Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll review the new Balance Oxford from local shoe label Sunnystep.

For those uninitiated with the brand, Sunnystep is a homegrown shoewear label that focuses on providing comfortable walking shoes. I’ve previously reviewed the Sunnystep Elevate Walker, which is one of the brand’s more formal offerings. When they came up with an “Oxford”, I knew I had to give them a go. Let’s see if the Balance Oxford is any good.

Sunnystep Balance Oxford – Review

Sunnystep describes the Balance Oxford as being “crafted for the discerning individual”. It’s available in three colourways, namely Ash, Caramel (the one I got), and Rose.

The uppers of the Balance Oxford are crafted from vegan suede microfibre leather. Sunnystep states that it’s “skin-friendly and flexible”, designed to adapt to different foot shapes with no break-in period necessary. It’s comfortable and feels soft and supple on the feet. Sunnystep even has a “100% blister-free guarantee” – that speaks volumes about the brand’s confidence in the comfort of its shoes.

The uppers are also water-repellent, allowing you to wear them comfortably even during inclement weather – the same can’t be said for traditional leather dress shoes, or casual sneakers. It’s a practical touch that I appreciated, especially in Singapore’s monsoon weather.

Another highlight is that the shoes only weigh 170g, making them significantly lighter than traditional dress shoes or sneakers. On the feet, these feel as light as a feather – I have sandals that are heavier. It’s probably the lightest pair of shoes that I own.

As with all Sunnystep shoes, the Balance Oxford comes with the brand’s signature arch support, which features acupuncture massage points that Sunnystep says “gently alleviate muscle tension all-day”. To its credit, I did find my feet being noticeably less tired as compared to traditional dress shoes, or even sneakers. However, whether that’s due to the acupuncture insole, the lightweight nature of the Balance Oxford, or just the overall comfort is uncertain – I can’t distil the effect to one particular factor, though it can certainly be a combination of all three. Interestingly, Sunnystep also sells its trademark insole individually, which means that you can theoretically purchase its insole and fit it into your existing dress shoes and sneakers.

The outsole is fashioned out of EVA rubber, and is specifically designed to provide maximum traction. I’ve worn the Balance Oxford on rainy days, and found the grip to be pretty good – I never felt like I was in danger of slipping or falling. The thick sole is quite durable as well – I’ve had the shoe for about a month, and the sole still looks like new.

Despite being relatively affordable, the Balance Oxford is well put together. Even upon close inspection, one can see that the stitching is neat without fraying or loose threads, while the provided laces are also sturdy and well-finished.

My only knock is the conspicuous branding. Sunnystep is proud of its shoes, and it shows – literally. We get the brand’s branding emblazoned on the sole, the back of the shoe, the tongue, and the insole. That’s a tad too much for my liking (especially given that the shoes are meant to be sleek and minimalistic), though it’s ultimately still a minor gripe.

The greatest strength of the Balance Oxford (and indeed, any of Sunnystep’s shoes) is its unparalleled comfort. Lightweight, roomy and with a supportive insole, the Balance Oxford is the most comfortable shoe that I’ve tried. I can walk all day in the Balance Oxford, and not feel any feet fatigue. If you’re somebody whose work requires you to be on your feet constantly (doctors, nurses, service staff, etc), then these will be a godsend.

Another strength of the Balance Oxford is its versatile style. Sunnystep states that the Balance Oxford is appropriate “from boardrooms to casual rendezvous”, and I agree. I wouldn’t wear them to the Oscars, but I find the Balance Oxford to be perfectly acceptable with smart casual clothing (such as in the photo above). They aren’t bona fide Oxfords by any stretch of the imagination but are nevertheless more sophisticated than mainstream sneakers.

Conclusion – so the Sunnystep Balance Oxford “shiok” or not?

The Balance Oxford blends form and function seamlessly, resulting in a pair of stylish but practical walking shoes. Its lightweight, water-resistant nature lends practicality, while the brand’s trademark insole relieves feet fatigue efficiently. And while there are plenty of walking shoes in the market, the Balance Oxford differentiates itself from other orthopaedic shoes by looking cool. It’s sleek enough for most workplaces, and pairs well with both formal and casual clothing.

Those interested in purchasing the Balance Oxford (or any other Sunnystep shoes) can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy $8 off all products online. After the discount, the Balance Oxford would cost just $137, making it quite a value proposition considering that most dress shoes/sneakers (without orthopaedic support) are similar in price. Sunnystep is clearly onto something, as the homegrown brand has expanded to a whopping 12 stores nationwide. As I mentioned in my sightonomy review, it’s always heartening to see a Singaporean brand do well – local brands need all the support they can get.

View the Balance Oxford here.
View the full range of Sunnystep’s offerings here.

P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.

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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.