Minimalist white sneakers and black loafers have been coming into trend recently in formalwear – let’s see how these pairs from Scofield Shoes fare!
Scofield Shoes – the Brand
I sat down with homegrown shoe label Scofield Shoes in a bid to learn more about the brand.
1) What was the motivation behind Scofield Shoes?
S: We were heavily inspired by the offerings available in other countries. It seems in terms of quality shoes, there were few options available locally. What was locally offered then were mainly repetitive designs, often produced in inferior quality leathers and workmanship. We also appreciated that purchasing shoes from overseas may not always be an ideal option, because the shoe may not always fit well. Getting after sales service from an overseas vendor is often difficult, if not impossible. It will be unreasonably expensive and inconvenient to process exchanges with an overseas vendor.
Thus, we started Scofield Shoes to make fashionable, affordable, and quality leather shoe options available in Singapore.
2) What does Scofield Shoes hope to achieve as a brand?
S: We hope to make available quality leather shoes for local consumers. We are aware that some consumers may be risk averse to making purchases from smaller less known brands, but we aim to provide policies comforting enough to encourage our consumers to make the first purchase. We aim to make a positive and memorable first encounter,and to build a relationship with our consumer beyond just the first purchase.
In all honesty, we try and not look to far beyond that, such as competing for market share and that kinda thing. We enjoy growing Scofield Shoes at our own pace, and we believe that if we take care of our customers, our customers will take care of us.
3) In your opinion, what makes for good quality dress shoes?
S: We believe that good pair of shoes are an investment, and quality dress shoes definitely should be made from good quality leather and thoughtful workmanship. The most important aspect of good quality shoes is of course the material. We put much effort into selecting suitable full grain and top grain leathers for our upper, selecting leathers that are best able to bring out the desired look of our designs whilst remaining tough enough to endure long term use. On top of that, all our shoes are lined with lambskin, a soft, breathable, and comfortable natural material that will last much longer than synthetic materials.
To keep costs reasonable whilst still maintaining flexibility and toughness in the sole, we opt for a blake-stitched construction. We find this to be the best option, especially in Singapore where the cost of resoling a Goodyear-welted pair of shoes may come close to, or even exceed a pair of brand new shoes.
4) Lastly, any plans to introduce more shoe designs (wholecuts, monks, etc)?
S: We are constantly exploring other designs, but for now it may be best to keep our cards close to our chests and share more about them on our social media pages and website eventually.
With the surging popularity of street wear, sneakers (especially white, tennis sneakers) have become increasingly accepted as a staple of one’s formal wardrobe.
This has in turn led to the popularity of brands such as Common Projects and Axel Arigato, both known for their minimalist sneakers. However, shoes from both brands are thrice, if not quadruple the price of the Scofield Shoes Minimalist. At just S$98 SGD, I’m pleased to report that it certainly punches above its price tag!
Firstly, top grain leather is used in the uppers of the Minimalist. As we all know, leather generally comes in 3 grades of quality – genuine leather being the lowest, top grain leather, and full-grain leather being the creme de la creme. Full grain leather is prized, and desired, precisely because of the unevenness (remember, full-grain leather utilizes the upper-most portion of the hide) of the leather, leading to a more natural looking leather with deeper patina. However, Scofield Shoes has decided to go instead with top-grain leather for the minimalist to create the consistent, clean white look. With full-grain leather, there would likely be differences in textures visible, and thus Scofield Shoes opted for the next-best option – top grain leather. As compared to genuine leather, top grain leather is still superior in quality, as well as durability. However, if you are looking for full-grain leather shoes, most of Scofield Shoes other offerings (priced similarly) features full-grain leather.
Unlike most other sneakers in this price range, Scofield Shoes has elected to use lambskin lining for the Minimalist. As compared to synthetic linings commonly found, lambskin lining – being a natural material – is more breathable, and durable. Ever get the feeling that your feet feels hot after long hours of walking? Chances are, the shoes you were wearing then used synthetic linings such as polyester. With the Minimalist, the usage of lambskin lining ensures comfort, even after long hours of walking!
Rubber bar soles are used on the Minimalist. In my experience (I walked in them regularly for a month) with the shoes, the soles held up well, and has nice grip. The white soles also complements the overall minimalist looks of the shoe! Elsewhere, the stitching on the Minimalist is exquisite. I’ve held Common Projects and Axel Arigato shoes before, and I have to say the stitching on the Minimalist is right up there with them! As compared to mass market street shoes such as the Adidas Stan Smiths and Reebok Club C, the stitching on the Minimalist is definitely better.
True to its name, the Minimalist lacks branding throughout the shoe, save for a small brand name monogrammed in silver near the heel. Even so, the name is monogrammed in a subtle silver – it’s there, but it doesn’t jump out at you.
On the feet, not only is the Minimalist comfortable, they also look great! While some of the photos on the Scofield website are of them being worn with casual wear (jeans, etc), I believe that these will make a great pairing with suits as well. As we all know, dress shoes are not the most comfortable of footwear – sometimes, my feet ache after a full day of walking about in them. Pairing the Minimalist with a suit not only adds a smart casual, debonair vibe to the outfit, but also offers more comfort on the feet. Instead of the black/brown dress shoes that everybody wears, why not stand out from the crowd (literally) a tad bit with minimalist sneakers instead?
