I would love it if I could get my entire family to use the long metal shoe horn I have hanging by the shoe rack. It would make things so much simpler, and we would not have everyone looking for their favorite or complaining that the ones we currently have are not good enough.
Just to give you an idea here are the categories of shoe horns out there, the best example I could find of each category, and why one or another of my family would like to have it.
If you are a glutton for punishment, scroll down past this quick list and you’ll find even more products for each category, quick reviews for each one, as well as a diy for shoe horns in case you want to bypass the whole thing of spending money on a shoe horn.
What is the Best Shoe Horn?
- Vive Long Metal Shoe Horn – is the best long metal shoe horn because it has a leather handle so you do feel the cold metal cutting into your hand and it is long enough that you don’t have to bend uncomfortably to slip your shoes on. It is my favorite type of shoe horn because I usually am carrying something or another, and this way I don’t have to put that something down.
- Zomake Stainless Shoe Horn – is the best short metal shoe horn because it has a modern, black design, and it is made from stainless steel so it will not rust. It is my son’s favorite type of shoe horn, although we currently do not have one, because, he says, he needs to kneel down to tie his shoes anyway, and the long version forces him to stand to slip the shoe on, and then to kneel again to tie the laces on the second shoe.
- Muso Long Wooden Shoe Horn – is the best long wooden shoe horn because it uses a very hard, walnut wood guaranteeing that it will last as long as any metal shoe horn. Plus, it is tainted in a dark color so it really is a timeless piece that I would be happy to have next to our shoe rack. Unfortunately, we already have the metal shoe horn and nobody else seems to be interested in it but me.
- Maximilian Bamboo Shoe Horn – is the best short wooden shoe horn because it is made from bamboo, a type of wood known for its antibacterial properties as well as its natural strength. It is my wife’s favorite and we actually own a couple of them because they are so small they tend to vanish for weeks at a time until we decide we need a replacement.
- Footmatters Expander Shoe Horn – is the best telescopic shoe horn because it twists and locks into place, making it one of the few telescopic shoe horns that have the same rigidity you would expect from a regular long shoe horn. It is my father’s favorite because he has always been a fan of gimmicks and, although I could envision a situation where a telescopic shoe horn could be essential, this is truly the most “modern”, avant-garde type of shoe horn you could own.
Best Type of Shoe Horn
With these many types of different shoe horns you could be excused for throwing your hands up in the air and going with the original shoe horn: just bludgeoning your feet inside the shoes.
However, I urge you not to do that because you are not only damaging the shoes, but you are also, by deforming the back of the shoe, risking damage to your feet and to your natural way of walking.
The truth is that it is fairly difficult to say which is the best type of shoe horn.
From a purely analytical perspective, the long handled shoe horn is the ideal type. The reason why I would choose it over any other type is because it allows you to slide your feet in while you are standing, so your heels are already at the perfect angle to go in.
I am also taking into consideration that more and more shoes today do not need to be laced up, so, since you don’t have to kneel to tie them, you will also skip on using a short shoe horn and just wiggle in.
On the other hand, if you do need to kneel to tie your shoe laces, and you are not particularly tall, it will be somewhat more difficult to use a long shoe horn. You could slip on both shoes and then kneel, but for some reason my son does not do that, and I suspect there are a lot of people who do not.
Finally, in terms of the material the shoe horn is made out of, you have your pick between metal, plastic or wood. Personally, I feel that plastic just looks and feels cheap, and sometimes it has a nasty smell that can linger for months.
Wooden shoe horns look the best, especially if they are like some of the high end stuff I will be reviewing in the next paragraphs. The problem I see with wooden shoe horns is that they are only good for as long as the laquer lasts. The more you use a shoe horn the more that laquer will fade and the more difficult it will be to slide your shoes on.
