Adventures in Shoe Land and the $3500 shoe

Fang66

New Member
As some of you may have read I've been hunting shoes in Tokyo. Over the last two day the prey has grown tantalisingly close yet ever elusive.

On Monday and Tuesday I went to several shoe stores and had varying experiences. On Monday I went to Big-Ten Shoes in Nishishinjuku, Washington, Trading Post and Lloyd in Ginza then Takashimaya in Shinjuku. Tuesday I went to E.Zegna and Isetan in Shinjuku.

Big-ten turned out to be a good scource for sports shoes, they also had some of the lesser quality Regals and a whole bunch of starts with C and ends with rap.

Washington in Ginza was a completely different experience and somewhere worth a visit even if you're not looking to buy. They stock most of the top English makers that are popular amongst the aficionados on this forum as well as some very nice Italian shoes plus Regals, Scotch Grain and another top Japanese maker the name of which I can't recall but were extremely beautiful (and expensive) shoes. The sales assistant was an older gentleman and I use the term advisedly as he truly was a class act. First he measured my foot with a sliding wooden ruler and a tape measure then advised me that I would fit a 10 extra wide or 10.5 wide(Japanese shoes are already wide) and laughed that I had a Japanese proportioned foot that had just grown too big. Apparently my foot is narrow at the heel and wide at the ball of the foot which is common in Japan. He said that the only foreign made shoe in stock that might fit me was one model of C&J but he was sceptical. I tried them on and I can see why people here recommend them they are very nice however, they were just too tight. I asked about Japanese makers and he showed me a pair of Japanese made shoes that actually fit well but they were too expensive. The sales guy was totally cool about my having taken up his time and recommended that I visit a store called Lloyd. It just happened that Lloyd was almost next to Trading Post.

Next stop was Trading Post, stockists of A&E and Trickers. I have to say that I didn't have a good experience there. The staff were total young punks and either snobs or racists. I was also not impressed by A&Es, they are obviously well made shoes but I really didn't like the styles that they had in stock. I don't want to be too critical because it is a matter of taste however I will say that the Park Avenues looked like something that Herman Munster would wear. I asked the staff if I could try something on and they brought out their largest shoe a 10E which they plonked on the counter and then proceeded to start chatting with each other in the corner of the store. I tried the 10E but It was too tight so I asked the guys to measure my foot in case I wanted to order. The size they came up with was 8.5D and they insisted that it was correct even though I'd almost busted out of the 10E. Didn't even bother trying any other brands as I just wanted to get out of the place.

Lloyd turned out to be a one brand shop called Lloyd Footwear of England If I recall correctly. Hadn't heard of them before but they had a very nice range of shoes in many styles and priced from around 18000 yen (regular dept store priced shoe) to 70/80000 yen for Goodyear Welted Shell Cordovans. To my inexperienced eye I'd say that the top of the range was on par with C&J. the sales guy here was also young however he had a totally different attitude to the Trading Post fellas. He was more like the gent in Washington and really went out of his way to help me. He also started out by measuring my foot came out the same result as Washington. I tried on their largest shoe which was also a 10E it was too tight but I was getting frustrated and they were fantastic looking shoes so I was contemplating buying them anyway. I asked the guy if they might stretch to fit but he didn't think they would stretch enough and convinced me that if I was going to buy nice expensive shoes that I should get a good fit so he basically argued himself out of a sale for my benefit.

Last stop on Monday was Takashimaya in Shinjuku. It's a big department store and has several floors of men's wear. I didn't try on anything there but they stock all the good Japanese brands and many Italian makers, didn't notice any U.S. or U.K. brands. I'd say that it's worth a visit if you're near bye but wouldn't make a special trip.

Tueday saw me working in Shinjuku so I took the opportunity to drop into Isetan and happened to pass the E.Zegna store where I discovered the most overpriced objects I'd ever seen in my life. 350 000 yen for a pair of shoes! That's 3 and a half Grand in Yankee Dollars COME ON! with a capital everything. They were pretty nice shoes up there with the best I'd seen in the past two days but what the F!

So off to Isetan I run, I won't go into details except to say that it's worth a visit, shoes, shoes and more shoes and all top quality. You wouldn't buy anything from outside Japan there but if you just have to have a couple of pairs of Regals or Scotch Grain to add to your collection then I highly recommend Isetan. The staff are friendly and professional, you won't get the same personalised service as at Washington or Lloyd but they know their stuff. I'm seriously considering a pair of Scotch Grain, to my neophyte eye they just seem a notch above Regal.

