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Q&A: Do I actually need a shoehorn?

Q&A: Do I actually need a shoehorn?

"Leather changes its shape with pressure, which is why leather shoes get more comfortable the more you wear them," says Thread’s style director, Shaunie Brett. "But that also means you want to make sure they mould in the right ways. By putting them on without a shoehorn, you'll slowly erode the structure of the heel of the shoe, and perhaps even fray the edge."

Because men's blogs often recommend shoehorns—and yet we've rarely met someone who uses one every morning—Shaunie shares the scenarios in which you might want to adopt this habit.

1. If the shoes are a bit small

"The shoehorn acts as a little slide for your heel so you can get into shoes more easily. This is particularly helpful if the heel of your foot is hanging over the back of the shoe—the shoehorn can coax it in."

2. If they don't get any wider when they're untied

"If the shoes retain their exact shape when they’re untied, then they don’t have much give for you to squeeze your feet into. In this case, a shoehorn will keep the heel from getting creased or frayed—but will also keep the main part of the shoe from stretching out and looking knackered. A shoehorn can be especially helpful with polished or patent-leather shoes, which are usually quite stiff."

3. If they're suede

"Because suede is less stiff than other leathers, it can lose its shape more quickly. All things being equal, a shoehorn can double the lifespan of a pair of suede shoes."

4. If you really like them

"By preserving the shape and structure of the heel, shoehorns will help keep any shoes—even trainers—box fresh for longer. So if you've spent more than you usually would on a pair of shoes, or just like a new pair a lot, consider taking a few seconds to put them on properly. Extra-long shoehorns make it less of a faff: you don't have to bend as much as you put your shoes on."

Not convinced? Three ways to keep shoes as-new without a shoehorn

  1. Untie them before taking them off. This keeps the body of the shoe from stretching out. 
  2. Loosen the laces all the way up. Again, this will help retain the shoe's form. 
  3. Remove them with your hands. Prising a shoe off your foot with your other foot is a recipe for ruining the heels. 

Shaunie's favourite shoehorns