As someone who’s been a cross country runner for over 10 years, I have a tradition of going on an average length run (around 5km) every time I’m in a new place. Not only does it help me get better acquainted with the area, but it also gives me an incredible endorphin boost that will keep me in a good mood throughout the day. If you do this, just be sure to take your phone along so you don’t get lost!
The hilarious part about my 5 day trip to Kyoto was that my shoes randomly broke while I was hiking. Fortunately I was able to borrow some cheap ones from my hotel, but I really need shoes with good support to continue to high level of activity.
I found a shoe store chain called ABC Mart near Nishiki Market in central Kyoto. They have Nike, Puma, Converse, and a variety of brands but my favorite is the Japanese brand ASICS. I settled on this pair of red ones so I could continue my streak of running around the city:
ASICS is a reliable brand with gel support, and they tend to last for a while. I set off for the Kyoto Imperial Palace which has a beautiful park that you are free to roam around in outside of the gates. It’s so peaceful and quiet here, and you can choose to do laps around it or run down the street nearby towards Nijo Castle. I love the sense of peace I get coming here in the morning. Even if you’re not a runner, this is an area I definitely recommend checking out!!
Have you ever walked into a shoe store with interactive light fields, DJs blasting house music, and been immediately offered free alcohol by smiling salesman? I was not expecting this series of events when I walked into my favorite shoe store in Tokyo after work, desperately needing new shoes for my trip to Thailand. But here I was, drinking “Gel” berry flavored cocktails and trying on the latest Gel Quantum Infinity Series. Have a look below:
As an avid runner, I have always been a huge fan of ASICS. When I participated in 5k cross country races in the US, I always used the Gel Noosa series. I love both the design and how comfortable these shoes are, I even wear them to work! It’s hard to think about owning another brand of running shoes since I have trusted this brand for so many years. That is why I was happy that I coincidentally walked into the launch party for the Gel Quantum Infinity release party! I have been to many parties in Tokyo, but this is one of the first that I have accidentally walked in on.
With the “tech midsole” and the full length gel, the cushioning on this shoe is state of the art not to mention has a futuristic design. After I tried on these shoes, I could definitely feel the difference of the Gel when I stood up. I could also feel a bounce in my step when I started jogging in the store. Figuring that stumbling into this release party was destiny (and because I really liked the feel of the gel), I happily bought the shoe for 20,000 yen ($180).
Some of the highlights of the Gel Quantum Infinity include its lightweight and multipurpose usability. Though in America ASICS are mostly branded for running, I think a lot of Japanese people like them for fashion as well as I saw a lot of families shopping there. After finding the perfect fit (a size 25.5 in Japan), I happily decided on this shoe. I am excited for the future places that I travel with these sweet kicks (next being Bangkok)!
The only real negative point I’ve seen brought up about these shoes is the gel insole wearing down after 6 months of use. I am hoping since Tokyo mostly has fair weather without snow, that these will last a long time. Regardless, I will never forget going to this launch event because they really hyped it up.