Shoe Care Guide Part 2

Hi gentlemen,

Today we’re bringing back Shoe Care Guide Part 2. Previously, we talked about the tools you need to care for your leather shoes as well as given you a couple of tips. For those who’ve missed out on that post, you can read it here.

In this post, I’ll be giving a demonstration on how you can use your leather shoe cream. See for yourself, the difference that caring for your shoes makes.

You will need:

  1. Leather Shoe Cream
  2. Shoe Brush
  3. Newspaper
  4. Water

I hope the video gave you a better idea on how to maintain your shoes with shoe cream. Stay tuned for the upcoming posts!

Men shoes options for travel – The Casual Leather Shoes & Sandals.

We’re down to the last quarter of the year, where would you guys be going for your holiday?

I can’t stress the importance of choosing the right shoes for your trip. When I say right shoes, I don’t mean shoes that match every outfit you’ll be wearing. I mean the pair of shoes that are comfortable and let you walk miles. I know we all struggle with deciding between comfort and style but you don’t have to. There are shoes that are travel friendly without compromising on appearance.

Of course, the type of shoes you decide is also dependent on where you are going. I’ll talk about my shoe picks for travelling to three different places.

  • Casual Leather Shoe

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If you’re going to countries in Asia or anywhere with temperatures above 20 degrees, the casual leather shoe will do just fine. You don’t want to be worrying too much on styling while you’re on the go. A good pair of travel shoes should be versatile – casual leather shoes can work with both trousers and berms.  You can walk around in ease in this pair in the day and also look smart while going into a restaurant for dinner. Another element that’s important during travelling would be durability. You’ll want to be wearing shoes that can withstand all that walking, so don’t bring along new shoes but a seasoned pair.

Oh yes, another travel tip would be to invest in good socks. Don’t belittle the importance of socks, they can help prevent blisters! I’m sure we all want a dry feeling as we’re walking so find socks made of quick absorbing material.

  • Boots

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If you’re going to somewhere cold or during the winter season, the best kind of shoes to wear is boots. You should choose a pair of boots with substantial weight, that provides more grip so you can feel more confident wearing it. The boots should have a soft leather exterior with a fur lined interior to keep you warm.

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If you’re going to a hotter place, your feet may expand or swell so sandals might be a better choice.  These lightweight sandals are breathable and can be worn on general terrain or even to the beach. The fact that these shoes won’t take up much space or weight in your suitcase is a definite plus point as well. They’ll be great to bring along on beach holidays and island hopping trips.

A great pair of sandals has to be durable, comfortable; the right fit and have good traction.

Remember that it’s essential that you treat your feet well while travelling because one thing is for sure, you’d be walking a lot more than usual.

Have a great holiday everyone!

The Staple Slip Ons – Monk Straps & Slip Ons

Okay guys, today we’ll continue with the staple slip-ons.

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It is said that monk shoes were named because monks in Europe were known to wear this kind of shoes during for extra protection as opposed to sandals. The shoe has no lacing, its closed by a buckle and strap aka monk strap. The monk strap that is fastened across the front of the shoe can have a single or double buckle closure.

The Monk is less formal than an Oxford but more so than loafers. If you’re aiming to look stylish, in a less formal setting, I’d say this is the pair for you.  This pair of shoes can work well with jeans to suits. Monk shoes are popular in suede and occasionally brogued.

Should I wear socks with these shoes?

You can get away with no socks if you’re going to someplace with a less formal setting. However, if you’re going for a meeting with a client and need to look more put together, you should wear socks.

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These shoes are easily identified by its slip-on style. You can dress up or dress down with slip-ons, depending on what you wear, which makes this style highly versatile. Slip-ons that feature a metal strap across the front tend to look more formal and can be matched with a suit. If you just want to look smart on a night out with the boys, you can select a pair of slip-ons with tassels and match it with a shirt and chinos.

One thing to note, you should wear slip-ons with a shoehorn to prevent damaging the back heel leather when slipping on the shoes.

I’d like to know though; do you feel that slip-ons are a staple in your shoe closet? What’s your favourite slip-on?

The Staple Dress Shoes – Oxfords & Brogues

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With varying styles and colour, there are so, so many shoes out in the market now. Though it’s always good to have choices, doesn’t that get frustrating sometimes? Apart from choosing a pair of shoes that fit your feet, the majority of us want to look good too.

