According to the infomercial, which features pitchman and comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the ShoeDini helps people with limited mobility get their shoes on without having to bend over. The ShoeDini is a shoe horn with an adjustable, telescoping handle that extends as long as 30.5 inches. A clip on the back of the shoe horn is designed to grip a shoe securely, so the ShoeDini can be used to remove shoes and pick them up, as well as put them on. The ad claims that the ShoeDini works well on all styles of shoes, including shoes that are already laced.
Reviewers seem to agree on one thing: Assembling the ShoeDini is easy. Yet when it comes to performance, opinions are mixed. Most reviewers say that the device works well with shoes that have a solid, stiff heel that's thin enough for the clip to grab -- even if the shoes are laced. For other shoe styles – particularly those with soft sides or sling backs -- many testers find the clip to be more a hindrance than a help.
In one review, the telescoping handle on the ShoeDini repeatedly collapses and the clip breaks after only four uses. Another big hitch revealed in testing: once you get one shoe on successfully, you may have to balance or teeter on one foot while putting on the other shoe. Thus it may not be very helpful for the elderly or people with disabilities, even though it's marketed to this demographic.
The review at WalletPop.com recommends purchasing the ShoeDini from a local store; according to the author, shipping and handling costs can more than double the price if the product is bought by phone or from the official website.
We found the most useful review of the ShoeDini at WalletPop.com, where its rating is based on tests by three people (including a woman with multiple sclerosis) using a variety of shoes. We also found several hands-on tests conducted by news stations. At KIDK (Idaho Falls, Idaho), seven employees give ShoeDini a try with varying results. The tests at KPLC (Lake Charles, La.) reveal major issues with durability, while a reporter for KCBD (Lubbock, Texas) says the ShoeDini works wonders. Despite all this mixed feedback, keep in mind that most of these tests involved healthy, limber people who don't really need the ShoeDini. The one report we found from a disabled user says the ShoeDini isn't helpful at all.
In this punchy review, which includes a video, Lisa Kaplan Gordon tries the ShoeDini with mixed results. Her main criticism is that the clip only grips shoes well if they're stiff at the heel. Gordon says that the ShoeDini "has trouble gripping soft-sided shoes," and says it's almost impossible to pick up a sling back. She also notes that it's better to sit down to put on shoes anyway -- otherwise you have to balance on one foot while trying to put on the other shoe. Gordon has her husband try the ShoeDini, and he says it works as advertised on a pair of stiff-heeled loafers. However, her friend who suffers from multiple sclerosis also gives it a try and says the ShoeDini didn't help her in the slightest. The review warns that shipping and handling costs more than double the price unless you buy from a local store. Gordon gives the ShoeDini a rating of only 2 on a 5-point scale.
Review: ShoeDini Review: Not a Joke, But Maybe it Ought to Be, Lisa Kaplan Gordon, Sept. 9, 2010
2. KIDK (Idaho Falls, Id.)
Reporter Tommy Noel asks seven of his coworkers to test the ShoeDini. Testers agree that the clip proves to be a hindrance rather than a help, but ratings vary drastically by individual. Some users say the product is completely useless because they had to bend over to get the clip in place, defeating its whole purpose. One tester, who gives ShoeDini a near-perfect score notes one major drawback, says, "If you put on your shoes while standing up, you still have the problem of bending over to tie them." The consensus: the products works for some, but not for the people it's intended for -- those who having trouble bending or reaching down.
Review: Does it Really Work? -- ShoeDini, Tommy Noel, April 9, 2010
3. KPLC (Lake Charles, La.)
Reporter Jeff Jumper tries the ShoeDini on four different types of shoes. He has initial success both putting on and removing all of the shoes from a standing position. However, the clip breaks after four uses, leaving a sharp edge and rendering the ShoeDini unusable. Although the ad claims the handle extends up to three feet, Jumper finds that it only extends 30.5 inches. He gives ShoeDini a failing grade due to its poor construction, and says a regular shoehorn would do a better job.
Review: Shoe Dini, Jeff Jumper, 2010
4. KCBD (Lubbock, TX)
Reviewer Joe Terrell gives the ShoeDini a thumbs-up after testing it on a pair of laced dress shoes. It only takes him one minute and 17 seconds to use the device to remove both shoes, place them in a shoebox, and then put them back on -- all without bending over.
Review: Shoedini: Does It Work?, Joe Terrell, Aug. 11, 2010
5. WVEC (Hampton Roads, Va.)
Nicole Spano, a mom and volunteer tester, tries the ShoeDini on a couple pairs of shoes. She says the clip doesn't attach to a pair of slip-on shoes, but the shoe horn itself works if you slip it into the shoe. The shoe horn doesn't work as well with tall boots. Overall, Spano concludes that -- even without the clip -- the ShoeDini works fairly well.
Review: Does It Work? Shoe Dini, April 14, 2010