Number one rule about living in the tropics: don't wear shoes that will soak up water like a sponge. An espadrille is a case in point. If caught in the rain with one of those, expect to toss them after. They'll smell and no amount of drying with deodorizers will return them to their natural state.
Suede is another material I have foresworn. I put away my suede loafers and pumps when I returned to the tropics. Then they got moldy, so I ended up spending more money! Curses on thee, humidity!
Lately, my basic shoe choices are my clunky Naot black sandals, bought on a splurge a few years ago in DC, and two pairs of ballerina flats (a pair in black and a pair in brown) from Via Venetto. VV can customize a pair of choice so long as they have the last. And they've been churning out ballet flats for generations so it was easy enough to tell them what style and color I want.
Shoe shopping in Asia can be a horrible experience. I'm a size 10 (US), and most shops in Asia don't know what a size 10 is. Over the years, I've had to deal with the innumerable annoying suggestions from sales personnel to try the size 9, when they don't have a 10. Sometimes I ignore them, other times I put them in their places with well deserved scorn. In the past, I'd anticipate my US trips just to buy shoes. Books and shoes, my luggage would be packed with both. Favorite shoe binging destinations are Nordstrom Rack, Filene's or Macy's, Saks, and those wonderful shoe outlets up and down the West Coast.
These days, I'm committed to buying local shoes, especially if Via can support my needs. On my wishlist are a fantastic pair of stacked maryjanes, another black pump (the basic work shoe), and perhaps, one day, a customized knee high brown boot (that won't be much good in the tropics either, but it's more of a dreamshoe than anything else).