Metal shoe horns are a nice middle point between wood and plastic. They certainly do not look cheap, especially the ones that have a leather handle or that are painted in a nice color. They also never lose their slick surface, and, provided you have a stainless steel one, they never rust or develop any odor. And yet, even the best metal shoe horn will not look quite as nice as the best looking wooden shoe horn.
The point here is that the best type of shoe horn is the one you are going to use. If you need to have both a long and a short shoe horn to make sure that every shoe gets the protection it needs, then just do that. To help you along with the decision process, I have gone through some of the best shoe horns on the market today, and the reasons why I like them.
Best Long Metal Shoe Horn
1. Vive Long Metal Shoe Horn
I have already talked about the Vive and how it is the shoe horn we are currently using in our home. It is 16.5 inches long which means both me and my 5-year-old use it with equal ease. It also has that leather handle that makes it comfortable to use and gives it a nice warm feeling. I have also noticed that it has nicely rounded edges so even my wife uses it without fearing that she will snag her stockings.
The metal is stainless steel and it is thick enough that it takes my full 176 pounds without any sign of bending. It actually feels sturdy enough to where I am confident it could take twice that weight without any problems.
Finally, one of the pros I should have mentioned with all long shoe horns, is that it can be comfortably used even when putting on tall boots. The leather handle is high enough that it will not get in the way even with knee high boots.
2. Number Metal Shoe Horn
The more interesting alternative to the Vive, in my opinion, is the Numplar Metal Shoe Horn. It only has a leather strap so it can be hunged in the corner with ease, but the handle is all metal. That tells you why this was not my first choice.
The reason why you might want to go with the Numplar is that they give you 2 shoe horns instead of one, for just a little bit more than the Vive costs. The metal is the same type of thick, strong stainless steel as the Vive and the edges are nicely smoothed out so, despite the lack of leather grip, they feel fairly comfortable in hand.
The Best Short Metal Shoe Horn
1. Zomake Stainless Shoe Horn
Short shoe horns are ideal for traveling and for situations where you need to lace up your shoes. The reason why Zomake is on the top of my list for short metal shoe horns is because of its color. Usually metal shoe horns come in that shiny stainless steel look and, for me at least, they evoke the memory of flimsy, shoe shop style shoe horns. So the fact that this is painted black adds several hundred points for style.
The one thing I was concerned with was that the paint would fade away with use, but due to the hundreds of Amazon reviews I perused, I am confident that won’t happen. The one thing that a lot of reviewers had in common was the complaint that the Zomake shoe horn is a bit too wide to be comfortable. It is definitely a valid point and one to take into consideration, particularly if, like me, you are buying it for a smaller child to use.
2. Velette Set of 2 Metal Shoe Horn
There may be a lot of areas where I will fall back on saying that you need to take some things into consideration but to adapt them to your own situation. However, the one thing I am sure about is that a small shoe horn will always find a way to get lost if it is on its own. We have lost our bamboo shoe horn and it wasn’t until the second one came in the mail that the first one turned up in an old box of Legos.
For that reason, if you are going to go for a short metal shoe horn, you may as well go for the Velette set of 2. It is made from a durable stainless-steel metal, it has rounded edges, and, more importantly, it is ever so slightly smaller than the Zomake, which makes it ideal for children as well as adults.
I also like the fact that it has black writing on it, which makes it just that little bit more modest and minimalist. In case you’ve missed it, the Zomake has a golden embossment on the handle, that looks decent on the black background, but still not what I would have chosen.
The Best Long Wooden Shoe Horn
1. Muso Long Wooden Shoe Horn
There are few things that go as well with a nice pair of leather shoes as an equally elegant American walnut shoe horn. In fact the Muso is one of the best examples of an elegant shoe horn I have ever seen. Even while writing this I am tempted to buy one to replace the metal one we currently own, but the fact remains, metal will always be sturdier than wood and, with a full family using it, we are just better off this way.
