Best Shoe Horns

Updated May 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
23 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
172 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best shoe horns

Last Updated May 2019

A shoe horn is not only handy for quickly getting your feet into your shoes, it can also prevent back strain and keep your shoes in good condition. It’s a tool that has changed little since its invention hundreds of years ago and is no less useful today.

Some shoe horns are designed to easily fit into a bag or briefcase, while others have long handles so you don’t have to bend down to slip your shoes on. Shoe horns are made from a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, metal, and polished horn. You may be looking for something simple and affordable, or a classy tool to display near your shoes. Whether you are elderly and seeking an easier way to get your shoes on or you’re simply looking to protect your dress shoes, a shoe horn is a helpful tool to own.

If you are ready to pick out a shoe horn, take a look at our top recommendations, or continue reading to learn more about the shoe horns available.

The smooth surface of a shoe horn offers a surface with less resistance than the leather or fabric of your shoes, allowing your heel to easily slide into place.

Do you need a shoe horn?

A shoe horn is a concave piece of hard, smooth material that has a narrow handle on one end and a wider spoon shape on the other. By placing the rounded end in your shoe and lowering your foot into the shoe, your heel can slide off of the horn and into place and the horn can be removed. This serves to protect the counter — the stiff piece of material in the heel that helps the cuff maintain its shape — and makes slipping into the shoe easier.

Shoe horns have been around since the fifteenth century, and they were originally made of real horn.

While there are many options today made of polished horn, you can find a plastic shoe horn for an incredibly low price that will work just as well. If you’re looking for a distinctive piece to compliment the style of your wardrobe, a wood or polished horn shoe horn may be what you’re looking for.

Anyone who suffers from knee or back problems can make use of a long shoe horn, as it can eliminate the need to kneel down or bend over when putting on shoes. They can also be useful for pregnant women. If you have expensive shoes you want to get the most out of, a shoe horn is a great tool to protect them.

There’s a shoe horn for any budget or needs, and it’s unlikely a shoe horn will break within your lifetime.

Most shoe horns are fairly indestructible if used properly. There’s a good chance your shoe horn will last you a lifetime.

Staff
BestReviews

Key considerations

A shoe horn should be sturdy, smooth, and long enough to meet your needs. Some are designed to be used while standing up, while others are shorter so they can easily be carried in luggage.

Length

How long do you need your shoe horn to be? If you suffer from back or knee problems, a long shoe horn may be best. If you need a shoe horn you can easily transport, you may be looking for a more compact design.

Travel shoe horns typically measure between 3.5 inches and 4 inches and are often made of plastic or metal. They should be small enough to fit easily in your bag or suitcase. These are often too short for shoes with a shaft measuring 3 inches or more.

Standard size shoe horns measure from 4 inches to 7.5 inches and work for a variety of shoes with low shafts. They are made from an assortment of materials.

Long shoe horns range from 7.5 inches to 15 inches and work well with shoes with taller shafts, or any shoes with shorter shafts. These shoe horns don’t require you to kneel all the way down, but they are not very portable.

Extra long shoe horns range from 15 inches to 32 inches and are designed to be used while standing up. As a result, they are a popular choice among the elderly or those with joint issues.

Material

While shoe horns are made in several different materials, they all function similarly. The main factor is the look and style of the shoe horn.

Plastic is the most popular choice, and it’s also the least expensive. It’s flexible, which means breakage is possible, but it also allows the horn to flex with your heel as you step into your shoe.

Metal is the next most common material and provides a slicker surface than plastic that won’t bend or break. Some metal shoe horns may have a handle of a different material.

Wood shoe horns are often slightly longer and are the thickest material due to wood’s brittle quality. If you are looking for a distinctive shoe horn that doesn’t use any animal products, this is a good option.

Polished horn results in a classic look and can come in an array of colors and sizes. The horn typically comes from buffalo or cattle and may be handcrafted. These tend to be more expensive, but if you are looking for a traditional shoe horn, this is a great option.

DID YOU KNOW?

Shoe horns can not only reduce the wear on your shoes but also protect your socks.

Features

While the actual horn itself is the most important part, you should also consider the handle material, whether the horn can be hung up with a loop, and if it is a foldable design.

Handle material

In most cases, the handle is made of the same material as the horn itself. Wooden handles tend to be more comfortable than plastic or metal since they are thicker and may be shaped to fit your hand.

However, some horns may have a different material covering the handle. Even in inexpensive shoe horns, materials like leather, plastic, rubber, or silicone may be used. A handle improves the overall comfort of the horn and can help you keep your grip on it — which is particularly helpful if you are using an extra long shoe horn.

Loops for hanging

A leather, fabric, plastic, or string loop on the end of a shoe horn allows you to hang the horn near your shoes for convenience and for displaying your shoe horn.

Foldable, flexible, and telescopic shoe horns

A shoehorn doesn’t have to be a solid piece of plastic or metal. Some models are hinged or have extendable handles, making them more versatile than their single-piece counterparts.

Foldable shoe horns are usually travel size and can easily be tucked into a suitcase or briefcase. While the folding feature is convenient from time to time, it does not save a great amount of space and results in a smaller surface for your heel to slide over.

Flexible shoe horns are hinged near the scoop, allowing you to adjust the angle of the horn. This is particularly useful in longer shoe horns.

Telescopic shoe horns can be used as short, medium, or extra long shoe horns so you can make use of the horn while crouching or standing.

EXPERT TIP

The length of a shoe horn doesn’t necessarily correspond to different sized shoes. While you will need a longer shoe horn for knee-high galoshes, it will also work for your dress shoes.


Staff  | BestReviews

Shoe horn prices

Inexpensive: Shoe horns for $1 to $5 are typically made of plastic and are usually travel size or standard size. While they function well, they are the most likely to break and are usually too small to use without kneeling down completely.

Mid-range: Most shoe horns cost from $5 to $10. Shoe horns in this range may be made of plastic or metal and may have a comfortable silicone or rubber handle. Longer models are more common in this range.

Expensive: High-end shoe horns for $10 to $30 are made from materials including metal, polished horn, and wood. They are often extra long in design and may be flexible or telescopic.

Tips

  • A thinner shoe horn may be less comfortable in your hand, but it may also be easier to use since the horn itself takes up less space in the opening of your shoe.

  • Longer metal or wooden shoe horns may be considered weapons by TSA and should be carried in your checked luggage.

  • Always place the concave side of the shoe horn against your heel.

Other products we considered

While we think our top recommendations are the best shoe horns available, there are few other models that stand out for their unique designs. If you are looking for an all-wood shoe horn, the Bamber Wood Shoe Horn is an excellent longer horn that looks great when hung up on the wall. Another longer option is the Shacke 21” Solid Metal Shoe Horn, which features a sleek chrome design. Customers have very little to say against this shoe horn and praise its solid feeling and hefty weight. For a telescopic shoe horn, the Shoe Horn ProGuide Shoe Horn Pro Comfort is a popular choice with a comfortable rubber handle and length range of 16 inches to 31 inches.

In addition to putting on dress shoes and taller boots, a long shoe horn can also be useful for putting on gear like ski or snowboard boots.

FAQ

Q. Can a shoe horn be used to put on shoes that are still tied?
A.
While it will certainly make getting into tied shoes easier, you should untie your shoes each time you take them off to prolong the life of the shoes.

Q. Can you use a shoe horn while sitting?
A.
As long as the shoe horn can reach, absolutely. You will want a long to extra long shoe horn for this task.

Q. Do telescopic shoe horns lock in place?
A.
Not usually, but you shouldn’t apply any downward pressure when using a shoehorn.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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