Shoemakers are in general quite artistic and creative people, and it often shows also in other areas than the specific footwear. One such example is the shoe trees, where we can find awesome pieces made by bespoke makers and/or their shoe tree makers. Here’s a look at some of my favourites.
Start with this masterpiece made by German bespoke shoemaker Patrick Frei together with a professional violin maker. It was for his entry in the World Championships in Shoemaking 2018, which he won. Although the tree wasn’t part of the contest, about 40 hours was spent on it, and the masterpiece shoe truly deserved a shoe tree of this caliber as well. The top pic of the “sports car” shoe tree is another one of Patrick’s excellent work.
From one of the most progressive bespoke makers out there, to one of the most conservative ones: John Lobb Ltd. (London). They offer some interesting shoe trees as well though, this is their lightweight travel tree which not only is hollowed, but also has some extra holes in it. Since, as I’ve written about before, it’s a misconception that the wood is needed to absorb moisture, the main reason for that wood is needed is since it let’s the leather breath and dry in that sense, but it dries even quicker in all air, so this solution which retain the shape and achieves good circulation is good in many ways.
This is a spectacular one, taking what I mention above to next level. Not fully finished on the pic above, but you get the deal, a skeleton shoe tree. It’s made by Aasen Stephenson, a craftsman working at the big shoe tree and lastmaking company Springline, while at his spare time creates some truly creative pieces.
Seen from below.
Spot the shoe tree. Aasen Stephenson has made many other spectacular shoe trees as well, here’s one inspired by Morris patterns.
A shoe tree carved and painted to look like alligator leather. Aasen has also made the very small one showed in the film below.
This isn’t really a shoe tree, but a last made as an artistic display, but so amazing that I had to include it here as well. This dino skeleton wooden masterpiece was made by bespoke shoemaker Wataru Shimamoto of Orma Shoemaker in collaboration with wood craftsman Takafumi Mochizuki.
Hollowed as well.
Decorative shoe tree made by the Japanese bespoke shoe tree maker Shoe Tree Works.
Perhaps the most famous shoe tree and lastmaker in the world is the Frenchman Hervé Brunelle. He makes shoe trees for many of the most famous bespoke shoemakers in Europe, and is famous for his excellent fit. The level of making is superb as well, here’s his classic hollowed version. (All pictures are taken by respective brand/maker, links in text.)