I hate to break it to you, but welcome to the land of tiny feet. You have a few options when looking for bigger-sized shoes in South Korea as a foreigner. Really, you can either shop locally whilst facing a more limited selection or choose to have everything shipped in from overseas. Like most of Asia, clothing sizes and shoe sizes are suited to the local population — which happens to be more on the petite side. For those bigger folk, like me, who come in at a towering 5’10 ft and with feet to match, I’ve had my work cut out for me. And boy, do I love shoes. One would think that the unavailability of shoe sizes here would curb my shopping addiction, but no, the extra challenge just made me extra sleuthy.
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How do I deal with having big feet in Korea without (completely) sacrificing style? These are a few of my strategies:
- Stock up on shoes whenever I’m overseas
- Ship my shoes from overseas websites to South Korea, making sure the cart total and shipping is under 150,000 KRW or I’ll be hit with customs fees/duties
- Buy unisex shoe styles in South Korea like sneakers, boots, or sandals
- Buy from international clothing stores in South Korea that stock larger shoe sizes on their website
- Dig around for Korean shoes stores that carry bigger sizes and complain to shoe stores that do not (99% of them)
Shoe Sizes in South Korea
How large do shoe sizes go in Korea?
Unfortunately, you’ll find that most women’s shoes in Korea range from sizes 220-255 or a US 5 to US 8.5. For us, bigger-footed folk, we’re left gawking at the men’s shoe section which leaves us with some pretty frumpy shoes.
It’s not a complete dead end to find shoes in “bigger” American sizes in Seoul, but it takes a little effort. Most stores don’t carry shoes bigger than a US 8 in stores unless you hop over to unisex sneakers and boots or the men’s section, so if you’re looking for feminine styles, you will probably have to order them online. Once every blue moon, you may be able to find feminine women’s shoes in larger sizes at international stores like Zara.
To be honest, I tend to order my shoes online from overseas because I’m very finicky about leather quality and fit. Most of the women’s shoes made in Korea are made in China with synthetic leather.
What’s My Shoe Size in Korea?
The following chart is a good estimate for your shoe size in Korea, but I would absolutely check the individual store for size references. For example, I’m typically a US size 10 shoe or an EU 41, but I can sometimes fall under the Korean shoe size, 265 or 270, depending on the store and the individual shoes. The chart below isn’t totally accurate, but it’s a good baseline.
Women’s Shoe Sizes in South Korea
|China / Hong Kong / Taiwan||34||35||36||37||38||39||40||41||42||43||44||45||46||47|
Here is another shoe size chart from Dangsrap shoe store in Korea that shows women’s shoe sizes in Korea and the equivalent in the United States, Japan, and the European Union.
Option One: Buying Shoes from Overseas Websites to Korea
Some websites offer direct shipment to South Korea like Amazon.com, Shopbop.com, or ASOS.com. If the duties and taxes are not included in the final price of your order, you will have to pay for the fees when they go through customs in South Korea.
Many savvy shoppers in South Korea with friends or family living abroad can ship them their latest hauls and have their tags removed and under-declare their purchases at customs as used or as samples. You could do that, but let’s just say that it’s not totally legal.
You could also use a package forwarding service to accept packages locally and have them sent to you in South Korea. Box Oregon, OhMyZip, and FishIsFast are some popular parcel forwarding services from the US to South Korea.
Be careful when shopping for shoes on international websites and having them shipped to Korea because if you exceed 150,000 KRW (including shipping, you’ll be hit by duties and taxes at customs. They will contact you to request payment and hold your package indefinitely.
If you see that your package is stuck at customs, try contacting the shipping service, e.g. DHL, as you may be able to pay the duties and taxes directly with the shipping company to get your package through customs.
Which websites ship to Korea?
Border Free includes mostly US-based retailers — from Bloomingdales to Dillard’s — that are part of BorderFree shopping, shipping worldwide. Check each individual store part of Border Free shopping to see the shoe selection.
Everlane, an American clothing retailer, now has its own Korean website with duties calculated into the price. A wide range of shoe sizes is available. When looking at shoe sizes, base your size on the sizing chart and compare it to the US size. I’ve heard some shoes run quite narrow and small since they’re made in Italy, so you may want to size up by half a size.
Nordstrom department store carries familiar American and European brands suited for all sizes, including a wide range of shoes. Nordstrom ships to Korea with duties calculated at checkout.
UK-based fast-fashion retailer, ASOS, carries all sorts of men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. Check individual brand sizing charts for the best fit. Duties and taxes are not calculated at checkout to Korea, so be prepared for additional fees if your order exceeds 150,000 KRW including shipping.
Another inexpensive fast-fashion chain that ships to Korea from China. The quality of the clothes is very hit or miss, but at that price point, it’s kind of expected. They do carry bigger-sized shoes as well.
