What is a Shoe Horn and Do You Need One?

Getting your feet into your shoe can be a horrendous task, especially with back problems or boots that require that extra bit of “oomph”.

Well that’s where a shoe horn comes in handy.

I didn’t even know what the heck these were until a few months ago

I saw this weirdly-shaped looking thingamajig and it caught my eye.

I bought one, used it and loved it, and you may too.

Lets get right into the article as I explain what a shoe horn is and how you can benefit from one.


What Is a Shoe Horn?

According to Wikipedia, it is a “curved instrument used for easing your heel into a shoe”.

shoe horn

It features a handle at the top and and a curve at the bottom which goes into the shoe.

Place it in the shoe while holding the handle, then slide your foot into the shoe without any problems.

Essentially that’s all it is.

It allows people to slide their foot into their shoe or boots with relative ease.

Surprisingly, shoe horns are not a new concept as they have been around since the late middle ages!

They have found at least 20 different shoe horns all dated and signed from as early as the 1500’s.

Convenience of shoe horns are not new and they have been around far before our time.

But why?

What makes them so good and beneficial?

Fun fact: They are called shoe horns because they were originally made from animal horns. Throughout the centuries they were made out of glass, animal hooves, bones, metals, sea shells, and more. They really had to get creative in those times.

Benefits of Shoe Horns

Prevents damaging of the heel counter

We tend to get a bit careless when we place our feet into our shoes.

Our heel crushes the heel counter every time, and over time it damages it and wears it down faster.

By the way, the heel counter is the back of the shoe. It is straight and stiff when brand new and over time (the more we crush it with our massive careless heels) it gets flimsy and begins to break down.

It also happens when we remove the shoe because we kick it off with the toes of the opposite foot.

Ease of use

Easy on and off is the reason shoe horns were created in the first place.

Essentially it is to create convenience for those who don’t want to damage their shoes and do not want to bend down all the time.

This is especially true for bigger people, less flexible people or someone with back problems.

An inexpensive tool that saves hundreds in the long run

This little tool is designed to protect your shoe or boot.

Whatever the price, I bet it’s 10x more expensive than a shoe horn.

It just makes sense to use a tool worth a few bucks that saves the material of more expensive shoes so they can last longer.

Do You Need a Shoe Horn?

There are many reasons for a person to buy a shoe horn but you’re probably asking yourself if you really need one.

Aside from the obvious “extending the life of your shoes”, I will outline some of the other common reasons you may want to use one.

When you don’t untie your laces

Okay, so you shouldn’t be leaving your laces tied up in the first place because we are taught from a young age to tie and untie them.

But if you are one that likes to keep them tied up, you’ll find a shoe horn very useful.

Use it to take your shoes on and off without bending over or crushing the heel counter.

When you are heavier or have back problems

Back pain is a huge problem and it stops us from doing daily tasks that would normally be easy, like putting on our shoes.

If you have back pain or some type of back problem, you should definitely consider a shoe horn to make your life easier and less painful.

This is also true for heavy people. It’s going to help you get your shoes on and off without struggling as much.

When the collar is tight

The opening of the shoe might be too difficult to get into which sometimes happens with specific designs.

Again, this makes it difficult to put your foot in without damaging the heel counter, even with the laces untied.

A shoe horn can help prevent damage of the collar and heel counter while getting it on and off with ease.

When you have dress shoes

Most dress shoes are made with high quality leather and have been made to last a long time.

But usually this isn’t the cases because of our own carelessness.

After a few uses, our dress shoes look sloppy, not as high quality and we don’t look as classy.

I definitely recommend a shoe horn for dress shoes because they are very expensive and can last a long time with the right care.

It’s better to use an inexpensive tool now and make them last longer later.

When you have long boots

There are shoe horns for shoes, boots, work boots, long boots, literally anything.

Some only require a short shoe horn which works perfectly for shoes.

But long boots do not allow your feet to get inside without putting it at a weird angle.

Or the heel counter is flimsy which requires extra work to get on and off.

And that’s what long shoe horns are for.

Long shoe horns stiffen the heel counter so you can slide the boot on and off without causing damage or a struggle.

What Type of Shoe Horn Is Right For You?

Long shoe horn – A long shoe horn is good for those that are not flexible, have back problems, plan on using it for long boots, or if you prefer to stand while putting your shoes on

Short shoe horn – Short shoe horns are good for anyone that prefers to sit when putting shoes on and off

Quality – The strength of shoe horns matter. You don’t want a $2 shoe horn because they can break easily. Stainless steel is much better quality and less likely to break than cheap plastic

How to Use a Shoe Horn

Using a shoe horn is actually really simple.

Step 1. Place the shoe horn at the heel of the shoe, ensuring it is against the heel cup.

Step 2. Keep the handle back a bit and not 100% upright.

Step 3. Put your foot inside the shoe until it touches the insole: remove the shoe horn.

Here’s a video example:

It’s an incredibly simple concept that takes 2 seconds to do.

Why more people aren’t doing this to keep their shoes lasting longer I do not know, but I have been doing it for a couple months now and I love using them!

Can Shoe Horns Damage Shoes?

Absolutely not.

In fact it does the complete opposite, prevents your shoes from being damaged from all the different ways you put them on and off.

We don’t realize how much damage we cause when we kick our shoes off and mindlessly put them on.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing that wears out in my shoes is the heel counter.

It starts off stiff and rigid, and within a couple months it’s soft and flimsy.

And there’s a few reasons for it…not using a shoe horn, putting shoes on with the laces tied, and kicking them off with the other foot.

Yeah, that’s a bad habit that one.

In Conclusion

Well that concludes this article on shoe horns and I hope you found all the answers you were looking for.

Remember that you should definitely get one if you want to protect your expensive shoes, as you can extend the life and keep them looking fresher for longer.

Also they are for you if you have back pain and struggle to get your shoes on and off.

Please let me know in the comments below what you think about shoe horns and if you’re thinking of getting one for yourself.

Thanks for reading this article.


Shoe Mastery

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