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Everything you need to know about Shoe Trees


Shoe trees play a crucial role in the world of shoe care, maintenance, and cleaning. Resembling the shape of a foot, they are inserted into shoes when not in use. The primary functions of shoe trees include:

  1. Maintaining the shoe's original shape
  2. Preventing creases from forming
  3. Extending the overall lifespan of your footwear

Key Takeaway

This article delves into the significance of shoe trees in preserving your shoes' shape and longevity. It also explores the different types of shoe trees available and offers valuable tips on their proper usage and maintenance.

Personal Experience: A few years ago, I purchased a pair of high-quality leather dress shoes. Initially, I hesitated to invest in shoe trees. However, upon noticing early signs of wear, I decided to give them a try. Surprisingly, within a few weeks, I observed the creases on my shoes gradually disappearing and their original shape being retained remarkably well. This experience solidified my belief in using shoe trees as an essential component of shoe preservation.

By incorporating shoe trees into your regular shoe care routine, you can ensure that your favorite pairs remain in impeccable condition for years to come.

If you're interested in customizing your sneakers or want to explore products that enhance the beauty of leather footwear, you may consider checking out some offerings such as Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint or Fiebing’s Pro Resist from Caffrey's collection which could greatly assist you in maintaining their pristine condition.

Moreover, if you own fine leather cordovan shoes that require special care, Caffrey also offers a range of products specifically designed for fine leather cordovan, ensuring they receive the attention they deserve. For instance, their Fiebing’s Wax Free Leather Lotion is an excellent option to bring back the lost shine of your leather shoes, as it is specifically formulated to meet shoe shining needs.

1. The Significance of Shoe Trees for Shoe Maintenance

Maintaining the proper shape of your shoes is crucial not just for aesthetics but also for overall comfort and support. Shoes that lose their shape can cause discomfort, uneven wear, and even foot problems. A properly shaped shoe aligns with your foot's natural contours, providing the necessary support and ensuring a comfortable fit.

Consider how different types of footwear require specific attention to maintain their form. Dress shoes, loafers, boots, and sneakers each have unique designs that can be preserved using shoe trees. The right shoe tree helps in minimizing leather creases, preserving the shoe's original look, and preventing the material from collapsing or sagging over time.

Different Shapes and Sizes of Shoe Trees

Shoe trees come in various shapes and sizes to fit different types of footwear:

  • Generic Shoe Trees: These are versatile designs that can fit a range of shoe styles. They are usually adjustable to some extent, making them suitable for various shapes and sizes.
  • Lasted Shoe Trees: Specifically crafted to match the shape of particular shoe models. These offer a perfect fit but tend to be more expensive.
  • Boot Trees: Designed specifically for boots, these help maintain the boot's shaft as well as the foot section.

Choosing the right shoe tree involves considering factors such as:

  • Size: Ensure the shoe tree fits snugly without stretching or being too loose.
  • Material: Wooden shoe trees, particularly those made from cedar wood, are highly recommended due to their moisture-wicking properties and natural ability to repel odors.
  • Shape: Match the shape of the shoe tree to the specific type of footwear you own.

Using a well-fitted shoe tree maintains your shoes' structure and extends their lifespan significantly.

By incorporating shoe trees into your regular shoe maintenance routine, you ensure that your footwear remains comfortable, supportive, and visually appealing over time.

To further enhance the effectiveness of using shoe trees, it is beneficial to maintain your leather with leather conditioner. A high-quality leather lotion or conditioner keeps the leather looking new and protects your investment in leather products. Additionally, cleaning the leather with a product like Fiebing’s Saddle Soap complements your shoe care routine by keeping it clean and conditioned.

Investing in quality shoe trees is a step towards preserving your shoes' integrity and comfort while ensuring they remain an essential part of your wardrobe for years to come.

2. Advantages of Wooden Shoe Trees over Other Materials

Wooden shoe trees offer several advantages that make them a superior choice for maintaining your footwear. Among these, cedar wood stands out due to its excellent moisture-wicking properties and natural ability to repel odors.

