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Terra Plana -- good grief!

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  • Terra Plana -- good grief!

    Bad experience. I'm now on the lookout for another supplier of minimalist shoes. ...

    So I travelled to our nearest large town and went to the Terra Plana "factory outlet" -- i.e. shop -- today to buy a new pair of minimalist shoes. The insoles in my current Vivos are wearing through, so I thought I'd replace those and also buy a new pair, thinking I'd spend up to 100 but that anything less would be a bonus.

    Now I have some doubts about Vivos. I've owned three pairs now, but they do have their drawbacks. On the plus side they:

    (1) have no heels;
    (2) have thin soles;
    (3) are light in weight;
    (4) are broad across the toes.

    However, the stitching isn't good; the curl in the soles is excessive, the fabrics (on the canvas varieties) seem to stain, wear, and even develop holes relatively quickly. Worst of all, the sizes are off. The first pair I ever bought was through Amazon. I bought a pair of tens. These were never tens -- tiny. I gave them to my brother-in-law, who's a nine, but I don't think he's ever used them. Ever since I've bought elevens. Why Terra Plana can't make shoes in the correct size I just don't know.

    This time I got to the shop and found that they'd gone over to overseas sizes. (Why on earth?) So now I want forty-something?!?

    Anyway, I begin by finding a salesman and saking for insoles. He has a strangely reluctant air, says in a guilty manner something like, "Well, we have got them ..." and opens a cupboard. He picks out a packet and proffers it, adding:

    "They're not cheap. And they changed them. They're flimsier than they used to be, and they slide around in the shoe. We get a lot of complaints."
    Then, astonishingly, he pronounces:

    "To be honest, you're better off going to Timpsons."
    So I say, "OK, I'll leave it for now. Can you show me some shoes?"

    He's happy to do this ... sort of ... that's to say, he leads me over to a display, while looking over his shoulder, as if he's eager to get off somewhere else. "How about these?" I say, "have you got them in an eleven?" His reply: "No, only sevens."

    At this point a man standing nearby asks him a similar question. He breaks off from serving me -- which I don't mind -- to speak to this man. But even while doing so, he's -- again -- looking over his shoulder.

    I take a kind of desultory look over the shoes, not being sure what they have in what size and not being able to arouse much interest in the salesman. He's telling the other man these are sale shoes and the sizes any particular one may exist in are fairly random. So I ask if he can point me to the full-price shoes, and he points and gives directions.

    I go there and pick one up, thinking I'll ask to try it. Eventually I catch a saleswoman's eye and ask for an eleven. She says, "That is one" -- although how she knows I've no idea, as I can see no markings on it. I slip it on and it seems a bit sloppy. I say, "I'm really a ten, but your shoes seem to be under-size: I've always had to buy elevens before." She says:

    They all vary. You can't go by size
    ... which leaves me wondering if they have no quality-control.

    Then she adds:

    "To be honest" -- again that ominous phrase -- "it's better to buy too big than too small."
    My first thought is: Do I need to be told that?

    My second thought is: Are you telling me, you can provide shoes that are too big or shoes that are too small, but not any that are likely to fit me?

    I'm about to aks her if she can get me a pair, so that I can see how both left and right fit, but at this point the phone rings and she goes to pick it up, leaving me standing there.

    I dunno. Maybe Terra Plana -- unlike, say, Clarkes (or, perhaps Timpsons!) -- is intended to run on a self-service basis.

    Anyway, it does strike me that this shoe, which is a very light greyish-beige suede, is looking lighter-coloured than I thought and might stain up pretty quickly. So I go back to the display. There are three different styles of desert-boot there, which look quite good. The price is 99 -- so just within budget. Now there's no salesperson in sight, so I try to slip the boot on, thinking maybe all the display ones are elevens ... and it won't go on the foot.

    I look around. There's no-one to help. I think, "Here am I about to spend a hundred quid, and this company just doesn't want the money."

    Any other ideas fior minimalist shoes available in the UK? Because I think I'm just about done with this company.
    Last edited by Lewis; 08-18-2012, 06:43 AM. Reason: spelling

  • #2
    The thing you need to understand about outlet stores is they sell items that never would EVER have been sold in regular department stores under the brand name on the label. So you aren't looking at real Terra Plana shoes, you are looking at defective ones. Go to a real store and pay the real price if you want the real item. Otherwise, buy the cheaper items with the understanding that they're defective and made with inferior materials and manufacturing.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


    • #3
      I've always been under the impression that along with seconds, outlet stores also sold discontinued models which are first quality. I've bought Nikes at outlets and have had no complaints and the shoes look and fit fine. As for sizing, I think each shoe manufacturer is a little different. I normally wear a 6 1/2 or 7 size shoe, but if I buy Nikes I have to get a 7 1/2 for a proper fit regardless of whether I buy them at the outlet or directly from Nike.


      • #4
        I think outlets started out selling discontinued first quality but don't do that anymore. I think they have other, er, outlets, for that sort of product and now outlet stores are reduced to selling defects and things they never intended to sell first quality.
        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.