When you have invested in a few great pairs of Italian leather shoes, you want to make sure they look good and last long. While no pair of shoes can live forever without the assistance of a talented cobbler, there are certain things you can do to extend the amount of time between trips to your trusted shoe repairman. Having a cleaning, toning, and moisturizing regimen is important, but it’s not necessarily an everyday thing to do…. Who has the time, am I right?
Something you CAN do every day… and most certainly should do… is store your oxfords, loafers, and boots with shoe trees.
So what exactly is a shoe tree? They are those wooden molds the look like they fit just so inside your Italian leather shoes. And they do… because that’s what they’re for. Using shoe trees helps maintain the shape of your shoes so they don’t dent or collapse in spots, ruining the handcrafted construction as well as the overall aesthetic of your Italian leather shoes.
Perhaps more important than maintaining the shape, shoe trees also play a crucial part of wicking away leather-damaging moisture from the inside. Your body’s natural sweat can’t be stopped by socks-- and, hey, the no-sock trend is pretty big this year anyways. Italian leather will naturally absorb this perspiration and if left to its own devices, the sweat will cause the lining to decay and create a rather offensive odor you may or may not already be familiar with. Over time, this moisture will ruin your beloved Italian leather shoes. Enter the shoe tree.
Wooden shoe trees are naturally absorbent and will dry the lining of your shoes while keeping their shape. Purchasing shoe trees for every pair of Italian leather shoes you own is a smart way to protect your investment. While it may seem like an unnecessary cost, it can actually help save you money by reducing the number of trips to the cobbler and ultimately the amount of shoes you buy.
There are cheaper shoe trees that have less of a heel and will only set you back $15-$30 a pair. While they still do the job of keeping moisture at bay, they are less than efficient when it comes to keeping the shape intact. There are also travel shoe trees on this tier, but they are often made of plastic with the sole intention of keeping shape while packing your shoes in a suitcase.
The next tier up (in the $30-$50 price range) are still smaller in the heel, but are crafted with ventilation slots that wick moisture away even more effectively. These are a great choice if maintaining shape isn’t your high priority, but you’ve invested more than $200 in your shoes and need effective moisture protection. Finally, if you really want to invest you can order handcrafted lasted shoe trees made especially for a single pair. Fully fitted and made from the highest quality wood, these can set you back a few pennies… but if you really love your Italian leather shoes, they are worth it.