Best Shoe Trees Reviewed & Rated
Excellent shoes are an investment. When you buy a pair of quality shoes, it’s important to take steps to protect them and help them last for years. That might mean keeping them clean, avoiding mud puddles and taking the time to shine them.
Protecting your shoes also means working to prevent the shoes from creasing, cracking, wrinkling and folding over onto themselves. To do this, shoe trees are needed.
- Stratton Cedar
- Premium Red Aromatic Cedar
- Original Shoe Tree Company
- Crisp Cedar Smell
- Woodlore Adjustable
- Cedar Absorbs Moisture
Shoe trees help shoes keep their shape and prevent them from becoming misshapen or wrinkled when not in use. Many of them are made of cedar, which further works to keep shoes in good shape by absorbing excess moisture, which can cause mildew as well as unpleasant odors in the shoes. Cedar also provides a fresh, crisp aroma.
Other materials of construction may be beech wood and polyurethane plastic. Plastic shoe trees or stretchers may be more durable than their wooden counterparts, but won’t provide the fresh scent that cedar can, nor can it promise to remove extra moisture in the shoe.
Some shoe trees are made to simply maintain shoe shape while others are designed to stretch shoes, if necessary, to better fit an individual’s unique foot shape. This includes specific widths, lengths and painful areas due to blisters, bunions, corns, calluses or other concerns. Adjusting to bunions and the like is done through pressure relief pods, which are inserted into pre-drilled holes in the sides of the shoe trees.
Keeping your shoes looking nice is a way to protect your investment in quality footwear. Use one of these top-rated shoe trees to preserve your shoes’ best qualities.
10 Best Shoe Trees
1. Stratton Cedar
The high-quality cedar wood used in these shoe trees naturally eliminates moisture in the shoe to prevent bad odors or rot from forming. It also provides a pleasant cedar scent.
A center coil spring gives just enough tension to keep the shoe in it's original shape and prevent wrinkles from forming on the exterior. The light spring-loaded technology won't cause over-stretching.
Cost and Value
This shoe tree is made with premium Red Cedar wood and a high-quality low-tension spring. Both elements keep the shoe in good shape without letting odors or wrinkles from forming.
- Dries and deodorizes shoes.
- Made with Red Cedar grown in the U.S.
- Fits true to size.
- Quality construction lasts for years.
- Coil spring centerpiece offers gentle tension.
- May be too narrow for some shoes.
- Spring doesn’t adjust to size.
2. The Original Shoe Tree Company Fresh Cedar
Quality cedar construction is the key to this shoe tree. The ventilation slots assist in keeping the shoes dry and odor-free, while the cedar wood gives a nice, crisp smell.
Comes with shoe bags
These shoe trees come with shoe bags to further protect your shoes. The bag has a divider and drawstring closure and is ideal for protecting shoes while traveling or storing them.
Cost and Value
This pair of shoe trees keeps your shoes dry, odor-free and prevents wrinkles. The shoe bags further serve to protect the shoe, especially while traveling. The quality construction makes these long-lasting.
- Cedar wood keeps shoes dry and smelling nice.
- Center spring provides light tension to fill the shoes.
- Drawstring bags offer a way to keep shoes protected while traveling.
- Comes with two sets of shoe trees.
- Ventilation slots further assist moisture and odor control.
- The front of the shoe tree doesn’t adjust for the width of the toe.
- Somewhat short and may not fill the shoes fully.
3. Cherainti Shoe Stretcher
The polyurethane plastic and steel construction is long-lasting and won't break down over time. This also eliminates the possibility of splinters or cracks forming on the shoe trees.
Plugs to ease pain and increase shoe height
This shoe stretcher comes with eight bunion hole plugs and two height stretch pads. These help users to shape their shoes to meet their feet's needs and can help reduce pain.
Cost and Value
This shoe stretcher comes with plugs to ease pain and to increase the shoe height. It also stretches in multiple ways to shape the shoe to the user's unique foot.
- Easy-to-use adjusting handle and knob.
- Stretches width, length and height of the shoe.
- Long-lasting materials of construction.
- Comes with a shoe bag and bonus boot stretcher.
- Bunion plugs help ease foot pain.