What should we wear for a black tie event? Or a business seminar when we want to impress?

Furthermore, busy mornings mean we don’t always have the luxury of time to ponder too long about what pair of shoes ought to go with what we’re wearing today.

Today, I’ll share my personal favourites – the staple dress shoes that I trust can complete a formal outfit.


The first pair is the leather oxford.

The most distinguishable feature of oxfords is the closed lacing system, which gives it a smart appearance suited for formal attires. All men should wear laced-ups rather than slip-ons for formal occasions.

Every man should own this classic and timeless staple. The oxford is a dressy shoe – this is a pair of shoes that you can pull out for any formal event. If I may suggest, do consider a pair of black oxfords. This is a pair that you can wear for your job interviews, weddings, black-tie events, funerals and business meetings.

We all know shoes speak louder than words; your shoes can complete an outfit and broadcast your personality as well. For those who just stepped in the working world, this is the pair of shoes for you. Men who wear oxfords give off the impression that they care about authority and are serious about their work. Oh yes, remember to shine your shoes, this shows you’re someone who pays attention to detail.

If you’re feeling generous with yourself or you’re looking for a fancy pair of dress shoes, you can consider bespoke shoes from Church’s, John Lobb or Johnston & Murphy’s. That pair of shoes will be the jewel of your shoe collection, which makes it perfect when you’re dressed to impress.


 

Then, we have the leather brogue.

What is a Brogue?

In fact, any shoe with perforations is considered a brogue – be it an oxford, derby or monk.

The origin of modern brogues can be traced back to Ireland; these shoes were made with perforations which allowed water to drain through as one crosses wet terrain. The Brogue is a style of shoes with decorative patterns along the shoes’ visible edges. The brogueing gives the shoe character which makes this style popular amongst modern men.

If you’re working in the creative industry, this is a pair of shoes for you to consider. Brogues are less formal than oxfords and you can wear them with suits or even jeans, which makes this a pair of shoes suitable for casual interviews. Leather brogues in browns work well with almost everyone’s wardrobes and allow the details on the shoes to stand out as well.

You can decide on the image you want to portray, how formal or relaxed, depending on the material of the shoes. A pair of shoes made out of box calf leather is a more dressed up option whilst a pair that’s made out of scotch grain leather will give off a more relaxed look.

So I’ve mentioned my staple dress shoes that keep me covered from work to black tie events.  How about you guys? What are your staples?

Next week, we’ll be talking about our staple slip-ons so stay tuned for that!

Waterproof your shoes

Hi everyone,

Today we’ll touch on something that many of you may be interested in, being in a country like Singapore where there’s both rain and shine.

We’ve already established that if not properly managed, water can damage leather and shorten the lifespan of your shoes. Thus, it is important to perform these steps so your shoes get a layer of protection. Do note though, it does not mean your shoes are waterproof nor will it keep water from entering your shoes because there will always be gaps in a pair of shoes. What these waterproof sprays do is to prevent the leather material in your shoes from absorbing the moisture.

If you want to know how to use waterproofing spray, check out this video

It is important to ensure you get the spray that is safe to use on your shoe material – are your shoes made of smooth grain leather, nubuck or suede? You’ll have to purchase the waterproof spray catered to each specific material. An additional thing to keep in mind when you purchase waterproof sprays would be the expiry date. It’s best to purchase a spray that is at least 6 months away from the expiry date.

The waterproof spray should leave a water-repellent coating on suede or leather.  After spraying the formula, give the shoes time to dry completely.

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The following step is important, especially if your shoes aren’t black in colour.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to alter the appearance of your shoes. Some waterproof sprays make bold claims that it doesn’t affect or change the colour of your shoes, but it’s not always the case. Hence, always test the product first by applying a small amount of product at an inconspicuous area of the shoe to see if it alters the appearance of the shoes.

These steps may seem burdensome but they really aren’t too difficult, especially since you’ve already invested in a fine pair of shoes.  How about going the extra mile to protect them from water damage?

Title: Shoe Care Guide Part 1

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Hello everyone,

Upon deciding to purchase a pair of leather shoes, I’m sure of many of you expect them to be durable and last you a long time.

Well, that’s half true.

