Stylish soles: Always on even heels

Mr Stanley Chen does not believe in spending more than $1,000 on a pair of shoes.
Mr Stanley Chen does not believe in spending more than $1,000 on a pair of shoes.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Investment advisor Stanley Chen gets hot under the collar seeing men walk about in shoes with worn heels. "Uneven heels just look unpresentable. That's also how I know that the person probably has only one pair of dress shoes," says the 34-year-old.

It is unlikely that he will ever be caught in such a situation - he owns 14 pairs of dress shoes from labels such as Ed Et Al, Paul Smith, Carmina and Salvatore Ferragamo. He puts his entire shoe collection at about 25 - sneakers mostly make up the rest.

He says that he started paying more attention to how his feet were shod when he began working about seven years ago. Before that, he would spend at most $100 on dress shoes from department stores. His first big shoe purchase was a pair of made-to-order oxfords from a shoemaker in Shanghai that cost $300.

"When I check people out, I look at them from top to bottom, that's why I know shoes are important if you want to look well-groomed," he says.


Quality is what determines his purchases and not brand names. He notes that well-known brands do not necessarily produce the best shoes.

The prudent Mr Chen adds that he is reluctant to spend more than $1,000 on a pair.

Which is a good thing seeing how much he loves shoes.

Mr Chen, who is engaged, says: "Whenever I go out shopping, I find myself looking at shoes. It is hard to splurge on clothes because apart from suits, other things don't last for that long even if you take good care of them."

His favourite pair is one from Paul Smith that looks like a cross between shoes and sandals and which he describes as rather "quirky-looking".

But come the weekends, Mr Chen exchanges his formal footwear for something more comfortable - Havaianas flip-flops. He owns about six pairs.

"I'm already in shoes and socks five days a week, by the weekend, I think my feet deserve a break."

A version of this story first appeared in the November 2015 issue of The Life e-magazine in The Straits Times Star E-books app.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Always on even heels'. Print Edition | Subscribe