Wrapped shoe box used as packaging for parcel

Is a shoe box classed as a small parcel?

Shoe boxes provide perfect packaging for sending smaller packages. Surely it should make sense that a shoe box would automatically be considered as a small parcel?

The answer, you may not be surprised to learn, is not entirely straightforward. Why?

Shoe boxes of varying sizes used as packaging

Shoe box dimensions must fit small parcel guidelines

Not every shoe box is the same size. The manufacturer of the box, brand of shoe, or target gender for the product will all have an effect on the size of an individual box.

As a rough rule of thumb, boxes for men’s shoes are usually a bit larger than boxes for women’s shoes.

The average dimensions of a women’s shoe box:

  • Typical length: 33 cm
  • Typical width: 19 cm
  • Typical depth: 10 cm

Average measurements for men’s shoe boxes exceed those for women’s boxes by a few centimetres:

  • Typical length: 36 cm
  • Typical width: 25 cm
  • Typical depth: 13 cm

So does this matter? When it comes to sending a small parcel, it can.

Shoe box weighed on scales to find volumetric weight

What counts as a ‘small parcel’?

Royal Mail states the maximum dimensions of a small parcel to be 45cm long, 35 cm wide and 16cm deep. That means a small parcel is roughly double the size of the average shoe box.

However, should you choose to use your local post office, your item must also weigh no more than 2kg.

It is not enough to focus on size alone; weight is also a factor. If your small package is heavier than the limit, it could end up in a higher price category.

How do couriers measure parcels?

Many couriers base their postage rates on the volumetric weight of a parcel.

To begin calculating, multiply the parcel’s three dimensional measurements. When using centimetres as the unit of measurement, you then divide the result by 5000 or 4000. This will depend on the courier service provider you use.

However, you will still need to provide both the weight and dimensions of your packaged item to obtain a quote. This means parcels of the same size, but different weights, may be classified differently and cost differing amounts to send.

It is also the case that parcels of the same size and weight may cost different amounts to send with different couriers, due to variation in the method of calculating volumetric weight.

Bubble wrap being used to protect items in packaging

Paying the best shipping rates for your small parcels

Packaging choices

If possible, reduce your parcel size by using less packaging, or packing items closer together within the box. You should still ensure the item in your package is well protected. However, careful packing and clever use of bubble wrap can save precious cubic centimetres of space. If you were going to use a box for men’s shoes, swap it for a smaller box designed for women’s shoes.

Factor in weight first

You may not always be able to choose the weight of your parcel. If you can, consider alternatives that will make shipping lighter and cheaper. For example, if you need to courier a prototype or demonstration product to a client, this could factor into the type of material you use for the mock up.

Never assume that, because your parcel is small, it will be cheaper to send.

Choose a reputable courier

This is particularly important when sending parcels frequently.

As an experienced and reliable provider of courier services, Impact Express can offer competitive domestic and international shipping rates, whatever the size or weight of your parcel. We also provide a quick and efficient quoting system, and full online tracking so you always know where your parcel is at every stage of its journey.

If you would like more information, or to obtain an accurate quote, get in touch today.

For more advice and tips on parcel logistics, check out some of our other blog posts.


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