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Shoe trees - Crockett and Jones alternatives

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Does anybody have any suggestions as to where I can get some shoe trees for my CJ 337 and 348 lasts?

I believe the "official" lasted trees from CJ to be a bit overpriced. I was wondering if anybody has purchased a good alternative, with no problems of the trees distorting the shoe.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 15
Aside from the pricing, I think the handgrade shoe trees fit my 337 perfectly.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
What about the 348? I have several pairs I require them for.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Bump
post #5 of 15
The C&J trees look to be varnished. I imagine they can't absorb excess sweat, which is one of the shoe tree's main jobs
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
True. I noticed that Dasco makes a very similar looking tree in an unfinished cedar. They are significantly cheaper.

Anyone have any other suggestions?
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

The C&J trees look to be varnished. I imagine they can't absorb excess sweat, which is one of the shoe tree's main jobs

I've heard that it's questionable whether they actually do that. But they do help keep a shoe's shape.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Still haven't had any suggestions as to a good fitting tree.
post #9 of 15
How much are you trying to pay? The best fitting ones will be the C&J ones.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

The C&J trees look to be varnished. I imagine they can't absorb excess sweat, which is one of the shoe tree's main jobs

 

Dremel.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidus View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

The C&J trees look to be varnished. I imagine they can't absorb excess sweat, which is one of the shoe tree's main jobs

I've heard that it's questionable whether they actually do that. But they do help keep a shoe's shape.

Oh yes, we've certainly had this topic many times and many times there are some who don't understand what wood is, what it is made of or its properties.
This is to clarify for good and all....

Wood comes from trees.



Trees drink water via what is called capillary action.




The water is then absorbed via osmosis
or permeating the cell wall membranes which make up the plant.


Trees are harvested for their wood.

(pictured here..an 800 year old cedar tree)

Wood retains its absorbing properties even though the wood is no longer alive.
Untreated wood does indeed absorb water and moisture.
Proof of this is to look at a deck made of wood.
Untreated, the wood most certainly does absorb water when it rains.
Treated, the surface of the wood is now sealed, and water beads on the wood surface without being absorbed.

One of the most, if not the most desirable woods used in shoe trees, is cedar.
Cedar wood has many virtues. Untreated, it can and will absorb moisture left behind frim a days wearing of footwear.
The cedar also contains within it, natural oils. Cedar oil is a natural insect repellant and also lends its fresh fragrance to shoes fitted with them.
As time goes, about once per year or two, a light sanding of the shoe trees with a fine grit sandpaper (400 grit to 800 grit) will refresh the surface of the wood and behave as though they are new again.

There are many other woods used in the manufacture of shoe trees.
Some manufacturers either source treated wood or apply a lacquer or varnish finish to the shoe trees.
Once the wood is sealed from these finishing processes, their natural surface can no longer make contact with the leather of the footwear, and thusly can no longer absorb any moisture because their natural absorbing properties has been defeated.

Both natural and finished shoe trees will help maintain the original shape of the shoes between wearings, provided they are properly fitted for the footwear.
If you should opt for unfinished cedar shoe trees, it is recommended to lightly sand the trees even before their first use as new trees still have had a chemical applied to them in factory.

If you are caught in the rain and have no shoe trees, you can substitute by crumpling newspaper and stuffing it (not too densely) into the shoes.
The newspaper, being made of paper, a wood by-product, also has absorbing properties and will indeed do the job.

Plastic shoe trees, like their varnished, painted or lacquered wooden counterparts will no absorb moisture, in fact they may even trap moisture inside the shoes.
Where treated wood or plastic trees are used, it is best to let the shoes rest for at least 24 hours after each wearing before re-inserting the trees.

Esquire Magazine offers this advice...
Quote:
Shoe trees: Shoe trees are crucial. They allow your recently worn shoes to contract and dry out to their ideal shape — but only if you choose the less decorative unvarnished ones. Varnished trees look posh, but they don't properly draw moisture — i.e., sweat — out of the leather. Top marks go to unfinished cedar models with a split toe and a fully shaped heel: These ensure the closest possible fit between shoe and tree. Also, there's no need to own a pair of trees for each pair of shoes. The vital time for using them is the hour or two after you have removed the shoes from your feet. After that, the shoes will have returned to their natural architecture and the trees can be removed.

Read more: Shoe Protection - Protecting Your Shoes - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/style/tips/shoe-protection#ixzz2OdbOiKEn

A few examples of shoe trees....


Woodlore 'Epic' (Unfinished Cedar)


Woodlore 'Combination Split Toe' (Unfinished Cedar)


Lacquered wood

(photo courtesy of Esquire.com)

Plastic Shoe trees




Plastic shoe trees may have one virtue in that they are lightweight and good for travelling.


The above information is what I have adhered to for the last 25 years and I still own beautifully maintained shoes to prove its truth.
Sorry I just wrote a book here but this is more for the benefit of newcomers.
post #12 of 15

Nice post.  Though I thought the OP was specifically asking about alternative tress for his CJs.  In general, how important is it to buy the trees offered by the maker of the shoes one is buying as opposed to just, e.g. the Woodlore trees you posted?

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Dandystatsprof is correct. I know the value of shoe trees for high end footwear, so it is not a question of needing them or not.

Specifically, I wanted to know if there were other options to fit my CJs other then the company's branded trees. Can someone offer up another brand name of tree or a website in which I can order some? Pictures with the trees in their shoes perhaps?

Thanks gents for all the help.
post #14 of 15

I would probably recommend a split-toe tree. Some C&J lasts have a long, narrow shape or are more angular with a chiseled toe. A tree like the Woodlore that Allen Edmonds sells seem very rounded. The split-toe configuration looks like it would be more able to adapt to the C&J shape.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DandyStatsProf View Post

Nice post.  Though I thought the OP was specifically asking about alternative tress for his CJs.  In general, how important is it to buy the trees offered by the maker of the shoes one is buying as opposed to just, e.g. the Woodlore trees you posted?

Thank you. I chose to address a point that Liquidus brought up. The 'lacquered vs. unfinished' topic that often crops up with shoe tree discussion.
As to the original question of the thread, my response is, wherever lasted shoe trees are available, purchase them, no matter the cost. It makes little sense to me to invest in higer quality shoes and not the trees that were made for them. Third party shoe trees may not adhere to or may even defeat the original shape of the shoes. Crockett & Jones lasted shoe trees feature finished wood surfaces, so in this case, after a days wearing, I would let the shoes air out for several hours, then insert the lasted trees to maintain their original shape.
If that is not an option, in this case, I personally would opt for unfinished cedar combination shoe trees with the adjustable split toe but this is only my preference.
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