Big-size shoes in Japan are not exactly the easiest thing in the world to find. In fact, even in the capital city of Tokyo where most of Japan’s foreigners reside, the quest to find well-fitting footwear for the tall man or woman can be an arduous one. To make matters worse, while other articles of clothing may just be uncomfortable, ill-fitting shoes can actually have an impact on your health by interfering with your natural locomotion, and consequently put unnecessary stress on your feet, ankles, knees, and even back. This in turn can impact everything from your exercise routines to how well you sleep; especially if you live in a big city and spend a fair amount of time on your feet. As a function of this, whether you are looking for shoes to work in, or shoes to play in, you should take the time to find ones that fit.
Large size shoes for men
As a 6’2″ 200+ lbs foreign male (with size 12 feet), this is a battle I am well-accustomed to myself. As with any difficult situation however, there are ways around it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few good shops to go to. Among spots in Tokyo, the best I’ve found has been Big B Shoes, located right next to Gotanda station on the Yamanote line (you can actually see it from the platform).
The selection out there is pretty extensive (ranging from dress to athletic shoes) and they cater to people who are a size 27 (10.5 US) and up. It can be a bit on the expensive side (I paid about 10,000 yen for a pair of Nike Air Force 1s) but it was well worth it to be able to find something in my size that was actually stylish. Other places to look include Kutsu no Hikari (which has 5 locations including Shinjuku 5 Chome, Kawasaki and Okachimachi), and Himaraya in Kiba where I was also able to find shoes in my size. In general, if you shop for basketball shoes, you will have a much easier time finding larger sizes, as they tend to run bigger anyway. For whatever reason, steel-toe shoes and boots are also a good option, even if the size listed are not larger. For my tohoku relief efforts, I got a pair of 29cm shoes that were lightweight and large enough to fit two pairs of thick work socks on under them, and still be quite comfortable.
Large size shoes for women
For women, one of the best resources for big-size shoes I’ve heard of is 912 Shop. Insomuch as I know, they are the only shop providing large-sized shoes for women in Japan that has complete English service. Additionally, as it is a web shop, transactions can be done from the comfort of your own home, and they deliver anywhere in the country (and recently even to other places in Asia). Their delivery service is also excellent and in Tokyo, its often next day. Additionally, for those without a credit card, they also have cash-on-delivery payment options as well.
At present, they do not stock athletic shoes, but they do have a wide range of boots, dress and casual shoes, and recently they have also started to stock some hard-to-find small sizes as well.
While pants can be hemmed, and sleeves can be rolled up, the fact of the matter is, shoes either fit or they don’t. As such, its always good to invest in shoes that are comfortable and that fit well – even if it means paying a bit more for them.