Moisture Absorption

Cedar wood is known for effectively absorbing moisture. This is important for preserving your shoes, especially if they're made of leather, which can get damaged when exposed to too much moisture. By pulling moisture away from the leather, cedar shoe trees help prevent mold and mildew growth, ultimately making your shoes last longer.

Odor Prevention

Another great thing about cedar shoe trees is their natural smell. Cedar wood has properties that not only cover up bad odors but also keep bugs away. This nice scent helps keep your shoes smelling clean and free from pests, making cedar perfect for taking care of your shoes.

Durability and Fit

Wooden shoe trees are usually more long-lasting compared to plastic or metal ones. They keep their shape over time, ensuring a consistent fit that supports your shoes' structure. The snug fit provided by wooden shoe trees helps keep your shoes in great condition, reducing wrinkles and keeping them looking like new.

Comparison with Other Materials

  • Plastic: While plastic shoe trees are light and cheap, they don't have the moisture absorption abilities and durability of wooden options.
  • Metal: Metal shoe trees can help maintain shape but don't offer moisture-wicking or odor-preventing benefits.

For those looking for additional functionalities beyond just maintaining shoe shape, brands like Caffrey offer a range of high-quality wooden shoe trees that excel in both functionality and aesthetic appeal. However, it's worth noting that there are other specialized products available as well.

Caffrey's aluminium boot stretcher is a great tool for achieving a comfortable, custom fit for boots. Made from high-quality cast aluminum, this combination boot instep and shaft stretcher relieves boot tightness on both the ankle and calf.

If you're someone who enjoys customizing your leather goods, you might want to explore Caffrey's acrylic leather paint collection. These paints offer vibrant colors and exceptional durability, perfect for bringing your designs to life on leather surfaces.

Using wooden shoe trees, especially those made from cedar wood, ensures that your footwear stays in top shape by providing superior moisture absorption and odor prevention. Investing in cedar shoe trees is a practical step toward making your favorite pairs last longer and feel more comfortable.

3. How to Use Shoe Trees Correctly to Maximize Their Effectiveness

Shoe trees are essential for reducing leather creasing and preserving the quality of your shoes. When you wear shoes, they naturally develop creases from the bending motion while walking. If not addressed properly, these creases can become permanent, making your shoes look worn out and potentially damaging the leather.

To make the most out of your shoe trees, it's important to know how to insert them correctly based on the type of footwear:

Inserting Shoe Trees into Different Types of Footwear

Loafers and Dress Shoes

  1. Insert the front part of the shoe tree into the toe box.
  2. Gently press down on the heel until the shoe tree fits snugly.
  3. Ensure that it fills out the entire shoe without stretching or being too loose.


  1. Use boot trees, which are specifically designed for taller footwear.
  2. Insert similarly as you would with dress shoes but ensure the shaft is also supported.


  1. Ideal for maintaining shape, especially for high-quality pairs.
  2. Insert carefully, ensuring a snug fit that doesn't distort the fabric or structure.

Optimal Times for Using Shoe Trees

  • After Wearing for Long Periods: After a long day, insert shoe trees to help shoes return to their original shape.
  • Before Storage: Keeping shoe trees in your shoes while they are in storage maintains their form and prevents any deformation over time.

Complementing Regular Shoe Care Practices

While shoe trees are invaluable, they should complement other care routines:

  • Polishing: Regular polishing helps maintain leather shine and health.
  • Brushing: Removes dirt and dust that can cause abrasion over time.
  • Conditioning: Keeps leather moisturized and supple, preventing cracks.

Incorporating these practices ensures that your footwear remains in top condition, significantly extending its lifespan. However, if you want to give your worn-out or outdated leather items like shoes a brand-new appearance, you can explore the option of leather painting. This enjoyable skill allows you to revitalize your leather possessions such as shoes, purses, clothes, and furniture. With products like Angelus acrylic Leather Paint- Blue (1 Pint/472ml) or Angelus Collector Edition Leather Paint, Aqua 8, you can easily transform worn-out leather into something fresh and vibrant.