Aliexpress is kind of a free-for-all online shopping market with an extensive and inexpensive selection of goods, mostly from China.
Double-check if the item can ship to Korea as not everything is eligible. Opting for Amazon Prime in Korea may not be worth it if you don’t shop as frequently. You’ll still have to pay to ship but at a slightly lower cost. Their global store can be a godsend when you can’t find an item’s equivalent on Coupang.com or Gmarket.
Revolve Clothing is a trendy women’s fashion store that ships internationally. Duties/taxes not included.
ShopBop is a US online fashion apparel store that has a great selection of trendy women’s clothing. I’ve ordered shoes from ShopBop to Korea which took about two weeks to arrive (the usual).
Torrid is a US-based, plus-sized fashion retail store that ships internationally.
Option Two: Buying Shoes from Local Stores in Korea
Where can I shop for shoes in Seoul?
If you’re struggling to find your shoe size in Seoul, South Korea, you can head over to familiar international brands with physical, offline locations in South Korea like H&M, COS, & Other Stories, Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Charles & Keith. They often have bigger shoe sizes on their websites and occasionally in-stores.
Unfortunately, I wish it were true for all international stores. Camper, Clarks, and even Aldo Shoes in South Korea don’t carry extended sizes as they do elsewhere in the world. The bottom line for them is that it’s not profitable to carry these sizes when there is not enough demand.
Made in Spain, these luxury shoes can cost a pretty penny. They’re best known for their ballerina slippers, and their Korean store carries sizes up to an EU 41. Their Rodeo Branch in Gangnam is located at Seokjeon Building, 12, Seolleung-ro 157-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
You can usually find up to a size EU 39 in stock in-stores, but anything bigger (like European 41/US size 10) are online-only. The good news? If you buy your shoes online, you can still return them in-store if the fit or quality is off. There are a few physical locations scattered around Seoul like on Gangnam-daero, Garosu-gil, or Myeongdong.
H&M offers clothing, accessories, sportswear, seasonal swimwear, and lingerie. Shoe quality can vary since they now carry a premium leather shoes collection, and you’re more likely to find bigger sizes online than in store. There are many locations scattered across Seoul — most notably in Myeongdong and Apgujeong. H&M Sinsa (Apgujeong) location is 21 Apgujeong-ro 12-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
The clothing size at H&M used to be a Western fit, but they recently switched their sizing to Asian (petite) fit as the standard with Western fit labeled with a T for Tall (see sizing chart here). They may not carry all sizes in stock at their physical retail locations, but extended sizing is available online.
Fortunately, sneakers are one of those things that can be easily worn unisex even if the label says they’re for men. Women-specific shoes are still capped to around KR 255, but there’s nothing wrong with going for a slightly chunkier men’s sneaker occasionally.
COS stocks premium minimalist styles and leather goods from their parent company, H&M. They have size EU 41 (US 10) shoes on their Korean website! Stock is limited though.
& Other Stories — another branch of their parent company, H&M — sells premium on-trend fashion and accessories. They carry shoe sizes up to EU 40 (US 9.5).
If you sign up for their newsletter and make an account, you can use the code ‘BONJOUR’ for your first purchase online.
Dr. Martens in Korea shoe styles are mostly unisex, so it’s easy to find big-sized shoes here. There’s a main branch store in Garosugil at 1F, 544-16, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. More Dr. Martens locations in Korea can be found here.
Online & Offline Korean Shoe Brands
9cm carries some shoes up to a KR 260 (US 9-9.5).
ANDHEEL sells big-sized shoes made with artificial (synthetic) leather up to a size KR 270 (US 10-10.5).
Babinheel is an affordable women’s Korean shoe store — usually made with faux (synthetic) leather — that stocks shoe sizes up to KR 270.
Big Girl Shoes is a Korean shoe store — again, usually made with faux (synthetic) leather — that stocks shoe sizes up to 270.
Onreve carries shoes — mostly made with synthetic leather — up to a KR 265 (US 9.5).
CauseU sells larger sized shoes in Korea made with artificial (synthetic) leather up to a size KR 260 (US 9).
Nevermind the questionable font choices, Small and Big (스몰앤빅) is an online store that sells custom handmade shoes — made with either synthetic leather or real leather — in bigger sizes — up to a KR 270.
Day Day (매일매일데이데이)
Day Day (매일매일데이데이) is another shoe store in Korea — mostly made with artificial (synthetic) leather — that carries shoe sizes up to a KR 270 (US 10-10.5) and sometimes KR 280.
Ebonne (에본느) carries shoes — mostly made with synethic leather — up to a KR 265 (US 9.5).
You can purchase big-sized shoes at 177 Salon Naver Store. They carry shoe sizes up to a KR 270 (US 10). The shoes are mostly faux-leather.
