Anyone who wears dress shoes knows how important it is to preserve the leather around the heel of the shoe. They also know that it’s often very difficult to do, especially with loafers. The ritual of squirreling your feet back and forth in order to try and get them over the heel hump is one we can all live without. And a good shoe horn is the way to put that uncomfortable practice in the rear view. Choosing the most effective shoe horn for your purposes requires making choices regarding material, handle length and aesthetics. So to simplify the process for you we’ve brought together the best shoe horns on the market for 2019.
The Best Shoe Horn
The shoe horn has been with us for at least 500 years and yet after all this time it’s still possible to find new levels of convenience within the genre. Such is the case with the Shacke 24 Inch Long Handled Shoe Horn. The large, convenient handle makes the device extra easy for anyone to operate from a standing position and the wide, slick horn itself lets your foot slide effortlessly into even the most stubborn shoe.
While it appears at first glance to be a metal shoe horn the Shacke 24 inch is actually fashioned from what the company calls “Pro High Tech” plastic. In reality it’s a type of ABS plastic which is known for its toughness and durability. Because it’s made from plastic however, it’s light as a (4 ounce) feather which means even aging relatives with arthritis should find it easy to use.
Pro High Tech plastic.
24 inches long.
Ideal for shoes or boots.
Easy grip handle.
Available in 7 different colors.
- Weight4 ounces
Because it’s 24 inches in length you barely have to bend down to put your shoes on.
It provides a major benefit to those experiencing back problems or older folks for who are no longer as flexible as they used to be.
The handle is super easy to grasp and makes the whole process quick and hassle free.
Can a shoe horn be snooty? Probably not. But the Houndsbay 16.5 inch metal shoe horn tries. From the Old World associations of the name to the upscale nautical design cues in the logo and handsome gift box this is a shoe horn after Gatsby’s heart. And that’s fine. Nothing wrong with imbuing your product with some pedigree.
Fortunately for us the Houndsbay 16.5 inch metal shoe horn lives up to its elevated billing by being an easy to use, dependable, handsome and affordable tool for helping you slip into your loafers or boots. It’s crafted from 1.8mm thick stainless steel which gives it a durability you won’t find in most plastic or lesser metal shoe horns. The design is agreeably minimalistic and the balance is spot on.
Durable stainless steel.
16.5 inches in length.
Large comfortable hook grip.
Decorative gift box.
- Weight8.8 ounces
The shoe horn is well made and effective and allows you to put your shoes on while standing.
The multitude of colors is nice as is the attractive Houndsbay navy gift box.
Great for people dealing with back injuries or recovering from back surgery.
The edges could be ground down a little smoother.
Some shoe horns are made to do their job and disappear back into the dresser drawer while others, like this 31 inch Long Handle Shoe Horn, are meant to be discretely displayed so that visitors can catch a glimpse of your exquisite taste. This is such an attractive wardrobe accessory that you’re going to feel a bit funny about using it to help put your shoes on. It looks more like a riding crop than a shoe horn and that visual overlap is probably intentional.
All that said here’s a case where style and function walk hand in hand. The 31 inch is legitimately long enough for most people to use without having to bend over. It also features a spring where the horn connects to the walnut handle and this enables the device to compensate for bad angles of attack and to absorb some of the force that could otherwise cause your shoe horn to give way.
Solid walnut spindle.
Elegant refined look.
31 inches in length.
Flexible spring facilitates action.
- BrandLong Handle Shoe Horn
- Weight4.8 ounces
At 31 inches in length it’s among the longest shoe horns out there.
It’s definitely overbuilt to accommodate the fact that not everyone uses proper technique.
It’s an attractive implement from tip to tip with an agreeable Old World look to it.
It’s more than some people will want to spend on a shoe horn. Even a really good shoe horn.
If you’d like an attractive and effective long shoe horn but don’t want to spend this week’s caviar money to get it the FootMatters Long Handle Metal Extended shoe horn should be on your list. It features the same spring loaded business end concept as the 31 we just profiled and can be easily adjusted to reach 31 inches itself. But it’s only 1/4 the price.
The shaft is fashioned from high grade stainless steel and is reliably strong and durable. The handle is broad and comfortable and, unlike most other long shoe horns, you have the option of using it standing or compressing the handle and using it sitting down. The fact that the shoe horn is compressible also means you can easily pack it away in your luggage and take it with you wherever you go.
Expandable to 31 inches.
Can be used standing up.
Spring loaded for optimal effectiveness.
Ideal for men and women.
Lightweight and stylish.
- Weight3.2 ounces
With the expandable shaft it adjusts perfectly to suit your needs.
The spring loaded horn compensates for poor angles or slight alignment missteps.
Reduces to 16 inches so you can slip it into your bag when traveling.
The spring may take a while to get used to and master effectively.
Don’t put it in your carryon bag unless you want to raise some TSA eyebrows.
The BlueCosto 16 Inch Long Handled Shoe Horn is the epitome of minimalist style and functionality. There are no baroque fashion touches designed to prod your nostalgic tendencies and no superfluous features of dubious merit. Just a 16 inch long stainless steel device with a gentle taper and robust character that’s going to help you get into your shoes for years to come.
