How do I Build a Shoe Tree?

old shoehorn #2 image by Richard J Thompson from

Things You'll Need

  • White tissue paper
  • Replacement door stop rubber covers
  • Dowel rod
  • Tape measure
  • Small handsaw

Shoe trees are small pieces of rounded wood, approximately the shape of a human foot, with spring attachments that are placed inside unworn shoes to help them to keep their shape. Shoe trees are also handy for stretching shoes that have not been worn for awhile. These convenient shoe stretchers are typically made of wood and are adjustable to the size of your shoes. However, if you do not have a shoe tree, or have zillions of shoes and cannot afford to buy several shoe trees, you can make your own.

Crinkle a piece of white tissue paper and push it into the toe of your shoe. Keep adding the tissue paper until it is packed tightly from the toe to about midway up the tongue.

Push one end of the dowel rod into a replacement door stop rubber cover. This will protect the back of the shoe from the sharp end of the dowel rod.

Measure the shoe from about mid-tongue to the back of the shoe.

Cut the dowel rod--including the rubber stopper--slightly longer than the measurement. Keep in mind that you can always cut the dowel rod shorter if necessary.

Insert the open end of the dowel rod into the shoe, pushing the tip into the center of the wadded tissue paper.

Push the entire dowel rod into the shoe so that the rubber backing is pressed tightly against the back of the shoe. If the shoe is over-stretched or the dowel rod does not fit, cut it shorter until sized appropriately. Repeat the steps for the opposite shoe.