I found this shoe store through Instagram the other day, and I was ecstatic to see that they actually carried sizes up to a KR 280 or US 11. I bought both the black and beige strappy sandals for everyday wear. The sandals are between 65,000 KRW and 89,000 KRW, but they’re supposedly handcrafted so the price feels justified.
Gabig is an online-only, plus-sized store in Korea that also carries a small selection of shoes with shoe sizes up to a KR 275.
Hongyi Showroom sells feminine big-sized shoes on Naver Store made with faux-leather (synthetic) up to a size KR 275 (US 10.5-11).
Iklang carries some shoes up to a KR 260 (US 9-9.5).
Momojane is a shoe store in Korea — mostly made with artificial (synthetic) leather — that carries shoe sizes up to a KR 265 (US 9.5).
Onreve carries shoes — mostly made with synthetic leather — up to a KR 265 (US 9.5).
Sinayo (신어요닷컴) carries shoes — mostly made with synhetic leather — up to a KR 275 (US 10.5-11).
Sookyee (Big Shoes) is a shoe store in Korea — mostly made with artificial (synthetic) leather — that carries shoe sizes up to a KR 265 (US 9.5).
Youbyyeolna is another affordable faux-leather (synthetic) Korean shoe store that stocks shoe sizes up to 270.
Ready2Wear is a premium clothing brand with a minimal, classic aesthetic in South Korea that carries leather shoes up to a KR 260 (US 9). The Ready2Wear offline showroom is located at 7, Hannam-daero 27ga-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
So, I came across this little funky handmade shoe store based in Seongsu-dong on the interwebz, and I was really curious whether or not they would be able to make custom shoes for bigger feet. I messaged them on Instagram, and they confirmed that yes, they can make shoes up to a KR 275 (US 10.5) which was wonderful news. The shoe prices seem to range from 130,000 KRW to 400,000 KRW, but if you’re buying well-made, beautifully-fitted, custom shoes, I think it’s well worth it.
Most of Very Shu’s big-sized shoes range from KR 255-260, but there are a few available that extend to KR 265 (US 9.5), KR 270 (US 10), or KR 280 (US 11). Typical of Korean shoe stores, most of the shoes are faux leather and affordable.
Big It Shoe is another South Korean shoe brand that sells women’s shoes up to a KR 265 (US 9.5). Their shoes are mostly made from synthetic leather and fall under an affordable price range.
Diane Shoes is a shoe store brand in South Korea that carries shoes usually made with synthetic leather. They also carry sizes up to a KR 275 (US 10.5).
Korean E-commerce Stores and Online Shopping Malls
I’ve bought a pair of Crocs that came in from overseas on Coupang. Thank you, global shipping! On why I bought crocs, the simple answer was jangma, or the monsoon season in Korea.
You can also find small, local Korean brands that list their products on both online marketplaces and offer a wider selection of shoe sizes.
Giant e-commerce store in Korea much like Amazon.com where you can find clothing, electronics, food, furniture, and more.
There’s two versions of Gmarket: Gmarket (Korean) and Gmarket Global (English). Both ship to Korea, but the Korean language site has a better selection and better pricing. The English language version of Gmarket is more accessible both in terms of navigation and use with a foreign credit card.
Shoopen is a popular offline and online retail store that carries a wide selection of shoes for both men and women. Unfortunately, the women’s shoe sizes for anything bigger than a KR 255 is quite limited, and you’ll be faced with mostly unisex styles. You can always dip into the men’s section to look at boots and sneakers though.
Popular Korean shoe store chain (online and offline) that carries both men and women’s shoes. Women’s shoe sizes don’t seem to extend past 250mm but check men’s unisex styles.
Korean fashion mall that also carries bigger-sized imported shoes and unisex styles.
WConcept is an online Korean marketplace that carries an extensive collection of trendy men’s and women’s clothing. Women’s shoe sizes don’t seem to extend past 250mm but check men’s unisex styles. Tagtraume is one Women’s shoe brand that uses synthetic leather that I’ve noticed that sometimes carries sizes up to a KR 270.
Musinsa is a popular Korean marketplace that carries both men’s and women’s street style clothing. Popular shoe brands include Adidas, Converse, Vans, Tevas, and Nike. I usually buy unisex shoes like sneakers from Musinsa since most Korean women’s shoe brands do not offer bigger shoe sizes.
Global Yard also sells the Tagtraume brand which uses synthetic leather and carries shoes up to size KR 265-270 (US 9.5-10).
Korean shoes and accessories store that carries both men and women’s shoes and a very small selection of big-sized shoes offline — often overpriced, but worth mentioning. Sells international brands like Clarks, Bruno Magli, and Renoir. Physical locations all over Seoul.