Wow that's the longest post I've made on any forum in years must have been infected by the shoe bug.
 

deanayer

Super Member
Do you get back to the states often? If so I would say stock up here when you do because you will likely have better luck and maybe a better price as well.
 

chotzo

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Haha...this reminds me of business trip I took to Tokyo a year or two ago.

I realized I needed a a soft walking shoe for an upcoming tour of Kyoto.

I thought I would easily be able to find a nice stylish walking shoe in a size 10us. It's Tokyo right? Most of the shoe salesman looked at me in horror when I walked in the door. You would of thought I was Godzilla....lol

10 seems to be the absolute limit in most shoe stores in Tokyo and they are always very narrow.

I was finally able to find an ugly Adidas Tennis Shoe in 10 Extra Extra Wide at the Adidas store in Ginza I think....:(...and even then they were kind of tight!

I learned to always make space in my luggage for extra shoes...
 

Fang66

New Member
Do you get back to the states often? If so I would say stock up here when you do because you will likely have better luck and maybe a better price as well.

Actually I'm Australian. I rarely travel outside Japan, maybe once every 2 3 years.
 

Fang66

New Member
What is your Japanese or even European size, then look at this chart (https://www.dancesport.uk.com/shoes/conchart.htm) it should give your UK size. Did they say your size for C&J would be 8.5

https://www.pediwear.co.uk sell C&J and Tricker's, any queries about width they would also be able to help. They sell internationally, so you do not have to inflated Japanese prices.

Japanese size 28 EEE, US size 10 extra wide or 10.5 wide. I know that US and UK sizes are different but I couldn't feel much difference between the A&E 10E and the C&J 10 wide (don't know the letter for UK wide)

Yes I'm going to go the online route however there is a 30% import duty plus 5% G.S.T plus postage so it probably won't be that much cheaper. I've already checked out pediwear.
 

Fang66

New Member
I was finally able to find an ugly Adidas Tennis Shoe in 10 Extra Extra Wide at the Adidas store in Ginza I think....:(...and even then they were kind of tight!

I learned to always make space in my luggage for extra shoes...

If you were able to find a size 10 sports shoe in any kind of regular shoe store in japan then you're a better man than I Gunga Din.
 

chotzo

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Haha....I was pretty desperate at that point...the salesman looked at me with polite sadness and said he would look for me in the back for something that might fit....after half an hour he finally came back with my shoes.

He said something like "these are only ones"...I tried them on and succumbed to the karmic inevitability of being the "gaijin" tourist with white sneakers clomping all over Japan....lol

I would suggest looking in Roppongi, as that is the most gaijin friendly part of Tokyo. You might find something there,....maybe Harajuku as the kids in Japan are almost as big as western kids...keep looking!!!
 

rlp271

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Asia in general is kind of a black hole for larger sized shoes. Anything 10 and up is considered large size, and most places that import expensive shoes (EG, John Lobb, etc.) won't import them above a size 10, because they don't think people with feet that large will buy them (ie foreigners). I run into the same problem in Korea, and I'm Korean! Anyways, if you are living in Japan, they will have stores for "large size" shoes. This will include athletic shoes and oxfords and the like. Just don't expect them to be great quality. Try to find out where the foreign district is where you live, if there is one.
 

Fang66

New Member
Haha....I was pretty desperate at that point...the salesman looked at me with polite sadness and said he would look for me in the back for something that might fit....after half an hour he finally came back with my shoes.

He said something like "these are only ones"...I tried them on and succumbed to the karmic inevitability of being the "gaijin" tourist with white sneakers clomping all over Japan....lol

I would suggest looking in Roppongi, as that is the most gaijin friendly part of Tokyo. You might find something there,....maybe Harajuku as the kids in Japan are almost as big as western kids...keep looking!!!

Reminds me of trying to buy clipless cycling shoes here. After futile attempts to squeeze into the biggest shoes in current stock, the guy went into the back room for about 15 minutes finally coming out with a box actually covered in dust and pulled out the ugliest brightest yellow shoes you've ever seen, but they fit! So if you ever see a cyclist in Tokyo whose feet look like spinning safety lights, that's me :icon_smile_big:
 

Fang66

New Member
I would suggest looking in Roppongi, as that is the most gaijin friendly part of Tokyo. You might find something there,....maybe Harajuku as the kids in Japan are almost as big as western kids...keep looking!!!

I'm a long term resident of Japan and have found sources for most types of shoes now, just not quality dress shoes. I can get cheap dress and business shoes but they are uuuuugly. Most shoes stores have a 'Big' corner, they should change the name to cheap and ugly corner.:crazy:
 

misterdonuts

Senior Member
Yep, the people at Lloyd take their business very seriously. They've been around for a bit over 25 years. I suspect that Grenson might be their manufacturers but can't say for certain.

