How To: Buying shoes in Korea

Most of us know about buying clothes in Korea (think Ewha, Express Bus Terminal etc.), but one item that we never really expected to buy from this country was shoes.

I didn’t know about it also, until my friend brought me to one of the shoe shops in Wangsimni and I was mind-blown. It’s not just the Korean brands, or the small shoe shops you find in the neighbourhoods; we’re talking about famous brands like Adidas and Nike, going for retail prices you’d never expect to see in Singapore.

Another thing I can vouch for about shoes you buy in Korea is that they are SO HARDY. My tour guide once told me that shoes sold in Korea are made to withstand weather extremes, be it the hottest summers or coldest winters. Just imagine the temperature difference that these shoes have to endure, and this doesn’t seem so unbelievable anymore, right? Plus, I’ve never seen loose soles on the street before, like virtually no one’s shoes come apart in public – can’t vouch the same for mine in SG :’)

Here, I share a few shoe shops you should definitely look out for, and will update the list accordingly when I get hold of more information!


SHOOPEN

19 000 won = ~SGD23
29 900 won = ~SGD36

Let’s start with a Korean brand/shop. It’s called “South Korea’s number 1 Fast Fashion Shoes & Accessories brand”, and it’s not a lie. They also have stores in Malaysia – so my Malaysian readers will be familiar with SHOOPEN!

Granted, some of these designs are very similar to their famous counterparts (2nd photo resembles Converse, right). I didn’t buy any from Korea, but I actually bought a pair of flats from their Malaysia store (if you see the 1st photo, it’s the pair of flats with a ribbon on top) – it’s my favourite pair of flats, and still going strong.

One thing that I didn’t really like in the Korean stores is that they only have awkward sizing available for the items on sale, so unless you have an uncommon shoe size, it’s unlikely that you will find something on sale that fits you.

For more information on prices, you can check here.


ABC-MART

Source
65 000 won = ~SGD79
65 400 won = ~SGD79
59 000 won = ~SGD71

This is actually a Japanese footwear company, founded that has stores in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. I don’t know what the prices in Japan and Taiwan are like, but the ones in Korea are seriously fantastic. They always seem to be having a sale all year round – they probably just mean that their shoes at always selling at discounted prices.

You can get a pair of Adidas Superstars for around SGD80, and Stan Smith at SGD71. Talk about a hefty discount. If you are buying from the official Adidas store in Singapore, it will set you back about SGD140 for both (the websites are running discounts now though, so I took the original retail price to be accurate). Plus, they don’t only come in ridiculously small or large sizes, or with defects – the kind that you find at warehouse sales.

Do note that prices tend to differ across different outlets at different times of the year (their sales are very inconsistent, don’t ask me why), so it’s best to compare prices across a few areas before you make your purchase!

For more information on prices, you can check here.


LesMore

Source

59 000 won = ~SGD72

I’m hazarding a guess here, but LesMore is a Korean shoe retailer – if I’m not wrong. It is also very prominent in a lot of shopping areas, but the difference between LesMore and ABC-Mart is that the shoe models sold here tend to be older, and hence cheaper.

The newer models aren’t super cheap (in my opinion), but if you are looking for a sturdy pair of shoes from a reliable brand that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, you can always count on LesMore.

I bought a pair of Adidas Court Vantage from LesMore at 39 000 won – I can’t seem to find it on the Adidas Singapore page, so I don’t have a point of comparison.

For more information on prices, you can check here.

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