Monday, December 17, 2007

Little help!….Lidfort, Vass, Solid-Toe Shoe trees

Just about the only “must have” item for a true Sartorialist is a good set of shoes trees for ALL of their shoes.

Women, wondering what to get your guy for the holidays – shoe trees!!
It is the kind of thing that is not fun to buy for yourself but as a “Secret Santa” or “stocking stuffer” they are great

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good online source for quality shoe trees?

Maybe it is just me but I hate split toe shoes trees, they just look and feel cheap.

I have had the solid-toe (above) shoe tree for years and it really does the trick.

Would you rather have a closet full of wooden hangers or top quality wood shoe trees?

For me, the answer is shoe trees


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  1. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 9:51 am

    funny, i moved to NY a couple of months ago so i don’t know my way around yet that well. on my “to do” list for today it says “buy shoe trees” (didn’t even know that’s what you call them in english!). no idea where to find them please comment!

  2. Pär

    December 17, 2007 at 9:56 am -the best value shoe trees on the market…

  3. Marc from Singapore

    December 17, 2007 at 10:12 am

  4. cbuss

    December 17, 2007 at 10:32 am

    sierra trading post ( has some good deals on cedar shoe trees every once in a while. Don’t forget to look for their 20% off coupon codes online too.

  5. Trip

    December 17, 2007 at 10:57 am

    100% agree with you idea of shoe trees as Christmas gifts.

  6. Christopher

    December 17, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Barker Black has pretty good shoe trees. It is on Elizabeth st.

  7. Jingoist

    December 17, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Looks like Vass has a site- here’s the contact page…

  8. Laguna Beach Trad

    December 17, 2007 at 11:57 am

    I hope my girlfriend does not read this blog and is persuaded to buy me shoe trees! The only way I would be satisfied with such a gift is if the shoe trees were INSIDE a pair of Vass, EGs, or Lobbs.

    Scott, I agree, solid toe shoe trees are the way to go. I have my bespoke shoemaker make my shoe trees out of legally-acquired Port Orford Cedar that has been allowed to soak in Veuve Clicquot for six months. It is an unorthodox method, I know, but it results in a bouquet of outstanding quality.

  9. ildiko

    December 17, 2007 at 11:58 am

  10. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    this isn’t very helpful in your search, but I’ve missed posts like this. I love reading about all the details in menswear. Perhaps I’ll go buy some shoe trees too!

  11. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I vote for shoe trees over the wood hangers. For femmes – esp. boot trees – these extend life for year over year – nice crisp shape always. It’s a beautiful thing.

  12. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    You can get very decent shoe trees online on (which doesn’t really make sense when living in the states though), and of course in their beautiful shop you got to know during your time in Munich.

  13. Josh

    December 17, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Rochester Shoe Tree Company’s are great. Sart – i’m with you… there’s little sense in investing in a good pair of shoes if you don’t have shoe trees to go with them.

  14. Scottg

    December 17, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    VASS shoes are available through Sky Valet, 1800 Wisconsin Ave., NW Washington, DC 20007 202-337-4333website Small shoe store in Georgetown run by two brothers. Only source for Edward Green shoes in the DC area.

  15. David

    December 17, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I bought a handful of IKEA shoe trees. Inexpensive and plastic, as you might expect, but they seem to do the job. Must shoe trees be cedar or made of wood?

  16. Ultraviolet

    December 17, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    As P√§r as said, Bexley’s shoe trees are the best. You can find it there :

  17. Peggy

    December 17, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Barneys is difficult for me also. I love the cosmetic line “By Terry” which they carry exclusively in New York but I certainly would prefer going elsewhere. My husband’s shoe trees from Brooks Brothers are old but great and not the split style shown on the Brooks Brothers website.

  18. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 2:54 pm


    I thought we were going to start seeing regular self-portraits of you in your wardrobe?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the shoe pictures…

  19. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    You don’t really need more than one or two pair because you only need to use them after a shoe has been worn. They can be removed the next night and used for the pair of shoes you are wearing that day.

  20. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    vass are not the premier lige. look for lazlo vass. same family name, but better. the clunky are the traditional “budapester” so called in K&K monarchie in austria and hungaria.,1,0,0,0,0.html

  21. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    You have already been, where to find the best shoe trees. Remember the coloured brushes, Germany, Munich. At Eduard Meier they have several models of shoe trees in different width and without split toes. They have a good online shop, that I think will deliver worldwide, for special recuests you will sure be welcome to contact them, with the best regards…

  22. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    At Eduard Meier, Munich, you will find several shoe tree models in different width and without splittoes. You may contact them with your special request, I think their online shop ( will deliver worldwide…

  23. hockers

    December 17, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    it’s worth noting that shoe trees must not be varnished – if they are, the moisture will not be drawn from the leather after wear

  24. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    Last year, I went to a home goods store to buy all matching plastic hangers, and ended up buying almost 100 wooden hangers. It cost me a lot, but it was worth it because it makes my clothes look better, hang better and cleans up my ordinary closet so well.

