for small items, and a detachable catch-all pouch. The Boxer also has two key clips and a stretchy back sleeve for magazines, file folders, or even a tennis racket.

Price at time of publish: $288

The Details: 2.2 pounds | Nylon

Tips for Buying a Backpack with a Shoe Compartment

Consider the size of the shoe compartment

For light packers who just want to bring a spare pair of shoes, a smaller shoe compartment may be enough. Travelers who want to bring multiple extra pairs of shoes, or use this designated area to pack other gear like socks, may want a backpack with a larger compartment. Of course, the backpack will become heavier if you pack two pairs of shoes so be sure the shoe compartment is in a space that won't tire out your back if packed full.

Think about your organizational needs

Beyond shoes, what else do you need to put in a backpack? Maybe it's a change of clothes, sports equipment, a laptop, a water bottle, a camera, a makeup kit, or file folders. In any case, your bag of choice should have pockets and compartments for keeping these items organized yet accessible.

Seek features for your primary use

When browsing backpacks with shoe compartments, look for features tailored to your intended use. For instance, commuters might need a padded laptop sleeve, a USB charging port, a water bottle holder, or a key fob. Outdoor adventurists may want a hydration compartment and a water-repellent exterior with elastic webbing for attaching things like hats, whistles, and carabiners. And those traveling by plane might like something with an expandable capacity or a convertible design that can be carried multiple ways.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How big of a backpack do I need?

    It really depends on what you're using it for. Backpack capacities are usually measured in liters. Mid-size options are typically between 22 to 30 liters, while larger bags and duffle hybrids can be as large as 45 liters.

    If you commute to work or are looking for something that qualifies as a "personal item" on a flight, a small-to-medium backpack should suffice. On the other hand, if you need to fit all your belongings for a multi-night trip into a backpack, you'll need something with a capacity of at least 30 to 35 liters.

  • How do I clean my backpack?

    Some backpacks can be washed in washing machines on a gentle cycle. (Consider placing yours in a laundry bag or pillowcase to prevent the zippers and straps from getting caught in the drum.) However, you should only do this if the brand's care instructions say so.

    If your backpack isn't machine-washable, wipe it down with a damp cloth, then let it air-dry. For stuck-on dirt and grime, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Stain-removing pens like the Tide To Go work well for stubborn spots and stains.

  • Where should shoes be placed in a backpack?

    You should always keep your footwear separate in its own compartment, or shoe bags, when possible to avoid getting the rest of your items dirty. If your shoe compartment holds more than one pair, be sure to distribute the weight equally with the heavier pair toward the center of the bag. If possible, pack your shoes vertically to avoid hurting your back when wearing the backpack.

  • How can you pack multiple pairs of shoes in a backpack?

    If your shoe compartment fits more than one pair of shoes, be sure to pack the heavier pair first and toward the center of the pocket to help keep the pack balanced. You may need to pack one shoe from the lighter pair on either side of the heavier pair to help distribute the weight. It may also help if you pack the shoes with heels and toes pointing in different directions to optimize the space.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Writer Theresa Holland specializes in lifestyle, beauty, apparel, consumer tech, trip essentials, fitness gadgets, outdoor living, recreation, and interior design. She carefully researched today's best backpacks with shoe compartments, narrowing it down to those that stand out for capacity, features, durability, and aesthetic appeal.

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Updated by
Taylor Fox
Taylor Fox, Commerce Updates Writer at Travel + Leisure
Taylor Fox is a Commerce Updates Writer at Travel + Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Taylor holds a Master’s in Geography and has been a writer and editor for over seven years.
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