Shoe Trees are a must have for any decent pair 0f shoes. I always try to emphasis the importance of using them even if they’re not trees made by the specific shoe manufacturer, which of course are best for the shoes. A decent pair is still better than none at all.
Be sure to find trees that are as similar to the last as possible, that the wood is not polished so it can absorb perspiration, and make sure they’re the correct size. Too small and they serve little purpose and too large they’ll stretch your shoes not to mention making it difficult to insert and remove.
That brings me to my next demonstration. I sometimes watch as guys try to insert the trees; some do it with ease while others seem to have a difficult time. There is a bit of a technique but it’s quite simple to master. I’m using the Pierre Corthay Bucy to demonstrate.
If the shoes are oxfords or derby’s make sure they’re unlaced, monk straps should be unbuckled.
Hold the tree at a 45º angle with the outside edge of the tree facing down.
Insert the tree as far as it will go.
Then from the heel push it in the rest of the way.
Next simply push down on the back and you’re in.
It’s not unlike changing a tire on a car (which is much more difficult) you just need to do it once and you’ll never forget how.
I think we would all agree that the purchase a quality pair of shoes is an "investment" in our feet as well as our wardrobe. And like any investment it needs protecting. Thankfully this is not a difficult task. Perhaps the single most important and easiest step we can take is to insert wooden shoetrees into the shoes when they’re removed.
Why? During the day our feet perspire, a natural fact. The trees draw the perspiration away from the leather lining and hold the shoes in place as they dry. If you have ever seen a pair of shoes that are cracked at the "break" there is a good chance it is due to "tree negligence". Left empty the leather contracts while drying. Once the shoes are worn again the leather must expand, over time, as this process repeats the leather begins to breakdown and crack.
It is also important that the trees fit the shoes properly. If the trees are too large the shoes will be stretched out of shape and if too small they will not maximize their intended purpose. We sell trees made by the manufacturers that are "last and size specific". These are the best trees for the shoes because the shoe is put back on its last to regain its shape. If you have your own trees try and find a shape and size that is closest to the last of the shoe. Using similar trees is better than not using trees at all.
Gaziano & Girling