Shoe trees have two primary uses: to help shoes maintain their shape while they are not being worn, and to wick moisture out of the leather.

Most shoe trees are constructed in the same way -- they have a spring-loaded shaft to ensure the tree fits the shoe length-wise, and they have a cedar toe to fill up the shoe width-wise. The toes of some shoe trees are adjustable in width, which is marginally better due to the fact that the width of the shoe is better accounted for. Some shoe trees are designed with a hinge rather than a spring, but that makes them less adjustable.

Cheaper shoe trees will be made of plastic rather than cedar. Although these will still help shoes to maintain their shape, the moisture-absorbing benefit of cedar will not be present.

Some high-end shoemakers offer lasted shoe trees, which are designed to fit perfectly into shoes made on their lasts. These are the best shoe-trees if you own a pair of their shoes, but few people use them.

Horsehair Brush:

Horsehair brushes should be one of your most-reached-for leather care tools. The soft bristles will not scratch delicate leathers, but still have enough rigidity to be useful.

These brushes can be used to dust-off your shoes, remove caked on dirt, or buff your shoes post-conditioning. If you plan to use one of these brushes to clean your shoes it is good practice to have a second brush for all polishing, buffing, etc.

Suede Brush:

Suede brushes are generally multi-piece tools. They will generally have several soft-rubber heads, nylon metal head, and a large rubber head. If you are trying to remove a stain or scuff from suede, nubuck, roughout, or other nappy leathers, we suggest using a horsehair brush before moving onto the softest head on your suede brush. If the mark won't come out with these, then move onto the sturdier portions of the suede brush.