I bought my first AEs--black Park Aves.--about a year ago, and I have since invested in two more pair, walnut Carlyles and brown City. I have been EXTREMELY anal in caring for these damn things because I LOVE them and am never one to spend that kind of money on such things (ask my wife... she can attest to both my love for the shoes and my frugality, in general.) Over the course of the year, I have done lots of research and invested in lots of care products, which I use religiously. Of course, I bought AE shoe trees for each pair, and they live in my shoes anytime I'm not wearing them. I always rotate the order in which I wear them, i.e., 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3.
Anyway, I recently noticed a slight musty smell coming from two pair, which was concerning, but not alarming because I was confident that I was caring for them as I should. However, just today I noticed that there was a bit of grayish-white mold blooming in my Parks, near the heel cup, right where the foot bed meets the inner layer of upper! I did some poking around on the online and discovered that my probable downfall was religiously popping the shoe trees into them IMMEDIATELY after taking them off. I know that I read somewhere that it's a "best practice" to do this, but today I'm now reading that was NOT a good practice at all; apparently the shoes should be given several hours to air-dry before popping in the trees (this makes me wonder 'then why use cedar trees at all?' I thought their main purpose was to wick out moisture and keep them dry/prevent mold, but I digress). Good grief! ... by the way, my feet hardly sweat.
So now I have mold in my less than 1 year-old shoes--probably all three pair to a greater or lesser extent--on which I spent a total of ~$1000. Arg!
I have no idea how serious any one pair is as far as the mold goes, but here's a pic of the inside heel of my Parks: http://imgur.com/a/LrigB
I did notice a bit of the whiteness before, but for whatever reason it never registered that it was mold.
I see that there are a few products out there that are supposed to address shoe fungus, but I have no idea how well (or even if) any of them will solve my problem. There are ultra violet light devices that get placed inside the shoe for X amount of time, and they are supposed to sanitize/kill fungus. There are also zinc oxide-based products (and straight up zinc oxide itself), which is supposed to do the same, I think??
What do ya'll think is my best route (assuming I'm not already kinda screwed)? Specifically:
1. With regard to my specific problem, which I assume involves mold growing under my footbeds, am I screwed, or can I fix it?
2. What do I need to buy in order to fix the problem?
Man, if these shoes are permanently jacked up it will totally ruin my year..