Saturday, March 26, 2011

An unsatisfying foray to Mong Kok

Today I went shoeshopping in Mong Kok. I had a very specific shoe in mind; a pair of horrendously ugly looking Five Tens, a shoe that looks like an unattractive orthapaedic boot. I'd rather wear something that looked less medical, but the soles of Five Tens are made from the very sticky Stealth Rubber, which means when you go riding, your feet won't slip off your pedals. I could ride with my shoes clipped into the pedals, but having not been on a bike in six months, I was hoping to bolster my confidence by being able to dab a foot down if I arrived at an emergency before my ability did.

There's one shop in Mong Kok that sells Five Tens, Chamonix. This is a hiking and outdoors shop that has a wide range of ice axes, tents, ropes, hydration systems, torches, entrenching tools, sleeping bags and anything else you might require for an expedition. Everything is clearly laid out and well organised.

Except for the shoes, which are kept in a big stack of shoeboxes in the middle of the shop, in no discernable order. I clambered over the mid afternoon crowds browsing, and spent half an hour looking at every box of Five Tens, and the largest I found were a pair of size 7, US, which would be perfect if I had elfin feet, but with a clodhopping 10.5 on the end of each of my legs, there was nothing for me.

Eventually I found a shop assistant, who told me they only had small shoes, and I flounced off in a huff, despondently peering into every other shoe shop in Mong Kok. And that's a lot of shoe shops. And that's a lot of shoe shops to not have any Five Tens in them.

Well, perhaps it's unfair to expect lots of places to sell a fairly esoteric type of shoe. It might be fair to expect the shops to sell more than just bright yellow plastic Nikes, bright pink plastic Adidas(es) and bright red plastic Pumas, but I suppose they had a variety of colours, even if all the shoes were otherwise the same.

I suppose it's no better than the UK, except you can't smell stinky tofu when you walk through Covent Garden, ricocheting between different fashionable footwear providers. And the last time I was in Covent Garden, I'm sure at least one or two people weren't smoking cigarettes, unlike Mong Kok, which was smokier than Chinese New Year a minute after the fireworks have gone off.

Oh well. I'll just have to order the shoes from a shop in Europe, as there's no sign of them online anywhere on this side of the world. But next time I need fifteen ice axes and a rucksack full of crampons, I'm not going to Chamonix. Grumble grumble grumble.


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