- Plastic doesn’t have the same drying or odor-eliminating qualities that cedar does.
- The stretchers come with no instructions for use.
The plastic handle is easy to hold onto and maneuver, making this shoe stretcher a cinch to operate. Users can turn the handle to lengthen the shoe tree until they've reached the perfect fit.
This shoe tree can adjust both length-wise and width-wise, making this a versatile tool no matter how users need to adjust their shoes. The same handle controls both the width- and length-stretching features.
Cost and Value
This shoe tree is designed for the user's comfort. Two-way stretching means tight toes, heels or length can all be remedied. Additionally, the plastic handle makes the tree easy to operate.
- Easy-grip plastic handle makes this shoe tree simple to use.
- Stretches width-wise as well as length-wise.
- Four pressure relief pods ease pain associated with bunions, corns or blisters.
- Made with good-quality wood.
- May not be as long-lasting as cedar or plastic shoe stretchers.
- Won’t work well on open-backed shoes.
5. Woodlore Adjustable
This shoe tree is made with cedar wood, and at least three-quarters of it is composed of heartwood, which is where the aromatic qualities naturally reside. This will keep shoes smelling fresh.
The split-toe design is built to accommodate shoes of many different toe widths. The spreader plate further assists in fitting the shoe tree to any shoe the user might own.
Cost and Value
The cedar this shoe tree is constructed of is naturally moisture-wicking, which will keep the shoe dry and free of nasty odors. It also can be adjusted to meet a range of toe widths.
- Adjustable split-toe design can fit many different shoe widths.
- Cedar heartwood keeps shoes smelling fresh.
- Steel center lends to a durable construction.
- Nylon straps makes taking the trees out of the shoes easier.
- Can also be adjusted length-wise.
- May require sanding to prevent splinters and keep wood fresh.
- A narrow back could leave imprints on the backs of the shoes.
6. Strauss Heritage Red Cedar
This shoe stretcher is built with a double-tube spring loaded construction, which allows the user to extend the tree length-wise as well as width-wise. The tubes are made of durable brass.
Bonus shoe horn
These shoe trees come paired with a shoe horn which further acts to keep your shoes in good shape by helping users slip their feet into shoes without damaging the backs.
Cost and Value
These trees are conveniently built to extend in width as well as length and are made with quality deodorizing cedar wood. They also come with a free wooden shoe horn.
- Made with quality cedar wood.
- Adjustable width-wise and length-wise.
- Constructed with durable double brass tubes.
- Comes with a complimentary wooden shoe horn.
- Gentle tension prevents wrinkles from forming on shoes.
- Tend to be shorter in length compared to other shoe trees of the same size.
- The adjustable spring may be slightly tight.
7. Allen Edmonds Combination
The adjustable split-toe design allows users to manipulate the width of the front of the shoe tree to fit the toes of their shoes. This helps keep shoes of varying widths stay looking fresh.
Constructed of cedar wood
Both pieces of this shoe tree are made of cedar, which naturally works to reduce moisture and odors. The quality cedar wood also offers a fresh scent to shoes.
Cost and Value
These high-quality shoe trees are constructed with fresh-smelling cedar wood and an adjustable center rod to allow users to fit the tree to their shoes. A split-toe design fits multiple widths.
- Made with aromatic cedar wood.
- Split-toe design for custom widths.
- Helps to dry shoes to prevent odor.
- Wider heel than some shoe trees, which may fit shoes better.
- Wood can become brittle and/or splinter.
- Adjustable toe can become stiff or hard to separate.
8. MARZ 2-Way Plastic Shoe
This shoe stretcher is made with polyurethane plastic for a durable construction that doesn't risk splinters or chipping. The steel handle is easy to use, strong and long-lasting.
Four pressure relief pods included
Four pressure relief pods can be inserted into holes to create space for bunions, corns, blisters, calluses and more. These help to relief localized foot pain due to these ailments.
Cost and Value
This shoe stretcher helps adjust shoes of many shapes, sizes and styles, from athletic to heels to backless. Steel handle rotates to adjust both length and width, and relief pods help reduce pain.
- Stretcher can fit shoes of multiple styles.
- Pressure relief pods help ease pain due to bunions, corns and other foot problems.
