Hi everybody, just a quick question about footwear - was looking at getting myself a pair of Tevas for my 6 month-or-so trip around SE Asia (and possibly onto HK via China) starting in January, but read on another forum that nicer sandals often get stolen on the road as footwear has to be left outside many public buildings in SE Asia.
Is this true, and am I better buying cheap footwear or going with the Tevas? I would rather buy better sandals since I don't plan on taking any other footwear (travelling lite, and not planning any serious walking save perhaps an odd mountain-tribe trek) and so would rather have something nicer for my feet, but not so sure about it if anything nice I get is likely to get pinched in the first week!
Thanks for any advice =)
I can't speak for anywhere but Thailand, but in Thailand shoes are worn in public buildings. So this should not be an issue here.
Personally I wouldn't wear open toed footwear here because it offers no protection to the foot - but a lot of people do because of the heat.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I would recommend Teva's. They're a quality brand and you know they will hold up to the rigours of daily use. (I've got a pair that I have used off and on for the last 15 years). I always bring them into the room at night rather than leaving them by the door.
If you need to remove them in a public place, you could always slip them into a plastic bag in your backpack, and strap them to the outside of your pack maybe?
Hi Jleef,Tevas has a very good reputation as a quality choice.You could also look at the range of Birkenstock sandals.I have had a pair for four years now through various trips to s.e.asia and would never leave home without them Add a pair of flip flops for the beach and your done.We also bring them in of a night and rarely take them off unless your in a significant religious monument i.e. reclining buddha
I completely disagree with John (MADMAC) on this one. I always wear good quality sandals, even when trekking.
I've been travelling around SE Asia for a while (generally in month long jaunts), and in all countries except Myanmar.
I always wear good quality leather sandals with decent rubber soles.
If the product you are considering is made of plastic, then I'd be concerned at inner sole slipperiness during periods of humidity. I've also found that some types of plastic sandals with the 'soft feel' inner soles also tend to acquire a foot-pong (bad odour) that can be quite pronounced.
I have never had my sandals stolen - but then, I don't stay at el cheapo backpacker jaunts.
I think this is just a question of personal preference. But let's face it, a scorpioin probably can't sting you through a boot, but it can definitely whack an exposed toe. Also if you kick a rock or something that can be painful too. I don't wear them because they're really uncomfortable on my bike when I shift gears... And they offer no protection at all if I should have to put the bike down.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Yep, those problems do hurt.
But, I wear sandals for different (physiological) reasons. And, while I agree that some elite don't wear them (for the same reason that elite westerners don't generally wear them [aside from on the Maine hols]), many 'other' classes do. But, more importantly, many westerners do, and I suspect Asians don't react negatively to westerners that do.
You can get good quality sandals in Thailand in department stores and they are much cheaper than here in France. A pair of Tevas here will set you back about 100 euros. I got some good quality "real" sandals (Scholl not Tevas though)in a department store in Bangkok for 25 euros.
The sole on the sandals I have is thicker at the front and the sides so the foot is quite well protected from rocks and scorpions. If they get stinky then I just scrub em out and leave them to dry in the sun.
This said, I only wear sandals for trekking and climbing volcanos. The rest of the time I find flipflops perfectly adequate as footwear.
"But, more importantly, many westerners do, and I suspect Asians don't react negatively to westerners that do."
No, they don't care as long as you're not wearing them in an inappropriate place. Go to a very nice restaraunt, you should dress the part and shoes are part of the part. I consider sandals and sox a fashion faux Pas, but of course I am GQ - I got a reputation to maintain with the ladies (not that I DO anything other than dance with the ladies... but that's not the point). But otherwise no, most people don't care about your footwear.
Now tank tops, THAT'S another story.
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Man, Germans do it all the time. It looks ridiculous!!! Even in Germany it looks ridiculous. not surprising guys who do this are NOT scoring with hot women!!!
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
So what footwear do people stick on in the evening when the mozzies are out? Since the socks and sandals brigade are still well and truly shunned (not that I disagree, but still!) I would have to guess that most people bring a pair of trainers / shows / similar for evening time, as well as sandals for the day?
"How do YOU[/b define a hot woman"
It's like defining porn. I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it.
"Please describe the sort of woman these sock-clad krauts might then score?"
Use your imagination - it's not pretty. Unless they're here, where a beautiful wallet can trump all. But in Germany... I don't want to think about it.
And Krauts? Bruce, I am appalled that you would use such a slur. Deeply offensive - well it would be if I cared about such nonsense.
