I got a new pair of summer shoes this week and although that might not seem blog-worthy, when you are living in Japan, are 190cm tall and wear size 13’s (31cm) it really is a big deal. Last time I was out of the country it was still winter/spring so I bought a new pair of shoes for casual use: a really nice pair of Adidas skate shoes on sale from the online store. But that was during cool weather when a slightly heavier shoe was a nice thing. Enter summer, early July and already into the 35C plus daily weather for several weeks now. Those skate shoes are no longer something that I can comfortably wear all day, nor have my Cons survived the heavy use all spring. Time to head down to the store and buy some new shoes? If only it were so easy.
It turns out that although there were plenty of shoes around my size this winter in Japan surprisingly enough this trend did not continue into summer. In fact, I can still buy fall/winter casual hiking shoes in my size but if I want something designed for temperatures over 20C I am out of luck at most retailers. I can also buy imported leather dress shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, track shoes or marathon runners on occasion with a bit of searching. None of these really suit my summer style nor are actually that good for walking around the city in the summer on the hot asphalt. In Japan men’s shoe sizes end at about 28-29cm (about size 10), so the top of the range here is close to the average in North America. Socks here generally range from 25-27cm (about size 8.5 or 9) on average, so socks are generally out for me too. If only I were more average.
Checking online I discovered that I can order custom Adidas or Nike shoes in a reasonable range of sizes from Japan and I can even customize them to my liking! This sounded great until I checked and found that the expected delivery dates were in 4 weeks or so, half way through the summer. Buying shoes this way will be great for the future but I need shoes roundabout now.
Off to Harajuku I go, making a run to the Nike Harajuku flagship store. Surely they must have something I can buy! I finally managed to find a staff member who wasn’t wasting time hitting on girls who weren’t looking to buy shoes and asked about shoes in my size. It turns out they had one pair of shoes in one colour in my size in store! Yay! I bought them like they were the last pair of shoes in the world and I am now the proud owner of a pair of red, white and black Nike Free Run+ 2 barefoot style running shoes. I am finding them very comfortable and light. Just what I needed for summer. If not for these barefoot runners I might have really been barefoot!