Up until this year, the only person I knew who had owned a shoehorn was my granddad. I associated them with Bill Nighy–looking gentlemen who exclusively wore shoes from Loake, Grenson, or Church’s — proper grown-up footwear that needed to be taken care of. But something changed earlier this year when I started shopping for a pair of Clarks Wallabees. I’d coveted the moccasin-style shoe for some time, and though I am no stranger to an impulse purchase, I wanted to try them on first, as I’d heard they run large compared to other shoes due to the slightly squared toe box. Cut to me sitting on a bench in End Clothing in Soho, jamming my size nines into a pair of maple suede Wallabees and worrying that I was damaging them beyond repair before I’d even taken them to the till. (Wallabees are known for being fast to break in due to the supple material, but they can be stiff at first — and due to the design, even loosening the laces doesn’t offer a lot more room.)
The End employee (who, I noted, was also wearing a pair of Wallabees) came over on his way to drop off a pair of Nike Air Max 75s to another customer and slipped me a smooth, bright-orange shoehorn made of plastic. I’d never used one before, but sliding my heel into the shoe was oddly satisfying. I ended up buying one (along with the Wallabees) the very same day, adding a wooden horn to my Amazon cart while getting a jungle curry and a beer at Kiln.
A few months on, the shoehorn is unobtrusive to store — I hang it from a loop on a hook inside my wardrobe door. It’s light enough to pack in a weekend bag — I already know it will come in handy for an Italian wedding I’m attending later this year. Though I originally associated a shoehorn with being used as a tool for older gentlemen, I’ve since spied several influencers on TikTok incorporating shoehorns into their “get ready with me” routines. In fact, I’ve come to think of my own horn as less of a fusty necessity and something akin to a tiepin or proper umbrella — an inexpensive way to display a bit of panache, no matter how I may use it.
This is my shoehorn — an inexpensive model in beechwood. It even has a loop at the top so I can hang it on the inside of my wardrobe door.
I also like this more expensive option by Grenson, which might make a nice Father’s Day gift.
For a more compact version to take with you, this folding option by Church’s is nice and comes in a mustard-yellow leather pouch.
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