Herring Shoes

Why you need expanding cedar shoe trees

23 November 2023

It’s an easy mistake to think shoe trees don’t really do very much and they are just a ‘nice to have’ accessory, but the truth is they are without doubt the most important accessory you can buy for your beloved shoes (view them on site here).

You can see how much difference shoe trees make to the level of creasing on the uppers

Picture the scene: you have been wearing your lovely new pair of leather soled shoes to work for a week or two, everyone has commented on how smart they look and in response you are proud to say how comfortable they are and maybe throw in some stats about the leather quality and the construction, show that you really know your stuff! Fast forward eight months, you have been enjoying wearing your shoes but suddenly you notice that there is a small hole appearing in the soles, surely if you are buying quality shoes the soles should last longer than this? You know they can be resoled and this is the beauty of welted footwear, but you didn’t expect them to need a resole quite yet. You would be forgiven for then reaching out for some advice and this is where the following bit of knowledge can be the most important thing you learn about handmade shoes.

The truth is leather soles can wear quicker than expected, especially if you’re wearing the same shoes day in day out, even if they cost you £1000. Why? It’s simple: moisture. Like it or not, your feet perspire and this goes through the cork and into the sole cumulatively over time. The sole is then in contact with the pavement which is essentially creating a sandpaper effect as you walk, throw in a wet pavement and you are really putting your soles through it! You can purchase rubber soled shoes of course, this will help hugely too, although you won’t get that ‘traditional’ look you get with a leather soled pair of shoes.

A side angle to better show the difference between a shoe with trees in and one without

We of course understand that the above is unavoidable and leather soles are perfectly well equipped to deal with daily wear and tear, but by reducing the amount of moisture in the shoes you can make a HUGE difference to how much time is needed between resoles, this is where wooden shoe trees come in and cedar wood in particular which wicks away moisture brilliantly! Not only will they prolong the life of your soles, stop mould growing in the shoes (trust us, it happens more than you would realise) but they will also help keep your uppers looking less creased as they act like the original last they were made on, this means they will help keep their original shape, let’s face it no-one wants bent/turned up shoes. Oh and one final benefit, that wonderful smell of cedar!

Whilst there are many variations of shoe trees, we highly recommend expanding cedar shoe trees. Expanding shoe trees should not be confused with something that will expand your shoes, it simply means they are lightly sprung around the toe to fill in as much space at the end as they can. They should be a snug fit and the stronger spring between the heel and front will make sure they have the perfect amount of flexibility to ensure moisture is wicked away without affecting the width of the shoes.

To summarise: By using shoe trees you are prolonging the life of the soles and keeping the shoes looking cared for. Shoe trees are an investment.

So, when you get home and take your shoes off, make it a habit to put your shoe trees in and place your shoes in a nice dry spot that isn’t too near a radiator!

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