- Durable polyurethane and steel construction.
- Easy to hold and use handle.
- Can be adjusted for width and length.
- Comes as a single item, not a pair.
- Doesn’t fit shoes larger than a women’s size 10.
9. Rochester Cedar Western
Hinged construction and a vamp that's higher than most trees make these ideal for boots. They are easy to insert into taller boots and a leather loop makes them easy to take out.
Made with cedar wood
Cedar construction takes in extra moisture built up in the boot to prevent unpleasant odors from forming. The wood also provides a favorable scent to the boots.
Cost and Value
These boot trees are built with cedar wood to take out excess moisture, remove bad smells and add a fresh aroma, plus are designed to maintain the original shape of the boot.
- Cedar wood smells nice and eliminates moisture and odor.
- Hinged construction makes it easy to insert into boots.
- High vamp helps maintain boot shape.
- Leather loop aids with simple removal.
- They’re not built to stretch boots but to just maintain shape.
- They may be too slim for wider sizes.
Pressure relief pods can help stretch shoes according to unique foot needs, such as bunions, corns, blisters and more. This stretcher has many holes to make stretching even more customizable.
Easily adjustable handle
Easy to use adjuster lets users turn the handle to adjust the length or width of the shoe stretcher. This makes it ideal for shoes of varying widths, lengths and styles.
Cost and Value
These beech wood shoe stretchers are easy to use and come with three pressure relief pods which can be inserted into user's choice of multiple different holes for customized relief.
- Adjusting handle is easy to hold and use.
- Can be fitted to shoes of varying widths and lengths.
- Pressure relief pods ease pain in various parts of the foot.
- Multiple holes for pressure relief pods makes it easy to customize stretcher.
- Metal parts made of stainless steel for long-lasting durability.
- Only comes as a single product rather than a pair.
- Back may be too large to fit into slender shoes.
Keeping your shoes looking fresh helps them last longer, thus serving to protect your investment in quality footwear. One important aspect of preserving your shoes’ top qualities is maintaining their shape and style with shoe trees.
The right design of construction can also work to relieve pain by stretching shoes to fit the user’s unique foot shape and requirements. Split-toe designs can typically adjust width-wise to suit feet and toes of multiple widths. This can help people with wide feet achieve a more comfortable fit. Additionally, shoe stretchers that come with holes in the sides to accommodate pressure relief pods can further increase comfort. Simply secure the pods into the holes that most closely correspond to pain due to bunions, corns, blisters or other specific and localized sources of discomfort. Then, insert the stretcher into the foot to work their magic.
Keeping your shoes in their best condition as well as ensuring they’re adjusted to your unique foot begins with the right style of shoe tree or stretcher. Use this list to identify which will meet your needs best.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoe Trees
When choosing the right shoe tree for your shoes’ needs, it’s important to carefully think about materials of construction. Different materials are better suited to different needs.
Cedar shoe trees are best for people who are looking to keep their shoe shape maintained and to eliminate odors. Cedar wood naturally absorbs moisture, which is the main cause behind bad smells in the shoe. Perspiration and dampness due to other factors is taking in by the cedar wood and evaporates. The cedar wood also lends a pleasant, crisp scent. With a high-quality cedar construction, the shoe is filled fully while not in use, which helps to maintain the original shape and prevent wrinkles, creases or folding.
Plastic shoe trees often are made to stretch shoes to accommodate various foot needs. They can often stretch the width of the shoe, particularly in the toe area, as well as the length and sometimes the height. Plastic, typically polyurethane, is long-lasting and doesn’t come with a risk of splinters or warping.
Shoes that are built to adjust to length or width are often constructed with a steel or brass rod which can lengthen or shorten according to size. It’s important that this is also made with quality metal. Poorly constructed rods can prevent the adjustability of the shoe tree, defeating the purpose altogether.
Everyone’s feet are different. Beyond countless foot sizes and shapes, different people also have varying needs in terms of relief from specific types and causes of pain. Shoe trees need to be able to fit different shoe styles that are worn by people who have unique needs in terms of foot care. To that end, shoe trees that are adjustable may be the most versatile.
