If anything can be more challenging (and aggravating) than running in Istanbul, it's buying running shoes in Istanbul. Admittedly, I like shopping about as much as going to the dentist even under the best of circumstances, but my experiences across the gamut here -- at specialist local running shops, outlets of international brands, and general sporting-goods stores -- would be funny if they weren't so frustrating. Here's just 10 of the ways salespeople have left me reconsidering the possibility of inner-city barefoot running, cement, broken glass, and general detritus be damned.
- Not stocking women's shoes larger than size 39 or 40, then balking at the idea of letting me try on men's sizes.
- Telling me I don't actually have wide feet (you'd think I might have noticed in 40 years of buying shoes) then passive-aggressively recommending a model that a quick Google search reveals typically runs narrow.
- Not stocking any wide widths at the shop of a international brand known for offering the majority of its shoes in multiple widths, then telling me it's because "everyone in Turkey's feet are standart."
- Telling me that too-small shoes couldn't possibly have caused my feet to start to fall asleep while running, "there must be something wrong with your nerves."
- Asking me if I "run long distances, like 5 kilometers?"
- Snickering when I try to explain that my left foot is larger than my right (which is not uncommon, okay?) then continuing to insist on only giving me the right-foot shoe to try on first.
- Gesturing at a long wall of shoes and asking with a shrug, "So what do you want to try on?"
- Not bothering to measure my feet or bring out the same pair of shoes in multiple sizes, just moving straight on to totally different models when the first one is a bit snug.
- Explaining, when I say that one pair of shoes fits a bit better than the last one, that it's because they're "very professional."
- Offering up, in response to a request for trail running shoes, a strangely stiff pair that turn out to be (when consulting the manufacturer's website later) "approach shoes" meant for technical hiking/rock-climbing.
Telling me my foot's shape "is not very nice."
|Photo courtesy kovats|