Weighing an item’s cost and utility seems to always be the way we go about deciding whether to purchase it. Especially when you are considering your first pair of leather shoes, many like you would be conflicted as these shoes can be quite pricey. So how do you ensure that you are making the right decision? Here are 6 simple questions we’ve come up with to help you answer your dilemma.
1. Do your co-workers dress formally?
Leather shoes are mostly purchased for formalwear. If you work in an environment where suit jackets are expected, don’t ruin the ensemble by wearing cheap plastic shoes. Some formal cuts you can look into for leather shoes would include cap-toe oxfords, whole cuts, and brogues.
That is not to say that leather shoes are restricted to formal office environments! Prized for their durability and quality of craftsmanship, leather footwear like suede shoes work great with casual outfits too.
2. Do you walk in unsheltered areas frequently?
Thanks to our tropical climate in Singapore, the weather seems to only alternate between scorching heat and heavy downpours.You aren’t the only one to find them unpleasant – your shoes are likely to be suffering just as much.
Water from the rain can and will destroy the suppleness of your shoe’s leather by leeching the natural oils within. If not dried properly, waterlogged shoes are a fertile ground for mould to grow
That said, you should never dry rain-soaked shoes under the sun. Prolonged exposure to the midday sun almost ‘bakes’ your shoes and weakens the leather fibres that make it. This causes them to become brittle and more susceptible to cracking. Instead, you should dry out your shoes with old newspaper and apply conditioner to replenish the lost oils, as outlined in our shoe care guide.
If you find yourself having to walk your bus stop or food court without a cover over your head often, your shoes are unlikely to last a fraction of what they are actually capable of.
3. Do you dress up outside of work?
With the price of a pair of quality leather shoes starting at slightly over a hundred, you’ll want to get more use out of them than their synthetic counterparts. If you are one to dress up outside of work, your leather work shoes can also double-up as walking shoes and save you the cost of maintaining 2 separate pairs. Designs such as brogues and certain boots hover on the line between “formal” and “smart casual”: they look right at home with suit pants, but can also be paired with jeans.
If you know how to choose shoes made of quality leather, then a single leather pair will last you significantly longer than 2 synthetic pairs – while making you look more dapper! So if you are one to dress up outside of work, then leather shoes will surely be a worthy investment.
4. Do you have unusually shaped feet?
Every foot differs in shape and size, even your left and right! It is almost impossible to find a pair of perfectly comfortable shoes from retail stores if you have especially wide or flat feet. You can choose to start a #AllFeetMatter protest and march against systemic feet discrimination in uncomfortable shoes, or you can get a bespoke leather pair.
In the bespoke process, a quality shoemaker makes a cast of your foot called a last, and builds a shoe around it. The result is a shoe that supports the different arches and curves of your feet perfectly – the only one of its kind in the world! In fact, it is not uncommon for orthopaedics to recommend patients with postural problems to professional leather shoemakers to have a bespoke pair of shoes made.
Usually, even generic leather shoes will accommodate your feet to a certain degree as the material does stretch to shape your feet better. Hence, leather shoes do provide a more comfortable fit than any other footwear.
5. Do you tend to change your shoes often?
Find yourself getting excited over the latest trend? Can’t wait to grab those pair of new Nikes that just got on sale? If you are an avid trend follower, you may want to reconsider those pair of leather shoes that caught your eye a few days ago. It is very likely that after a few months, you will lose interest in the very same pair you found extremely attractive. The price tag on leather shoes is put on with long-term wear in mind so make sure you are ready to commit to the same pair of shoes that will likely accompany you for a lifetime.
6. Are you a diligent person?
Leather shoes are usually a lot more expensive than the common sports shoes and slippers, but they also deliver many more years with every dollar spent compared to their counterparts in the same price range. That said, they do require a maintenance regimen to last for the decades they’re capable of. If you cannot afford a 20-minute shoe care routine every month, then leather shoes are simply not meant for you.
Yes, 20 minutes is all you need: Singaporeans have the misconception that shoe care is a time-consuming and tedious process. In fact, using a good jar of leather conditioner monthly and a pair of shoetrees is often sufficient to drastically increase your shoes’ lifespan!
At The ShoeTree Project, we make shoe care even more convenient by curating the best shoe care products from all over the world (such as the coveted Saphir Medaille d’Or range from France) and delivering them right to your doorstep at no extra charge.