Adjustability can be found in many different ways. Some shoe trees only adjust according to length, and for people who have few needs in terms of stretching or manipulating shoes to relieve pain, this may be enough for their purposes.
Other shoes can be adjusted to width as well. This is often associated with a split-toe design, as a full-toe design can’t be widened or slimmed down because the toe piece is a solitary, solid block. However, not all split-toe designs are easily adjustable. As such, it’s important to determine ahead of purchasing if the shoe tree can easily be widened to meet the needs of wider shoes.
One more important part of adjustability is the ability to stretch shoes to accommodate bunions, corns or other specific forms of foot pain. This is done through the use of insertable and removable pressure relief pods. These can be used by fitting them into pre-drilled holes in the side of the toe block. Some shoe trees only come with a handful of holes into which pods can be fitted, while others have more than a dozen. However, a shoe tree or shoe stretcher that doesn’t come with pods (or even holes) won’t be able to easily provide this relief.
Ease of use
Adjustable shoe trees are typically adapted to different sizes and foot requirements by way of a handle on the back that is turned. The handle may be turned one way to adjust for length and another way for width, or a combination of a handle and a knob might manipulate different dimensions of stretch.
Regardless of the method of stretching, it’s important that the adjustability function is easy to understand. Some shoe trees are difficult to figure out and the package lacks instructions. Users may be able to find instructions online or spend time getting to know the instrument to figure out how the functions work, but in these cases, it does present an obstacle that customers have to overcome.
In addition to ease of use and understandability, it’s important that the adjustable features work effectively. Poorly chosen materials of construction, like a weak metal for the center rod that dents, can prevent users from adjusting the shoe trees to their needs. If the rods become dented or the blocks begin to chip or splinter, it can be more difficult to adjust.
Further, when pressure relief pods are an important aspect of the shoe tree or shoe stretcher, it’s important that the holes are designed to hold the pods. If the pods fall out due to the holes being too large, or are difficult to insert because the holes are too small, the pressure relieving parts are difficult or impossible to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do I need shoe trees?
A: Shoe trees help to maintain the shape of your shoes. Without them, shoes might sag, fold or collapse, which can cause wrinkles, creases and unsightly seams.
Shoe trees that are built to stretch shoes have another important function: Helping to adjust shoes to match their owners’ unique foot needs. They may stretch them longer, wider or higher, depending on the type of shoe tree or shoe stretcher selected. They can also stretch according to painful foot maladies, like bunions, corns or blisters.
For people who tend to have smelly feet and shoes, shoe trees constructed with cedar can also work to keep shoes smelling nicely. These trees do this through cedar wood’s natural absorbent qualities that take in excess moisture, an action that helps to prevent odors, as well as offering a nice cedar smell.
Q: What should I look for in a shoe tree?
A: This all depends on what you need the shoe tree for. If you need a shoe tree to maintain the shoe shape, you should look for one that has quality construction. You may not have to worry about adjustability if you’re only looking to maintain a shoe shape. For this, you will need to seek out a shoe tree that fits your shoes perfectly. Often, a spring-loaded coil spring in the center of the shoe allows the shoe tree to lightly stretch the shoe, but not stretch them out in a way that changes the shape or size. However, the gentle tension helps to fill the shoes and keep their shape.
If you’re looking for a shoe tree that can widen or length a shoe, or to provide relief in select areas where bunions, corns or other issues are causing pain, you should look for a shoe tree that has excellent adjusting features. Some can be widened to help a person who has wider feet fit into his or her shoes. Pressure relief pods are good for mitigating localized pain.
Q: Cedar, plastic or beech: Which is best?
A: If you’re looking for a shoe tree that keeps your shoes smelling fresh, cedar is the way to go. Aromatic cedar smells nice and this type of wood is naturally absorbent. This serves to soak up some moisture that may be in the shoe due to sweat or slight dampness, but likely won’t be enough to dry out completely soaked shoes. Because the cedar absorbs some moisture, shoe trees made of this wood are also excellent at preventing odors from forming.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting, low-maintenance shoe tree that has multiple types of adjustability, plastic may be a better option. These shoe trees won’t splinter or need to be sanded down.
Beech wood can make for a quality shoe tree, but might still pose a risk of splinters and won’t provide the pleasant aroma that cedar will.