When I first moved to mainland China in the summer of 06, it was difficult, well, near impossible to buy cute shoes in my size: US10-10.5.Â I went to no less than 30 stores, 3 markets, and asked countless friends in my search to find shoes in my size, at least China size 40.Â At the markets they told me, we have sports shoes and mens shoes in that size.Â At the shoe stores they said, we might have those, pointing at the ugliest pair, in 39.Â I was desperate to find shoes as I walked so much and was going through so many pairs.Â I did buy a couple pairs, squishing my feet in, or letting my heels hang off the end of flipflops, and then massively stocked up on trips back to the US.
Well, three years later(!) and the market for shoes in Western women’s sizes has improved immensely.Â There are now numerous options for those afflicted with my same problemï¼Œincluding taobao.com, China’s version of ebay.
Taobao is awesome.Â Just like ebay, everything you could possible want to buy online.Â Cute, cheap, women’s shoes.Â Cheap clothes, and expensive clothes.Â Electronics. Patio furniture. Imported cosmetics and health care products.Â You name it. But importantly, womens shoes in sizes up to 45!Â I bought 3 pairs of shoes on taobao for about 30-40å…ƒper pair including delivery.Â The only drawback, the site is only in Chinese and you need an account to purchase. Â Update Nov 12, 2011: Â My Chinese tutor is offering Taobao (and Chinese online shopping, in general) training sessions to help get your accounts set up and you shopping online. 300RMB for 2 hours of lessons. Contact: LucyÂ 134 825449 83 wangxin0824[at]hotmail[dot]com
So if you’re æ±‰å— reading isn’t up to the challenge, whats a girl to do.Â Well the fake markets have finally realized the opportunity and started carrying a few pairs of slip-ons and heels in sizes in the 40s. Don’t forget to bargain!
If you can’t handle the fake markets, a couple of stores are selling China made, US brands, in US sizes of women’s shoes such as Nine West, Steve Madden, and Chinese Laundry.Â Check out:
Shop 101, 1/F, 343 Jiaozhou Lu, near Wuding Lu
95 Xiangyang Bei Rd, Xinle Road
If you like the more frilly Japanese and Taiwanese style, but don’t require too big of size (only up to 41), also look for:
No Concept but Good Sense
327 Changle Lu,near Shaanxi Nan Lu
The international retailers have also realized the market opportunity and its increasingly possible to buy my size at:
Marks & Spencers – Nanjing Xi Lu
Marks & Spencers has a number of different pairs in large sizes, in a varying range of prices, but not all are particularly stylish.
If you know of any other good places to buy shoes in Shanghai, let us know in the comments below.
If you need additional help shopping in Shanghai, please visit my other website: shopmyshanghai.com