23 January 2012

Worth Every Penny : Cedar Shoe Trees

The funny thing about thrift shopping is that one often spends many times as much money on the maintenance of an item than the item itself. Given that things are not a clean slate when they are first acquired, it takes close attention to detail and knowledge of proper care to do this well. A suit may be had for $15, then require up to an additional $100 in alterations and dry cleaning. In the long run, still a bargain, and a ripping one at that, but taking the long view is imperative. Shoes tend to need even more attention. They need to be cleaned, and polished regularly. For real long view maintenance, cedar shoe trees are worth every penny.
photo: the internet
Many of my own shoe trees were also purchased at thrift shops, but they are worth buying new. They can be madly expensive, but they don't have to be. Best price I found online was $15.99 at Sierra Trading Post, plus $5.95 shipping. Not bad. But I recently discovered some fine ones not unlike those pictured above at Target for $9.99. At that price, I'd have bought a half dozen pair, but they only had one left. Best keep my eyes peeled next time I'm forced into such a place. Woodlore has a lot to choose from, in a variety of types, starting at $19.95. I might try them next.
Besides helping shoes keep their shape, the cedar helps keep them fresh by absorbing odors. Don't bother with the plastic kind. If you're going to wear good shoes, then they should be worth caring for. Trees in every pair and regular polish are a law writ in stone. As with all things here, penury is not an excuse. Just because I may have bought most of these shoes for $20 or less is no reason not to invest in their care. If anything, the opposite is true, and extra steps should be taken. After all, it's not so easy to replace a lucky find if it gets broken, is it?

Cedar shoe tress are worth every penny.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nordstrom Rack is awesome for this too; Woodlore shoe trees for like $12.

Johnny said...

I buy mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond. If you get on their mailing list, they'll frequently send you snail mail coupons, which will bring the cost per pair of trees down to about $8.00.

bostonhud said...

Nordstrom's Off The Rack has great shoe tress for $12, and they come in a variety of sizes.
I highly recommend.

CD said...

Could you comment on wearing secondhand shoes?
In the past I had bought a few secondhand shoes- Alden penny loafers and Allen Edmonds loafers and wing-tips- and had gotten sore feet pretty quickly after wearing shoes that had someone elses imprints in them already. These shoes simply could never adjust to my feet, regardless of how often I wore them. I bought a pair of new Allen Edmonds Waldens this summer and they are the most comfortable shoes ever- because they have molded to my feet.
In all, I have given up on the secondhand route for shoes as this has only brought me achy feet. (Even when using Dr.Scholls insoles, secondhand shoes never felt comfortable.
What is your experience with the fit and comfort of your thrift-shoes?

JimW said...

My children enjoy waggling my shoe trees at one another as 'zombie Pinocchio-feet'. Go figure. Still, I get a kick out of it....

Farmer Jones said...

When Jos A. Bank has their Buy One Get Two Free sale I stock up on their shoe trees. They end up being 6 bucks or so

gentleman mac said...

@CD, I would seriously consider the having those thrifted Aldens and AEs factory refurbished which will then allow you to mold the shoe to your foot. It's worth the 100 or so bucks.

Anonymous said...

Another one for nordstrom rack. They always have plenty in each size and they are fairly cheap. Tough to beat that price for Woodlore

BetaGoat said...

Besides Nordstrom Rack - which has already been mentioned, Allen Edmonds has shoe trees for $24.95 with free shipping.

The only problem I've found with Nordstrom Rack is that they don't stock the shoe trees all the time. It's a hit or miss if you'll find them.

Andy

Anonymous said...

I just bought my first pair of dress shoes in years and was just wondering about shoe trees. Thank you! While on the topic of shoe care, what are your thoughts on rubber overshoes for wet/snowy weather?

Anonymous said...

I've always understood that the use of shoe trees is most critical in the first two hours after taking the shoes off, so as to adsorb the day's moisture and set the shape until you wear them again next.

That said, shoe trees in every pair is simply a waste of money. Unless you live in humid climes such as New Orleans, your shoes are unlikely to be absorbing more moisture in your closet (even there, the need for constant "treeing" is doubtful). Once they've dried around the tree, the shape is set, you needn't worry about them losing their shape on your rack.

Get yourself one good cedar set and put them in at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised, frankly, that G. hasn't learned the Joseph A. Bank trick, which is to say, JAB regularly has sales along the lines of buy one, get two free, on anything in the store. When that happens, I stock up on shoe trees (also hangers). The trees are Woodlores, with JAB labels stuck on, I'm pretty sure, and available for south of ten bucks when the sales hit. Best deal ever was $7.77 a pair, delivered, from STP a few years ago, also Woodlores.

I have never been able to find trees at thrift stores.

Finally, to the gent whose feet can't tolerate used shoes, that's too bad. I have worn used shoes my entire life, virtually all from thrift stores, to no ill effect. There is a school of thought that used shoes are so dangerous as to pose risk of amputation, but that's plain silly, so far as I am concerned. But I can only speak for myself.

CD said...

I've given up on the used-shoe route for that exact reason- it just doesn't work for me. Seeing the correlation between ill-fitting shoes and back pain, I feel buying shoes new is a cautionary method of cultivating a wardrobe that, after having bought many secondhand shoes, proves the only thoughtful way of going forward without worry or ache. I buy a pair of cedar shoe trees with each pair of shoes I acquire, and leave them in the entire time they are not worn.

Metcarfre said...

I just bought my first "proper" shoes - Allen Edmonds Park Avenues in brown - off eBay. Cedar shoe trees were purchased immediately after I received them in the mail.

If nothing else, they lend a much more palatable scent to the shoes than leaving them un-treed!

Eric g said...

I have only been a fan of the site for two or three weeks but I have added many things to my wardrobe because of it. My problem is I live in a medium size Midwest town and the high quality pickings are slim.

I recently acquired a pair or reddish brown Dexter brand shoes. Quite stylish perforated design. My question is, is this a quality brand? I love them and only paid $4 for them, so frankly it doesn't matter, but I would like to know.

Because of this article I picked up two shoe trees at my local thrift shop for $1.50.

Achille Scache said...

I buy these at jos a bank, which I know is probably a verboten name on this site, but 3 pairs for $25 for cedar shoe trees is ridiculous. I bought nine sets one time.