I'm certainly no expert, but reading the shoe tree thread gave me some ideas. For starters, I think it depends on the climate in which you live. Someone, I think it was LA Guy, was saying cedar shoe trees could dry your shoes out too much. That's probably true, but if you live in a humid, tropical climate, you would want cedar. I lived in Costa Rica during the rainy season once and all my shoes were ruined from just sitting in the closet. I live in the Caribbean now, so I keep cedar shoe trees in all my shoes and they keep their forms nicely. If you were living in Utah or Arizona, though,you would probably want hardwood shoe trees. At anyrate, I think shoe trees are a must. As well I take them in regularly for polish and cleaning to a shoe store. As well, they replace soles and heels and etc. when needed. That's how I take care of my shoes and they do great.