Still, this should not discourage anyone else from using he Muso Shoe Horn. At 15 inches of length it is certainly long enough for most people to use. Also, the fact that it is made out of wood means it, at least, feels softer to the touch and more comfortable. Finally, I should point out that it has a life time warranty so even if the laquer or even the wood start wearing out, you can always put in a call for a new one.
2. Bamber Wooden Shoe Horn
I would like to be able to suggest a set of shoe horns for this category as well but I could not find a set that I trusted in terms of quality. The one alternative I found to the Muso is the Bamber shoe horn. Besides the obvious color difference there are a few other good things I can say about it.
For one, it has a lot more positive reviews on Amazon than the Muso. The overall rating is similar, its just that there were a lot more people happy enough with the product to come back and leave a nice rating and review.
The other significant feature about the Bamber is that it is somewhat more affordable than the Muso. Considering how the color of a shoe horn is not that significant for some people, you may choose the Bamber just on price difference and quality guarantee due to the higher number of reviews.
The Best Short Wooden Shoe Horn
1. Maximilian Bamboo Shoe Horn
As I have mentioned before we currently own 4 Maximilian bamboo shoe horns, although we only know where 2 of them are. They are made of high-quality bamboo so we have seen zero signs of wear and tear over the past few years.
Also, the fact that bamboo is naturally antibacterial means all of the shoe horns have the same pleasant smell they had when we first got them.
The other reason why the Maximilian is our favorite is that it ships as a 2 shoe horns set. We actually lost 2 short shoe horns before we had to order the second set.
Fortunately, the price is so low that the only frustrating about the process was that we knew the initial 2 were somewhere in the house, we just could not find them. They make for great informal gifts though, so I am already considering which one of my friends will get one.
2. JC Cole Leather Shoe Horn
As you could probably tell, I am fairly confident that the Maximilian shoe horn is the best choice in its category, which is why I decided to take a side step with my second choice for this category and go with a leather shoe horn. It is a fairly innovative concept, but I do believe that the rigid leather and wood have more or less the same advantages and disadvantages.
From the get-go, it should be noted that JC Cole is one of the more expensive shoe horns. It is fairly difficult to get leather to be as rigid as it is needed to have a good shoe horn, but they seemed to manage it.
The price point is warranted not only because of the technology being employed but also by the beauty of the design. If you are someone who is proud of their shoe collection and even displays it in nice, open shoe cabinets, you definitely owe it to yourself to pair it with a leather shoe horn like the one from JC Cole.
The Best Telescopic Shoe Horn
1. Footmatters Expander Shoe Horn
I have used the Footmatters expander shoe horn many times when visiting my parent’s house. In fact I would not even have known about this category if my father had not told me about it. When fully extended and locked into place the Footmatters shoe horn looks so banal as to make you confuse it with a regular shoe horn.
When you retract it in its initial form, it becomes smaller than most short shoe horns, which actually makes it an excellent companion on trips. I do have certain reservations as to how many times the locking and unlocking mechanism would work before it no longer held a strong enough grip, but my father assures me that for their style of going on holidays a couple of time a year, it works brilliantly.
2. Eachway Extra Long Shoe Horn
If you would like to rest assured that, no matter how many times you expand and retract it, then the Eachway shoe horn is the way to go. It is made from plastic so it is my least favorite product on the entire list, but I did appreciate the fact that the screws are very long and thus very sturdy.
The Eachway is black and that helps a little bit to camouflage the fact that is made from plastic, and it has a nice, comfortable rubber handle, so it feels sturdy when held. I would be worried about losing all the parts, because you do not so much retract it, as you brake it into 3 different parts, but provided you use the bag that it comes with to store it while traveling, that should not be a problem.
In conclusion, I should talk about the different alternatives you have to actually buying a shoe horn. There are a lot of diy solutions to creating a home made shoe horn. So many that, in fact, I have written a post dedicated to just that subject. You can find it by using the search function of the website, or you can just click the “What to use instead of a shoe horn” link.