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Crockett&Jones shoe trees, are they good enough?

The Silverfox

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Good morning, gentlemen

Ok, so in an effort to make their shoe-trees lighter for traveling and such as well as more convenient to use (and possibly for lower production costs), Crockett&Jones' shoe trees are not made of cedar, and they are also not raw wood, but coated with something.

They claim these shoe trees will absorb as good as cedar (though not have the aromatic effect cedar would) and that the coating on the wood will not prevent the trees from absorbing perspiration.

What are your views on these shoe trees compared to the full-scale raw cedar-trees sold by other makers? Are they as effective as the traditional trees, or are they a glorified version of the plastic-trees that only maintain the shape without helping the long-term health of the leather?



Basically, are these C&J trees good enough to trust that handgrades will stay beautiful for years and decades??

Thank you in advance
 

Walter4

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While some talk of shoe trees absorbing moisture, I believe the main point of trees is to fill the shoe so that as it slowly dries that it keeps the size of the last. That is why having lasted or near lasted shoe trees is so important for quality shoes.

Consider that EG, C&J, and G&G trees, to name but a few, are all lacquered or sealed, I am doubtful that such quality makers would all choose a lesser type of tree for their shoes.

I think the key is to promptly tree your shoes after you take them off, unless they are soaking wet in which case stuffing and wrapping the shoes in newspaper and letting them dry on their sides, is important before treeing your shoes.

Of course this is a topic for debate, but I prefer to have the C&J trees in my C&Js than a cedar tree that does not as closely match the last.
 

Ich_Dien

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My EG trees aren't lacquered. I would also say C&J trees are a rip off considering they are not shaped on specific lasts.
 

apropos

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Originally Posted by The Silverfox
Good morning, gentlemen

Ok, so in an effort to make their shoe-trees lighter for traveling and such as well as more convenient to use (and possibly for lower production costs), Crockett&Jones' shoe trees are not made of cedar, and they are also not raw wood, but coated with something.

They claim these shoe trees will absorb as good as cedar (though not have the aromatic effect cedar would) and that the coating on the wood will not prevent the trees from absorbing perspiration.

What are your views on these shoe trees compared to the full-scale raw cedar-trees sold by other makers? Are they as effective as the traditional trees, or are they a glorified version of the plastic-trees that only maintain the shape without helping the long-term health of the leather?



Basically, are these C&J trees good enough to trust that handgrades will stay beautiful for years and decades??

Thank you in advance

Complete BS on C&J's part.

1. the C&J shoe trees are heavy, and just about double the weight of the shoes.
2. the coating is waterproof lacquer - if you spill water on it, it beads on it.
3. if you are getting handgrades, there are 337 lasted shoe trees available, but they are $$$

If you are hell-bent on getting them they are not too good a fit for the 348, but a very good fit for the 341.
 

Northampton Novice

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I recently bought the trees in question and they seem to be doing a good enough job. That said they do feel inferior to cedar or beech shoe trees and I would have prefered to have had CJ do a 'raw' wood version. Incidently I have been told by a couple of different credible sources that it's best to place shoe trees into your shoes around 20mins after you have taken them off, not as I previously understood immediately... I don't know what others thoughts are on this?
 

Cedarville Store

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Originally Posted by The Silverfox
Good morning, gentlemen

Ok, so in an effort to make their shoe-trees lighter for traveling and such as well as more convenient to use (and possibly for lower production costs), Crockett&Jones' shoe trees are not made of cedar, and they are also not raw wood, but coated with something.

They claim these shoe trees will absorb as good as cedar (though not have the aromatic effect cedar would) and that the coating on the wood will not prevent the trees from absorbing perspiration.

What are your views on these shoe trees compared to the full-scale raw cedar-trees sold by other makers? Are they as effective as the traditional trees, or are they a glorified version of the plastic-trees that only maintain the shape without helping the long-term health of the leather?



Basically, are these C&J trees good enough to trust that handgrades will stay beautiful for years and decades??

Thank you in advance



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bleachboy

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I want to know, realistically -- how freakin' sweaty are your feet getting that you need to go to extreme measures to dry out your shoes? Are people really having to wring out their socks at the end of the day, or what?!

Additionally, which is more porous: untreated leather or untreated wood? Would pressing a piece of cedar against moist leather cause the leather to become dry? I don't think it would.

In conclusion, I think that the moisture problem itself is bunk. I think that the idea that shoe trees wick moisture is bunk.

That said, I use shoe trees in all my shoes because they help them retain their shape, and I bet these lacquered do that just as well as raw cedar.
 

Wideknot

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Originally Posted by bleachboy
In conclusion, I think that the moisture problem itself is bunk. I think that the idea that shoe trees wick moisture is bunk.

That said, I use shoe trees in all my shoes because they help them retain their shape, and I bet these lacquered do that just as well as raw cedar.


