How to Create Shopify Sub Collections (Collections Within Collections)

Collections in Shopify let you categorize your products in helpful groupings that make the shopping experience faster and easier for your customers.

They also allow you to curate your top products giving you a convenient way to feature your bestsellers and seasonal items.

That means higher conversions and more sales for your business.

But Shopify doesn’t make it easy to create sub collections.

It takes some finagling to add sub collections to your Shopify site, and there’s not a good resource to help sellers create sub collections without trying to sell them a plugin or store management service.

It’s time for that to change.

I’ve simplified the steps to creating Shopify sub collections and link lists so even a brand new user can figure out how to add sub collections to their Shopify store.

If you already know what subcollections are and why you should use them, then you can click here to navigate straight to how to create a subcollection in Shopify.

You can also click here to navigate to the instructions for enabling product tag filters.

Otherwise, let’s jump into what a sub collection is, and why you might want to use one in your Shopify store.

What is a Sub Collection (Sub Category)?

Sub collections allow you to further subcategorize your products to create an even more guided shopping journey for your customers. They’re like child collections under a broader parent collection. Under each main collection, you can create a subcollection for relevant products under each umbrella.

Let’s say your Shopify store sells craft supplies.

Naturally, you would like to create a collection for each major product category like knitting, crocheting, and sewing.

Under each main collection, you can create a subcollection for relevant products under each umbrella—in this case, we could have knitting needles, yarn, fabric, etc.


But that’s not all—what about plastic knitting needles versus metal ones?

What about different colored yarns?

Subcollections within subcollections can get confusing quickly.

Instead of using several nested subcollections, those smaller product specs are where product tags start coming into play.

We’ll get into those in a few minutes 😊

Collections vs. Categories vs. Subcollection vs. Subcategories

Depending on where you’ve read about sub collections and link lists in Shopify, you might’ve heard the terms “categories” and “sub categories” tossed around.

These mean the same thing as collections and sub collections in Shopify.

confusing terms collections versus categories

When some people talk about Shopify categories, they’re really referring to the collections feature we’re discussing here. It’s simply a misnomer.

Collections refer to the practice of putting products into categories in your Shopify store, and this is entirely different from using a link list.

This means it’s not technically inaccurate to refer to Shopify subcollections as sub categories, but it’s confusing to mix up the terms.

What Are The Benefits Of Sub Collections?

1. Better Navigation Experience

Sub collections are a great way to show people what your shop has to offer and make it easier for people to navigate through your store.

User experience is a huge part of any purchase, and it’s one of the main factors that will influence whether or not someone will buy your product or service.

2. Higher Cross-Sell

They can also help you creatively position your products to boost sales.

better cross sell funnels

For example, you can add sub collections to group products that are sold separately but come together to form a complete package—think party supplies, sporting goods, or cookware.

You could also use sub collections to curate gift packages for any occasion or season, giving your customers useful ideas while also testing which product combinations sell the best.

This is what’s called a collection list page.

These clever ways to add sub collections to your shopping experience increase your cross-selling potential for you all while helping your users find products they might not even realize they need.

3. Improved SEO

If you organize your sub collection tree properly, it can even help boost your SEO.

An unstructured website with isolated sales pages is hard for even Google’s fanciest AI to read.

Sub collections in Shopify use a URL structure called a physical silo to create a natural hierarchy tree on your site.

Having invented the physical silo, this helps Google easily crawl your website to better understand your business.

This means Google has more confidence in your site and app when trying to match it to relevant searches, so your pages are more likely to rank better in the search results and get more clicks.

Dedicated Sub Collections vs. Filtering Collections With Product Tags


Collections—and sub collections, by extension—are the macro-level categories your products fall under.

Tags are the micro-level categories that makeup the product’s more unique specifications.

Say you’ve got categories for craft supplies, a sub category for knitting, and a subcategory for yarn products.

