5 mistakes Singaporean men make when buying formal shoes, according to a men’s shoe expert

It turns out, buying and caring for formal shoes is a tricky business.
Facebook/Vincitore Shoes

Thinking of buying new shoes for work?

While many millennial men now choose and buy their own formal shoes, many still make mistakes when it comes to buying and caring for these shoes, particularly expensive pairs made of leather, according to Nita Chauhan, the founder of luxury men’s shoe brand Vincitore Shoes.

Chauhan, 49, who currently owns two stores in Millennia Walk and Mandarin Gallery (and a third in the upcoming Raffles Hotel), shared with Business Insider her top tips on what to avoid when buying and caring for formal shoes.

Here are the top five mistakes she identified that Singaporean men tend to make:

#1: They go shoe shopping while wearing slippers


While it’s not wrong to wear slippers to the store, unless you always have a spare pair of socks on hand, you should skip the flip-flops.

Since the fit of the shoes is important, you should always try both sides of your new shoes while wearing socks, Chauhan insists.

She cautioned that trying on just one side of the shoe – or worse, trying them without socks – could affect your judgement on the fit and comfort level.

Shoes that are too big can take too much effort to keep on your feet, and could affect your lower back, she added.

#2: They don’t condition their shoes – or they reuse the shoe polish left over from NS


Conditioning is an often overlooked step, Chauhan says, adding that the ideal frequency is to condition leather shoes once every fortnight. This extra step involves rubbing shoe conditioner into the leather to remove dust and dirt. 

Scuffs and scratches in the shoes that cannot be removed during conditioning should be covered up with a leather shoe cream that’s the same colour as the shoe – but Chauhan cautions not to choose the leather polish that’s used for National Service (NS) boots: “It won’t help at all,” she says.

#3: They don’t care if the shoes get wet in the rain


New leather shoes should be coated with a layer of leather protector, Chauhan recommends. This prevents the shoes from being damaged.

But what if you forgot – then went out in the rain and got them soaking wet? Chauhan says the best solution is to place the shoes in the back of the fridge to dry.

If that’s simply too disgusting, dry them at an angle – such as on a step – for increased elevation. Last, condition them to soften back the leather.

#4: They don’t use shoe trees 


It is a misconception that shoe trees cause shoes to stretch out: in fact, shoe trees are a must, Chauhan says, because they help the shoes keep their shape.

Shoe trees made made from cedar wood are the best, as they absorb perspiration and release a fragrance that keeps the shoes smelling nice. More budget choices include shoe trees made of cheaper types of wood, plastic, or foam.

#5: They don’t replace the worn out bits


To make a pair of shoes last as long as possible, replace the soles and the rubber portion on the heels from time to time, Chauhan advises. Given Singapore’s humid weather, the best choice would be to go for shoes with stitched soles, which hold up better.

She also cautions against getting a pair of shoes that’s too cheap, as cheap shoes will not last as long and are often made with low quality material, such as synthetic leather, which does not last as long.

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