Will plastic shoe trees hurt my dress shoes?

Lately you’ve become aware that it’s a wise idea to purchase shoe trees for your leather shoes.

Great! It is true that they are extremely helpful in extending the life of your very expensive shoes, so your shoes will thank you!

But this is an added expense that you would have completely (and immediately) disregarded in recent weeks or months past, so you’re looking toward the cheaper options available.

But just as you didn’t buy the cheap-o dress shoes from Payless Shoes, presumably because you understand the importance of quality materials, solid construction, and all-around good taste, you are keenly aware that perhaps the cheaper option is the cheaper option for a good reason.

Are plastic shoe trees ever a good option?

There are a number of reasons you should not use plastic shoe trees, but the most important to think about is that plastic will not wick moisture from the leather; in fact it does not breathe in any way.

Because plastic is not breathable, and shoe leather absolutely must breathe, it is easy to see that plastic shoe trees are not the healthiest thing for your good leather shoes.

With that said, however, one reason you might want to use plastic shoe trees, is for travel.

They are lightweight and serve the purpose of stopping your shoes being squished in your suitcase.

Your shoes, just like you, are only trying to get through this business trip with as few wrinkles as possible.

The best designed shoe trees are wood.

The best designed shoe trees are wood. Click To Tweet

They have the best shape, are made of a material that “interacts” with the leather much more readily than plastic ever would, and if that wood happens to be cedar, like all our shoe trees are, you can expect a lovely scent to permeate your shoes and indeed your whole closet.

Give it to me straight though…are plastic shoe trees really that bad?

Well… they aren’t good.

But they do have their moments, like travel.

That’s a time when plastic might make sense. Plastic might also be an option if you are a big believer in all shoes having their own shoe trees, but all your shoes are not leather… or aren’t worn much.

As a general rule, any shoe tree is better than no shoe tree.

And if you have a closet full of shoes, but you don’t wear them all that often, it might be more acceptable for price reasons and practical reasons to go with plastic for some of your shoes.

But make no mistake: no matter how you slice it, if you have a pair of $600 Ferragamo Oxfords, plastic shoes trees are 100% not OK.

It cannot be stated enough: plastic is not breathable.

It closes the pores in the leather, which is very bad in the long term.

If you spent that much on your shoes, don’t be a cheapskate… pay the extra and get the right shoe trees: the ones they made for your shoes.

At The Original Shoe Tree Company we do understand that added expense, and it can have a real impact. On a pair of Ferragamos, the shoe trees will easily be close to another $100 because they are basically a “cobbler’s last”, or the final mold of the shoe. They are bespoke, and the price tag reflects that.

But plastic, as we’ve just discussed, is awful. Where the Ferragamo shoe trees might be too much in one direction, plastic shoe trees are definitely too much in the other direction. The wrong direction.

Of course these are two ends of a wide spectrum, and there are products available at all price points throughout. But we went to great lengths to make The Original Shoe Tree Company’s product something truly special.

At a much more accessible price of around $20 per pair, we’ve created a laser engraved, cedar wood, full toe and full heel shoe tree, which is suitable for a wide variety of footwear from your Sunday best to workplace business casual.

With a quality shoe tree at a price like that, let’s never speak of plastic again.

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