Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing a pair of shoes from homegrown shoe label Sunnystep.
Sunnystep is a local shoe brand that has been gaining in popularity recently – I’ve seen a bunch of influencers/Youtubers singing its praises online. So when the brand reached out for me to review its Elevate Walker (the most formal silhouette in its collection), I was more than happy to give it a try. Let’s see if it’s any good.
Sunnystep – the Brand
It is often said that necessity is the mother of all inventions, and that was certainly the case when Mao Ting founded Sunnystep in end-2018. After a wrongly-taught Pilates class caused permanent damage to Ting’s spine during her postpartum, she found simple walking and sitting a challenge. That meant that she had to give up wearing flats and heels, but she also found existing orthotic shoes too clunky and unattractive. Thus, she decided to take matters into her own hands and Sunnystep was born.
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 wider 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 success, with 9 locations nationwide (and an additional 4 booths in departmental stores).
Without any further ado, let’s step (pun intended) into the review.
Sunnystep Elevate Walker – Review
Sunnystep actually offered me a choice on the review model, and I picked the Elevate Walker as it looked the most “formal” of the bunch. I picked them up at the brand’s Orchard location, where the staff relayed that it’s a style that’s more popular amongst the younger crowd.
The Elevate Walker came in a bright orange box, and was packaged simply. I would have liked to see some accessories included in the box (e.g a shoe horn), though everything was packaged nicely and I appreciated the above-pictured brand pamphlets.
The uppers of Elevate Walker are described to be “buttery soft and flexible” that would adapt to different foot shapes. I’m pleased to report that the uppers were indeed comfortable, and surprisingly breathable. Although Sunnystep doesn’t state the exact material used, I believe it’s calfskin due to how supple the uppers felt.
The brand also states that the toebox of the Elevate Walker is made wider for the Asian fit. While it does look wide, I did not find it to be as roomy as expected. I would recommend those with wide feet to try a pair on at one of the brand’s 9 outlets first.
What I did enjoy was the extra cushioning at the heels, which is meant to prevent blisters from forming. Heel blisters are a personal pain point of mine, especially with formal shoes – I no longer wear certain dress shoes due to getting heel blisters after prolonged wear. Sunnystep also states that there’s anti-shock gel cushioning at the heels and the balls of the foot, which further enhances comfort.
However, the USP (unique selling point) of the Elevate Walker is undoubtedly its proprietary insole, which features acupressure massage points to alleviate muscle strain for long walking and standing. I found this idea interesting – I’ve always seen the elderly walking on stone trials at the park to relieve muscle pains, but have never seen insoles that incorporate the same acupuncture concept before.
After wearing the Elevate Walker for a full week – including a weekend getaway in JB – I have become a convert. It did take some time to get used to the acupuncture points in the insole, but once the initial adjustment period was over I was blown away at just how comfortable and supportive the Elevate Walker was. I can see why Sunnystep even sells the acupuncture insole separately – it’s a game changer for sure.
I also found that there’s good arch support that provides long-lasting support during long walks. This meant that the Elevate Walker was not only comfortable, but also supportive – there’s a difference between the two, and few shoes manage to deliver on both fronts.
The sole of the Elevate Walker is thicker than usual due to its anti-shock quality, and is generously grooved to provide grip even on slippery surfaces. I haven’t worn the Elevate Walker enough to attest to its durability, but so far it’s been holding up well – no complaints here.
The Elevate Walker is also surprisingly convenient and easy to maintain. Unlike most dress shoes, it’s water-resistant, easy to clean and quick-drying, as well as being anti-microbial and anti-odour. It’s also lightweight – a stark contrast to most orthopaedic shoes on the market.
Another differentiating factor is its sleek and clean look. The uppers of the Elevate Walker mimic a conventional dress shoe, which means a seamless leather upper with no visible eyelids and logo. The brown leather accents give the shoe some visual contrast, while the sneaker-like sole dresses the shoe down a tad.
That being said, the Elevate Walker is still fairly formal, and one should be able to pair it with office wear without any issues. In fact, I paired it with my recent Meiko Tailor smart casual outfit, and wore it to a Christmas party – it’s eminently versatile stylistically. I like that it straddles the line between a dress shoe and a sneaker, and thus works with both formal and casual outfits. It’s definitely one that I’ll wear often as a result.
Conclusion – so Sunnystep Elevate Walker “shiok” or not?
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 that 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.
Those interested in purchasing the Elevate Walker (or any other Sunnystep shoes) can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy $8 off all products online. After the discount, the Elevate Walker would cost just $137, making it quite a value proposition considering that most dress shoes (without orthopaedic support) are similar in price. Sunnystep has other interesting designs as well – another one I would love to take a closer look at would be the suede-esque Cloud Walker. It’s always heartening to see a Singaporean brand thrive, and with both style and substance, I’m sure Sunnystep will enjoy continued success.
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.