4. Different Types of Shoe Trees and Their Pros and Cons

Wooden Shoe Trees

Wooden shoe trees, especially those made from cedar, are a popular choice among shoe enthusiasts. They offer several benefits:

  • Moisture Absorption: Cedar wood naturally absorbs moisture, keeping your shoes dry and preventing the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Odor Control: The aromatic properties of cedar help to neutralize unpleasant odors.
  • Durability: Wooden shoe trees are sturdy and long-lasting, providing consistent support for your shoes over time.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Weight: Wooden shoe trees can be heavier compared to plastic or metal alternatives.
  • Cost: High-quality wooden shoe trees, especially those made from cedar, can be more expensive.

Generic Shoe Trees

Generic shoe trees feature a versatile design that fits various shoe styles. These are often less expensive and come in adjustable sizes.

  • Versatility: Suitable for different types of shoes including dress shoes, sneakers, and casual footwear.
  • Affordability: Generally more budget-friendly than specialized or wooden shoe trees.
  • Lightweight: Easier to handle and insert into shoes.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Material Quality: Often made from plastic or lightweight metals, which may not offer the same level of moisture absorption or durability as wood.
  • Fit Precision: May not provide a perfect fit for all shoe shapes, potentially leading to less effective support.

Lasted Shoe Trees

Lasted shoe trees are specifically crafted to match the shape of particular shoe models. They offer a bespoke fit that ensures optimal support.

  • Perfect Fit: Tailored to the exact shape of your shoes, providing unparalleled support and maintaining the original form.
  • Material Quality: Often made from high-quality materials such as wood or composite materials.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Cost: Lasted shoe trees are usually the most expensive option due to their custom design.
  • Limited Versatility: Designed for specific shoe models, they may not be suitable for other types of footwear in your collection.


Based on our research, wooden shoe trees offer the best combination of functionality and material quality for most people. They provide excellent moisture control and durability while maintaining the shape and integrity of your shoes. However, if you have a large collection of expensive designer shoes, investing in lasted shoe trees might be worth considering to ensure the perfect fit.

To keep your footwear collection in optimal condition, it's essential to properly store your shoes. This resource provides additional tips on maintaining your shoes effectively.

Each type of shoe tree has its unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Your choice will depend on factors such as the type of shoes you own, your budget, and how important precise fit is to you.

5. Top Shoe Tree Brands You Can Trust

Finding the right shoe tree can make a huge difference in maintaining the quality and longevity of your footwear. While there are many brands available, some stand out for their exceptional craftsmanship and materials.

Saphir Cedar Shoe Trees

Saphir is a well-known name in the shoe care industry, and their cedar shoe trees live up to the reputation. These shoe trees are crafted from high-quality cedar wood, which is renowned for its moisture-wicking properties and natural ability to repel odors.

Key Features:

  • Durability: Saphir cedar shoe trees are built to last, providing long-term support for your shoes.
  • Aromatic Properties: The natural scent of cedar helps keep your shoes smelling fresh.
  • Affordable Option: Despite their high quality, Saphir cedar shoe trees offer excellent value for money.

Other Reputable Brands

Apart from Saphir, several other brands produce high-quality shoe trees that you can trust:


  • Known for their solid cedar construction.
  • Offers various sizes to fit different types of shoes.
  • Features adjustable designs for a more customized fit.

Allen Edmonds:

  • Specializes in premium wooden shoe trees.
  • Offers both split-toe and full-toe designs.
  • Frequently recommended by shoe enthusiasts for their superior build quality.


  • Provides a range of affordable wooden shoe trees.
  • Known for ergonomic designs that ensure a snug fit.
  • Utilizes high-quality materials that are durable and effective in moisture absorption.

Making Your Choice

When selecting a shoe tree, it's crucial to consider:

  1. Material Quality: Opt for cedar wood due to its moisture-wicking and odor-repelling properties.
  2. Fit: Ensure the shoe tree fits snugly without stretching or being too loose.
  3. Design: Choose between split-toe or full-toe based on your needs and preferences.

