Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Top 10 reasons I dread shopping for running shoes in Istanbul

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.
  1. Not stocking women's shoes larger than size 39 or 40, then balking at the idea of letting me try on men's sizes.

  2. 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.

  3. Photo courtesy kovats
  4. 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."

  5. 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."

  6. Asking me if I "run long distances, like 5 kilometers?"

  7. 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.

  8. Gesturing at a long wall of shoes and asking with a shrug, "So what do you want to try on?"

  9. 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.

  10. 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."

  11. 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.

  12. Telling me my foot's shape "is not very nice."
Oh wait, never mind that last one. That wasn't a shoe salesperson, that was a physical therapist.


Mark and Jolee said...

Jen, Oh boy, you really hit the nail on the foot with this posting. I have heard every single thing you listed which is why I now have 'mules' bring my shoes from the U.S. My feet are very wide, mostly because I have a bunion and here in Turkey, that's the kiss of death. Shoes are just designed for youngsters and for fashion, and I could go on and on, but I'd better stop before . . . .

The Turkish Life said...

One of my more petite friends and I used to swap frustrations because she could never find shoes small enough for her in the women's section and I could never find ones big enough... women in Turkey must have an incredibly small range of foot sizes, or else half of them are wearing shoes that don't fit!

Joy said...

Hey Jen, ha need to go to Germany and buy shoes! That's what I ended up doing when we lived in Istanbul after being told to check out the mens' section of shoes time after time! My ancestors have BIG feet! ;)

Also, yes, I saw plenty of Turkish women who had crammed their feet into much smaller than necessary shoes!

The Turkish Life said...

Well I guess that explains why Julia's recommended Deichmann Shoes has bigger/wider sizes! Just wish the closest outlet to me wasn't in the evil Demirören mall :(

BacktoBodrum said...

Oh I feel your pain. My daughter has UK size 9 feet which is a 43 here so she has no chance of finding anything suitable for a 23 yr old. Every friend that visits from abroad has to leave a shoe sized gap in their suitcase for our orders.

sowpath said...


Unknown said...

Oh, my! Getting good shoes here in the US has been easy and I admit, I've taken that for granted. I'm sorry for the lack of supply of great running shoes in Istanbul. Maybe it's time to order online? There's tons of options available. To help you make the best choice, here's a great site I often go to for review of the best running shoes for men