The hook-style handle is not unique. Most short shoe horns use the exact same shape. Why? Because it’s simple and effective. The thing that sets the BlueCosto apart from other equally minimalist shoe horns long or short is not the design but the amount of stainless that went into its fabrication. Whereas most such long handled metal shoe horns are 1.2 mm thick the BlueCosto is 1.8 mm. That might not look like much on paper but in reality it’s a full 50% thicker than most competitor shoe horns.
Elegant chrome plated finish.
Thick stainless steel construction.
Heavier that competitor shoe horns.
Won’t bend or break.
16 inches in length.
- Weight7.2 ounces
The extra durable construction means it won’t bend like some other long handheld shoe horns.
The slick chrome plating makes it very easy to slip your foot into your shoe.
It has a sleek and stylish minimalist profile that’s easy on the eye.
It’s heavier than most other shoe horns so it might not be right for everyone.
It took a while but you knew we’d have to include a good old fashioned wooden shoe horn on our list of best shoe horns. This is by far the most versatile of the wood shoe horns we tested. It can be used standing up or sitting down, has an agreeable look and feel to it, has a nice round handle that’s easy for anyone to grasp firmly and is very reasonably priced.
The Bamber Wood shoe horn doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some shoe horns but traditionalists don’t usually care about bells and whistles. They want Old World common sense and craftsmanship and they get both in spades with the Bamber. The shoe horn tapers gently as it moves down toward its business end, which slips gently into your shoes opening them up slightly so your feet can slip in. Some metal shoe horns chew at the leather of the heel on your shoes but not the Bamber. It respects your shoes and leaves them the way it finds them.
More durable than plastic.
Fashioned from solid beech wood.
Never gets cold in the winter.
Thick handle for easy hold.
- Weight3.68 ounces
This is a truly handsome wardrobe accessory that will provide years of service.
The tapered end effectively guides your feet into your shoe.
The rounded handle provides a sure grip regardless of your hand size.
It won’t be long enough for some folks to use standing up.
It’s not the cheapest shoe horn on the market.
The final entry on our roll call of the best shoe horns is this fine piece of craftsmanship from Numplar. Numplar shoe horn is another of those shoe horns you’re going to want to accidentally leave lying around in the kitchen or living room so guests can see and appreciate it. It’s a hybrid shoe horn with a solid wood upper half and a durable, sleek stainless steel business end.
The wooden handle has a smooth buttery quality that is a joy to hold and never gets cold during the winter. The 27.5 inch length means it’s long enough that most people won’t have to bend over to use it. The stainless steel horn has an electroplated finish and nice smooth edges that aren’t going to dig into the leather of the heel cup. And at the end of the painted and lacquered wooden handle is a leather lanyard to hang the shoe horn on your coat rack or hat rack.
27.5 inches in length.
Two piece construction.
Stainless steel horn section.
Solid wood handle.
Sleek stylish look.
- Weight10.9 ounces
One of the handsomest shoe horns we had the pleasure of testing.
It’s very easy to hold and does a commendable job guiding your foot into the shoe.
The length means you can realistically use this particular shoe horn standing up.
It’s going to cost a little more but chances are you’ll be handing it down to the next gen someday.
Some folks won’t want to pay this much for a shoe horn. But we think it’s worth it.
Shoe Horn Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Of Shoe Horns
The simplicity of the shoe horn means that this is one of the easiest products there is to evaluate. Simply collect a few dozen of the most popular ones and put them to the test. Still, we don’t like to think that there might have been something we overlooked so we perused hundreds of online reviews as well to see what types of praise or scorn were being carried on the digital wind. We then took that into consideration before making our final selections for this list of best shoe horns.
Since even the most expensive shoe horns typically cost less than a decent shirt price did not play any significant role in our determinations. If one was more expensive than most others we noted it. But price was not a factor that would exclude a particular shoe horn from the list. We chose these shoe horns strictly on their functional, aesthetic and material merits.
Metal, Plastic Or Wooden Shoe Horn
One of the most common mistakes people make - especially when it comes to long handheld shoe horns - is assuming it’s safe to bring their full weight down on the device. It’s not. Shoe horns work best when they are in a vertical or close to vertical position and little downward force is applied directly to them. Remember, they’re a guide, not a battering ram. And they should never be inserted into the shoe at a severe angle to the ground. This will almost certainly result in the device breaking or bending. That said each material has its own merits and demerits.
Metal - Metal shoe horns have a number of things going for them. They’re typically (though not all the time) stronger than plastic or even wood shoe horns. They last a long time and you can be a bit more aggressive with them than you can with other materials. And this might be necessary if your shoes are particularly tight in the heel.
Wood - Being a traditional material wood has a certain degree of cred that stainless steel or ABS plastic will never have. Wooden shoe horns are also durable, light, comfortable to hold and slightly more forgiving than metal. Some wood and metal hybrid long shoe horns are extremely attractive and durable.
Plastic - It’s a plastic world so there is no getting away from this material. And in this case that’s fine because, after all, it’s a shoe horn we’re talking about here, not an engagement ring. The big advantage of plastic shoe horns is the big advantage of most plastic items: it’s less expensive. It’s also typically lighter than either wood or metal.
Long Shoe Horn Vs Short Shoe Horn
The length of your shoe spoon (as some call it) will be determined almost exclusively by your physical needs. If it’s easy for you to get up and down from a seated position then there’s no reason to have a 31 inch shoe horn. If on the other hand you are experiencing back problems, recovering from back surgery or have age-related mobility or flexibility issues a long neck shoe horn will be just what the doctor ordered.