Why A Chunk Of Wood Is Exactly What Your Shoes Need This Summer

It's worked for centuries.

It's a hot summer this year -- and believe it or not, your feet sweat more than than your armpits do (8 fluid ounces per foot each day, the equivalent of pouring half a Snapple bottle into each shoe). You can imagine what that does to the inside of your barely breathable leather oxfords.

But sweaty feet aren't the only assault on your dress shoes.

Gravity, time and use can age your shoes as well by stretching them out, causing creases and wrinkles, deforming their shape over time. Surprisingly, the way you store your shoes when you're not wearing them can make the biggest difference.

The humble shoe tree -- that wooden block you found in the back of your grandfather's closet -- is the best tool to keep your shoes in good condition, says Jose Zuniga, a cofounder of Teaching Men's Fashion.

Here's why:

  • Shoe trees press out any wrinkles that your foot creased into your shoe.
  • By keeping it taut, shoe trees prevent gravity from flattening or widening your shoe.
  • Wooden shoe trees absorb the moisture from your shoe -- aka sweat buildup -- which is important because, as Zuniga points out, it removes "a breeding ground for bacteria," the main reason your shoes smell bad.
  • Cedar shoe trees smell really good, too.

There are many varieties of shoe trees -- from plastic to wood and bespoke, but you don't need a bespoke shoe tree. You should only spend about $30 for a quality wooden shoe tree, and make sure you get one with the heel (some come without, but those have a pole that extends to the back of the shoe, which can stretch out the heel of your shoe over time). And you really only need one set of shoe trees, rotating them through your best shoes.

After all, as Business Insider points out, "Shoe trees are a whole lot cheaper than a new pair of nice shoes," and you should keep it that way.

See full video above.