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Homemade Shoe Trees: How to Make Them Cheaply

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Homemade Shoetree

Completed shoe tree

Completed shoe tree

If you don't store your shoes the correct way, they will lose their shape and no longer look like they did when you purchased them. Storing your shoes in the shoe box you got them in or in the shoe cabinet ensures that your shoes stay in great shape for many years to come.

If you cannot afford to buy shoe trees for each pair of shoes that you have, one thing you can do is make a cheap version of a shoe tree that will help you maintain the shoe structure till you can afford to buy a proper bunch of shoe trees.

Why Should You Use a Shoe Tree Insert

If you don't have a shoe tree to insert into your shoes, then this method can give you time to buy a proper set of inserts to protect your shoes. Since many dress shoes are expensive to buy it will pay you in the long run to properly look after your shoes now. If you do then they will last you for many years to come.

What Does a Shoe Tree Do to Your Shoes

Shoe trees help you keep the shape of your favorite pair of shoes. They stop them from over time losing their shape. If you continue to use a shoe tree in your shoes then you will ensure that your shoes is allowed to air and and you will stop the moisture that develops when you wear your shoes all-day from soaking into the shoes.

Why Homemade Shoe Tree Inserts Work

If you haven't had time to purchase a pair of shoe tree inserts, then this homemade version can help you out until you can afford to buy a proper pair.

  • It might look like it will do nothing, but if you use a lot of paper and bend it to the shape of the shoe, then you can achieve an insert that will help the shoe keep its shape.
  • Since wooden shoe trees are more expensive to buy, you might only buy some for really expensive shoes or heels instead of for your other shoes.
  • Most people are lazy and usually end up storing their shoes in large boxes. Others might just pile them all up on top of each other. This is fine for sneakers or summer sandals.
  • If you have really expensive shoes, you really do need to look after them so that they will continue to look better for longer.

To ensure that your shoes continue to look better for longer, you need to care for them from day one. If you only wear your shoes on special occasions, then putting something inside the shoes to help them keep their shape is vital.

Making a Homemade Shoe Tree Insert

Making a homemade shoe tree is not as hard as one might expect. All you need is the following items:

  • Get as many sheets of old newspapers or some other type of paper as you can.
  • Collect some clear plastic freezer bags, preferable the freezer bags that have a tie handle. They are better than the Ziploc bags. You can easily manipulate the shape of these bags easily.
  • The idea is that we will twist up the newspaper and shape it into the shape of the shoe.


Items required to make your homemade shoe tree:

  • Clear freezer bag
  • Old newspapers or recyclable paper
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Scrunch up Sheets of Newspaper

Scrunch up the newspaper

Scrunch up the newspaper

1. Scrunch up Sheets of Newspaper

Firstly you need to gather a few sheets of newspapers and twist the first sheet into a spiral. Next wrap another sheet around this sheet and twist it up with the first one.

You will need to manipulate the shape of the newspaper to be able to fit it inside the shoe. Once you have a few sheets tightly wrapped around each other insert them into the shoe to see if it is the right size. If it is too small keep wrapping more sheets to the cylinder to make it thicker.

If it is too big, try to compress it a bit more tighter, so it fits in the shoe. Once it is the right size for the shoe, you need to make another one to fit into the other shoe.

Assembled The Shoe Tree Insert

Put the newspaper into a freezer bag.

Put the newspaper into a freezer bag.

Step 2: Assembling the Shoe Tree Insert

When you have your pair of homemade paper shoe trees made you then place each one into a clear freezer bag. Try to ensure that there is no air left in either of the bags. Next tie the handles of the freezer bag to keep the newspaper in place and to stop air getting in.

It is worth noting that the freezer bag stops the paper from staining the inside of your shoes once you have placed it inside your shoes. You will find that small to medium size clear freezer bags will be sufficient.

If you have large boots then you might need to use medium or large freezer bags, but for most shoes, small freezer bags will do.

Ziploc bags are no good for this project, as you cannot easily tie the ends of them into a knot.

Inserting the Shoe Tree Into the Shoe

Once you've inserted the newspaper into the freezer bag, insert it into the shoe.

Once you've inserted the newspaper into the freezer bag, insert it into the shoe.


  • Putting your newspaper into the bag will later stop the ink from spreading into the inside of your shoe, this is particularly important if you have bright coloured shoes.
  • Also the bags allow the shape of the newspaper to be kept as tight as possible and as secure as possible to ensure that it keeps its shape.
  • Every now and again you might need to reassemble the newspaper if the shoe tree starts to lose its shape.

Advantages of Homemade Shoe Trees

  • The cost of making these shoe trees are cheap. Many of us already have the material in our cupboards and you don't need to go out and purchase them.
  • Freezer bags are not very expensive to purchase and you can get them in the grocery store and in many discount stores.
  • Making these shoe trees is very simple. You do not need a lot of time or materials. You can have them made in minutes.

Disadvantages of Homemade Shoe Trees

  • They don't look very attractive.
  • They do not last indefinitely. Sometime in the future you might need to remake them if the paper starts to lose its shape.

© 2013 Sp Greaney

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