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what is a shoe tree
20 · 09 · 2018

What Is a Shoe Tree and Why Should You Use Them?

Written by Pilar Espitia

The time has arrived to take big decisions: You have changed jobs, upgraded your wardrobe and bought a pair of top-notch leather shoes.

You have made a good investment in your renewed style, and you feel like you can take over the world. What’s next?

One possible answer is: Stop crunching up newspaper or cardboard to keep your new shoes in shape. It would be like making a spectacular dinner with the best ribeye in town, and washing it down with the worst wine you can find.

Make a little effort next paycheck and invest in a good pair of shoe trees. In the long run, they will end up saving you money, as they will help your shoes last for ages.

But let me explain what shoe trees are and why should you start using them right now.

What Is a Shoe Tree?

what is a shoe tree

Let’s clear things up: A shoe tree is not a plant that grows shoes. Maybe if we lived in Big Fish, but in our world, it is more of a mundane object, and yet, very useful.

Shoe trees are devices shaped like a foot, and they are made to be placed inside your shoes.

Their main benefits? First, they will help your shoes keep their shape and avoid creasing of the leather.

Second, after a long day of walking, some shoe trees will absorb any moisture in shoes and will fight odors.

As you may know, dampness is not good for shoes: It might cause the lining to break, create horrible smells and possible infections or fungus. So, the best way to keep your shoes and feet healthy is to use shoe trees.

Finally, if you are now a fine gentleman and you have started a polishing routine with your shoes, shoe trees will give your shoe more stability while you polish and clean your footwear.

Now, you’re probably wondering which shoe trees are the best and how to use them, so let me give you a hand with this.

Best Shoe Trees and How to Use Them

shoes with shoe trees

Shoe trees come in different materials like plastic or wood. Plastic shoe trees are the cheapest, and they are very light, maybe good for traveling. But they won’t fight odors or absorb moisture, so they will only do half the job.

That’s why we recommend you use cedars shoe trees. This wood is also light, plus it will absorb any moisture which could lead to any bacterial or fungal growth. Also, since cedar wood is aromatic, it will freshen up your shoes.

Be aware of shoe trees in finished wood. They might look good and shiny, but they won’t have the same absorbing effect of a shoe tree in raw wood, so look for unfinished wood shoe trees.

Now, regarding shapes, you can find spring shoe trees, full-toe, lasted, and advanced.

The spring shoe trees only come with toes and with a knob on the heel. They are cheaper, but they don’t have the full shape of a foot so they might deform your footwear.

Then, we have the full-toe shoe trees, which have a full heel, but they have a fixed toe box. This kind of shoe tree is not very versatile, as the full toe is fixed and might not work for all shoes.

After, we have the lasted shoe trees which reproduce the whole shape of your shoe last. These will be rare and expensive, so it is not an affordable option for everyone.

Finally, we have the advanced shoe trees, which are highly adaptable to the shape of your feet.

They imitate the pressure of your feet when they are inside the shoe, thanks to the split-toe across the toe box, the full heel, and the extension mechanism along the shoe.

They also can come with some ventilation slots in the toe, which will help any moisture disappear.

In that case, advanced shoe trees are the best option you can get. They come at a fair price and help your shoes last for ages.

When and How Should You Use Shoe Trees?

Once you have used your shoes for a long time, it is good to put shoe trees in them. We recommend keeping them there for at least 24 hours.

Ideally, it would be great to have shoe trees for all shoes. But if you only have a pair, you can put them into the shoes you wore most recently and wear another pair in the meantime.

Now, to use your shoe trees:

1. Compress the split-toe mechanism into the toe-box of your shoe.
2. Then, compress the shoe tree until they also fit into the heel of your shoe.


Shoe trees are very beneficial when it comes to expanding the lifespan of your shoes. They will also save you lots of money in the long run.

So buying shoe trees after getting a new pair of good shoes is certainly a wise decision. Remember to buy advanced, raw cedar wood shoe trees as they will be more versatile for different types of shoes.

Finally, after a long, rainy day, the best therapy for your shoes is to put shoe trees into them for a good night of drying and reshaping. In the morning: Good as new!


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Avichal Tomar Feb 17, 2020

It was really good to hear about your brand from The Distilled Man channel on Youtube. Since I’ve watched that video I’ve been surfing through your website finding out new and interesting things about shoes as well as shoe care. It’s really good to know and understand that even our shoes which are more often than not treated casually need a lot of care and time to upkeep them. I’m planning to buy a pair of oxford brogue shoes of full grain leather. I’m from India and India it is usually the trend that we don’t spend a lot on shoes here and generally suffice with genuine leather thing, which i got to know recently that it is the third class leather among the all. So, if you could please suggest me a good pair of shoes along with the shoe trees and within a good amount of money, :p, sorry for mentioning that.

Thanks & Regards.

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