April 21, 2023

What is a Sliding Shoe Sorter?

Packaging and sorting orders before sending them out are essential in warehouse management and order fulfillment. A good sorting process is necessary for speeding up the order fulfillment process and the pick up of packages. There are many ways in which containers can be sorted. Small businesses usually start manually sorting packages, which can be efficient but takes time.

When the business starts to upscale, it needs to upgrade the sorting system for its products. Many kinds of sortation technologies are used in today's time. Many companies produce sorting systems for manufacturing units, warehouse management systems, and e-commerce businesses. One of the most used sorting systems is the sliding shoe sorter.

The advanced shoe sorter belt is an automated sortation system that has high throughput and can be used for multiple purposes. Many companies that send out orders daily prefer the sliding shoe sorter because it is versatile and efficient. In this article, we will know in detail about the many features of the shoe sorter system and why it is used across different industry verticals. 

What Is The Sliding Shoe Sorter System? 

A company should choose its sortation depending on the operational and commercial needs of the setup. The speed, throughput, and other factors like versatility and reliability also determine the popularity of a sortation technology. In a way, sortation technology plays a central role in packaging and sorting. The speed and performance of the sortation technology can affect the overall output of a manufacturing unit or warehouse setup. 

The sliding shoe sorter system is one of the most reliable sortation technologies many companies use. A sliding shoe sorter is also called a Slat sorter in many industries. Usually, the sliding shoe sorter has a straight and long conveyor belt that moves with many slats on its top. These slats hold the product and convey it down the line.

Slats on the sliding shoe conveyor belt are kept close to each other so that the product package does not fall off the belt and the packages move as a line of undisturbed objects. Between the two slats, there still is a little place on which channels with sliding shoes sit and glide as the main divert mechanism.

If the work process of the sliding shoe sorter is seen, it is straightforward, which makes it such an excellent machine for sortation. The diversion created by the sliding shoes in a perpendicular manner to the slat movement causes the products to be diverted for sortation automatically. The shoe sorter belt is designed around a compact footprint and has a different design when compared with other sorting technologies used in various industries. 

How Does A Sliding Shoe Sorter Work? 

The sliding shoe sorter belt is an automated sorting system with a distinct work process. The whole process starts by tipping all the packages into the Semi-Automatic Bulk singular with a singulation table. Hundreds of packages are tipped into the singulation table, and the table automatically conveys the parcels to one or two operators.

The operators then place the packages onto the conveyor infeed, guiding the packages down the conveyor. This guiding system is entirely automatic. The parcels are then sent to the gapping system, which creates a gap between each package on the conveyor belt. The packages are then shipped toward the scanning tunnel at the end of the conveyor belt of the sliding shoe sorter.

The scanning tunnel has some unique cameras fit into them. These cameras focus on the barcodes attached to the parcel while the parcel is in motion. The scanning tunnel is used to gather information about the packages, like the package's height, weight, and length.

After the product is adequately scanned and the information is gathered, the packages are sent to a conveyor belt with shoes and slats. The packages are sent out on the shoes and slats and diverted to the necessary outputs. The output station can be changed according to the needs of the manufacturing unit. For example, the output station can be chutes, mail sacks, and gay lords.

Some warehouse management systems also include accumulation slides, runout conveyors, and other output stations for the collection of packages. Sliding shoe sorters are also used with the software sensor, which tells the operators about bin full or present bin notifications to convey the containers properly. 

Shoe sorter belts can be used to sort products based on size and weight. The rate of sorting speed on the sliding shoe sorter can be 20 products per minute to 100 packages per minute since the speed can be changed in line with the needs of the warehouse setup. Small businesses, SMEs, and large enterprises can use the sliding sorter system because its speed and throughput can be changed and modified. Even if there are few products to be sorted, the process can be automated with the help of the sliding shoe sorter. 

The shoes are attached to one side of the slat, and the diverts attached to the opposite side. As products move over the conveyor belt and are directed towards their diversion point, the shoes divert them properly. Multiple shoes are attached to the slats, diagonally diverting the package from the slat conveyor towards a divert lane. After diversion, the packages can be collected as per the pickup schedule. The setup of slats and shoes protects the packages from any damage. 

Related: Robotic Sortation: The New Way To Sort Products

The Applications Of Sliding Shoe Sorter Systems 

A sliding shoe sorter is usually done to sort through cases and packages, but these days are used to sort through different items of different weights and sizes. The technology of sliding shoe sorters has advanced. Today, sliding shoe sorters can be used to sort through bags, totes, lightweight packages, and even crates of different weights.

The sliding shoe sorter is so versatile and efficient that it can sort through fragile items like glassware and clay. Companies with multiple product lines and diverse product ranges can use these sorter systems for their operations. Since e-commerce companies work with various types of products in size and weight, the sliding shoe sorter works for these industries.

Even companies actively expanding their product lines can use the sliding shoe sorter system without any significant problems for a long time. The sliding shoe sorter system is advantageous and does not need to be replaced over time, even if the product lines have increased. 

Why Is The Sliding Shoe Sorter Used? 

