Monday, July 27, 2009

on using money sensibly

I've bought 4 pairs of shoes in the last week.

This is quite an unusual event, in that it's rather difficult to find my shoe size here in Japan. Normally, shoes for women only go as large as 24.5 cm here. However, I've slowly gotten to know the stores that carry larger sizes.

Washington Appropriate (specialty branch of Washington, a Japanese shoe store) in Ginza (6F of the building that Dalloyau sits in). I only learned about this store recently, but the shoes are reasonably stylish and seem to be pretty well made. Probably on the high end of average shoe prices in Japan. Summer and winter sales periods are a good time to shop, as most shoes are on sale for half price. Even then, a pair of shoes is likely to be 10,000 yen. I heard about this shop just in time for the current sale period and in my excitement, I bought 3 pairs :) All of the shoes are quite attractive, but the loveliest pair was too stiff and gave me blisters. I had to take it to the local repair shop to have them stretch it out. Still, one pair of shoes is soft leather and is almost guaranteed to be comfortable. The last pair of shoes will probably have to be stretched and softened too.

Oriental Traffic carries larger sizes at all of their stores apparently. Shimokitazawa has a floor devoted to the larger sizes, which is much less crowded than the ground floor shop. Trendy and inexpensive shoes (many 5,000 yen shoes). Quality is what you would expect from the price, but fun styles. I think all of the shoes are made in China. I've never owned any of their shoes.

O1O1's branch next to MUJI in East Shinjuku (after Kinokuniya and on the way to Isetan) has a store in the basement devoted to Model sizes (I like their term for large sizes!). Styles are quite fashionable, and prices range from 10,000 to 20,000+ easily. Quality is average or above. I have a pair of shoes that have lasted a couple years and are still wearable. They carry a range of brands so I don't know how good the quality is in general.

Queen's 卑弥呼 is the specialty branch of the 卑弥呼 shoe manufacturer, located in Keio Mall on the basement level of the west side of Shinjuku. Styles are fashionable and prices range from 10,000 to 20,000, but the pair of shoes I got from this shop only lasted about a year of regular use. They were quite comfortable in the beginning though.

Tulsa Time in Kichijoji - for the average prices they charge, I didn't think the quality of the shoes was particularly good. Most shoes were in the 7,000 to 15,000 yen range, but of course there are less and more expensive shoes also available. Styles lean towards what is trendy for women in their mid-20s here.

There's a shoe store on the west side of Seibu Shinjuku station - coming from Shinjuku station you go out the west exit, turn right, and walk along that large street for a while before coming to the shop on the left side of the street. Styles lean towards older and less trendy fashions. The store itself feels rather old. I thought quality was so-so, and didn't end up buying anything. Price range was similar to Tulsa Time.

As a bonus, I discovered that my local shoe/bag repair shop carries Castaner sandals! Sadly they were sold out of my size, but I did find some lovely italian sandals in a soft dark brown leather for a mere 4,000. That was my fourth purchase this week, and the very best. Ridiculously cheap, classically stylish, and comfortable shoes. I may just stalk the store for their half-yearly shipments of new stock, as they make spending more money at other places look terribly nonsensical. If you wear size 35 or 37, there's a shop I can tell you about.


Janessa said...

When you say larger sizes do you mean they carry size 8 and 9?
I know this post is old but I'm dying to know!:)

kuri said...

Hi! Yup, they carry size 8 and 9. 24.5 is around a U.S. 8 1/2, so if you're size 8 you can even find your size in the regular shoe stores, but the styles available may be limited.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Finding large shoes is complicated here!

Janessa said...

Oh ok. I wear a 9 and I never find shoes!
I'm going to go and study abroad there and it'd be sad if I could only buy men's shoes.

Do you know what bra size they go up to?
I've never actually bought one there so...

Thanks :)

kuri said...

You're welcome :)

I will say that the selection of shoes is much better in the U.S., and prices are a bit cheaper too. But yes, you can find shoes to wear in Tokyo.

I think the cup sizing runs small in Japan. So a B in the U.S. is something like a C here. I'm not sure how big they go, but I think regular stores usually carry at least up to Japanese D. I find the band size also runs small - up to 80 cm maybe?

I should mention that online stores like carry larger shoe and bra sizes (and clothing sizes), so there is that option. Department stores also should have a wider range of bra sizes than the boutique-chains like Amos Style would.