For anyone with a shoe addiction like me, or anyone with shoes at all for that matter, shoe trees are a very important step in taking care of your shoes and keeping them in good condition.
What is a shoe tree?
A shoe tree is a device typically made up of 3 pieces of wood, usually cedar. Two pieces make up the front, or toe, and the third piece is the heel. Between the toe and heel is typically a piece of metal with an internal spring. This allows the shoe tree to contract to fit varying sizes of shoes, and also apply some pressure once inserted into your shoe.
What are shoe trees for?
The function of a shoe tree is to fill up your shoe, in a similar fashion to how your foot normally would, to maintain its shape, and to absorb remnant moisture.
Why is using shoe trees important?
Using shoe trees helps maintain the condition, shape and smell of your shoes. For example, you put on your Prada lace-ups (pictured) to wear out for the evening. You arrive home, after wearing them for lets say six hours or so. The shoes will be warm and likely a bit moist from being on your feet. This also means the leather has softened to some degree and has been bending and creasing while you walk. If you were to just take your shoes off, and let them sit on their own, the leather will cool and dry and mostly retain whatever creased shape they are in, and probably hold a musty smell as well. However, if you take off the shoes and promptly stick a cedar shoe tree in them, they will be able to cool and dry while being held in proper position and shape. Since cedar is also absorbent and smells good, the shoe trees will also help more quickly remove the moisture and odor from your nice shoes!
Extra travel tip
When traveling with your nice shoes in your luggage, keeping shoe trees in them will keep them from getting bent while in transport.
Where can I get them?
Shoe trees are fairly easy to come by online. You can also get basic ones from a Bed Bath & Beyond for about $20 a set (pictured).
Tips for buying shoe trees
When buying shoe trees, it is important to make sure the ones you are buying will fit your shoes. This is easy most of the time, but speaking for myself, my shoes are in the size 13-14 range. If you are in that same situation, make sure the shoe trees you are buying are intended for larger shoes. If the toe piece of the shoe tree doesn't actually extend into the toe of your shoes, that defeats the purpose of having them.