This is a very simple tip, which may not be obvious to everyone. It’s about making sure that the shoe trees are pushed as far forward as they can go in your shoes. It’s not uncommon for the spring on the shoe blocks to be a bit flimsy, and may need a little help to straighten the sole as much as it should.
As I have written about before in this guide to shoe trees, straighten out the sole is perhaps the most important task of the shoe tree. I therefore always try to make a habit of pushing the front of the trees every time I insert them in the shoes. Even if it’s not more than a few millimetres here or there, it’s something that can matter over time, considering that the shape that the shoe trees give to a large extent that determines how the shoe will look in the future. Below is an example of the problem:
These shoe trees, for a pair of Jan Kielman shoes, have springs that are a bit too flimsy to be able to push the tree all the way into the shoe, so you have to give them a helping hand.
Here you can see the gap between the back and front of the shoe trees when it’s just inserted as usual into the shoe.
In this picture, I have then pressed the front part with one thumb and as you can made it slide maybe another three millimeters into the shoe.
And here we can see the difference this little manoeuvre makes to how much the sole is straightened out. Now the shoe tree is just inserted “the standard way”…
…while here I’ve pushed it forward all the way into the shoe. You can also push the toe tip down on the sole edge a bit a the same time, to help further. As you can see, the tip of the toe is about three or four millimetres further down. Not a dramatic change it may seem, but straightening both the sole and also stretching the upper a bit extra just by a two-second flick of the wrist is not a bad payoff in my eyes. And in some cases this has even further impact. In this way, one reduce the “upnose syndrome” that tends shoes that are worn for a while can get as much as possible. The only time you might not want to follow the above tip is if you have generic shoe trees that are too big for the shoes, for example too high for the toe box, as the shape of the shoes could then possibly be misshapen and layer of polish may crack.