A wood shoe tree is a device that is designed to prolong the shape of a shoe while also preserving creases and generally extending the life of the shoe. It also keeps unwanted odors out of the inner part of the shoe. It consists of a wooden block that is in the shape of a foot to allow it to fit inside the shoe when it is not being worn. Shoe trees are usually used for more expensive shoes.
Shoe trees vary greatly in type and price range. The more expensive the shoe, generally the more expensive the tree shoe should be. Wooden shoe trees will not lose their shape over time, which may happen if the shoe is made from a less durable material.
Look for a shoe tree that fills up the entire shoe. However, the fit should not be so tight that it puts too much pressure on the toe or pushes back the heel counter. A tight-fitting shoe tree will also be a pain to get in and out, which may, in itself, cause damage to the shoe!
A quality shoe tree will be visible by its proper instep fitting, heel cup shape, and sloped vamp.
Types of Wooden Shoe Trees
Spring / Spiral: Spring / spiral shoe trees have a narrow heel piece that is connected to the toe piece by way of a spring. This type of shoe tree tends to be too narrow in the heel and to push forward into the toe.
Full Toe: A full toe shoe features a solid wooden toe piece and a separate full-size heel that connects to the toe piece by way of a hinge mechanism.
Split Toe: A split toe tree provides a two-piece toe that is able to expand sideways in order to push the leather outwards. The heel may be full or narrow.
Combination: A combination shoe tree extends both forward and outward. It provides more versatility but does not provide as good a fit as other types.
Lasted: A lasted shoe tree is designed to fit a specific type of shoe and so provides the best fit. These are the most expensive type of wooden shoe tree.
You will find every type of wood shoe tree on eBay.