Forget your Crocs and your Tevas, when travelling in South-East Asia, there are more fascinating brands worth mentioning. This post will tell you all about some of the footwear I’ve come across or worn while travelling the neighbouring countries.
First you have the Kampung Adidas. This is from Malaysia. It is 100% rubber shoes, with rubber studs and the distinctive 4 yellow stripes. Used by plantation workers and eager locals doing weekend hikes, the shoes’ grip is much better suited to slippery Malaysian rainforests than thick hiking boots. They bend easily to the contour of tree roots. I’ve got my first pair in Malaysia and can swear by it. Really fantastic for short hikes. True, you look slightly silly with thick socks and these black shoes, but hey, deep in the jungle, no one cares. Cost: < 5 SGD (about 10 Malaysian Ringgit)
Then there are Vietnamese tire sandals. These are novelty souvenirs popular in the 1960s in Saigon. I got mine at the souvenir shop in Chu Chi War Tunnels. They are made out of old tires and inner tubings. While not exactly a fashion statement, these sandals are surprisingly comfortable and you wouldn’t look out of place wearing it on the MRT train. Cost: 4 SGD (around 70 Vietnamese Dong).
There’s this brand of outdoor gear, Eiger. Made in Indonesia, it’s the local alternative to international outdoor brands. I’ve a pair of slippers, their basic black model, with good soles. I wear it everywhere. My first pair was bought in Mataram shopping centre in Lombok. After I lost that one (stupidly left it behind after a game of football), I was compelled to buy a replacement pair when I was in Batam. Yes, that’s how I love the, Eiger slippers. Cost: around 10 SGD.
In the Phillipines, I came across a local brand while window shopping in Tagbilaran City. Sandugo outdoor gear, specializing in sandals. Sandugo also means One Blood in Visayan. There’s actually a Sandugo Monument in Bohol dedicated to the blood compact signed by two parties, a Spanish explorer and a Bohol chief. But I digress. It’s a decent looking brand and cheap too. Cost: around 15 SGD.
Lastly, I need to give a shout out to my trusty Chaco sandals. From Nov 2009 to Mar 2010, I travelled using only this pair of Chaco sandals (and my Eiger slippers during downtime). No shoes, no problem. The Chacos works just as well, plus they are a whole lot more comfortable. Cost: 180 SGD but I’ve recouped that investment long, long ago.
Do you have any footwear that you swear by? Comment below!