Key Takeaway: If you have genuine leather shoes, you should invest in at least one pair of quality wooden shoe trees to take care of them. The trees absorb moisture, thereby eliminating any interior damage and odors from your shoes – thereby showing you care for your things, your money’s worth, and respect the shoemakers.
Fellow men, I am sure you own at least one pair of leather shoes – most likely for work or dress occasions.
If your shoes are not made of real leather, this post may not be as relevant for you. However, if they are, and you agree that taking good care of them is the right thing to do, then read on. 🙂
In which case, how do you care for them? Do you have at least one pair of shoe trees to help keep them the equivalent of alive and kicking? If not, then, I invite you to invest in one ASAP. It’s actually a very responsible move on your part.
Genuine leather shoes can be expensive, especially your dress shoes. They also will have linings that help keep our feet more comfortable. Now, say you had an eight-hour office job, with travel time about half an hour. You would spend at least nine hours in those shoes, and in the process, the moist naturally forming would wreak havoc on your shoes over time – it will make them stink, and the lining would deteriorate. So would the leather itself. And the shape of your shoes – especially if they were placed in suitcases and brought out of town or abroad for business trips.
Cared for well, however, your shoes can last your entire life, and you wouldn’t need to spend to replace them. Suddenly, that US$300.00 makes a lot more sense, invested in one pair only, as opposed to multiple US$100.00 pairs that are tossed in five years’ time. (And you stay stylish in a timeless way.)
What do shoe trees contribute? They not only keep your shoes’ shape, but they also absorb all that moisture, keeping your shoes smelling neutral (or even fragrant, depends) and dry. That is, if they’re made of solid wood and not plastic.
Thus, having a pair or two of shoe trees is in line with CSR principles, for 3 reasons:
- You know how to take good care of your things.
- You show financial maturity in that you know how to invest properly.
- You respect the shoemakers by showing respect for their products.
In line with this, I have two points.
Megan Willett, writing for Business Insider, offers a very handy and thorough guide in shoe trees. According to her, there are several kinds of shoe trees. Shoe trees made for travel purposes are mostly made of plastic and serve the purpose of just keeping your shoes’ shape intact and not squashed in your suitcase. There are also further kinds of wooden shoe trees: the basic wooden ones, more expensive ones that have holes in the toe part to help absorb moisture more efficiently, and specially-crafted ones that usually come with the most expensive shoes.
First point: You don’t really need the most expensive ones. At the same time, you shouldn’t settle for the cheapest either. Get something in the mid-range – whether or not it comes with those additional holes or not. If your disposable income allows you to shell out a little bit, go for it. Otherwise, the basic wooden ones should be fine. They won’t be as snug as the second-tier shoe trees in keeping your shoes’ shape, but it should suffice.
Take note that, according to Willett, you should not get varnished shoe trees, as the varnish actually compromises their effectivity. The rough-textured ones are ideal: solid wood – usually cedar – will do the trick.
Second point: Just one or two pairs is enough. Obviously, if you have just one pair of leather shoes, then one pair of shoe trees it is. All nine pairs of my shoes are genuine leather, and all nine have shoe trees – but only because my father had so much. Otherwise, just one or two is enough, and you should rotate them among your leather shoes. Willett says that when it gets right down to it, the shoes that need shoe trees are those you used the most recently, especially within the first two hours of removal. Ideally, you should allot at least a full day between wears for proper drying – and shoe trees ensure this efficiency.
Of course, again, if you can afford it and insist on consistent shape care, then by all means get a pair of shoe trees per leather pair you own. But the most necessary is just 1-2 pairs.
And, once more, shoe trees work only for leather shoes – not for sneakers.
Featured Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua