First post! I have read a lot of interesting posts on this forum and as a result I feel like a fundi of sorts compared to the layman on the street. I know there are a lot of posts on shoe trees but I was wondering...Are they really important? I recently purchased a pair of Magnanni and To Boot New York shoes for my corporate wardrobe and in attempting to ensure I keep my shoes in top notch I stumbled upon this forum. (Needless to say, I feel rather amateurish having bought those two brands to start with as they don't seem to be highly regarded).
Ok, enough on the background. First point, most people on SF agree that shoe trees mostly act as catalysts for moisture absorption and only absorb a little moisture themselves. Secondly, most members agree that shoe trees will lessen the appearance of wrinkles but they will not prevent or eliminate them. However, I have looked at a few pics that show older C&J, Church, AE, AS shoes etc with shoe trees and I do not imagine they could look any worse if they never had shoe trees. Here is my reasoning; If you start of with a good pair of shoes, say a pair of C&J (or insert your favourite here) having the highest quality leather and the best construction (Goodyear welt??) might it not be possible that those shoes would look good after many years regardless of whether or not they had shoe trees? Otherwise why pay a premium for those shoes if the difference in durability with cheaper shoes comes down to using a pair of shoe trees? Might shoe trees be the answer to a problem that never existed? What I contend is the case here is that people that can pay $400 on a pair of shoes will also be readily willing to pay an extra 30 bucks for a pair of shoe trees to 'protect' their investment without paying due consideration to the actual benefits that you derive from the additional purchase.
I also suppose that shoe trees have had advocates since time immemorial but no one ever stopped to question their importance. Is there anyone on SF that has a pair of shoes eg AE, Alden, Church etc that never used shoe trees and regrets that decision? Or anyone with a bad looking pair of reputable shoes who also believes those shoes look so bad due to not having shoe trees for all or part of their lives. Or anyone that has bought a 'shoe tree free' pair from ebay who can testify that shoe trees are really important. Would love to see pics. Otherwise I believe if you have a pair of MTO John Lobbs, your shoes will look good after 10 years even without shoe trees because 1) You don't wear them often 2) They have the best leather for uppers and sole 3) You give them a good polish and conditioning every now and then 4) When you wear them you do not walk for miles and miles in them. 5) You change your gait ever so slightly to ensure you don't wear them out too quickly (and a few other points I can't think of right now) but lo and behold..you attribute their 'good looking' state to shoe trees? Really? If anyone disagrees please feel free to enlighten me with pictorial evidence and some testimonies. Otherwise I will try to post pics of my not so high quality dress boots that have never seen a shoe tree in their life... and still look good, then again they are only a year old..
I know this is rather long; last point. Since shoes and indeed feet all have different sizes, I consider that shoe trees that are not identical to the last used to create the shoe or the owner's foot would add little or no substantial benefit to the shoe. I think people do themselves a great disservice by buying shoe trees that are in no way identical to their own feet. I think other SF members agree that if shoe trees are too big they will stretch the shoe. If they are too small they wouldn't reduce wrinkling. It's hard enough getting pair of shoes that fits and probably harder to get a pair of shoe trees that conform to the fit of your shoes unless your shoe trees come from the manufacturer of the shoe.
Edited by MrTKN - 12/16/11 at 12:05am