Tote vs. Shoulder Bag: What's The Difference?

November 17, 2020

Tote bag real leather ethically made

Tote bags vs. shoulder bags, are there any difference? When making a purchase decision there are some very important factors that can help you determine what to buy. Here are some of the key differences between the two to help you decide.


This is the most important distinction between tote bags and shoulder bags. A shoulder bag normally comes with one strap while a tote bag has two. Straps are very important when you want to access the contents of your bag. Bags with one strap will not open as wider as bags with two straps. So, when purchasing a new bag, consider how often will you access the contents of your bag, if you're planning to buy a new bag for everyday essentials, a tote bag may be a better decision.

Interior design

Shoulder bags offer a variety of pockets and sections for storing your belongings. Tote bags usually come with a large open area to stuff everything you want to. A shoulder bag is a practical way to store stuff like wallets, makeup, phone, keys while a tote bag is a better way to store stuff with larger dimensions.

Shape and Materials

Tote bags tend to have a square and rectangular shape, usually very large, while shoulder bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Materials tend to be very similar in tote bags and shoulder bags. Both are available in popular materials like leather, fabrics, cotton, etc. The only distinction is that tote bags are very popular in reusable materials as well.