I’ve travelled in Asia for the last five years and have visited many countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. All of these countries are vastly different in culture and tradition, and to some extent, in fashion. But one thing I discovered in all of them is the Asian women’s addiction to shoes. Sure, Sex and the City’s Carrie had a shoe obsession, but most Asian girls easily have her beat.
In Thailand, girls are obsessed with high-heel, strappy sandals. They’re available everywhere and come in every color and design you can imagine. No fashion-conscious Bangkok girl will ever have less than 30 pairs of shoes, and many have a lot more. One of my Thai friends, Tua, has over 60 pairs of shoes and adds to this collection every week. She loves the pointy-toed shoes, the sling-back sandals and even the peeptoe shoes. She also has a pair of Mary Jane’s that is to die for. Tua loves shoes so much she actually gets a rush of excitement when she finds another cute pair and can’t wait to try them on. If they fit, she’s transported to a place of unimaginable joy. Now that’s an obsession with shoes!
In Japan, a lot of Japanese girls are really into boots of all lengths (ankle boots were popular when I was there) and stylish flats that they can walk in. Japanese girls definitely seem to be more concerned about comfort than Thai girls, who will stagger around in the highest high-heel shoes just to look sexy. Funky Mary Jane’s in moss green, brown and black are a big hit in Japan, and paired with the typical Japanese flair for fashion, they do look cool.
In Hong Kong, women seemed much like the Japanese during the day. Trendy, yet comfortable seems to be the order of the day; probably because Hong Kong is a walking city. So flat shoes, low-heeled boots and Doc Martens abound. But at night, even though you’ll still see many of the flat shoes around the shopping areas, if you head to the Hong Kong nightclub or restaurant scene, designer high-heeled, strappy sandals hold sway.
If you’re ever in Asia and you love shoes, you’ll fit right in. For Asian girls, the shoe is often more important than the clothes.