  25. tintin

    December 17, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    In my humble opinion, you’re crazy to put any tree other than the makers in your shoes. They’re gonna fit better than anything else. In fact they’ll be close to the last of the shoe. And it looks better to have different trees with different branding. I want a pair of Cleverley bespokes for the trees alone. Lastly, Lobb and Cleverly are going between $3-4,000a pair. Not bad when you consider a bespoke suit off Savile Row is going for $7-10,000 (with the current exchange rate). You’ll never get too fat to wear your bespoke shoes and unless I’m way off here, you’ll never leave them somewhere like I do gloves and coats and scarfs and Hermes ties (okay, it was a strip joint and she took my tie). Shoes are a steal for what they are and how they’re made. Use the makers trees and they’ll last for Donkey years. And as everything gets more digital you’ll have a piece of art made from leather and wood. You’re children will fight over them at your funeral. That’s a comforting thought.

  26. tintin

    December 17, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Marinella Bexley? They’re 70 euros a pair. That’s a crime.

  27. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Cancel my previous post about Giorgio…he wrote & says he no longer carries them :(

  28. tintin

    December 17, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    The shipping on Bexleys will kill you so you need to order a lot to make it worthwhile. At least 5 pr. And if you’re gonna spend that much why not go to the maker and buy a pr of shoe trees from them. My Lobb shoe trees were a hundred bucks but man do they look good.

  29. Joel

    December 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm and then ask Matthew for the cedar shoe trees. They smell great and are top quality. Good luck!

  30. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    A tad bit out of topic, but why dont you post men pics as often as you used to?

  31. Andy, Drew & Andrew

    December 17, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    the best thing about those, other than their sole purpose, is the rich smell they leave.

  32. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Brooks Brothers has good cedar shoe trees (they are split-toed!)

  33. The Sartorialist

    December 17, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    good thought but you know that many good shoes do not come with shoes trees

  34. Steve

    December 17, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Google yields this:

    Wayne Edwards (1525 Locust St., 215.731.0120) in Philadelphia

    “Wayne Edwards is also one of only two stores in the nation to carry handmade shoes from Gravati, Pirelli and Lidfort.”

    I have no idea if this is true – I’m just passing it along -

  35. Barbara

    December 17, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    My boyfriend needs some shoes like these.

  36. positively the same dame

    December 17, 2007 at 7:20 pm


    the last time i checked you could still buy lidfort at wayne edwards in philadelphia. they have a website coming, but it is not yet ready for primetime.

    i actually managed to snag a pair for myself on yoox, which was quite a thrill. take that, barney’s.

  37. The Urban Naturalist

    December 17, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Wonderful shoes!!

  38. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Hello? AllenEdmonds shoe trees. End of subject.

  39. Idaho

    December 18, 2007 at 3:00 am

    woodlore (yes, allen-edmonds) does a nice quality shoe tree, and they have plenty of options and are very affordable.

  40. Diana

    December 18, 2007 at 3:33 am

    Dear Sart,

    Vass Shoes are originally hungarian, and perhaps you could get them cheaper, if you get in touch with the hungarian manufactura. Here are the contact data.

    Vass Shoes:
    Haris köz 2., H-1052 Budapest, Hungary
    Phone / fax: +36-1 318-2375

  41. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 3:48 am has great shoe trees, regardless of your preference in design.

  42. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Cole Haan has cedar shoe trees – split toe

  43. Eleley

    December 18, 2007 at 4:39 am

  44. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Does anyone know about Crocket and Jones from Northampton?

  45. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Hello to everyone, I’m from Menorca – Balearic Islands and here there is a lot of shoes culture. I’ll recomend you this family and this always but cute style.

    Regards from the Island.

  46. Phaedo

    December 18, 2007 at 7:41 am

    As far as I can tell, almost all cedar shoe trees (split toe and solid) are made by one company: Woodlore. Even trees sold by shoe manufacturers are simply rebranded Woodlore trees — so they will not necessarily ft better.

    There are a few non-ceder (varnishes beachwood, for instance) trees out there. Do not use these. It’s important that the wood be uncoated. The function of the tree is for the xylem in the wood to draw out moisture and kill bacteria, not simply to keep the shoe’s shape.

    The only cedar trees I know of not made by woodlore are the Bexley ones, mentioned earlier in the replies.

    The Woodlore trees are poorly made and I feel they distort my shoes too much. I fear the Bexley ones, however, will be too fat. I have a low instep (flat to of foot), so any fully-formed tree stretches the uppers too much. In this case, one must either sand the tree himself or use an inferior split-toe.