The sliding shoe sorter is used in different situations depending on the needs and factors of a business. 

High-Speed Sorting

The sliding shoe sorter is good for medium to high-speed sorting. 

High Throughput

With the rise of demand for some products, companies like e-commerce ventures need a sorting system with high throughput. The sliding shoe sorter system produces a high throughput of 100-300 units sorted in a minute. 

Diverse Sizes

The diverse size of different packages can be easily handled with the help of a sliding shoe sorter system. This is a reason why so many companies in various industrial verticals prefer the use of sliding shoe sorter systems. 

Different Packaging

Even if the packages are not uniform and differ in dimension and mode, the sliding shoe sorter system still works for efficient sorting. Even though the company sorts between bags, totes, boxes, or crates, the conveyor sortation technology works versatilely. 

Gentle Handling

The sliding shoe sorter uses the system of positive divert, which can handle the packages with care. The sliding sorter system can take fragile items that need gentle handling. Companies that deal with fragile items can use the sliding sorter system for better sorting. 

What Are The Improvements Made In The Sliding Shoe Sorter System? 

Some modifications and improvements have been made to the sliding shoe sorter system over the years. Today, many advanced sorting systems are based on the sliding shoe sorter principle. For example, 

Increased Speeds

Some advancements make higher speeds possible for modern sliding shoe sorters. The increased rate of the advanced sliding shoe sorter can lead to an improved pace of sorting for companies that handle hundreds of packages in one minute. 

Dual Mode

Instead of a single shoe sorter system, a dual sliding shoe sorter can sort through twice the same packages in one minute because it can operate with a dual setup. Large companies that need to increase the capacity of their sorters can go for this dual-mode sliding shoe sorter system. 

High-Speed Induction

The internal framework of the sliding shoe sorter has also been modified for a higher-speed induction process. The higher speed induction can improve the performance and speed of the sliding shoe sorter. 

Soft Touch Diverts

The divert system for the sliding shoe sorter has also changed to a great extent with time. The sliding shoe sorter system has gone through improvements to include soft touch divert, making the process more precise and less impactful. The force is reduced, and the package goes undisturbed. The soft-touch redirect feature is suitable for handling fragile items. 

Special Modifications

The sliding shoe sorter system is being modified for different items. These modifications and improvements have made the sorter system apt for sorting poly bags and plastic packaged items.  Since the sliding shoe sorter system will be used even in the future, companies can expect further improvements in the basic model of the sliding shoe sorter system. 

After reading this section, you must be sure of using the sliding shoe sorter system for different reasons, like its high speed, accurate precision, and high throughput, which can be adjusted and controlled. Using the sliding shoe sorter is excellent support for the shipping operations of e-commerce and retail ventures.

If the sorting is done at high speed, all other operations linked with the sorting are also completed at high speed. E-commerce companies that have one-day or two-day delivery use high-performance sliding shoe sorters. The sliding shoe sorter is also an excellent system for gently handling different packages. 

Related: 15 Warehouse Management Terms You Must Know

The Industries That Use Sliding Shoe Sorters 

There are many sectors of industries that use the sliding shoe sorter for their daily operations. These sectors are as follows- 


The e-commerce sector is a significant user of sortation technology and prefers to use the sliding shoe sorter as a shipping sorter. The packages need to be sorted before shipping and the process of order fulfillment. The packages sent out by the e-commerce sector are different in size, shape, and weight. It is best to use the sliding shoe sorter for such diverse packaging options and requirements. 


Electronic items also need gentle care and proper packaging. Electronic items and gadgets are in high demand, and to meet this demand, electronic retail companies are using the sliding shoe sorter. The sorting shoes and slats ensure the electronic devices are packaged and sorted without disturbance. 


In the last few years, the pharmaceutical sector has grown to a great extent. Pharmaceutical products are in great demand, and such companies produce these products on a massive scale. On the other hand, the rise of e-commerce ventures focused only on pharmaceutical products is also a significant trend behind the use of sliding shoe sorters. 

Apart from the above industries, the sliding shoe sorter system is used for different sectors like apparel and clothing, beauty and healthcare products, etc. The sliding shoe sorter system is a valuable machine for multiple industries. The sliding shoe sorter system helps in better packaging and shipping operations.


The sliding shoe sorter offers a great solution to streamlining warehouse and shipping operations, increasing capacity, and improving order fulfillment. Its ability to rapidly move individual items from one point to another quickly and accurately allows the use of automation, further reducing energy consumption and speeding up processes. The decision to invest in this technology could be beneficial for many organizations looking to modernize their supply chain operations. Ultimately, 3PLs need to use these technologies to keep up with changes in consumer expectations and industry standards. For companies interested in leveraging a sliding shoe sorter to benefit from this technology, they must find an experienced provider with innovative tools available. At Conveyr, we build the tools 3PLs use to compete correctly and succeed in new business opportunities. As always, our team is here with any questions you may have regarding 3PL industry innovations. So don't hesitate to reach out – we'd be happy to help you explore how this automated sorting system could benefit your organization!

Recommended: Beginners Guide To An Automated Inventory System

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