I concur. I may not know a lot about leather but, having spent a lot of years in the lumber business and furniture making, wood is something I do know. The amount of moisture that raw cedar will pull out of a leather shoe in the course of twenty-four hours is infinitesimal compared to what the leather will evaporate out to the atmosphere in the same period of time. Further, once the cedar has absorbed the moisture, where do you think it goes? It doesn't stay locked in the wood. If the moisture level of the shoe tree is greater than that of the surrounding atmosphere, eventually, moisture will flow from the wooden tree, back through the shoe, and into the atmosphere. Remember, the moisture level of the wood, like that in the leather of the shoe, will stabilize relative to the ambient moisture of the room. That is why wooden furniture shrinks in the winter. It is also one of the reasons that it is finished, to slow the propagation of moisture out of the wood and ameliorate problems related to shrinkage. Do unfinished wooden trees absorb moisture? Yes. But that is not really what you want to achieve, is it? To have a block of wet wood shoved into your shoes? You want the moisture out of the shoe and the tree and into the atmosphere. Frankly, I would suggest that finished trees are actually superior to unfinished ones because they won't absorb moisture. They will, however, aid the shoe in retaining its shape as it dries.

Now that I think about a little more, what's the big deal about normal levels of moisture (that is, what the shoe would experience from normal wear, not being soaked in the rain) any way? It isn't as though there is a specific moisture level designated for various shoes, is there? I mean, do those of you who live in the desert southwest with humidity levels hovering around 10% hydrate your shoes with water because they get too dry?
 

Cant kill da Rooster

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Originally Posted by Wideknot
I mean, do those of you who live in the desert southwest with humidity levels hovering around 10% hydrate your shoes with water because they get too dry?

As a matter of fact...yes. AE Leather Lotion.

Interesting thoughts on shoe trees though. I don't use them, but then I don't have any E. Green or Vass shoes.....yet.
 

Wideknot

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Originally Posted by Cant kill da Rooster
As a matter of fact...yes. AE Leather Lotion.

Interesting thoughts on shoe trees though. I don't use them, but then I don't have any E. Green or Vass shoes.....yet.


In other words, no, you do not use water to moisturize your shoes. You replace lost essential oils in the leather with additional oils to preserve them. And that is my point. I'm unaware of any specific amount of water moisture in the leather that is considered ideal. It will, instead, fluctuate based on the humidity of the air surrounding the shoe and the condition of the leather. Leather that has lost its oils will more readily pick up moisture than will those that are well nourished.
 

CashmereLover

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Originally Posted by Northampton Novice
I recently bought the trees in question and they seem to be doing a good enough job. That said they do feel inferior to cedar or beech shoe trees and I would have prefered to have had CJ do a 'raw' wood version. Incidently I have been told by a couple of different credible sources that it's best to place shoe trees into your shoes around 20mins after you have taken them off, not as I previously understood immediately... I don't know what others thoughts are on this?

I wonder too. But I wonder even more, wouldn't the best shoe care involve a tree switch after some time, like a couple of hours?

The current generic process is this:

1. Use your shoes for x hours and they become moist from sweat.
2. Take them off and put trees in them, leave the trees in the shoes until next time your wear them.
3. The trees absorb the moisture, but hey, the only way for the moisture to vanish from the trees is via the tiny wooden area (which might even be covered with some metal plate) that corresponds to the opening of the shoe. I.e. the total amount of moisture in the shoe remains, but a great part of it moves from the leather to the wood.

Here's what I suggest, and I wonder why I haven't come across this suggestion before:

1. Use your shoes for x hours and they become moist from sweat.
2. Take them off and put trees in them for y hours (e.g. y=2).
3. Replace the wet trees with dry ones.

How about that?
 

BlueHorseShoe

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Originally Posted by bleachboy
I want to know, realistically -- how freakin' sweaty are your feet getting that you need to go to extreme measures to dry out your shoes? Are people really having to wring out their socks at the end of the day, or what?!

Additionally, which is more porous: untreated leather or untreated wood? Would pressing a piece of cedar against moist leather cause the leather to become dry? I don't think it would.

In conclusion, I think that the moisture problem itself is bunk. I think that the idea that shoe trees wick moisture is bunk.

That said, I use shoe trees in all my shoes because they help them retain their shape, and I bet these lacquered do that just as well as raw cedar.


In the summer, wearing a closed oxford, my feet have been known to become damp. They are not gross and dripping or anything to that effect, and I can't imagine that this is unusual. I noticed the other day, I had put a some cedar shoe trees in my shoes. About an hour later I took the trees out, and noticed that the cedar in the toe was darker where it had absorbed some moisture.

So, point is, cedar trees do absorb moisture.
 

scurvyfreedman

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I think the two most important things that shoe trees do are maintain the shape of the sole of the shoe and maintain the shape of the upper part of the shoe.

The bottom is more important and more easily remedied. The shoe is bent from walking and driving and just from feet. The soles begin to bend upward and take the shape of the walking foot. The trees bend them back. Any tree that fits will work.

The top is also bent, but unless the tree is lasted it won't completely fill the upper, so there will be inevitable creasing regardless. The trees may reduce it a bit b/c the shoe is not always in a bent position.

I think the whole absorbing moisture thing is overblown. See debate above.
 

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