A pair of leather shoes can go far but that’s provided you know how to take care of them. Today, we’ll share some tips on shoe care.

  • We all have that trusty pair of shoes, that’s comfortable and goes with just about everything in our wardrobe. Still, what you should do is to wear that pair on alternate days. This gives the shoes ample time to air and dry out, so the leather lasts longer. That aside, I’m sure you wouldn’t want your shoes to stink, right?

shoetree

  • Consider using a shoetree. A shoetree is a block in the shape of a foot that helps keep the shape of your shoes intact. Above all, it prevents creasing and can dry out the lining of shoes, so they don’t rot. Shoetrees are worthy investments, they won’t cost as much as a pair of new shoes and you can use it over and over again.

Always, always keep your leather shoes in an area that’s clean and dry. I can’t reiterate this enough.

Leather is very much like your skin – it has to be cleaned, moisturised and touched up with so they can look good. You’ll need a few tools to do this.

shoe-shine-sponge

  • Shoe Shine Sponge

A shoe shine sponge is a sponge that conditions and protects leather material. It’s quick and easy to use and gives the shoes a bright and long-lasting shine. It is ideal for shoes which do not require a full polish.

  • Shoe Brush

To keep your shoes clean and free of dust, it’s best to have a shoe-specific brush.  Shoe brushes are usually made from horsehair; it doesn’t scratch the leather yet stiff enough to remove debris perfectly.

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  • Leather Shoe Cream

This is ideal for black smooth leather, it is used to moisturise and restore the appearance of leather material. It is advisable to test the shoe cream on an inconspicuous area before general application.

  • Neutral Shoe Cream

Like the leather shoe cream, it maintains the leather and shine. However, the difference between this and leather shoe cream is that neutral is used on shoes of any colour while leather cream is used only for black shoes.

If you want your leather shoes to look good, it is essential that you go through the steps to take care of them. Apart from how your shoes will look, these steps help extend the lifespan of leather shoes.

Shoe Material Guide

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Hello everyone,

As we briefly talked about in the previous post, we’ll talk about the shoe material guide today. Most shoe brands would include this chart, which tells you what your shoes are made out of.

Don’t understand what these symbols mean?

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Let’s start with sections of the shoes.

upper-part-shoe

This symbol represents the upper part, which is also the most visible part of the shoe.

lining-and-inner-sole

This symbol represents the lining and inner sole, the material used for the interior of the shoe.

Now that we’re done with the sections, let’s talk about materials.

leather

This symbol tells you that this shoe is made of leather, from the skin and hide of an animal. There are various kinds of leather, such as suede and nubuck. For a shoe to be considered made from genuine leather, 80% of the shoe has to be made from leather.

microfiber

Microfiber Leather  possesses all the good qualities of real leather. It is lightweight, waterproof, breathable, scratch-resistant and also eco-friendly. For vegans and eco-friendly consumers, this symbol is what you should keep a lookout for.

other-materials

This symbol tells you other materials were used to make this pair of shoes. This includes man-made materials such as PU leather, rubber compounds.

Polyurethane (PU) Leather is commonly referred to as artificial leather. It is split leather that was covered with a PU coating. PU leather is cheaper with a nice finish; however it is not as durable or as strong as full-grain leather.

In order to make right choices, you got to understand the label for materials. I hope this guide has helped you to understand the shoe material guide that you may see on your shoe boxes so we can all make the best shoe choices!

What to ask the salespeople.

So guys, apart from asking them for the shoe size you want and the payment process, how many of us actually interact with the sales staff whenever we enter a store?

Not many of us right?

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Don’t just rely on yourself, ask the salespeople in the store, let them help you. A trustworthy shoe store will have knowledgeable sales assistants to answer questions. Try to be specific with your questions.

 

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“Which pair of shoes would you recommend me?

A good salesperson will make recommendations based on your needs and what you look for in a pair of shoes. Aesthetics and design aside, the salesperson should take into consideration if the shoes fit you.

“Typically, how long can this pair of shoes last?”

By right, a decent pair of leather shoes should last you at least 1.5 to 2 years.  However, it all really depends on the individual wearing it. The lifespan per pair shoes varies depending on the user, for example, how you walk, how you wear, and your daily walking conditions. Of course, this includes proper maintenance and care on your part.  Logically, a more expensive shoe should last longer than a cheap one but if you don’t treat it right, it will break down as well.

