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Shoe Trees: What They Are and 3 Reasons You Should be Using Them


Two women's shoe trees made from cedar, with gold tone rods connecting the heel and toe pieces.

These women's shoe trees by Ecco are made from cedar, and will help reduce moisture and maintain the shape of shoes.

Image: Shoebuy.com (Buy Direct) Overhead shot of two men's shoe trees with adjustable width toes. They are made from cedar.

The expandable toes on shoe trees will help to maintain the original size and shape of the shoes, and can even slightly stretch them, if desired.

Image: Nordstrom.com (Buy Direct)

Shoe care products, like shoe trees and shoe stretchers, aren't just for people with lots of money and expensive shoes. In fact, you could make an argument that taking good care of your shoes is actually just as important for people who don't have a lot to spend. It will extend the life of the shoes, and keep them looking good for a long time to come.

Shoe trees are among the most important items you can have in your shoe care arsenal.

What are Shoe Trees?

Shoe trees are instruments that are inserted into shoes to help maintain the original shoe shape; help prevent creases and cracking; and absorb moisture from the lining of the shoes.

Available for men's and women's shoes, a shoe tree will usually adjusts to cover a wide range of sizes.

Wood or Plastic?

Shoe trees are available in plastic or wood (usually cedar). The main benefits to the plastic models is that they are more affordable. They are also lightweight, making them good for travel.

In spite of being more expensive, however, cedar shoe trees have several advantages over plastic. They tend to last longer; add a clean cedar scent to footwear; and work better at keeping the natural shape of your shoes. They also absorb moisture, whereas plastic shoe trees will not.

Maintain Your Shoe Size and Shape

The first, and arguably the most important reason to use shoe trees is that they will help maintain the natural shape and size of your shoes.

If used from the start, shoe trees can prevent your shoes from developing creases, or at least slow down the process. This alone makes them particularly useful for dress shoes.

You may not have known this, but if shoes are not worn for long periods of time, they actually shrink. Using shoe trees will help stop that shrinkage.

Prevent Moisture Buildup

Another great reason for using shoe trees in any shoes you'd like to hang onto for a while si because feet perspire. That moisture accumulates in the lining of our shoes, which not only makes them uncomfortable, it can also accelerate the deterioration of the footwear.

Wooden shoe trees help to absorb that moisture, so they can help on both fronts: comfort and preservation.

An Extra Pair of Hands

Polishing and buffing are a basic part of any shoe care routine, and shoe trees can help here as well. By inserting one into the shoe you're working on, it will be held in shape while you're shining. Trust me, this makes the process a lot easier.

Shoe Trees vs. Shoe Stretchers

Shoe trees can marginally stretch shoes, but usually only very slightly. This will work for shoes that are just a touch too tight. If you're looking to alter shoes more than just a pinch, a better product to use would be a shoe stretcher.
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