While shoe trees are essential for maintaining the shape and extending the lifespan of your favorite shoes, they are just one part of a comprehensive shoe care routine. To further enhance the longevity and appearance of your footwear, you may want to consider other products such as Fiebing’s Sole and Heel Edge Dressing for leather soles and heels, a Best Shoe Care Professional Polish Cloth for achieving a lint-free high-gloss finish, or even Fiebing’s Carnauba Cream specifically formulated for smooth leathers.

Investing in reputable brands like Saphir Cedar Shoe Trees, Woodlore, Allen Edmonds, and Houndsbay will undoubtedly help preserve the shape and extend the lifespan of your favorite shoes.

Caring for Your Shoe Trees to Prolong Their Lifespan

Proper maintenance of your cedar shoe trees ensures they continue to function effectively over time. Here are some guidelines to help you maintain them:

  1. Regular Dust Removal: Dust can accumulate on shoe trees, reducing their effectiveness. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any dust from the surface. This simple step keeps the wood pores open and ready to absorb moisture from your shoes.
  2. Refreshing Cedar Scent: Cedarwood is prized not just for its durability but also for its pleasant aroma and natural resistance to odors. Over time, the scent may fade, but you can easily refresh it. Lightly sand the surface of your cedar shoe trees with fine-grit sandpaper. This exposes a fresh layer of wood, reviving its aromatic properties.
  3. Periodic Inspection: Check your shoe trees regularly for signs of wear or damage. Look for cracks or splinters that could affect their performance. Addressing minor issues promptly can prevent more significant problems down the line.
  4. Avoid Excessive Moisture: While cedar shoe trees are designed to absorb moisture from your shoes, they should not be exposed to excessive water themselves. Keep them in a dry environment and avoid direct contact with water.
  5. Storage Tips: When not in use, store your cedar shoe trees in a cool, dry place. Keeping them away from humidity and extreme temperatures ensures they remain effective and last longer.

By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the lifespan of your cedar shoe trees and enjoy their benefits for years to come.


For those looking to enhance the overall care routine of their footwear beyond just preserving the shape of their shoes with shoe trees, there are other products available that could be beneficial as well. For instance, Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint can be used to enhance the overall design and aesthetics of your leather shoes, while Angelus 4-Coat Scratch Resistant Urethane Clear Coat provides a durable, flexible, and scratch-resistant top coat that helps keep your leather shoes looking pristine.

Additionally, for those who prefer sneakers, investing in high-quality laces like the CLASSIC FLAT SPORT LACES (464) can significantly contribute to maintaining sneaker aesthetics.

Taking good care of your shoe trees ensures they continue to preserve your shoes' shape and prolong their life effectively.


Incorporating shoe trees into your regular shoe care routine provides numerous benefits. They play a crucial role in prolonging shoe lifespan, maintaining proper fit, and enhancing the overall appearance of your shoes. By preserving the shape and preventing creases, shoe trees contribute significantly to the comfort and support offered by your footwear.

Key Benefits:

  • Increased Lifespan: Quality shoe trees help extend the life of your shoes by maintaining their original shape.
  • Improved Appearance: They keep your shoes looking new, minimizing leather creasing and aiding in the polishing process. To further enhance the appearance of your leather shoes, you can consider using high-quality Fiebing’s Leather Pro Dye which is designed to penetrate the leather and enhance its natural beauty.
  • Proper Fit: Maintaining the structure ensures that your shoes continue to provide optimal comfort and support.
Investing in a pair of quality shoe trees for each of your favorite shoes is highly recommended. Experience firsthand how such a simple tool can make a substantial difference in preserving and enhancing your footwear collection. And if you're looking to take your shoe care routine to the next level, you can explore products like Fiebing’s Leather Pro Dye for re-dyeing or Fiebing’s LeatherCraft Cement for any leather repair or craft projects you might have.
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