  47. victime de la mode

    December 18, 2007 at 8:18 am

    J’suis snob,
    J’suis snob,
    c’est vraiment l’seul d√©faut
    que j’gobe

  48. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 8:55 am

    In response to your question about trees or hangers, in a heartbeat, wooden shoe trees. I agree with tintin; always purchase shoe trees from the same maker as the shoes themselves – and I would add, at the time of purchase. Original maker’s trees will fit the shoes better than any different brand of tree. It’s also fun to watch the color of the trees age along with the shoes, too! The trees serve a specific purpose: to gently remove moisture and return the shoe to its original shape and keep them in that shape until they are worn again. Another factor to consider is whether the trees are spring-loaded or not. Many bespoke or other high quality hand crafted shoe trees are merely hinged instead of spring-loaded. The spring loaded type can exhert too much force, possible over stretching the shoe, if they are not of the proper size – a factor that may be more important than if they are solid or split. If one needs shoe trees, a good shoe cobbler should be able to make or modify trees to fit one’s shoes. Union Works in Tokyo offers just such a service. The Japanese magazine titled “Last” (published by Esquire Japan) is THE sartorial magazine for shoes. It is work seeking out.

  49. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 9:15 am


    Also available in Tokyo at World Footwear Gallery, Jingumae Main Store, Tel. 3-3423-2021

  50. tintin

    December 18, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Never came a cross good shoes that didn’t offer trees. Lidford and Vass have beautiful trees on their web sites. What are you waitin’ for? Money well spent in 20 years when the only shoe trees made will be plastic from China. Now get out there and take more pictures of women smoking in Europe.

  51. tokyosurfer

    December 18, 2007 at 10:33 am

    you could contact lidfort`s directly and find out if they deal with other retailers in the u.s.

    otherwise world footwear gallery ( berlutti, stefano bemer and etc ) in tokyo ginza 81-3-5474-8725 perhaps when you`re in tokyo for a shoot for nippon vouge

  52. Varvana

    December 18, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Speaking of the topic, I find it extremely difficult to find good shoe trees for women’s shoes. I hate wrinkles in my boots, yet I haven’t found an efficient way to combat against them.

    If there is even a moderate heel, it is impossible to find shoe trees that can fit the curve of the shoe. I know there are some shoe tree models that support only half of the shoe, lacking the heel part. However, these do not provide enough support to prevent wrinkles.

  53. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 11:42 am

    I highly recommend these shoe trees. They look great and do an excellent job. They are split toe, but I prefer this, as they fill out the shoe perfectly.

  54. Deb

    December 18, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    I drive by the Allen Edmond plant everyday on my way to work. It’s located in picturesque Port Washington, WI, with a view of Lake Michigan close to the plant. They also have several outlet stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and I think, New York. It used to be locally owned, but was just recently sold. The shoes and shoe trees are made in Wisconsin. The shoes are hand-sewn by ladies, paid by the piece, in Belgium, WI. These things may change under the new ownership, but that is the tradition.

  55. wurfel

    December 18, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    on a related note, can someone recommend “trees” for boots? i’ve had the darnedest time finding them. thanks. -wurfel


    December 18, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks, I improve my english today, I didn’t know that you name it shoe trees. By the way, I really like your Litford shoes and I can understand your feeling.

  57. Linnea

    December 18, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    A tip for shoe-trees: whenever you are in Stockholm, there is a old-fashioned store on Nybrogatan where they sell quality shoe-trees, according to my dad.

  58. momo

    December 18, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    My husband uses the Allen-Edmonds shoe trees and they do a wonderful job at keeping his shoes in shape. They also have the closed toe that you like.

  59. moemoe

    December 18, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    you think Barney’s is “challenging”? I want to buy another pair of Barker Blacks but my experience was so bad at the Elizabeth street store I will not go in there until they get new help. It’s a shame because the shoes are great. As for shoes trees, I’ve bought lots of different kinds but I like Johnston and Murphy best (but have split toe) because heel part is larger than most other brands.

  60. Homo Ono

    December 18, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    To wufel:
    Re. Boot Trees
    I use these-
    for riding boots but I am not sure if they are what you are looking for because they are very tall (almost to the knee.)

    To all:
    Re. question about wooden hangers vs. show trees

    I think that my closet has the answer. I have all wooden hangers but less than half of my shoes are on trees.

    Doesn’t the split toe help the tree form to the shoe? If I don’t have the split toe do I have to have the tree fitted to the shoe? Some shoes are wide and rounded- others are narrow, pointed and flat. How will I find solid shoe trees that would fit all of my shoes?

    The only trees I have now are ones for the really good shoes and I bought the trees at the same time as the shoes.

  61. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 5:07 am

    tintin, your overzealous pretension is grating.

