New Balance, Asics or Adidas? How SAF selects running shoes and other personal gear for the military

Once these evaluations are completed, the final factor is the cost of the shoes.

“We will then open the price envelope and do a comparison,” said ME6 Tan, stressing that the procurement process does not depend on price alone.

“With a good price mix and our assessment, we make sure that, as a baseline, everything meets our cardinal requirements. Then, through certain measures, we will then select the product that offers the best value for money.”

New Balance and Asics shoes cost S$43.55 and S$35.90 respectively at the SAF e-mart. While service members may choose to wear other brands, SAF-selected models are sold at less than retail prices. They can be paid in cash or on credit.


The same panel then makes the final decision on the shoes selected. Current practice is to select two models — for high-arch and low-arch feet — to cater to two “distinct” groups of runners, ME6 Tan said.

“(The decision is made by) a full board…so it’s definitely fair. We have a report that we also file to make sure that everything we say is backed by data and that the things are done in a transparent and fair manner,” he added.

ST Logistics will then enter into a buy-on-demand agreement with the supplier, which means they will buy the shoes in bulk based on a “steady flow of demand”, such as when new recruits enlist each quarter. .

“It basically reduces the need for storage,” said ME6 Tan, pointing out that it minimizes the storage space needed.

“You have to know that running shoes have a lifespan. If we buy too many of them (without people using them), the rubber (on the soles) will deteriorate and all that.”

The procurement process, from issuing the call for tenders to delivering the product, takes about a year.

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