14 April, 2013

Shoe sizes

This week I realised we're teetering on the edge of a ravine, a large-shoe ravine. We bought our soon-to-be 14 year old a pair of size 28 shoes.

You're probably aware that different countries measure their shoes differently. Wikipedia makes that very clear (and very muddied, I came away feeling very confused from this article.) Here's a chart that shows how vastly different shoe sizes are.

In Japan they're measured by the most logical method: length of foot. Shoe sizes equal the length of your foot in centimetres. So a size 28 shoe is about a men's size 10 or 10.5 in Australia.

The reason why we're on the edge of ravine is that this is the largest commonly-found men's shoe size in Japan. After 28 you aren't guaranteed to find your size in the store. You have to work harder to find them, or import!

Our son's feet have been large since he was a little tucker. When he began to walk at 10 months of age, he'd already outgrown all those soft-soled "new walker" shoes in the shop. We had to buy him slippers as his first walking shoes. He's not ever been extra-ordinarily tall for his age, though. He's currently only 162cm, but growing!

So we're wondering if he's ever going to "grow into his feet" as one person put it. It isn't really a case that his feet have had an early growth spurt, but maybe they'll stop growing before the rest of him? I hope so. We have at least three more years of living with him in Japan, it's going to be a challenge to keep providing him with shoes!

I posted about this on Facebook the other day and someone asked me today after church about whether we found some, which ended up in a larger-scale shoe discussion. It's quite a challenge for foreigners with large or unusually sized feet living in Japan. Many only buy shoes when they're "home" and bring them back to Japan with them.

Thankfully David and I are both just within the bounds of being able to buy shoes here, even if they're labelled LL (for my size 24.5/25 cm — Australian sized 8 shoes). But it seems as though we've begat at least one child that isn't going to be able to say the same.

No comments: