MADE IN SINGAPORE VIDEO SERIES

Made in Singapore: From tennis coach to shoemaker

ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO
ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO
ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO
ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO
ST PHOTO: AILEEN TEO

In a family of doctors, 32-year-old Joshua Leong stands out - he was a tennis coach for 12 years, before becoming what his family calls "a shoe doctor".

"I was always interested in leather crafting. I attended a shoemaking course in Florence, Italy, in 2014 and decided to do a one-year apprenticeship after that.

"When I returned to Singapore, I started my own business," he said.

The eponymous Josh Leong Shoes began in 2015. A year later, he launched a separate brand of ladies' footwear called Palola.

Among his female customers are those who have difficulty finding shoes for their different-sized feet. So they get around it by having shoes made to order.

Mr Leong takes more than 100 hours to make each pair of men's shoes, and about 40 hours for ladies' flats. Making men's shoes is a more complex process and involves more than 130 different steps, such as hand-welting the leather soles and hand polishing.

 

The prices of bespoke men's shoes start from $4,900 per pair.

Learn how Mr Leong managed to win his doctor father's support in this episode of Made in Singapore.


Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'From tennis coach to shoemaker'. Print Edition | Subscribe