Instead of taking the customer further down the rabbit hole of your sub collections page, it’s time to start showing them products to choose from.

The customer wants yarn—but do they need worsted-weight or bulky-weight yarn?

What TPI do they need? How about the color?

These granular product details are better marked off with product tags.

subcollections with tags

If a customer isn’t sure which exact yarn they want, your sub collections will guide them to the right place.

If that customer knows they need size-3 yellow yarn by the Red Heart brand, a tag system gives them the option to quickly filter your site by the exact specifications they’re hunting for.

With well-organized sub collection URL structures and product tag filters, any user can find what they need whether they know what it is or not!

How To Create A Subcollection In Shopify

  1. Create A Template For Sub Collection Pages
  2. Add Your Theme Code
  3. Add Your New Subcollection Page
  4. Add Subcollection To Your Navigation Menu

Note that not every Shopify theme will work with sub collections.

All free Shopify themes will work (and even include free customer support from Shopify) but paid themes published by third-parties may show mixed results.

Some themes like Out of the Sandbox offer built-in sub collection pages as seen here.

Check with your site theme’s developer and read user reviews to find out more about your specific theme’s compatibility.

1. Create A Template For Sub Collection Pages

Login to your Shopify admin panel and select Online Store then Themes.


In the center pane select the Actions menu and click Edit code.

edit code

Under the Templates folder click Add a new template.

add a new template

In the popup window, select from the drop down menu and call it:


list collections

This will create an entry in the Templates section labeled:


Upon clicking, you’ll see a window with a few prefilled lines.

page list collections

2. Add Your Theme Code

Next you’re going to add a block of code to the end of your new entry, but what you add depends on your Shopify site theme.

In this example, I’m using the “Debut” theme. You can find the specific code for your theme on this Shopify support page.

Paste the theme code at the very end of the existing block in your list-collections file.

Click Save.

paste theme code

3. Add Your New Subcollection Page

From the left-hand navigation pane, look under Online Store and select Pages.


Click Add page.

add page

Enter the title for your subcollection.

Whatever name you enter here will show up in your navigation menu for this subcollection.

In the Template pane, select your page.list-collection template from the drop down menu.

Click Save.

create subcollection page

4. Add Subcollection To Your Navigation Menu

By now, your new subcollection page is live and ready for setup.

You just need to add it to your navigation bar link list to help users find it.

On the left-hand side, under Online Store click Navigation.


Click on Add Menu.

add menu

Add the same title you used above in step three then click Add menu item.

add menu item

In the Name section, enter the title you’d like for your subcollection.

In the Link field, don’t paste your URL—instead, click on the space and pick the menu option titled Collections.

link collections

You’ll be able to select any Collection page you’ve created, and now they’ll be nested as child collections under your parent collection page!

How To Filter Shopify Collections With Product Tags

  1. Check Whether Your Theme Has Built-In Tag Filtering
  2. Manually Add Tag Dropdown Navigation Menus
  3. Manually Create Tag Radio Buttons

Just like with subcollections, you’re going to edit your Shopify theme settings to add product tag filters to your site.

BTW—make sure you’ve added tags to your products first by following these steps.

1. Check Whether Your Theme Has Built-In Tag Filtering

Most themes nowadays have tag filtering options, you just have to know where to find them in your Shopify admin.

In the left-hand navigation link list, find Online Store and click Themes.


Click Customize.

Pick Collection Pages from the dropdown menu at the top of the page.

collection pages

On the left-hand side, click Collection Pages again.

collection pages sidebar

If your theme editor natively supports tag filters, you’ll see a checkbox called Enable tag filtering.

In some themes, this checkbox might be labeled Enable filtering by tag or some other variation.

If it’s there, check the box, click Save, and you’re done!

enable tag filtering

If no such checkbox appears, you’ll have to add your product collection tags manually.

2. Manually Add Tag Dropdown Navigation Menus

You can either use dropdowns or radio buttons, but trying to use both may result in errors so I recommend sticking to one option.

