How to Use Shoe Trees

Updated February 21, 2017

Shoe trees are mechanical devices used to preserve the original shape and condition of quality shoes. Typically used by men, shoe trees can prevent the formation of crease marks due to wear, offensive smells due to excessive perspiration, and asymmetrical shape formation in business, dress or work shoes. Shoe trees are commonly made from cedar but may also made from plastic or other synthetic materials.

Purchase the correct size shoe trees for the shoes you want to preserve. When in doubt as to the correct size to purchase, always err on the side of the larger size. Almost all shoe trees are somewhat adjustable because leather or dress shoes may be sized slightly differently than casual shoes or sneakers. Double-check your desired size if you are ordering shoe trees on line. If you are buying shoe trees locally at a store, bring the shoes with you so that you can verify the fit.

Adjust the shoe trees to fit your shoes. If your shoes are slightly tight, you may be able to stretch them out slightly to obtain a more comfortable fit by adjusting your shoe trees a little larger, using the control knob or handle at the heel end of the shoe tree. Insert the shoe tree into the shoe, then turn the control knob clockwise to expand and lengthen the shoe tree. Some shoe trees come with a stiff spring action and will slide snugly into your shoes with no further adjustment needed.

Store your shoes with the shoe trees inserted in them. The unfinished cedar wood will absorb any moisture, which could otherwise damage your shoes. The pleasant smell of the hardwood oil, if you do have cedar shoe trees, will consistently keep any disgusting locker room foot smells away also.

Use a different pair of shoe trees for every pair of your shoes that you intend to preserve. That way, you can adjust each shoe tree fewer times and leave the shoe trees in place longer to do their work. Also, don't wear the same pair of shoes each day! Giving each pair of shoes a day off between uses gives the shoe trees a chance to work more thoroughly.

Lightly sand the surface of your cedar shoe trees at least once a year to maintain their effectiveness and woodsy smell. Well-maintained shoe trees can extend the life of a quality pair of leather shoes significantly.


After adjusting each pair of shoe trees to fit correctly within its intended shoe, the only time the trees need readjusting is in the event that your foot changes, due to development of corns or other form-altering occurrences. Periodically adjust the size of the shoe tree to alter the way the shoes feels on your foot.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine sandpaper
  • Clean rag
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About the Author

Residing near the Central Florida beaches, Steven Douglas has written extensively on resolving small-business issues since 1990 in publications such as ForexFactory, Forex-Tsd, FxStreet and FxFisherman. After earning a master's degree in administration from the University of Maryland, his primary focus has been on international currency trade and how it can be effectively utilized by small businesses across the United States.