Whether you prefer to stride through Tokyo in your heels, are ready to run with trainers or keep it simple with flats—there are plenty of great spots for finding cheap shoes in Tokyo.

The city may be well known for the glitzy stores of Ginza and the trendy boutiques of Omotesando, but there are plenty of places to get reasonable footwear too. Whether you’ve worn out your shoes checking out the sights or forgot to pack your smart pair, there’s no need to worry. The only issues with shoe shopping in Japan can be size, many smaller shops only offer shoes in S, M or L size, with no equivalent numeral size listed—so it can be a bit hit and miss, and trying on is definitely required. So to find that Cinderella slipper or the perfect waterproof hiking shoe, here are the best options for finding cheap shoes in Tokyo. We’ve split the info into sections: on the streets and online, as well as tips on where to go for bigger sizes!

On the streets: The top 5 Japanese shoe stores

tokyo shoe shop
Photo by iStock.com/winhorse

The practical option: ABC Mart (and Asbee)

So you’re on the streets of Tokyo and need some footwear fast (who has time to wait for deliveries) and want something different? Your best bet is one you’ve probably walked past already—the glaringly yellow ABC Mart. With shoes for the whole family available and a whole load of discounts, this is a pretty sure-fire way to find what you need. There is a focus on sneakers, with plenty of recognizable names at good prices as well as hiking boots and more formal options. These stores don’t pretend to be posh, but are efficient and have everything on display—so you can browse to your heart’s content. There are a lot of clerks, so as soon as you see something you like, you will turn to find someone already prepared to help. (Asbee is very similar, and often found in Aeon Malls).

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Something fancy: Randa

Recommended as it was a friend’s savior in a last-minute dash for wedding shoes, Randa stores can be found across Tokyo and with plenty of choice. Although they are more pricey than other stores mentioned, if you need something smart and reasonably priced, this is a good bet.

Night-out shoes: Attagirl

It may sound like a shop for attitude-laden teenagers (and maybe it is) but they also have an incredible array of women’s shoes in every color, heel, pattern and material. Don’t let the pink and black star put you off, the pure variety and low prices mean this is the best place to go when you have something specific in mind. Try not to get dizzy as you follow the seemingly-unending spiraling staircase of wall-to-wall heels in the Shinjuku shop (towards Toho cinema, on your right, with Shinjuku station behind you).

For the stylish everyday: ORiental TRaffic

A good brand for work shoes, something a bit smart and not so… glittery is ORiental TRaffic. With stores all over Japan they offer a stylish selection with reasonable prices. They have great sales though, so keep an eye out during season-changeovers. The website offers a look at their current collection modeled in some familiar spots around Tokyo.

Bargain basement: The Tokyo Shoe Distribution Center (and Shoe Plaza)

If you want the lowest price and aren’t so picky about getting the exact style you imagined, the Tokyo Shoe Distribution Center is a great place to go. With plenty of shoes under ¥1,000, the discount retailer buys in bulk at the end of the season, so there is always a complete mix up for grabs. While there are some recognizable brands, don’t count on finding anything specific—but you can get great shoes for really low prices if you don’t mind compromising on some things. The site search here will help you find locations of the TSDC as well as the other shops they run including Shoe Plaza. (Type the nearest station name in the last box on the right to see what is closest).

The top 3 Western shoe stores:

If you need something reliably familiar then there are always the home favorites. Although there aren’t many outside the big cities, in Tokyo you can easily find names such as H&M, Forever 21 (much better than at home, Brits, believe me) (closed) and Zara. The prices are standard, but there are always a lot of shoes in the sale section, so this is a great time to pick up a few bargains or you can go for the basics ranges. Those are also good options if you need larger sizes, as they use the same stock as abroad so have a greater choice.

The best area for browsing

Women's shoes
Photo by istock.com/Sergantstar

If you’re in the mood for a bit of a browse, the best spot is Harajuku. It has the perfect mix of all the options, with quirky independent stores on and around Takeshita Dori, vintage shops like Kinji, fashionable clothes malls like La Foret and Tokyu Plaza, an ABC Mart and Western stores if all else fails, so you’ve got your bases covered!

Online and larger sizes

  • Zozotown sell discounted footwear (and fashion) and ship from Japan all over the world. They have a range of styles and sizes.
  • Asos ships worldwide for free (if you spend over £20) and have free returns with Yamato Transport which is super convenient. This is a great option if you don’t need something asap and want a range of sizes too. Alternatively you could try Zara or H&M if you’re not living near one of those stores.
  • Ye Mart is an online Japanese store that has sizes up to 27.5cm
  • Brands such as Charm Foot, Yumetenbo and Javari are available on Amazon and cater for sizes  up to 27.5cm (size 11 in US terms) and have a range of styles – they are available on Amazon so can be shipped here easily.
  • Shimamura is a clothing chain in Tokyo that has a Queen-Size section offering clothes and shoes in larger sizes. They have stores and are also online here so you can see what they have available.
  • Tulsa Time near GakugeiDaigaku station and Shoes Ten in Shinjuku have larger sizes but are more on the pricey side unfortunately.

Summer sale shout-out

Summer sales are life savers. During the summer, the AbAb department store in Ueno offers relatively cheap prices for shoes usually sold for extravagant amounts: a pair that costs ¥7,000 can be reduced right down to ¥1,000. Four stores to look out for: Be Square, Esperanza, R&E, and Bonita. Prices during summer clearances tend to hover between ¥1,000 and ¥3,000, and do not exceed 4,000. Because the shoe stores are all crowded together, you may not be able to distinguish between the different stores (really, it just looks like shoe-shopping heaven.)

However, each store possesses a unique design and brand. Be Square attracts young shoppers looking to combine comfort and beauty; it replaces gems and glitter with bows and polka dots, pointy heels with platforms. Esperanza and Bonita appeal to gyaru culture, bursting with frills and large, metal-studded straps that march up and down Takeshita-dori. R&E bleaches out color and displays subtler options: beige, cream, and pale blue pumps abound.

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Filed under: Fashion | Shopping
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