HCMC Dining Guide

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Big Feet, Little World

Asia is easily the worst continent on Earth when it comes to shoe shopping for people with big feet. (Well I guess Antarctica would actually be the worst, can't imagine there are any shoe stores there.) Asians are famously petite, making it difficult for anyone with a Western frame to shop for clothing and shoes. Shirts can be found since I'm pretty thin, though the designs are usually terrible, but I have thick cyclist's legs and when all of the pants here are designed for skinny little Vietnamese chicken legs I don't even try. I could count on one hand the number of clothing items I've purchased in the two years I've lived in Saigon.

As a result my wardrobe is sort of starting to fall apart, especially in the shoe department. A couple of months ago I managed to find a decent pair of shoes for going out and generally putzing about town, but my running shoes desperately needed replacing as they actually had holes in them. I wanted to wait until I visit the U.S. in December to get a new pair, but the shoes are so old I started to worry that I would hurt myself running in them.

Today I bit the bullet and vowed to find a new pair of athletic shoes. I have large feet even by American standards so I knew this was going to be a challenge. My first stop was Lottemart, where I found a few reasonably priced Adidas shoes that I liked. An Adidas staffer approached me and I asked, almost apologetically, if they had any of them in a U.S. size 11. His jaw dropped, "U.S. 11?!"
"Uh, yea."
"I will check..."

The biggest size they had was a 10 and a half, which was a bit too tight. I checked out the Nike section but all of the running shoes were over $100, and the Adidas guy told me to try at Diamond Plaza. So I did.

I waltzed into the Adidas area, found the same pair that I had liked at Lottemart, found a staffer and mumbled, "Um, do you have these in U.S. 11?" Same reaction: "U.S. 11?! No, I do not!"
"Do you have anything in size 11?"
"I'll check," she said, all while probably wondering "What the hell do they feed these people in America?"

They didn't have a single pair of size 11s of any kind. I went over to the New Balance shop, where a very helpful (and very pregnant) woman also expressed her shock at the size I was requesting. Amazingly though, she said they had the shoes I wanted in the right size! She sent someone down to the stockroom in the basement, only to discover that they were actually a 12. Meanwhile she discovered that one of the display pairs were size 11s, but they cost nearly $100. I tried them on, though I was leery of the price, and they felt great. The basement person returned with two other pairs of size 11s, but they didn't feel quite right so I decided to just screw it and pay the 1.8 million dong. It only took two hours and a drive from District 5 to 7 and then to 1, but I had new running shoes!

7 comments:

  1. I feel your pain, Mike. I've got the same problem. In fact, the sales people usually laugh when I tell them what size I want.

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    1. Haha, it makes you feel a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?

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  2. There is a small shop on the corner of Ly Tu Trong and Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1. (iirc) that sold UK size 12 trainers a while back.

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  3. Maybe Le Thanh Ton/Nguyen Trung Truc.

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    1. I've never heard of Nguyen Trung Truc, but I'll keep that in mind next I look for shoes.

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  4. Great Story. Reminds me of my issues in Thailand. I wear a size 14US. even in the US my choices are limited

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    1. Wow that's enormous. I can only imagine how tough it would be find shoes that size.

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