Overall, I’m very pleased with the Scofield Shoes Minimalist sneakers, especially considering the price. For less than S$100, one gets durable top-grain leather, lambskin lining for comfort, and a sleek, clean silhouette. What’s not to like?
A few months later, Scofield kindly sent me one of their best sellers -the Scofield Penny in Black- to review.
I would say that Scofield is more of a smart casual brand, rather than a strictly formal one. As such, Scofield offers more casual offerings such as loafers, boots and brogues, as compared to other similarly priced local brands such as Earnest & Collective or Arden Teal. Look at the Scofield Penny – it looks like something one would wear for a day on the yatch!
Unlike the Minimalist, full-grain leather is used in the upper construction of the Scofield Penny. As aforementioned in this article, leather generally come in three quality tiers – with full grain leather being the best in terms of quality. Full grain leather indicates that the leather was taken from the outer-most portion of the hide, thus being more durable and natural looking. Full grain leather will also patina beautifully, with the shoe looking better over time.
Like the Minimalist, the Scofield Penny utilises lamb skin for the inners of the shoes. As mentioned earlier, lamb skin is not only more durable than synthetic materials such as polyester, but also more breathable. Given that loafers can designed to be more comfortable on the feet than the more formal Oxfords, the lamb skin inner lining really enhances the comfort of the Scofield Penny! I walked all day in these, and they remain comfortable throughout.
A big aspect of the Scofield Penny’s comfort also stems from its usage of grippy rubber soles. I’ve been wearing the Penny for over a month, and so far the rubber sole has held up well. It also possesses great traction, and is definitely more comfortable to walk in as compared to leather soles. As I stated in my review of the W.H.Y & CO Qi, rubber soles do provide great benefits, especially considering Singapore’s concrete terrain and wet climate.
The stitching is quite exquisitely done here as well, and adds to the premium and luxurious look of the Scofield Penny. In particular, I quite like the “braided” stitching seen here – it kind of reminds me of ropes, the sort one might find on a boat. This pair of loafers just makes me want to chill on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with my shades on and shirt undone, sipping a Martini!
On the feet, the Scofield Penny looks great. In particular, I love how versatile they are. The Penny pairs well with formal attire (example above), with a simple pair of chinos, or even with shorts! I’ve personally worn them in a variety of outfits, with everything from a 2 piece suit to simply a polo tee and shorts. One doesn’t get that level of versatility with a pair of Oxfords, or even brogues. There’s something about a penny loafer that makes it suitable for nearly all occasions!
All in all, I think the Scofield Penny packs a lot of value for its asking price. Despite its affordable price tag, it is crafted from premium materials such as a full-grain leather upper, and lamb skin inner lining. It is also very comfortable on the feet, and looks great as well. Certainly one of my favourite affordable loafers!
Shootout: Scofield Shoes Minimalist vs Adidas Stan Smiths
The most iconic minimalist sneaker at this price range is probably the Adidas Stan Smiths. As such, those will be my comparison to the Minimalist in this shootout!
In terms of build quality, the Minimalist definitely have the upper hand over the Stan Smiths. I’m not quite sure what leather is used in the Stan Smiths, but I assume it is genuine leather – usually, such mass produced products utilises genuine leather. In contrast, the top-grain leather of the Minimalist should ensure that it is more durable, and ages better, than its Adidas counterpart. Furthermore, the Stan Smiths uses a synthetic leather lining, whilst Scofield Shoes uses a natural lambskin lining on the Minimalist. As such, the Minimalist is more breathable and comfortable than the Stan Smiths.
If you’re truly looking for a “minimalist” sneaker, the Minimalist probably does a better job of fitting that bill with its sleek, clean silhouette. There’s no branding (save for a small monogram), no other colours used – it’s neat and uniform throughout, and therefore perhaps more suited to be paired in conjunction with smart casual or formalwear. In comparison, the Stan Smiths features the face of Mr. Stan Smith on the tongue of the shoe, as well as a coloured suede piece at the back with the Adidas logo. As a result, the Stan Smiths would probably be a better choice for street wear.
All in all, which design appeals more to you depends upon your needs – if you’re lusting after a clean, sharp pair of minimalist shoes, the Minimalist is better suited for your needs! In addition, despite being S$40+ cheaper than the MSRP of the Stan Smiths, the Minimalist is arguably better built, and will probably last you longer. As such, the Scofield Shoes Minimalist is the winner of this shootout for me!
Conclusion: so the Scofield Shoes “shiok” or not?
Definitely. For the price, Scofield uses quality materials such as top-grain/full-grain leather and natural lambskin lining, which improves comfort and durability. I think Scofield is perfect for those looking for smart casual footwear, such as minimalist sneakers, loafers, brogues and boots – all of their offerings are great bang for buck.
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will entitle you to 10% off all Scofield Shoes! After the promo code, the Minimalist can be had for just S$98, while the Penny would cost just S$116. At those prices, I think they will fly off the virtual shelves in a jiffy!
View Scofield Shoes’s full range of shoes here.
Photo Credits – Dion Toh, Yap Li Yin
P.S Do check out the “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!