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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Shoetree.sg - A Review of Quality Shoe Care Products in Singapore

Quality dress shoes are expensive, but they can last decades - especially if they are cared for properly. I used to think nothing about the maintenance of my shoes, until i started buying leather shoes that cost more than a few hundred - shoes that would be too expensive to throw away.

This was when i started to wonder how i could properly maintain and extend their lifespan, effectively stretching that dollar on the 'investment'.

That’s where shoe trees and proper leather polishing/nourishing products come in. Some men look at these wooden shoe inserts as an unnecessarily expensive purchase, but shoe trees are crucial to keeping shoes in amazing shape as they age.

Here's why.

DO I NEED SHOE TREES?


Our feet sweat throughout the day, and the leather and lining of our shoes absorb all that moisture. This can cause the lining to rot, your shoes to smell, and the leather to crack over time, thereby ruining your expensive footwear.

A shoe tree holds a shoe in its proper shape so it dries out correctly, and keeps the leather from cracking by wicking away moisture. The absorbent wood also helps dry out the lining of shoes so that they don’t rot from the inside out.

Long story short: Shoe trees are a whole lot cheaper than a new pair of nice shoes, and will keep your current pair in excellent condition for years.

I would highly recommend spending on a good pair of shoe trees if your shoes cost more than $200. Quality shoe trees will have ventilation slots at the toe to help dissipate moisture, a longer, crafted heel, and contain more wood for better drying and odor control. They will also ensure the closest possible fit between the shoe and tree. This is necessary to maintain the shape of the shoe as well as to absorb moisture.

(Pro tip: When the smell of the cedar starts to fade, you can lightly sand the shoe tree to bring it back.)

WHERE CAN I GET GOOD QUALITY SHOE CARE PRODUCTS?


This is the most common question about shoe trees and products, especially when everything is so expensive in Singapore. I remember back in 2007 when i started sourcing for cedar shoe trees, they were really hard to find and the ones i found would cost $70-100 per pair.

The folks at Shoetree.sg seem to have realised this gap and have sent me some of their products to review. They are the Cedar Shoe Tree in Sz 39, Saphir Pommadier Cream Shoe Polish and the Japanese Oakwood Shoe Horn.



Firstly, Saphir makes excellent quality shoe care products and i highly recommend the Renovateur and the Pommadier Cream for your shoes. Shoetree.sg literally sells them at cost and provides free delivery! 😍

Next up, the Cedar Shoe Tree. I was pleasantly surprised by the unmistakable smell of quality Cedarwood and even more impressed by the sizing and fit. The sz 39 *(please check out their size charts) fit like a glove on my Loake shoes. The spring loaded mechanism on the exterior side ensured that the shoe retains its shape - an important aspect of a quality shoe tree. Aesthetically, the brass knobs on the top of the shoe tree adds a nice touch to your shoes when it does its job of wicking the moisture whilst sitting in your cabinet.





Last by definitely not least is the Japanese Oak shoe horn. I personally like to sit on my ottoman to wear my dress shoe but this shoe horn would be a great addition for those who wear slip-ons, loafers and moccasins.


Summary


It would be ideal to have a shoe tree in every nice (expensive) pair of shoes you own, but it’s not absolutely necessary as long as you rotate your shoes and shoe trees throughout the week. 

But if you’re a huge fan of all your shoes or have a vast collection of expensive footwear, then buy a shoe tree for every single pair. At the $35 price point, there is practically nothing else i can recommend. If you haven't got one, i would highly recommend you try the ones by shoetree.sg - your feet, wallet and shoes will thank you for it! 



Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Borderlinx - How to Ship UK Purchases to Singapore

Sugar Spice Everything Borderlinx


Shopping on the UK websites provide great value with the recent weakness of the GBP. However, there are some sites that do not accept international credit cards nor ship to destinations outside the UK.

I wanted to get a pair of Adidas NMD sneakers for my wife but there was no stock available in Singapore. I discovered that UK Footlocker still held stock of the shoe in her size. So i went about trying to find ways to buy from a UK site that did not accept Singapore credit cards, nor ship directly to Singapore.

This is where i chanced upon the Borderlinx concierge service. In essence, it provides a 'personal shopper' service for a 5% fee (off the total value of goods). In addition, Borderlinx provides shipping service back to Singapore.

So if you need to buy something from the UK in a similar fashion, you have the option to use the Borderlinx Concierge service.

Lets talk about how we can proceed with the orders before i give you a summary of my personal experience.

Sign Up for a Borderlinx account


Register an account with Borderlinx and setup your home address.

Create a Concierge Order


Access your account, select "Make a concierge order" and click "Place a new order".

Borderlinx Concierge
Fill in the details (Example Screenshot below)

Borderlinx Concierge - Add fields

Save the item and you will be brought to the order payment page.

Make the payment


Payment has to be made before the product will be purchased by Borderlinx. Typically you will use a Credit Card. Do note that you will incurr the usual cross-border and currency rate (GBP vs SGD) on your credit card. 

In addition, there is a 'contingency' charge. This fee is 'blocked' on your credit card just in case there is a slight price difference from the input price of the product. As its name suggest, you will not be charged unless there is a difference (increase in price).
Borderlinx Concierge - Order Details

Payment for shipping to Singapore


When the product is purchased by Borderlinx, you will see an update on your concierge order status that says "Status: Order placed and accepted by merchant". Once this step is completed, the merchant will ship your order to the Borderlinx warehouse.

When your purchases reach Borderlinx, you will then need to make a final payment, for shipping to Singapore. The cost of shipping will depend on the weight of your purchase. For my case, it is as shown below (3.78kg):

Borderlinx Concierge - Order Summary


Borderlinx Concierge - Weight of Shoes

As you can see, i was charged GBP $36.16 for a shipped weight of 3.78 kg.

Once the shipping costs are paid, Borderlinx will proceed to ship the purchase to Singapore, via DHL - to your desired home address. 

You can track the shipment history in your concierge menu -> "My Account" -> "Shipment History". 
Borderlinx Concierge - Shipment History

Summary


I paid a total of GBP 139.99 + GBP 36.16 (Shipping). This translates to about S$315 at the currency rate i paid on my credit card. These shoes retail for about S$299 in Adidas Singapore, assuming you are willing to brave the long queues at the retail store and lucky enough to get one in your size.

The total time taken from entry of the concierge order to purchase of the shoes from UK Footlocker is 3 business days. Shipping via DHL by Borderlinx was fast and it took about 2-3 days before it was delivered to my doorstep in Singapore. Package was well packed and arrived in immaculate condition.

My overall experience with Borderlinx was pleasant but i was slightly disappointed at the high costs of shipping, which translate to about GBP 4.5 per 500g. Thankfully the favorable exchange rates helped to reduce my total costs. Most importantly, my wife loved the pair of shoes! :)

Note: This is not a sponsored post