You know what they say about people with big feet....
March 18, 2008 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy large men's sneakers (size 13/48) in China?

I'm living in China and am about to run out of shoes. There are shoe stores everywhere, but I cannot find a pair of shoes big enough for me. My usual drill is to walk into any shoe store and ask what the biggest size is; they usually say 45; I say I need 48. Seller's eyes get really big and then I'm usually followed out of the store with a bunch of clerks staring at my monstrous sneakers. None of the shoe sellers seem to know where I could find a pair in size 48, either. I've also asked plenty of foreigners where they get their shoes, and the answer is always that they fill their suitcases with shoes when they return from a trip back to their home country.

I'm in Nanjing and have exhausted the possibilities here; I've also tried looking in every city I've visited, which include some that are frequented by hordes of foreigners. Are there any stores in Beijing or Shanghai with large size sneakers? Do any of the Chinese internet mailorder places have sizes large enough for me? I met one shoemaker (though she was on an extended leave of absence from her factory) who suggested having shoes made; has anybody had shoes made to order in China?
posted by msbrauer to Shopping (9 answers total)
Hey, I wear a size 15, I get that look in American shoe stores!

Amazon will ship to China (I believe) and they do carry shoes, so that might be an option if nothing else comes up.
posted by KirTakat at 5:05 PM on March 18, 2008

There are some branded shoe stores in Nanjing around XinJieKou, but honestly your big freak feet are probably out of luck. I wear an American size 10, and I have only once found a pair of shoes in China that was worth keeping. I would suggest you do one or several of the following:

1.) Go to Shanghai and look in the biggest most expensive malls you can find for the off chance they can help you out, Yao Ming used to play basketball there so there has to be something, right?

2.) Have some shoes custom made, there are places in Nanjing around Shanxi Lu that can do this, and plenty of cobblers in Shanghai.

3.) Get some shoes mailed to you from your home country, or order them via Amazon.

Good luck.
posted by BobbyDigital at 5:21 PM on March 18, 2008

You could try Silk Street in Beijing. It's where the foreigners flock and a lot of their merchandise is geared towards selling to them.
posted by 913 at 9:00 PM on March 18, 2008

Here in Korea, with size 12s, it is nearly impossible to get shoes in my size. I have them made for me, or sent from Canada. Although a good pair of business shoes will run me about $200 custom-made, they're worth it. I assume the same thing would be a lot cheaper in China.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:32 AM on March 19, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. I was hoping somebody had actually purchased a pair of shoes close to my size somewhere in China. For the record, no shoe stores in any of the major shopping areas in Nanjing (Xinjeikou, Fuzi Miao, Hunan Lu, etc.) have men's sneakers larger than 44 or 45. Silk Street in Beijing might be a good option, but I checked out a bunch of foreigner-aimed shops in Yangshuo to no avail; Beijing might well be different, but I met an Australian who searched all over Beijing and couldn't find anything big enough.... Looks like I'll probably have to go with shoes that are custom made or shipped from home.
posted by msbrauer at 3:17 AM on March 19, 2008

Some of the stores near Silk Street may also have the shoes you need. There's always Wangfujing too.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:00 AM on March 19, 2008

I just bought a pair of size 47 genuine Merrells for CNY600 from a shop just round the corner from me in Beijing (Gulou Dongdajie). They and another similar outdoor goods shop had a few different styles to choose from in those sizes, and one or two larger.
posted by Abiezer at 12:57 PM on March 20, 2008

bokane also suggests buying online from Taobao. If you are coming to Beijing soon and want detailed directions to the shop I used MeMail me - I work from home and will happily pop out and show you where it is if necessary (back streets by the Drum Tower) in possibly Asia's first ever shoe-shop mini MeFi meet.
posted by Abiezer at 1:01 PM on March 20, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the info Abiezer; I'll likely go to Beijing in the next few months. We'll have to have the mini shoe-shop meetup if I make it up there.
posted by msbrauer at 6:36 PM on March 21, 2008

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