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. This is where shoe trees come into play.
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.
Sometimes finding the right shoe tree for your needs can be difficult, with how many products are on the market. To save you some time and headaches, we’ve created this list of the top ten shoe trees currently on the market. We’ve also gone into detail on what to consider when purchasing shoe trees, and an FAQ section for additional info you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the right product for you.
- Stratton Cedar
- Premium Red Aromatic Cedar
- Coil Spring Centerpiece
- Woodlore Adjustable
- Cedar Absorbs Moisture
- Easy To Use
- FootFitter Premium
- Included Pressure Relief Pods
- Easy To Adjust
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
Fits True To Size
Coil Spring Centerpiece
Too Narrow For Some Shoes
Spring Is Not Adjustable
2. 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.
- Simple Use
- Great Odor Control
- Quite Durable
- Easy To Care For
- Not Sold In Sets
3. FootFitter Premium
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, and locks in your specific fit requirements, tailored to your needs.
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. Ideal for those with sensitive feet, bunions, or other foot issues. A great addition to any closet!
Included Pressure Relief Pods
Rod Can Strip If You Use Too Much Force
4. 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
Dries And Deodorizes Shoes
Wood May Splinter
Difficult To Adjust
5. Original Shoe Tree Comp 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.
Made Of Cedar Wood
Center Spring For Light Tension
Included Drawstring Bags
Comes With Two Sets
Short Overall Length
6. Houndsbay Cedar
Designed from Red Cedar tree to help keep moisture at bay, and a pleasant smell in the closet, and your shoes, the Houndsbay Cedar is a sure buy. You can place these in the closet without fear of unpleasant odors clinging to your clothing, and you’ll have dry shoes to step back into the next day. Bonus to Houndsbay on their Eco-Friendly policy as well; they will plant a tree in the US, on your behalf with every purchase.
The left and right pieces are inscripted with just those terms, ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, to help keep the fit you adjusted for the right foot, making them easy to use, and reuse. A spring loaded center helps to keep the right width of the shoe, while the wide heel in back comes with a comfort hook to help you remove the shoe tree with ease.
Cost and Value
Slightly more affordable than some found on our list, it’s a bang for your buck. You get cedar quality, ease of use, and quality fit with the Houndsbay Cedar. Plus, with an Eco-Friendly policy which will plant a tree on your behalf with every purchase, this one helps you save the planet in style.
Left And Right Labelled
Weaker Spring Load
Trouble Pushing Out Creases
7. 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.
Versatile, Fits Multiple Kinds Of Shoes
Included Pressure Relief Pots
Easy To Use
Does Not Come In Sets
May Not Fit Larger Sizes
8. 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. Perfect for those with foot conditions, and for those on a budget.
Easy To Adjust
3-Way Stretch: Length, Width, And Height
Included Shoe Bag
No Odor Mitigation
Instructions Not Included
9. Ollieroo Adjustable Cedar
A zinc alloy helps maintain the integrity of the shoe tree while spring-loaded adjustments allow you to widen and lengthen the shoe to suit your needs. Steel tubes which are brass plated provide structural stability, making sure tight shoes become looser when you need them to. And with an easy handle to help pull them out, they are simple to use!
Cedar is known for its moisture-wicking capability in shoe trees, but the Ollieroo Adjustable also comes with three ventilation found in each toe. These add additional functionality to help keep the inside of your shoes clean and dry and prevent any sort of bacterial growth from damp insoles or linings.
Cost and Value
Averagely priced when compared to many of those found on our list, is another solid purchase, especially for those whose feet may perspire more than others. With its ventilation and cedar design, these will keep your treasured pair of shoes dry for their next full day of wear.
- Added Ventilation
- Brass Plated
- Size Down For Wide Widths
- Length Varies To Shoe Size
10. 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.
Eliminates Moisture And Odor
High Vamp Maintains Proper Shape
Leather Loop For Easy Removal
Not Made To Stretch
Not Ideal For Wider Sizes
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 for Evaluating 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. Cedarwood naturally absorbs moisture, which is the main cause behind bad smells in the shoe. Perspiration and dampness due to other factors are taken 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.
Shoe trees 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 of 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 them.
Other shoe trees are able to adjust 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 the 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 nice. 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 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. Beechwood can also make for a quality shoe tree, but might still pose a risk of splinters and won’t provide the pleasant aroma that cedar will.
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. Plastic shoe trees are also very lightweight in comparison to wood, making them good for traveling with.
Some shoe trees are specifically designed for traveling. Most of them are made of plastic, and will often weigh significantly less than standard shoe trees, sometimes by as much as 80%. While not as strong as regular shoe trees, ones made for travel are great for maintaining the proper shape of your shoes when you’re away for a while.
Q: How do I properly clean and care for my shoe trees?
A: Proper cleaning and maintenance are very important if you want to keep your shoe trees in good condition for a long time. Different materials will require different care to keep them in top form.
Wooden shoe trees may need to be sanded after a while to keep the surface smooth and to reduce the likelihood of them splintering. For most wooden trees this only needs to be done once a year. It’s best to use fine sandpaper for this, preferably 200 grit or higher. Plastic shoe trees are typically low-maintenance; they don’t require regular sanding, and you can keep them clean by simply using a damp cloth.
In the event your shoes get wet, either put them on their side or stuff them with newspaper until fully dry. Under no circumstances should you put in the shoe trees before they are dry; this can cause problems with accurate fit, and can damage wooden shoe trees depending on how much moisture is still in the shoe.