Sneaker Care Essentials: Why You Need Shoe Trees?

Tuesday Bote - April 7, 2021

Wooden Shoe Trees for Shoe Care

If you’re the kind of guy who thinks nothing of spending a lot of money on premium sneakers, you should also be the kind of guy who’s concerned about keeping them fresh and maintaining them in excellent condition. This means investing in shoe care products - dedicated sneaker cleaner, sneaker brushes, leather conditioner, shoe trees. 


Wait, shoe trees? Shoe trees may seem like a capricious thing that you can probably live without, but if you think nothing about spending a few hundred bucks on a pair of premium sneakers, it would be best for you to realize that shoe trees have more benefits than you can imagine. 


What are shoe trees? 


Shoe trees are wooden inserts shaped like a foot, at least the front part of the foot, to maintain the shoe’s form. Some bespoke shoe trees are specially made as a whole foot, while generic shoe trees have only the shoe’s front split in a typical foot shape. The mold is often made of wood or plastic; the shoe trees made of plastic are cheaper but don’t fulfill all the functions that a good shoe tree should. 

Choosing a shoe tree is somewhat challenging because it’s highly possible that the generic brand shoe tree that you bought might not fit the shoes you bought them for. Different kinds of shoes have different shapes, and no one shoe tree can fit all the shoes. Finding a good fit is made easier by brands that provide shoe trees for their own line of shoes, often in the exact shape needed for the shoe. So, you should check with your shoe brand if they carry shoe trees in their product catalog. 


In this light, Oliver Cabell’s shoe trees are shaped specifically for Oliver Cabell’s shoes and sneakers. They are made of cedar wood with ridges on the top to facilitate ventilation and have a metal spring coil that stretches to the heel inside your shoe. The metal spring coil adapts to the length of your shoe. 


These wooden shoe trees are excellent for Oliver Cabell’s sneakers and drivers. A typical Oliver Cabell sneaker is made of 3oz full-grain calfskin leather on top of Margom Italian rubber outsoles. The lining and footbed are also made of Italian calfskin leather. While easier to clean and maintain than other materials, such as canvas and suede, these premium materials are still quite susceptible to moisture and should be treated with care.


Benefits of shoe trees


There will be those who feel that sneakers are sturdy enough to keep their shape by themselves, but leather sneakers would benefit from shoe trees, as well. First of all, they’re made of leather, and any leather shoes will need the TLC that shoe trees can provide. Secondly, your feet will sweat in your sneakers. Even if you wear socks, your sneakers are going to absorb some amount of moisture. Damp leather can get creased and misshapen and generally deteriorate faster than if you carefully aerate them.

Oliver Cabell’s Popular Low 1 White Leather Sneakers


Rather than stuffing your sneakers with newspaper, which does not necessarily draw the air out or keep their shape, using wooden shoe trees is a better option. Here are the main benefits of using shoe trees for your sneakers.

Maintains the shape of your shoe. Wooden shoe trees are shaped like your foot so that your sneakers will dry out according to that shape - not smashed or withered without such support. When they’re kept in their ideal form like this, any deterioration of the leather is minimal, and you successfully lengthen their lifespan. The lining is less likely to rot if adequately ventilated.


Eliminates and prevents odors. We can’t stress enough that your shoe trees must be made of wood because wooden shoe trees are the best at absorbing bacteria and fungi and fighting unwanted smells. They’re not just the best at it, they’re the only ones that work. Plastic shoe trees can keep the shape of your shoes but don’t absorb moisture or affect odors. The same goes for varnished or polished wooden shoe trees because the varnish prevents the wood from doing its work. 

Low 1 Oliver Cabell Leather Sneaker Collection


Cedar is often used for shoe trees because it is excellent at absorbing moisture and has a wonderfully refreshing smell. 


Holds your shoes in place while you clean, paint or restore them. Do you know how it’s awkward to clean your sneakers with only one hand while the other is busy holding it in place? Shoe trees can do the positioning for you, and you’re freer to move the shoe around and clean as you will. Whether you’re brushing them with sneaker cleaner or applying leather conditioner, or just giving them a dry brush to refresh the leather, you’ll find it much easier to maneuver the sneakers when they’ve got the shoe trees in them.


They can also hold up your shoe when you decide it’s time to restore them - gluing the sole back on, for example - or painting them. Using shoe trees makes it extremely convenient to paint them and get the designs exactly as you envisioned.

How to use your shoe trees


Shoe trees should ideally be used as soon as you take your sneakers off your feet, or at most, perhaps around two hours after. To use Oliver Cabell’s wooden shoe trees, you should do the following:


  1. Slip the wooden shoe tree into the shoe. Take care that you don’t snag the lining or your shoelaces along the way and that the shape of your shoe is ideal.
  2. Place the wooden knob at the end of the metal spring coil at the heel of the shoe.
  3. Adjust the metal coil so that it’s stretched out enough within the shoe and not straining against your shoe. 


Ideally, you should leave your sneakers to dry in your shoe trees for 24 hours before wearing them again. If you lead an active lifestyle and find yourself going out each day, you should have more than two pairs of sneakers to use in rotation. Wearing your sneakers out every single day without rest is the best way to wear them out.

Distressed Shoe Cleaning Kit that includes shoe trees


Bundles that include shoe trees


Oliver Cabell’s Shoe Care line is dedicated to providing products that nurture and protect the shoes that they craft. You can purchase the wooden shoe trees by pair and in a pack of three at a more affordable price. 


The wooden shoe trees are also bundled with other products, such as in the Distressed Kit, a bundle for Oliver Cabell’s Distressed Sneakers series, which includes Oliver Cabell’s premium shoe cleaner, premium sneaker brush, and a pack of 24 Quick Wipes with a pair of shoe trees. You can also get three pairs of wooden shoe trees with the Ultimate Cleaning Kit, including two bottles of premium shoe cleaner, the sneaker brush, and a tub of leather conditioner. 


Getting all these products and shoe trees for a pair of sneakers may sound slightly ridiculous at first, but do think again and remember how happy you were to get your leather sneakers and how wonderfully new they felt when you first wore them. Proper maintenance stretches out that feeling of newness for many years to come. So, go get your shoe trees now.




Where can I buy Oliver Cabell’s wooden shoe trees? 

We are a direct-to-consumer brand that allows you to purchase our products at factory prices, having no need to go through go-betweens or third-party resellers. All our products - shoes and shoe trees included - may be purchased online through their website. We offer free shipping within the US for orders above $100 and internationally for orders above $170?


Do shoe trees last forever? The cedar smell on my shoe trees seems to have worn off.

If your shoe trees have lost their cedar freshness and are starting to fail to absorb the smells from your sneakers, try to sand the wood down a little. Doing so should release the cedar from the mold and get back to full refresher condition in no time. 


Do I need to buy shoe trees for every pair of shoes that I own?

This is often a matter of preference. As mentioned, you should put shoe trees in your shoes as soon as you take them off your feet. Once the shoes have completely dried, you could remove them as you wish. If you have two pairs of leather shoes that you can rotate, you would only need one pair of shoe trees. For those who have more than two pairs of shoes and prefer to store them in their shoe trees, it would make sense to invest in shoe trees for every pair of shoes that you own. 


What if it took me longer than two hours to get the shoe trees into my sneakers after I had taken them off? 

Well, your sneakers won’t wither away if left without shoe trees after being worn. The two-hour rule is only a recommendation for the best maintenance of your sneakers. If you miss the two-hour mark, don’t stress out. Just put the shoe trees in at the next opportunity.