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A cautionary tale and a proposal for a more specific way of using of shoe trees...

I have always loved leather shoes, from when I was a small child and my pairs would only cost 50-100USD, to now when my pairs go higher than 1000USD. When I started buying these expensive shoes, I read about shoe trees and made sure to get wooden ones for each pair of shoes I had.

The trees sure kept the shape of my shoes, six years later and the creasing on the outer leather is minimal, certainly better looking than my last pair of Clark's Bostonians. But the insides of these shoes tell a very different story, almost 50% of my pairs have holes or scratches on the lining at the contact points of the wood and the leather. I first noticed lining damage on a pair of JM Westons, I thought this was because the lining was supple (too supple, maybe) and it couldn't take the roughing up of regular wear.

I have been out of the office for almost a year now and my shoes have been stored in their trees all this time, when I did a check this week, almost half of them had holes. The wooden trees probably made the lining too dry and the act of taking out the trees to try on the shoes further scratched and damaged the lining. I took a look at my cheap pair that had no shoe trees and they were fine.

I am very sad about this, now I am thinking that shoes shouldn't be stored for an extended amount of time with shoe trees inside them. Is it better to remove the shoe trees after one day of drying and afterward simply using the crumpled tissue/paper that came with the shoe box?

I also thought cheaper cedar (relatively) shoe trees from Woodlore were to blame. But lasted shoe trees from the shoe manufacturers themselves also damaged some of my pairs. Is it possible that plastic shoe trees may turn out to be better because it doesn't absorb any/excess moisture from the leather and simply maintains the shape of the shoe while it air dries?

In the future, I don't think I will buy anymore shoe trees, it will save me money and I can simply rotate the ones I have now and use them on freshly used shoes and then remove them a day (or even less time) later. It might be a better idea to only have one pair of trees because most men only wear one pair of shoes a day.
 

SchachMundialECapital

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This is why I condition the leather lining of my dress shoes once a year with a thin coat of Bick4, applied directly with the fingertips. Your story makes sense.
 

Kwaker

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I only keep my shoes treed for around a day. After that, I let the tree rest before I use it on the next shoe. I am too frugal to have a 1:1 ratio of shoes to trees.
 

audog

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A cautionary tale and a proposal for a more specific way of using of shoe trees...

I have always loved leather shoes, from when I was a small child and my pairs would only cost 50-100USD, to now when my pairs go higher than 1000USD. When I started buying these expensive shoes, I read about shoe trees and made sure to get wooden ones for each pair of shoes I had.

The trees sure kept the shape of my shoes, six years later and the creasing on the outer leather is minimal, certainly better looking than my last pair of Clark's Bostonians. But the insides of these shoes tell a very different story, almost 50% of my pairs have holes or scratches on the lining at the contact points of the wood and the leather. I first noticed lining damage on a pair of JM Westons, I thought this was because the lining was supple (too supple, maybe) and it couldn't take the roughing up of regular wear.

I have been out of the office for almost a year now and my shoes have been stored in their trees all this time, when I did a check this week, almost half of them had holes. The wooden trees probably made the lining too dry and the act of taking out the trees to try on the shoes further scratched and damaged the lining. I took a look at my cheap pair that had no shoe trees and they were fine.

I am very sad about this, now I am thinking that shoes shouldn't be stored for an extended amount of time with shoe trees inside them. Is it better to remove the shoe trees after one day of drying and afterward simply using the crumpled tissue/paper that came with the shoe box?

I also thought cheaper cedar (relatively) shoe trees from Woodlore were to blame. But lasted shoe trees from the shoe manufacturers themselves also damaged some of my pairs. Is it possible that plastic shoe trees may turn out to be better because it doesn't absorb any/excess moisture from the leather and simply maintains the shape of the shoe while it air dries?

In the future, I don't think I will buy anymore shoe trees, it will save me money and I can simply rotate the ones I have now and use them on freshly used shoes and then remove them a day (or even less time) later. It might be a better idea to only have one pair of trees because most men only wear one pair of shoes a day.
I have all of my shoes/boots treed and have not noticed this condition. I think I will go check some lesser worn pairs (some of which may have not been worn in over a year, but are stored with trees)
 

EnglishShoes

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Interesting. I have never seen damage to the linings on my shoes from using shoe trees. I tend to leave my trees in the shoes whenever the shoes are not on my feet.

Are your trees particularly close fitting? Are you having to force the trees in?
 

stephenaf2003

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Yes very interesting, I keep all of my shoes with trees as well. I’ve experienced none of these issues on my shoes that are at least 6 years old, very peculiar.
 

audog

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let us know how they hold up, thanks
Yesterday afternoon, I pulled trees out of some of the least worn pairs of shoes and had no damage to the interior. One pair of AE park avenues has not been worn in over 2 years and nothing wrong with the interior.
 
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This could be a storage issue - are you storing them in a particularly dry place? Maybe near a heat source?
no, not really, I live in the tropics where the relative humidity is 80-90% and the shoes are always in a shaded corner of my apartment
 
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Interesting. I have never seen damage to the linings on my shoes from using shoe trees. I tend to leave my trees in the shoes whenever the shoes are not on my feet.

Are your trees particularly close fitting? Are you having to force the trees in?
some of the trees are, but I have shoe trees from the manufacturer (lasted and smooth as opposed to plain cedar trees) and the shoes still have worn linings.
 

Threeputt

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Any chance you could snap a pic or two of the damage? Maybe across different shoes and different style trees?
 
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Any chance you could snap a pic or two of the damage? Maybe across different shoes and different style trees?
65591509_2429747787310345_4279418590970511360_n.jpg
65138266_713437109076020_3797367297211891712_n.jpg

worst damage, probably because the jm westons have the most supple lining and the shape of the tree simply concentrates too much pressure on one point

65464207_1158853894318137_4825512374008020992_n.jpg
65237337_723549101413577_3339454320952213504_n.jpg

a wider shape on a tree but it still bore a hole, again because the last isn't exactly rounded

65188273_644193149433698_8520782100956184576_n.jpg

65555322_339998656924507_2632075191575904256_n.jpg
65673704_2147505632042900_7732399076628496384_n.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 12.51.17 PM.png

and two lasted shoe trees from the manufacturers, but still with scratches
 

greenhouse

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You do push them in while pulling them up and then out... right? And do the reverse when putting the trees back in? From these pictures it looks like you just pull the back of the tree straight up.
 

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