Lasted shoe trees: Worth the money?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ragdoll, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. ragdoll

    ragdoll Senior member

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    (Un)fortunately, I have purchased about 10 pairs of high end shoes over the previous 6 months or so. It all started here on SF and AAAC with a pair of Vass from an AHarris/GHalmos "sample sale". They now include 4 pairs of Vass, 3 JL (2 prestige), 4 pairs of EG ( RLPL MacKay). Not to mention some Mantellassi's from discostu004. All were purchased at good prices but I've spent on Average about $5-600/pair with the Mantellassi's being less.
    Now I'm considering more Vass and perhaps St Crispin's.

    With the exception of the Vass and an RLPL, none come with shoe trees. I've been putting them with Woodlore trees from STP.

    Is it worth purchasing lasted shoe trees for all these babies? Does it make a real difference or will it just inflame my shoe obsession?[​IMG]

    How do you do it, Aportnoy and Jcusey?
     


  2. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Senior member

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    I've used cedar shoetrees for many years and am completely pleased. I don't see how it would be a problem. I would use the money for bespoke shoetrees to add to my shoe collection.
     


  3. drljva

    drljva Senior member

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    (Un)fortunately, I have purchased about 10 pairs of high end shoes over the previous 6 months or so. It all started here on SF and AAAC with a pair of Vass from an AHarris/GHalmos "sample sale". They now include 4 pairs of Vass, 3 JL (2 prestige), 4 pairs of EG ( RLPL MacKay). Not to mention some Mantellassi's from discostu004. All were purchased at good prices but I've spent on Average about $5-600/pair with the Mantellassi's being less.
    Now I'm considering more Vass and perhaps St Crispin's.

    With the exception of the Vass and an RLPL, none come with shoe trees. I've been putting them with Woodlore trees from STP.

    Is it worth purchasing lasted shoe trees for all these babies? Does it make a real difference or will it just inflame my shoe obsession?[​IMG]

    How do you do it, Aportnoy and Jcusey?


    Personally, I'm a big fan of fully-lasted trees. Really helps keep the creases to a minimum, I've found. I've tried many different brands: EG, JL, Church's, Bally (for years, Bally made great fully-lasted trees, but only sold them in Europe -- I bought all of mine in London...). Sometimes takes some experimenting to see which trees fit best for a given shoe. For example, for a new pair of Santoni FAM, it turns out that the JL trees fit perfectly....
     


  4. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    Well, they are worth the money to me, but only for psychological reasons. I do not think that they are worth the extra money in the sense that they underlie more of the upper. For me, it's worth buying a $95 John Lobb shoe tree because of the sense of gratification I get looking at the shoes with the trees in and the sense of satisfaction I get taking them out before wear and putting them back in. It sounds stupid, I know, but there is something more complete about the whole wearing experience. It's the sense that no corners were cut, that they are as they should be. Silly, I know, but that just adds a bit more to the shoegasm.
     


  5. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    I actually find some lasted shoe trees to be inferior to your run of the mill Woodlore trees. For example, the hinged trees that Polo used to include with the EG-made Purple Label shoes were not very snug and did not prevent creases as well as the spring-loaded Woodlore trees. I don't know if JL's trees are a better fit, but the new spring-loaded RLPL trees seem like the perfect solution to me.
     


  6. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, they are worth the money to me, but only for psychological reasons. I do not think that they are worth the extra money in the sense that they underlie more of the upper. For me, it's worth buying a $95 John Lobb shoe tree because of the sense of gratification I get looking at the shoes with the trees in and the sense of satisfaction I get taking them out before wear and putting them back in. It sounds stupid, I know, but there is something more complete about the whole wearing experience. It's the sense that no corners were cut, that they are as they should be. Silly, I know, but that just adds a bit more to the shoegasm.
    Indeed I get shoegasms in spades when I pair my EGs or JLs with the proper tree. Simply divine....
     


  7. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

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    Personally, I'm a big fan of fully-lasted trees. Really helps keep the creases to a minimum, I've found. I've tried many different brands: EG, JL, Church's, Bally (for years, Bally made great fully-lasted trees, but only sold them in Europe -- I bought all of mine in London...). Sometimes takes some experimenting to see which trees fit best for a given shoe. For example, for a new pair of Santoni FAM, it turns out that the JL trees fit perfectly....
    Bally sells nice trees at their outlet in Nevada. I can't say for certain whether they are the fully lasted variety, but they're very nice nonetheless. I think they're $25. You can call at 702-874-2288.
     


  8. Associate

    Associate Senior member

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    I'm using the Woodlore-type trees only on lesser shoes, because: (i) the generic toe box shape is inappropriate, IMO, in the case of elongated/chisel toe shoes, (ii) the heel is narrow and does not fill in the heel area of the shoe, (iii) I dislike the fact that they are spring-loaded and hence you cannot adjust the amount of tension, which can be high if you compress the spring to the limit, and (iv) they are really cheaply made, nasty things.

    I much prefer hinged (must be the right size, though) or else adjustable-length trees, which provide tension at no risk of over stretching the shoe. I buy vintage, 'lasted' trees on ebay, for about $15-20 a pop, including shipping. You have to be patient and the sizing is a crapshoot. But after you amass a dozen pairs or so, you can match them with your various shoes and usually come up with reaosnably matching pairs. For example, I've landed a few pairs of really old, longish trees that were marked 9 but were like 1.5" too long for any size 9 shoes. I kept them anyway, and they turned out to be perfect for the C&J 337 last.
     


  9. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    I think having the same tree from the maker is important for the best performance. One of the great things about bespoke is that the tree is an exact copy of your last down to difference in sizes and the wood cut to the perfect length.

    I like the old school 3 piece trees which Jason is making for me on the next pair but they cost just a bit more...50 GB or so.

    That's good to know. [​IMG]
     


  10. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    I'm using the Woodlore-type trees only on lesser shoes, because: (i) the generic toe box shape is inappropriate, IMO, in the case of elongated/chisel toe shoes,
    An elongated or chisel toebox isn't supported by the tree so it's not necessary that the tree fill the toebox.
     


  11. Associate

    Associate Senior member

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    An elongated or chisel toebox isn't supported by the tree so it's not necessary that the tree fill the toebox.

    I think that, since toe boxes tend to curl up, a tree that stretches, so to speak, the full length of the shoe is better able to prevent that. Both ends of the tree push against the front and back of the shoe and keep the sole from curving up.

    This is supported by my experience with using generic cedar trees with, e.g., C&Js on the 337 last, where the tree basically doesn't reach the last 1.5-2 inches of the toe box. I think this situation is less the ideal for shape retention.
     


  12. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    Maybe the Woodlore trees are really bad, but I don't have lasted trees in my C&J 337s or any other of my shoes for that matter and I have no problems with curling.
     


  13. Associate

    Associate Senior member

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    Maybe the Woodlore trees are really bad, but I don't have lasted trees in my C&J 337s or any other of my shoes for that matter and I have no problems with curling.

    Perhaps we're not referring to the same thing. The trees I'm using in my 337s are not C&J trees and were not specifically designed to match that last. They are vintage trees that per chance have a longer and leaner snout than the generic cedar trees. I don't think it's imperative to have trees designed to the specific last, but it's important to get as close as you can.
     


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