One of the joys of investing in a pair of beautiful leather shoes is the gorgeous patina that they can develop over time. It gives them that wonderful ‘worn with love’ character. And because you would want to make sure they last for as many years as possible, it is also important to make sure that they maintain good form and that moisture will not ruin the leather. The main ways to achieve this is by using shoe trees.
Shoe trees are the solution to prevent the shoe toe from collapsing and forming creases and wrinkles, and also from creating wrinkles in the vamp area where your foot bends while walking (midway up your shoe). Although this is common and natural to occur, it will ruin the form of your shoes in the long run, and can also eventually cause the leather to dry and crack if not cared for.
Shoe trees are the solution to adjusting shoe forms back into their natural shape. There is no other or better solution, and it is the equivalent of wearing your shoes when you’re not actually wearing them!
Let’s get into the benefits.
Prevention of Wrinkles
Shoes will start to wrinkle as soon as they are broken into, that’s also the point where they become more comfortable. This doesn’t mean that your shoes need to be wrinkled to be comfortable, and although some wrinkle is inevitable and even a beautiful characteristic of leather shoes, using shoe trees after wear will reduce the formation of too much wrinkle.
Reduce Moisture Damage
Moisture damage is a major problem that most seem to overlook. This can be caused by rain or external environment factors, but it is mostly caused by the natural sweat of our feet. Even if you don’t notice it, your feet sweat while you walk and, even if wearing socks, the sweat can seep through to the shoe lining and leather. The sweat contains acid, salts and bacteria that are released and not only leave bad odor in shoes, but can also cause the leather to crack and even rot the interning lining of our shoes.
The solution is using a porous shoe tree, this is characteristic of wooden shoe trees in specific. This absorbs the moisture and is much more effective than just leaving them out to air.
Shoe Trees are Especially Effective for Boots
Boots need special care to maintain form as they need extra support in the ankle and vamp areas. Boot trees will support the heel, ankle and the higher vamp area. Their system will push down at the sole and keep the vamp of the shoe up and wrinkle-free when not worn.
All shoes have to deal with the pressure of walking, and this will naturally have an effect on the shape and form of the shoe (image what your feet feel like after a long day of walking!). Your shoes will need a full 24 hours to dry before it is ideal to wear them again, and the best way to do this is by using a shoe tree. There is nothing better than shoe trees and boot trees to help shoes and boots reform back into shape. For this reason, I strongly recommend investing in a pair of shoe trees to go along with your favorite shoes.
If you have a lot of shoes in your closet (and is may seem outlandish to purchase shoe trees for every pair), it is also a good idea to invest in just a few and rotate them focusing on your most recently worn pairs. There is a variety of options to select from (some of our favorite options pictured above are from the expert shoe tree maker Herve Brunelle) depending on your need, budget and type of shoe. Although it may seem like an additional and unneeded purchase, in the long run it will keep your favorite shoes in an excellent condition for years!
Signing-off: Rana Cheikha for The Shoe Advisor