The salesperson wouldn’t be able to provide you with a concrete answer because unless you are a regular, he or she wouldn’t know how you walk and wear it.

“Is the sole of this pair of shoes slippery?”

Check if the sole is made of rubber, there’s 2 ways to do so. The first is by touching it, the texture should be one we’re all familiar with. The second is through smell – the tell-tale scent of rubber.

Apart from material, the thread pattern of the shoe and groove depth affects friction too. For instance, our running shoes have deeper grooves and are commonly made of thermoplastic rubber (TPU) which lowers the odds of slipping.

When the salesperson tells you the shoes are anti-slip, note this only applies in normal walking conditions. The shoes could still be slippery on rainy days, so still be careful when you walk. As for those in certain working conditions when the floor could be oily or with uneven surface, you’ll want to get yourself industrial shoes then.

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“What should I do if I get my pair of shoes wet?

If the sales assistant tells you to dry your leather shoes with a hair dryer or to put it out in the sun, we’ll know for sure this assistant has poor product knowledge. Leather is like skin, subjecting it to high heat will result in damage. Very much like how we get sunburns?  Let the shoes dry at room temperature, to reduce the chances of leather cracking.

What you ought to do is to wipe off the water as soon as you can, using a dry towel.  After which, let gravity help you, place your shoes upside down. Or, you can remove moisture from the shoe by stuffing newspaper or a towel inside the shoe. Try not to wear this pair of shoes for the next 48 hours and let it air dry completely.

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 “What leather is this pair of shoes made of?”

Leather is a fairly generic term – artificial leather, genuine leather and the list goes on. The price range of the shoes should also offer some indication of the leather origin and quality. Sometimes, consumers have to know which animal this leather came from. For instance, a vegan customer will not want shoes made of genuine leather nor will a Muslim customer want a pair of shoes made from pigskin.

The sales assistants should be able to answer this question and provide you with care tips based on the shoes’ material.  Different materials require different shoe care routines. Another good way for you to know the material is to look out for the shoe material guide*.

material chart

I hope this post has given you an idea on the types of questions you should ask and how to pose them to the salesperson. Next week, we’ll go into more details for the shoe material guide*so stay tuned for that!

Selecting Your Shoes Part II

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Hi all,

Since the previous post was a general guide, today I’ll talk about the steps you go through when you’re in the store.

Upon deciding that you’d like to buy a new pair of shoes or yourself, what stores do you go to? I’m sure most of you would have set a budget for yourselves. So, firstly what’s the price range of shoes that you’re looking at?

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You can get a decent pair of leather shoes at $80 in Singapore. It’s nothing too fancy, but basic shoes that you can wear to work. At $100, you can get a better pair. Most shoes priced at $200 and above, are of considerably good quality. Always look for the stores or brands with reputation. They don’t have to be extremely established, but it should be a store you can trust.

trying shoes

Don’t assume your shoe size. The cutting of leather shoes can vary greatly from your sports shoes and sandals. Always try on shoes in the store and remember to try both sides. As mentioned, most of us have one foot bigger than the other, the larger feet determines the size you should buy.


Tip 1: The best time to try on shoes is in the afternoon. Why? Your feet tend to swell throughout the day, to ensure a proper fit; you should try on your shoes later in the day.

Tip 2: As you’re trying a pair of shoes in the store, wear the socks you typically wear with your leather shoes. The thickness of the socks will affect your comfort level.

Tip 3: How snug should your shoes be? Slide an index finger behind your heel. If it doesn’t fit, size up. If it slides in too easily, drop half to full size.  You should be able to move your toes freely.

Tip 4: Don’t just slip on your shoes, walk around in the store. This gives you a better indication of the comfort level of the shoes. Does the shoe cut or hurt you? Leather shoes will hurt when you first wear them but it should not be overly painful or bring you too much discomfort. If so, forget it and find another pair.


I hope these tips will help make shoe shopping a better experience and lets you make better shoe choices!

 

I’m Back .

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Hello, it has definitely been a while. This spot has been on hiatus but I’m back with more content. In other words, I promise my best to give you weekly updates.

Here’s a little teaser of what’s coming up, like getting to select your shoes and basic shoe care maintenance.

So hold on, I’ll be back soon.