A topic that comes up regularily.
They are not really needed for long time storage in my opinion.
IKEA has some cheap (about 1 €/pair) solutions and they do the job. They may be slim and don’t really fill out the shoes in width but they are just 1 € and stretch the shoe in length which is the main thing.
pic by IKEA
They are essential for usage after washing shoes as they reduce creases. To do that I recommend an expander which puts more force on the shoe than a simple spring could.
Make sure to use plastic ones (after washing) as I used wooden ones on wet shoes and afterwards there was mold on them. Also some venting holes can’t be bad.
Another premium solution are the wooden ones I use for my pics.
They are not cheap (~25 € on Ebay) and fit less sizes (like 2-3) than the standard shoetree. But putting them in every shoe can be expensive.
There are lots of shoetrees out there and almost any bigger retailer carries them. There’s not much that can go wrong when gettin them.
- wooden ones for dry shoes
- plastic ones for wet shoes
- venting couldn’t hurt
Comparison Jason Markk vs washing machine