In the center pane select the Actions menu and click Edit code.

edit code

Under the Templates folder select the item called:


collection liquid

Paste the following code into this file:

<div class="clearfix filter">
  <p>Browse by tag:</p>
  <select class="coll-filter">
    <option value="">All</option>
    {% for tag in collection.all_tags %} {% if current_tags contains tag %}
    <option value="{{ tag | handle }}" selected>{{ tag }}</option>
    {% else %}
    <option value="{{ tag | handle }}">{{ tag }}</option>
    {% endif %} {% endfor %}

  /* Product Tag Filters - Good for any number of filters on any type of collection pages */
  const collFilters = document.querySelectorAll('.coll-filter');

  if (collFilters.length > 0) {
    collFilters.forEach((collFilter) => {
      collFilter.addEventListener('change', function(){
        var newTags = [];
        collFilters.forEach((collFilter) => {
          for(var i = 0; i <= collFilter.length-1; i++){
            if(collFilter[i].selected == true && collFilter[i].value != "") {

        if (newTags.length) {
          var query = newTags.join('+');
          window.location.href = '/collections/{{ collection.handle }}/' + query;
        else {
          {% if collection.handle %}
          window.location.href = '/collections/{{ collection.handle }}';
          {% elsif collection.products.first.type == collection.title %}
          window.location.href = '{{ collection.title | url_for_type }}';
          {% elsif collection.products.first.vendor == collection.title %}
          window.location.href = '{{ collection.title | url_for_vendor }}';
          {% endif %}

Depending on your collection, there are different places you may want to paste your code.

As in the photo above, you may be redirected to another .liquid asset file to find the content of your Collections page.

It’ll likely take some experimenting and tweaking to find the perfect place to insert your code.

3. Manually Create Tag Radio Buttons

It’s just as easy to create radio buttons as dropdown menus.

Follow the exact same procedure above from step 2, except using the following code instead:

<ul class="subnav clearfix">
  <li{% unless current_tags %} class="active"{% endunless %}>
    {% if collection.handle %}
    <a href="/collections/{{ collection.handle }}{% if collection.sort_by %}?sort_by={{ collection.sort_by }}{% endif %}">All</a>
    {% elsif collection.current_type %}
    <a href="{{ collection.current_type | url_for_type | sort_by: collection.sort_by }}">All</a>
    {% elsif collection.current_vendor %}
    <a href="{{ collection.current_vendor | url_for_vendor | sort_by: collection.sort_by }}">All</a>
    {% endif %}
  {% for tag in collection.all_tags %}
  {% if current_tags contains tag %}
  <li class="active">
    {{ tag | link_to_remove_tag: tag }}
  {% else %}
    {{ tag | link_to_tag: tag }}
  {% endif %}
  {% endfor %}
  .clearfix:before, .clearfix:after { content: ""; display: table; }
  .clearfix:after { clear: both; }
  .clearfix { zoom: 1; }
  /* Subnavigation styles */
  .subnav { clear: both; list-style-type: none; margin: 35px 0; padding: 0; }
  .subnav li { display: block; float: left; }
  .subnav li a {
    display: block;
    height: 28px;
    line-height: 28px;
    padding: 0 7px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 7px;
    -moz-border-radius: 7px;
    border-radius: 7px;
    background: #eee;
    margin: 0 7px 7px 0;
    color: #666;
  .subnav li a:hover, .subnav a {
    background: #666;
    color: #fff;

Just like with dropdown menus, you’ll probably have to play around a bit to find the best place to position your radio buttons.

If you’re looking for (free) tips to increase your Shopify conversion rate and rank higher on Google, you can follow me on Twitter 👉🏻 @bitofseo.

Please DM me if you have any questions about this Shopify article (or have some feedback to make it better 😄️).

About Jake Sacino

After working as an engineer and consultant for a bunch of big companies, Jake now works as a full-time SEO & software engineer.