I’m sure all of you ladies out there have at one point or another been through the experience of being tortured by a pair of high-heels that pinch and scrape and leave you with blisters but look absolutely gorgeous. Ah, the sacrifices we make for fashion!
Well, one of our Japanese reporters from Pouch went to KiBera in Shinjuku for a pair of affordable, custom-made shoes that both look great and feel comfortable, a combination that can be hard to find in stylish shoes.
An account of her shoe ordering experience follows:
Finding shoes that fit perfectly can sometimes seem impossible. With all the shapes and styles offered by various brands, it’s not surprising that many people have to use insole inserts or bands with their shoes to make adjustments for a better fit. You could go for brands offering more size options or even custom-made shoes, but those tend to be prohibitively expensive, for the most part.
Just when I was about resign myself to the fact that “cinderella” shoes that fit perfectly are more fantasy then reality, I happened to hear about a shoe shop where you can order custom-made shoes for under 10,000 yen ($125). I didn’t hear a lot of details beyond that, but since decent shoes cost about that much anyway without being order made, I figured there wasn’t much to lose and decided to go check out the shop myself.
The shop, called Kibera, is located in Shinjuku and just opened in August this year. The staff (called shoe jewelists) kindly informed me that order-made shoes were available in length sizes from 22cm (about an American size 5 or European size 34) to 25cm (American size 8 or European size 40) and in width sizes of Small, Medium or Large.
First they measured my feet with a medical grade 3D scanning machine. I’d thought my feet were a size 22.5cm (American size 5-1/2 or European size 35), but …
… it turns out I’ve been wearing the wrong shoe size all this time! According to the machine, my feet were a size 22cm. I was further told that my feet width were a size L. No wonder store-bought shoes didn’t seem to fit my feet properly. Actually, many people may not be aware of their accurate feet size, so it may be worthwhile to have them measured.
Once you’ve had your feet measured, you can then go ahead and choose the color and basic design of your shoes. You can choose from ten different colors and materials, ranging from basic black or beige to even leopard prints, as well as an enamel or even glittery finish. The heels also come in seven different heights, which means you can pick from 70 possible combinations when ordering your shoes! Variety is great, but it also means you have to do some tough decision-making.
In my case, I wanted sensible shoes that can be worn either for every-day use or for going out, so I decided on black enamel shoes with 7cm (2-3/4in) heels. Before confirming the order, they fit me with shoes in the same size as I ordered, just to check the size one final time. The shoes cost exactly 9,990yen ($124.86).
After that, I waited 2 weeks, and I had my very own custom-made shoes! I loved the stylish red insoles with the silver logo.
I slipped on the shoes in anticipation and excitement — and magic, they’re really comfortable, almost like sneakers! The pumps I usually wear always felt a bit loose, and my heels would slip in and out as I walked, but not these shoes. So this is what a good fit feels like!
I don’t need bands or straps any more! I could practically do a full-speed dash in these. And when I turned over the shoes, I saw that they were made in Japan. Affordable, custom-made shoes made domestically, what more could you ask for?
Kibera currently has just 2 shops, one in Shinjuku, Tokyo and the other in Sagamihara city in Kanagawa Prefecture, but they say they have plans to increase that number to 50 nationwide. Some experts warn that ill-fitting shoes not only prevent you from standing and walking properly, they can lead to painful bunion deformities or lower back pains, so 10,000yen may not be a huge price to price pay for your very own made-to-order “cinderella” shoes. You may want to give it a try!
Original Article by: Mogumi Osaka
Photos provided by: Kibera (Japanese), Mogumi Osaka
▼ Different shoe accessories, all of them very cute, are also sold at the shop.
▼ We tried one on for fun. It really changes the look of the shoes!
▼ Really, a great deal for 9,990yen!
▼ The exterior of the shop in Shinjuku
[ Read in Japanese ]