#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Jleef - sorry got distracted.
I just wear normal shoes... but I suppose if you really wanted to wear sandels you could:
1. take a second pair of shoes. I bring dance shoes with me to Bangkok, which I don't wear on the street. Your pack should be able to accomodate it.
2. Just wear shoes all day (which is what I do).
3. Wear sandals all the time like Bruce and don't sweat it. You stub your toe or get bit by a mosquito scrath it and move on.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
If yu are worried about mossie bites in the gaps in your sandals, merely spray on some insect repellant.
And, for a decent repellant, go look at:
Thanks for all the advice =) Looks like it'll be the Tevas and perhaps some locally bought shoes should I ever get nippy - not wanting to alert the fashion police I'll keep away from the sandals and socks option, haha.
Just hope Picaridin is widespread in SE Asia from January as from the sound of it DEET isn't the nicest product to use, especially since I've suffered with a little eczema in the past...
In Thailand they have a widely available and cheap repellent called Sketolene. The bottles with yellow lables contain DEET but I think the ones with green labels are more plant based...lemongrass maybe? I'm not sure but you can check when you get there. I've always found locally sold repellents more effective than the ones you can buy in Europe.
It's very cruel to leave the rest of us imagining what you might consider a "hot woman" Madmac...the mind boggles. ;-)
Intresting answers developing from sandals !!!
So I thought I'd add my 2 pence's worth.
I have been in SEA for 2 months now with just under 2 months to go have been through Thailand, am in Laos now and will be in Vietnam this time next week (all things going to plan) I bought I pair of Merrel sandles before leaving the UK a lot cheaper than Tevas but to my mind worth it they are plastic throughout the softer squidgy type being between your foot and the much harder sole (I also brought a pair of trainers for trekking) no bad smells as yet. But I do get a greasy ginda feeling when they get wet ie puddles I have used them many times for walking through rivers and wore them almost exlusivley inc tubing in Vang Vieng and found them no problem or with issues of theft. If you are worried as has been mentioned before you can put then in your room ant night or in a rucksack.
As for hot women: Highly subjective and depending on how much beer, whisky or Lao Lao has been consumed?????
#22 Skimonkey has been a member since 16/4/2009. Posts: 40
John (MADMAC), there are several of us wanting to know how you define, or what you consider are the attributes of, a hot woman.
- - - -
For the exercise, how would you define, or what are the attributes, of a hot woman - before and after "beer, whisky or Lao Lao has been consumed"?
- - -
On this subject, and for the record, I live with my a hot woman :)
I'd go for wonder woman, the one from the origonal 70's US TV series, especially when she was flying her invisible plane.......
#24 Skimonkey has been a member since 16/4/2009. Posts: 40
OK Bruce, YOU ASKED:
(clearly this is subjective)
1. I don't like white women - so they're all out. There are exceptions to policy if I like the womans character. I met Angelina Jolie in Africa and she impressed me. But for the most part, I don't like the way Anglo women look or smell.
2. I like dark skin. The darker the better. My wife is a dark Isaan girl. So dark most Thais find her unattractive.
3. I like legs.
4. Small waist, but plenty of hips and proportionate bust.
5. I love the basic characteristics in facial features of your "typical" lao or Isaan girl.
I was dancing Friday night in Bangkok at Dream hotel with an incredibly hot woman... any of you drop me a mail and I'll send you a picture of her.
#25 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I didn't get the email Bruce - resend. I'll send you a few pics of my place too. Maybe someday you and the wife can come out here - hell everyone else does.
#27 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Maybe I shouldn't mention that I'm going over with a pair of Crocs.......
Only bad thing I've heard about 'em is to NOT leave them in the sun without your foot in them.
I have some fishing mates who swear by them, and they do a bit of rock fishing so the conditions are wet and slippery which the Crocs handle with ease apparently....
"Maybe I shouldn't mention that I'm going over with a pair of Crocs......."
The ugliest footwear I've ever seen. Definitely NOT GQ.
#29 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
To be honest, Tevas were very comfortable whilst in Thailand, and excellent when getting on and off boats as they didn't slip off because of the velco straps.
The downside was they do start to smell after a while and take quite a while to dry out when completely soaked.
You can buy good copies whilst in Bangkok and they have other sandals that are just as good.
#32 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
I go with close-toed Keens (www.keenfootwear.com/wall/Shoes/men/na/16,492)
waterproof, super comfortable, good soles that are perfect for hiking, water, walking around town, anything really. And a bit more civilized-looking than Tevas, IMO.
they even make close-toed thongs
I think you all must dress like dorks. Are you guys scoring with any women wearing that crap?
