Shoe tree (device)

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A pair of shoe trees, one shown in use

A shoe tree is a device approximating the shape of a foot that is placed inside a shoe to preserve its shape, stop it from developing creases and thereby extend the life of the shoe. It is a reusable alternative to wadded rags or newspapers.

Perhaps more important than maintaining the shape, shoe trees also play a crucial part of wicking away leather-damaging moisture from the inside. This is especially important when shoes are worn without socks, as the sweat absorbed by the leather can lead to lining rot.[1]

Higher quality shoe trees are made from solid wood, usually cedar, which helps control odor and absorb moisture.


Among wooden shoe trees, there are generally three categories, which correspond to price and quality.

Spring shoe trees[edit]

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The cheapest are wooden shoe tree without a full heel. Although they help with odor, and will help preserve the original shape at the front of the shoe, the narrow knob on the heel puts excess pressure on one section of the heel and prolonged use may deform the shoe.[2]

Lasted shoe trees[edit]

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At the highest range are lasted shoe trees, which accompany the shoes for which they have the same last.[3]

Generic shoe trees[edit]

Generic shoe trees are non-lasted shoe trees that are designed to fit a wide range of footwear styles. Generic shoe trees come in many styles. Two of the more popular styles you will find online include: the twin-tube shoe tree, cut from a generic last and featuring a fully articulated (round heel) and a spring toe with ventilation slots to help moisture evaporate. This style is most popular in England and Europe 2. The single-tube, split-toe shoe tree with overhand handle, which works on a spring-spreader mechanism, causing the split toe to expand into the shoe when spring tension is applied. This style is most popular in the United States. These are usually made of 3 parts: a heel, a head, and a smaller toe piece.

Popular in the U.S., the split-toe shoe tree

Plastic shoe trees[edit]

Shoe trees may also be made of plastic or stamped sheet metal, with or without a coiled steel spring stem; these are typically cheaper, lighter, and are better suited for traveling. Types lacking a flexing steel spring may use extension springs or adjustable two-piece stems having an over-centre mechanical action to wedge them in place. Plastic shoe trees maintain the shape of your shoes but lack the moisture absorbing qualities of wooden shoe trees. Because wooden shoe trees can damage the leather when stored in luggage, plastic shoe trees are often used when traveling, as well as being lightweight.

When to use[edit]

You should insert shoe trees once you take your shoes off so that they can absorb the moisture from your sweat and dry out your shoe in the correct shape. This will prevent lining rot and creases from taking hold of your leather. You should also insert shoe trees if you wet your shoes so that they can dry out faster.[4] While some recommend having a pair of shoe trees for every shoe,[1] others believe they are unnecessary once they have done their job of absorbing moisture, typically after 24 hours of 'rest'.[2][3]

Cedar Boot Trees

Boot trees[edit]

Boot trees are shoe trees for boots. Boot trees are often used on ankle-high boots and are similar to standard shoe trees but have a higher ankle area. Their main function is to support the heel counter, which helps preserve the integrity of the higher heel and prevent it from creasing or folding over. The fore part of the boot tree acts like a standard shoe tree and works to gently stretch out the vamp and prevent creasing. [5]

Creases that form in the calves of boots can affect comfort when walking. For zip boots, creasing may eventually cause the zip to break. By investing in a pair of boot trees a repair like this can easily be avoided.

A boot shaper, on the other hand, hacentero-sided bracket - often plastic or wood - with a centre support bracket that expands to provide the ideal tension for your boots. Some boot shapers come with a trigger that allows easy fitting – and easy hanging.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Do you need shoe trees?". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  2. ^ a b FitzPatrick, Justin (2012-06-18). "A Guide To Shoe Trees". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  3. ^ a b "Everyone should invest in a decent pair of shoe trees — here's why - Business Insider". 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  4. ^ "Shoe Tree Guide | SHOE TREE Singapore". 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  5. ^ "Trimly Chelsea Boot Trees |". Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  6. ^ "How Shoe Trees Can Extend Shoe Life |". Retrieved 2016-06-26.