Have you tried browsing at Otsuka in Shimbashi? (https://www.otsuka-shoe.com/brand/M-5/m5-map.html) They also have various MTO and bespoke services, if you so fancy. FWIW, I believe they are also the local distributors for Grenson.

Happy hunting,
md
 

Fang66

New Member
Yep, the people at Lloyd take their business very seriously. They've been around for a bit over 25 years. I suspect that Grenson might be their manufacturers but can't say for certain.

Have you tried browsing at Otsuka in Shimbashi? (https://www.otsuka-shoe.com/brand/M-5/m5-map.html) They also have various MTO and bespoke services, if you so fancy. FWIW, I believe they are also the local distributors for Grenson.

Happy hunting,
md

Thanks for the tip, I'll check out the store next time I'm in the area.
 

misterdonuts

Senior Member
Perhaps you've spotted it already, but there is a shoe porn magazine called LAST that might be a useful source of information -- even if you cannot read Japanese all that well, the photos and the featured products are really quite good. As might be expected, much of the content is focussed on English and Italian makes but, as most local publications like to do, they allocate much column space to who sells what where in Japan, which could be of interest to you -- and the marques.
 

Fang66

New Member
Perhaps you've spotted it already, but there is a shoe porn magazine called LAST that might be a useful source of information -- even if you cannot read Japanese all that well, the photos and the featured products are really quite good. As might be expected, much of the content is focussed on English and Italian makes but, as most local publications like to do, they allocate much column space to who sells what where in Japan, which could be of interest to you -- and the marques.

Thanks for the tip, I'll try to find that mag.

I think though that I've been to most stores that purport to sell larger size quality shoes. I've just about decided on getting a couple of pairs of Scotch Grain. I couldn't find the styles I like in my size at Isetan but, they do make them so I'll head over to the main Scotch Grain store in Shimbashi sometime this week. It's Golden Week Yataa!

My second option at the moment is Regal MTM however, I've heard that the quality of Regal has dropped over the last few years, hoping that's not the case for MTM.
 

tokyogator

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Also check out Queen Classico in Shin Maru on 4F. They are/were having a 10% MTO shoe fair. I ordered a pair for around 35,000 yen that will be ready at the end of May.
 

Fang66

New Member
Also check out Queen Classico in Shin Maru on 4F. They are/were having a 10% MTO shoe fair. I ordered a pair for around 35,000 yen that will be ready at the end of May.

Do tell Mr Gator I haven't heard of the Brand or the shop. Where, What What?? :icon_smile_big:
 

misterdonuts

Senior Member
I'm curious too. Is it at Shinjuku Marui? Queen Classico as a brand name for men's footwear, or men's anything, is somewhat unorthodox. It reminds me of this chap's name. Makes me wonder what his parents were thinking...:icon_smile_big:
 

tokyogator

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Shin Maru on 4F.
By Shin Maru I meant the Shin Marunouchi building near Tokyo station. 1 or 2 of the floors is dedicated to men's clothing with both MTM and Bespoke services available. Lots of small shops is a nice alternative to the bigger department stores


Queen Classico
I meant to put a link in my previous post. Here is the link. It appears it is a Kobe based shop with a shop in Marunouchi and Yurakucho.
https://queen-classico.com/03_newitem/index.html#A002

I was impressed with the service and selection. The Sunday I was there they had someone from the factory in the shop working on a pair of the MTO shoes. I didn't realize it, but a lot of handwork goes into those even they are not technically "handmade". Since everything, including the leather, is sourced in Japan they can do it for the reasonable price.

Part of the reason import (leather) shoes are so expensive in Japan is that they get hit with a 40% import duty.

There are also two neat stores on in Ginza that have a great selection of Made in Japan shoes. They also have a MTO service, but it runs in the 100,000's of yen. But the sevice is good and they are happy to do fittings even if you don't buy there. I'll try to find links and post them as stob-by's on your adventure!
 

tokyogator

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
'll try to find links and post them
Here is the only link I could find. It is in Ginza 1-chome near the expressway on the Yurakucho side. They do MTO and Bespoke. Nice old-world charm to it.
https://www.footwear.co.jp/

Similar to you, I have travelled many of the shops in search of a narrow shoe. In many cases with little luck. However, the now infamous Queens Classico has several widths in the MTO shoes--I got a B width--they may have the wider widths you are looking for as well.
 
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