There's a lovely cobbler in the Strand Arcade who is constantly looking at my new clients old shoes like he's found a stray puppy. Paul from Coombs knows shoe care like no one else I know and he knows when someone isn't looking after their shoes. Your shoe collection, particularly your work shoes and any leather shoes you has probably had more money spent on it then needed because of what you weren't told when you purchased them.
You might have heard a shop assistant tell you to get yourself some waterproofing spray or polish - but have they recommended shoe trees? Probably not. They're not commonly spoken about these days but when I discover a client with them, I see a man who knows footwear, maintains quality and is getting his money's worth from his shoes.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
A shoe tree, as huge and bulky as they sound, are moulded blocks that slip inside your shoe and help your shoe shape back to its original form after you've been wearing it all day. They're life extenders because they minimise wear marks across the front of shoes, keep your leather shoes in newer looking form and if you purchase the ones made from cedar, they keep critters and sweat from breaking down your shoes as fast. As an added bonus, the cedar style help to keep your shoes smelling a little better.
WAIT A SECOND, THERE'S DIFFERENT TYPES:
When buying shoe trees, it's hard to go wrong, but following the wisdom of Paul, I have to agree that the shoe trees you buy in sizes are better than the one-size-fits-all variety. The one-size-fits-all version can put a bit too much pressure on the back of your shoe and actually make them less comfortable. Where as the adjustable version can fit your shoes perfectly, based on the shape of your foot. The adjustable shoe tree's should definitely be adjustable at the back to cater to different shoes and foot types, and as an extra option, you can by some that adjust both in length and in the front width if you've got a slightly wider foot.
How fabulous is that?!
Here's what I mean:
Have I convinced you yet? I hope I have, but if not, keep reading.
Some people who have shoe tree's don't realise they can buy pressure point shoe tree's that will stretch the shoe to provide relief from bunions, blisters and corns. The shoe tree, when used alongside a great leather conditioner and shoe polish can make your shoes last up to three times longer than they would without it. The average price for a quality cedar shoe tree set is $50 and can be purchased from cobblers like Coombs who will fit them for you and show you how to use them, or you can jump online to Amazon and pick up a pair for a similar price.
Alarna Hope is a personal stylist and blogger based in Sydney, Australia. She loves makeover movies like Crazy, Stupid, Love and Devil Wears Prada and she's very good at talking about herself in the third person. You can find her on instagram @alarnahope or searching through clothing racks in Sydney City's shopping precinct.