Why should you use shoe trees?

To properly maintain your shoes, these are a must have.

Whether you are a shoe connoisseur with a wardrobe full of footwear, or just starting your journey into fine footwear, a shoe tree is absolutely necessary to maintaining the appearance and longevity of the life of your shoes.

In this article we discuss how to use shoe trees, how they work, the benefits of regular use & the different types of shoe trees.

How to use a shoe tree

Before inserting the shoe tree into your beloved footwear, finding the right size is key, most shoe trees that British shoemakers sell will be available in whole UK sizes and will be spring loaded. Make sure when purchasing the shoe tree, that they are the right size for the shoes you intend to use them in, however if you intend to use them with a half sized shoe, we would recommend rounding up to the next whole size. E.g. size 8.5 shoes, should take 9 shoe trees. If the shoe tree is in EU sizes, find the correlating size to what you require. You can find our size conversion chart here.

Having a slightly larger shoe tree that is ‘snug’ will not stretch your shoes but will fully fill the footwear.

Once you have the right size, make sure there is no packing or laces inside the footwear then simply insert the shoetrees into the opening of the shoe and leave inside for at least 24 hours to allow to absorbing properties of wooden shoetrees to take place.

How do shoe trees protect the leather?

Regardless of whether your feet sweat a little or a lot, any amount of sweat is not good for leather shoes. While socks will certainly act as a barrier, the leather and lining of your shoes are still going to absorb moisture and over time, this can lead to the lining rotting and potentially the leather cracking, not to mention foot odours that we’d all like to avoid.

Therefore, it is very important that you get this moisture out of your shoes when you take them off. In order to do so, the material of your shoe tree needs to be something porous, like wood. Unfortunately, plastic or synthetic materials won’t do the trick.  We sell two different types of shoetrees.
The Loake Cedar Shoe Trees and The Brogue Trader Cedar Shoe Trees.

There are a handful of reasons that Cedar is preferred over other types of wood. Cedar is the preferred material as it has better absorbing properties and a fine fragrance to help eliminate odours. Alongside this, it also contains natural oils that aren’t supportive to bacterial or fungal growth, it is especially resistant to damage caused by decay or water (obviously, this is important if it’s going to be absorbing sweat!). Cedar is also a strong wood, yet lighter than oak and less expensive than teak. So, it’s a relatively inexpensive pick for a shoe tree. Furthermore, the natural aroma of cedar is strong aroma and naturally repels insects, but fortunately, smells pretty good to us humans.

The Benefits of Regular use

Consistently using shoetrees will maintain them from the inside out and will help remove harmful salts and moisture that occur in shoes after being worn. These salts and moisture are left in the shoes from the sweat from your feet and can cause the leather to discolour, disform and even break down the leather of both the upper and the soles due to the pH levels that are not friendly to leather.

Regular use of shoetrees will also help maintain the aesthetic and functional shape of your shoes, whereas footwear worn without the use of shoetrees will suffer from heavy creasing that can lead to the leather cracking, misshaped uppers and an uncomfortable wear. With deformed shoes, you risk the footwear no longer supporting your feet as they were designed to do so, which can make them painful and lead to other foot related health issues.

If you use Cedar Shoe Trees they will also help give your shoes a fresh aroma.

It is handy to note that when the cedar aroma begins to fade over time, just lightly sand them to bring them back to life.

What type should you buy?

There are certainly quite a few benefits to using shoe trees, with the biggest one of all being that you’ll be able to wear your best shoes for many years to come.

So, if you don’t already own a pair of shoe trees, what should you buy?  Our first choice would be our Loake Cedar Shoe Trees or our Brogue Trader Cedar Shoe Trees.   However we must absolutely employ you avoid the plastic options because they won’t actively draw moisture out, and neither will the varnished wooden varieties. Although they may look nice, they won’t do much good for your shoes due to the thick varnish coating, blocking any absorption of liquid.


Wrap up: do you really need shoe trees?

The short answer is yes, you should definitely use them. For your finest shoes, consistently putting shoe trees in them will help to maintain their shape, protect the leather by pulling out moisture, and also combat odours. A nice pair of men’s shoes can easily cost a couple hundred pounds, but will last for many years to come when properly cared for.

Whereas a good shoe polish will take care of the outside of your shoes,  It is handy to note that having shoe trees in your shoes while polishing them acts as another pair of hands and pulls the leather flat so that the polish can get into any folds or creases which will help prevent the leather drying out and cracking.

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