Buying the right pair of shoes from numerous choices in the shelves could save you a lot of time and effort for the rest of the year.

Choosing the perfect pair of shoes is a tough road for buyers. It’s even tougher for the owners filling up their retail stores with high quality footwear.

“But, there’s a bright side for hopeful customers who are trying to make the perfect choice,” said Sunil Bishnoi, an export consultant of the Hinrich Foundation. A graduate from the Footwear Design and Development Institute in Noida, India, Bishnoi had experienced working at the Reebok Footwear Development Center.

He cited some little known facts in choosing the right pair of footwear:

Shoes 1
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1. Flexible enough to walk you through

A good pair of footwear needs to be comfortable and that means it should not be like a cardboard that leaves a crack after bending. Light weight is one main advantage to support you throughout the day.

Shoes 2
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2. Well bonded for durability

Give a complete glance at the stitching work done on the shoes. It should be properly aligned.

There are also some areas we do not mostly pay attention to but need to be checked. “Are there proper eyelids, under the laces, attached? These are a few areas where a lot of strength is needed when we tightly lace up the shoes,” Bishnoi said.

Checking how the lining is used in the inner part of the shoe is also important. The socks, which are the inner parts of the shoes where we rest our feet, need to be comfortable. “The socks should not be so hard or so soft. We can check at a glance,” he said.

Adhesives need to be properly applied between the upper part of the shoe and sole. In the naked eyes, the adhesive should not be spread out. However, in the lab, a bonding test can be made to know the quality.

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3. The best fit is the best choice

Some sales persons could persuade people to purchase footwear that seemed to be half a size smaller than their size, saying the footwear can expand itself some days later.

That is what we need to avoid.

You should not choose those shoes that do not fit your size. If the shoe is comfortable at a time, it will remain comfortable. Otherwise, if the shoe is tight and you wear it, in some days, it will deform.

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4. Similar shades

For suede shoes, if they are made of low quality leather, there’s a difference of the shades between a pair of shoes. It is not usual for bigger brands, but the shoes will be rejected when detected.

“Sometimes, during the discount season, these shoes are being sold out. So, one should also check their shapes,” said Bishnoi.

5. Dig deep into the ground

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For some brands, the codes are normally written on the shoes and can tell where they were made. “The shoes that are made in specific countries have really good standards,” he said. Therefore, a customer can easily recognize a specific place that produces quality shoes.

6. Take a glance at the sole

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Soles of footwear can be made from different kinds of materials. Bishnoi advised to choose soles made of rubber, which can be much more durable than the ones made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).

“Generally rubber is used in the outsoles of sports shoes. Their midsoles can be made of EVA, which has a very good bonding between the midsole and the upper part of the shoe,” Bishnoi said.

“However, if EVA is used for outsole, it may not be as durable as it gets contact with the ground,” he added.

7. Ordering a large quantity
If you’re ordering a large quantity, it is best to test a sample of your order for quality footwear. Try physical tests of the following:

  • Thickness
  • Color
  • Grain/nap (nubuck, suede)
  • Finish and feel, softness
  • Tearing strength
  • Grain busting (key test)
  • Finish strength
  • Size of hide/skin

About the author – Juliet Shwe Gaung

Juliet Shwe Gaung

Juliet Shwe Gaung is an Export consultant for the Hinrich Fondation’s Export Trade Assistance Program  in Myanmar.

She is responsible for the foundation’s export assistance works in Myanmar and the content of the sourcing reports of Myanmar. Before that, she was a Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholar for Master of Arts in International Journalism Studies program in Hong Kong Baptist University.