Hello everyone! In this feature, I’ll be rounding up local establishments for you to get affordable dress shoes from. Yes – there are homegrown efforts specialising in dress shoes! Instead of getting your shoes from run-of-the-mill places such as Aldo or Cole Haan, I urge all of you to consider supporting a local establishment instead.
All shoes from the brands below are affordable, and won’t put a dent in your pocket. I own shoes from all of the below-mentioned brands (disclaimer: I run one of the brands) and wholeheartedly believe that each offers better bang for the buck than their departmental store counterparts. Without further ado, let’s get into this list!
Arden Teal offers a wide selection of full-grain leather dress shoes at an affordable price point. For those searching for a no-frills, well-made dress shoe, Arden Teal will do the trick nicely.
Who they are: “We (the team at Arden Teal) were growing weary of the traditional retail experience for buying a good pair of men’s shoes. We searched for options that delivered aesthetics at a price we could relate to but grew needlessly impatient with our encounters. We started this company at the heel of a problem we knew wasn’t unique to us. We wanted to curate products we were proud of. Impressively designed, high-quality shoes that could be conveniently accessed at an easy price..”
My opinion: If you’re searching for bang-for-buck dress shoes, I’ll highly recommend Arden Teal. Firstly, they only use full-grain Argentinean calf leather in their shoes, so all Arden Teal shoes will patina beautifully. Secondly, Arden Teal also offers some of the most affordable blake-stitched shoes in the local market – just S$185 (after the promo code below) for hand-painted, hand-burnished finishing and a full leather outsole. If that’s still a tad too expensive, Arden Teal’s cemented collection is a great budget pick as well for $122 (after the promo code below). And as the icing on the cake, Arden Teal includes accessories such as a dust cover and a shoehorn with every purchase as well – something uncommon at this price point. For my detailed opinions, do read my review of Arden Teal shoes here, here, here, here and here.
Price: Arden Teal shoes start from S$122 (after the promo code below). As Arden Teal is an official affiliate partner of Wah So Shiok, quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all shoes store-wide.
Where to buy: Arden Teal shoes can be bought online here.
As its name suggests, CustomWelt offers customisable, Goodyear-Welted shoes. If you have a little more to spare, then I believe opting for CustomWelt is a no-brainer.
Who they are: Full disclaimer – I run CustomWelt. For more details on how the brand came to life, read my article on CustomWelt here.
My opinion: I saw a gap in the local market for accessible Goodyear-welted shoes, and thought to myself: why not fill the void myself, and put my spin on things? I’m a big fan of customisation, both in tailoring and in watches. I’m also a fan of European products, specifically European fabrics, leather, and workmanship. CustomWelt reflects my personal preferences by blending these aspects. And while I’m biased, I believe CustomWelt offers an unbeatable value proposition. Starting at $359 (after the promo code below), you’ll be hard-pressed to find other Goodyear-Welted, European-made offerings – much less made-to-order, customisable ones. The best alternative would be Carmina’s custom programme, which costs twice the price and takes twice as long. CustomWelt also offers Goodyear-Flex construction, which combines the typical durability of Goodyear-welted construction with flexibility and comfort. However, as all orders are made-to-order, orders typically take around 4 weeks to fulfil. If you need dress shoes urgently, then I’ll recommend opting for Arden Teal instead.
Prices: CustomWelt shoes start at $359 (after the promo code below). As I run CustomWelt, I’m offering Wah So Shiok readers a 10% discount on all orders – simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout.
If traditional dress shoes are too uncomfortable and unsupportive for you, then Sunnystep is the solution to your feet woes.
Who they are: Sunnystep describes its mission to be “helping people move freely and happily”. To that end, the brand employs proprietary arch support, blister-free uppers and a broader front that caters to Asian foot shapes, all meant to minimise stress on the feet and the body and ultimately improve the quality of life. It has since become a runaway (no pun intended) success, with 12 locations nationwide.
My opinion: Sunnystep offers a range of supportive and comfortable shoes, with its most formal silhouette being the Elevate Walker. The Elevate Walker combines form with function, and I applaud Sunnystep for its effort. I appreciated the comfort and support that the Elevate Walker provided, as well as its sleek and versatile looks. One often has to choose between looking good and comfortable, but the Elevate Walker proves it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. In fact, there’s also an elegant white colourway available which I’m tempted to purchase myself. It’s fairly affordable too, being priced in the ballpark of a decent dress shoe. I did a detailed review of the Sunnystep Elevate Walker here.
Prices: Shoes from Sunnystep currently start at $118 (after the promo code below). As Sunnystep is an official affiliate partner of Wah So Shiok, quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy $8 off all shoes store-wide!
Where to buy: Sunnystep shoes can be bought online here.
If you found this tailoring listicle helpful, do check out some of my other listicles below:
- 9 Affordable Tailors in Singapore (Complete Guide!)
- 12 places to get Watch Straps in Singapore
- 6 Perfume Brands in Singapore to check out
- 6 Affordable Wallets in Singapore
- 10 Underrated Singaporean watch brands that won’t break the bank
- 6 Affordable Briefcases in Singapore
I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this list of local shoe brands! In my daily interactions with my peers, I realise that most still turn to established outlets such as Aldo or Cole Haan for their dress shoe needs. Even for those with more spending power, many are still getting their shoes from luxury outlets in high-end shopping malls (Berluti, Ermenegildo Zegna, etc). Again, there’s nothing wrong with that – but why not give your local shoe efforts a try? Each of the brands listed here offers great value propositions that punch above their price tag. Furthermore, most of these efforts are bootstrap projects, with the founders pouring everything they have (money, sweat and tears) into their passion. If we Singaporeans won’t support them, who will?
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.