1

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Traditional Shoes in Tropics?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 08, 2011 at 5:54 PM

What kind of footwear do traditional people in tropical / jungle areas usually wear?

I am probably going on a jungle trek, and I generally just wear huaraches. I see that hikers advise huge hiking boots, but I really don't wanna lug those in my backpack to Asia.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on September 11, 2011
at 04:39 AM

Well, the islands are very small (thus the "Micro" of Micronesia) and there wasn't a trekking culture. Any path would lead to a village somewhere but just about everybody lived near the beach. If you wanted to, say, get to a view of the Truk Lagoon you were pretty much picking your own way through coconut trees. The few times I did it, and came across anyone else (who were always mystified why anyone would just 'go walking'), they would always be wearing flipflops.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on September 10, 2011
at 11:21 AM

Both. One was gone for half a year and was primarily in Vietnam with jumps to other countries and the other pretty much traveled the globe but loved Asia so much would circle back. Others were like me, and were in Central/South America. My recommendation(s) were for trekking. If you were just chilling then no need for heavy footwear :)

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:14 AM

Were the priests and the government officials jungle trekking in their flip flops?

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:13 AM

I'm the OP. I hate them. I first tried them 3 years ago. They're garbage, they fall apart worse than a $9 pair of Wal-Mart shoes, and they stink.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:12 AM

Did they do a jungle trek or did they travel through Asia? Because those are two different things. I'm not looking for footwear recommendations for "Asia" but instead jungle trekking. I've lived in Thailand 6 months before, Korea for several years.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:11 AM

How do they prevent snake bites, cuts, etc? I will be doing a jungle trek.

4cc2bc5ba11b36da3236f8bc8cb53eb4

(0)

on September 08, 2011
at 10:14 PM

I live in Hawaii and go on short jungle hikes all the time in my VFF. I also took them on a longer (muddy) trek through Malaysian rainforest. Never felt any significant discomfort during the trek, and they dry just fine in the sun as long as the humidity isn't too extreme. Best of all, though, they take up VERY little room in your pack. It's nice not having to pack giant hiking boots + multiple pairs of socks...

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I've heard vibrams aren't very good for damp environments, as once your feet get wet in them they start getting pretty uncomfortable after a while, and they don't dry well. I don't know how good they'd be for a jungle trek.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 08, 2011
at 06:17 PM

most of them don't wear shoes...

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5 Answers

2
C296508bdbbbd8656f46e258fad81976

on September 09, 2011
at 02:26 AM

Vibrams in a jungle? no way Jose.

IIRC Tevas is what Michael Fay used when completed a 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer), 14-month walk through central Africa in some of the world's most pristine forests. The "Megatransect" it was called and featured in Nat Geo. He only wore shorts and sandals and lost a lot of weight.

1
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on September 09, 2011
at 08:21 AM

I lived in the Solomon Islands in 2009. Bare feet or flip flops, that's it. For hiking up muddy mountains and in the forest, always bare feet, the only way they can get any traction. This is where I discovered VFFs 'cause I didn't think I could go barefoot. I've since learned better.

Sandals are very likely to slip around on your feet if condition are wet. If you wanna try VFFs, go for Sprints or Classics or the water version, NOT Bikilas or Komodos.

But bare feet would be the best (most effective, cheapest, easiest).

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on September 08, 2011
at 06:32 PM

All my friends who travelled through Asia wore Lowa's. You can get a low version and use it for your main shoe, in addition to sandals, and they're not heavy. When I was in Guatemala I wore Zamberlans as I was doing a lot of hiking on and around volcanos. Hot and steamy, never regretted. I also had one pair of flips and a pair of Chucks along for the ride. Was gone for a year. I kept all in my pack if I was on a bus - if just hiking about I would carabiner to the outside.

Go for sandals if you want but one thing to consider, if this is your first time in Asia, is your size. You may not be able to get a replacement or substitute easily.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:12 AM

Did they do a jungle trek or did they travel through Asia? Because those are two different things. I'm not looking for footwear recommendations for "Asia" but instead jungle trekking. I've lived in Thailand 6 months before, Korea for several years.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on September 10, 2011
at 11:21 AM

Both. One was gone for half a year and was primarily in Vietnam with jumps to other countries and the other pretty much traveled the globe but loved Asia so much would circle back. Others were like me, and were in Central/South America. My recommendation(s) were for trekking. If you were just chilling then no need for heavy footwear :)

0
Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on September 08, 2011
at 10:53 PM

I spent about six months in Micronesia (Truk, Ponape, Saipan mostly) and the ONLY item of footware I saw was a pair of flipflops. Everybody had them - even representatives to the Micronesian congress. On the outer islands they'd either wear flipflops or nothing on their feet. Even the priests wore flipflops. If you want to be authentic and do what "real" people in the tropics do, get a pair of flipflops.

It was a long time ago, but I doubt things have changed a whole lot. A pair of VFFs? Those'd feed a family for a week (and they have big families).

When I got back to Seattle (where I lived at the time) I almost fell over a couple times, getting used to shoes again.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:14 AM

Were the priests and the government officials jungle trekking in their flip flops?

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on September 11, 2011
at 04:39 AM

Well, the islands are very small (thus the "Micro" of Micronesia) and there wasn't a trekking culture. Any path would lead to a village somewhere but just about everybody lived near the beach. If you wanted to, say, get to a view of the Truk Lagoon you were pretty much picking your own way through coconut trees. The few times I did it, and came across anyone else (who were always mystified why anyone would just 'go walking'), they would always be wearing flipflops.

-1
240aba93cf35b459ef1fdaca0fa18b78

on September 08, 2011
at 06:29 PM

check out vibram 5 finger shoes!...I swear by them

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 08, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I've heard vibrams aren't very good for damp environments, as once your feet get wet in them they start getting pretty uncomfortable after a while, and they don't dry well. I don't know how good they'd be for a jungle trek.

4cc2bc5ba11b36da3236f8bc8cb53eb4

(0)

on September 08, 2011
at 10:14 PM

I live in Hawaii and go on short jungle hikes all the time in my VFF. I also took them on a longer (muddy) trek through Malaysian rainforest. Never felt any significant discomfort during the trek, and they dry just fine in the sun as long as the humidity isn't too extreme. Best of all, though, they take up VERY little room in your pack. It's nice not having to pack giant hiking boots + multiple pairs of socks...

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on September 10, 2011
at 06:13 AM

I'm the OP. I hate them. I first tried them 3 years ago. They're garbage, they fall apart worse than a $9 pair of Wal-Mart shoes, and they stink.

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