  62. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Lidfort replied that there are 2 others US stores that carry their shoes & 1 in Milano:

    10018 NEW YORK



    They are not currently available in Paris, but they hope to get them there in the future. Cheers!

  63. shoelover

    December 19, 2007 at 11:49 am

    to all – worked in the shoe business for many years working with Bench Made English shoes. Solid shoe trees are pretty but not as functional, mostly effective for display purposes. Split toe cedar shoe trees are the best for your shoes b/c they are adjustable to the length and width of your shoe and they really only need to be put in immediatly after you take off your shoes b/c that is when they abosrb moisture and odor, and allow your shoe to return to their original shape after a days wear.

  64. Green Lantern

    December 19, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Looks cheap but is functional. The main purpose of a shoe tree is to wick away moisture while re-forming the shoe. The split toe model re-forms the shoe by the sides pressing outward to the shoe vamp. Also, a shoe tree should not be left in till the shoes are worn again in say a weeks time. Leave the tree in till shoe is dry then take out so the shoe can breath. But yes, custom shoe trees are the bomb-diggidy.

  65. cordelia

    December 19, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Such beautiful objects, a solid clever wooden machinery – that’s why I keep my father’s shoes trees even if their size doesn’t fit ours. Thank you, Sart!

  66. McGee

    December 19, 2007 at 4:08 pm


    You spent $100 on shoe trees because they “look good?” They look good inside your shoes? That is the most ridiculously pretentious thing I have ever heard. What’s next, soaking your shoe trees in Veuve Cliquot for six months because it leaves an outstanding bouquet?

  67. tintin

    December 19, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Man, I can feel the love. And I soak my shoe trees in Billecart Rose. Proles use Veuve.

  68. THE BRIT

    December 19, 2007 at 8:03 pm








  69. Somers

    December 20, 2007 at 1:14 am

    This store is located in Philadelphia. Though the website is currently under construction, an article about them claims that they carry Lidfort. There’s an email listed.

    Bonne chance, et bonnes fêtes.

  70. Anonymous

    December 20, 2007 at 9:16 am

    My Lidforts come from Barneys too, shoe trees I always get at Bloomies on Lex, about 15$/pair

  71. tomassocroccante

    December 22, 2007 at 2:04 am

    I’ve bought them from Church’s, I’ve bought them at Syms. I have some from LL Bean and some from Hess Benchmaster. They are mostly split – the better to fit into the various toe box shapes and lengths.

    Not being a millionaire I prefer to pay about $10 a pair. Bespoke shoe trees? Good for you! But that’s not my way of putting money into my shoes … !

  72. E. Frank

    December 29, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    This is my favorite kind of entry: the insider feature, breaking down the outfits into their components. I’d love to see more. Thanks!

  73. Anonymous

    January 1, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    The Bloomingdales in Chevy Chase, Maryland carries Lidfort…. They have some great styles…

  74. Anonymous

    April 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    not perhaps the most elegant shopping experience, but century 21 has scented cedar shoe trees for $13.

  75. kp

    July 25, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    vogel in soho (howard st.) carries shoes trees. and they make some amazing bespoke shoes & boots. check it out!

  76. Duncan

    August 28, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Unless your shoes are bespoke, and the trees are too, you are wasting your money buying tree shoes.


    Shoes are made on lasts, wooden approximations, or models of a mean / average foot.

    When we wear shoes they take the shape of our feet (some refer to this as ‘wearing or breaking’ the shoe in). Placing generic shoes trees into the shoes simply returns it to generic shape.

    I have been given this advice by numerous Northampton craftsman (Trickers, Church’s, Grenson, and Lobb). They all swear by simple newspaper. Not as pretty, I know, but there you go.

  77. Anonymous

    October 14, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Wearable Shoe Trees offers Shoe and Boot trees for keeping your shoes in shape and Shoe Stretchers for easing those tight spots.Check out

  78. Shoe_Tree_Hugger

    April 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I tend to agree with Duncan regarding using newspaper to help wick out moisture and shape the shoe. Shoe trees (particularly the spring loaded ones) tend to stretch out the leather upper. You have two ends of the spectrum: Newspaper, $0.50 or Lobb shoe trees, $100-$150. Most of us will probably end up somewhere in the middle (Nordstrom, $19.99). Another thing worth noting is that you don't need several pairs of shoe trees. You just need one pair to place in your shoes that have been worn throughout the day, and only for a few hours.

  79. Jeff

    March 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve had a pair of Johnston and Murphy shoe trees for about 11 years now. I use them every day. They have a solid toe piece with a fairly high arch. This comes in handy for certain shoe designs, as they can really lift the top of the shoe to pull wrinkles out. They have a few to choose from, and I chose the ones with the silver knob used to pull them out of the shoe. They come with a lifetime warranty!

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  81. Dax

    August 31, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I prefer my Church’s Shoes, for 35 years!

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