I love shoes. I don’t care what type, I love love love me some shoes. My first time living in Japan for a long time, I calculated I bought so many shoes it was at least one pair every two weeks. ^_^;;
Shoe sizing in Japan
What size am I and can I buy shoes?
This converter is accurate for number sizing here
Now then there’s letter sizing for many of shoes in Japan which is as follows: S – M – L – LL
Gilfy says S to LL is: S:22.5cm ・ M:23.5cm ・ L:24.5cm ・ LL: 25cm
For example I’m an 8.5 US which makes me a 24.5 or an L in Japan. Of course this can vary from shoe to shoe, but it’s pretty truthful.
Many 109 stores only sell shoes up to an L size, but sometimes its only M. Cocolulu had a cute Nike sneaker last year and they only went up to an M, also Glad News tends to go up to an M although their M can be roomy.
So if you’re over a 9, you’re outta luck in Japan.
I’m an LL where do I shop?
Bonita in 109-2 and Shinjuku Alta carry a good selection of LL shoes. Randa (locations), however, has an amazing LL selection. Randa on Takeshita above Happy House has such a great shoe amount and plenty of booths to sit down and take your time trying on shoes.
Bonus! Both stores are pretty cheap by Japanese standards.
I want leather shoes
Most of the time, good luck on that. LDS sometimes does leather, or the most realistic fake leather I’ve ever felt. There’s also a Nine West on Omotesando, but their prices are high. Prepare to pay the price for leather.
What’s a good shoe in Japan?
They suck! They’re tilted, craggy and have guides for the blind around busy areas such as train stations. The guides for the blind are excellent and it’s amazing watching the blind navigate some of the busiest train stations on their own, but it’s hell on shoes.
The left pic shows the bars and bumps for the blind. These really hurt after a while.
Examples of good shoes and why:
Heel height: 3 inches (8 cm)
Heel height: 4 inches (10 cm)
Platfom: .5 inch (1.5 cm)
Gal tip: Remember when buying straps to buy them low the two above and not fastening at the ankle. Ankle straps make your legs look shorter.
Heel height: 2.5 inches (6.5 cm)
Heel height: 3 inches (8 cm)
I just got these resoled (more later). These have a cushioned toe base making them amazingly comfortable. The ankle strap and wedge add stability. My all time favorite sandal. Gilfy also has cushioned toe bases in all their shoes, which makes their very tall platforms pretty easy to walk in.
Three of the shoes above have been resoled and cleaned up. For about 14.0o USD it’s a great way of keeping the shoes you love looking nice. No one looks hot with busted shoes. If they’re a classic, don’t buy new just redo!
Insoles: An absolute must!
The ones on the left are my favorite. I have high arches and these provide arch support and heel comfort as well. The heel gel inserts on the left help slipping and are concealed easy in sandals. Bonita will give you free insoles if you ask for them when buying a shoe, most of the time they’re cheap and wear out but hey, they’re free and they also are usually made with charcoal to help foot odor!
Sweating and rubbing causes blisters, so Japanese heel socks are a must in the summer. Cheap Muji has several options with extra toe and heel support built in. Tip: double up if 1 pair isn’t working for you. Shinjuku store: (東京都渋谷区 神宮前 1-12-7 B1～2F, take a right after leaving the Kabukicho exit. It’s about 2 streets past Alta on the same road).
If you’re curious:
Most apartments have a shoe closet, here’s mine.
Left to right: Nike Pink Air Jordans, Brooks Running shoe
Marc by Marc flipflops, Pink havianas, Randa heels, Bonita Heels, R&E heels
Flag-J sandals, Bonita mules
I have a lot of room to fill ^_^v!