#34 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
In reference to your comment about 'typical' Lao or Issarn girls, how many times have you been to Laos?
I have only been twice and I'd say 90% of Lao girls (at least in Vientiane) look notihng like Issarn girls.
Care to comment?
Further your post,
'I think you all must dress like dorks. Are you guys scoring with any women wearing that crap?'
What do you think Thai people wear? Even to work, they wear a suit, but will still wear sandals, and casual that's all they wear and of course on the beach, would you want to wear anything else?
Care to comment again?
#35 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
I've recently seen local bikers and other assorted tough guys around town sporting crocs, a strange image to be sure
that said, I wonder what would happen if MADMAC approached one of the Local 81 (Hells Angels Oakland) with his question? I know I ain't gonna do it...
On of my best friends was a biker in LA. He's a lousy dresser and needs a haircut - and I tell him that every day. He wears a pony tail for Christ sakes!
I'll give it to you on the guitar. If you can play a guitar and sing, it's a chick magnet. Especially here in Thailand.
"In reference to your comment about 'typical' Lao or Issarn girls, how many times have you been to Laos?
I have only been twice and I'd say 90% of Lao girls (at least in Vientiane) look notihng like Issarn girls."
I've been to Laos five times, but only in Savankhet province. But I live about one mile from Laos. And we get LOTS of Laotian visitors (they like to shop at Lotus and go to our local hospital). You're "average" Isaan girl is Lowland Lao, ethnically speaking. Certainly genetically speaking. Now, this area is a mixing pot between a lot of different ethnic groups for sure, but then again so is Laos. If you put twelve people in a room, 3 from Cambodia, three from Laos, three from Thailand and three from Vietnam... you wouldn't be able to discern one from the other any better than if you put three from Germany, three from Holland, Three from Belgium and three from France. It would be hit or miss. There are some general characteristics among southeast Asians, but there are so many exceptions as to not make them very useful. Certainly where I live there is no way you could tell the difference between the people of Mukdahan and the people of Savankhet. Not from looking at them.
"What do you think Thai people wear? Even to work, they wear a suit, but will still wear sandals, and casual that's all they wear and of course on the beach, would you want to wear anything else?"
Do you live here? I have NEVER, EVER in my 2 1/2 years living here, seen a Thai wear a suit and sandals. EVER. That would stand out like a sore thumb. Where did you ever see that?
Poor Thais wear whatever cheap footwear they can find. Thais with money were proper shoes. Sandals are OK for a beach, but they suck if you ride a bike that isn't an automatic, look ridiculous in an upscale club and don't protect the feet well in open terrain. I ride a lot since I don't own a car, so sandals are out.
"Good looking shoes = hawker magnet."
There are no hawkers where I live, so this is a non-factor. But even so, the reason good shoes (as well as nice clothes) are a hawker magnet is because they symbolize money. There is nothing a Thai woman (or Laotian) loves more than money!
#38 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
MADMAC, thank you for your quick reply.
I do live here, and the wife is from Issarn. Possibly the Issarn people I've met could be originally from Cambodia. But (maybe just) in Vientiane, they do look different, even the wife commented on the fact.
As for suits and sandals, you see it a lot on the skytrain in Bangkok, and some people wear shoes to work and then wear sandals in the office.
I've always worn just sandals walking about and most Thais do as well (I mean I don't hang about with the hi-so individuals) and going to a club, well I don't do that too often, but people still wear sandals as well as normal footwear.
Point taken about riding a motorbike.
#40 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
Next week I will go to the bank (everyone wears slacks and button down shirts in banks) and see how many people are wearing sandals. My money is there won't be one. But maybe I'm just missing it.
I do hang out with a fair number of hi-so people. Shoe wearers all.
Poor village people - mostly sandals or flip flops. They have no money for decent shoes and not much concern about style either.
But again, racially speaking I'll bet if you took a bunch of people from all over southeast Asia and threw them in a room and asked your wife to tell you where they were from, she wouldn't be able to do it.
#41 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
OK, stopped by the bank. Not one person was wearing anything other than leather shoes... Now having said that, it's winter here and everyone thinks it's really cold out.
#43 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Well, that's that then. But you must have seen people wearing slippers in their offices? And you're right it is cold now in some places. It has been nice to chat with you.
#44 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
I've never seen anyone wearing a suit and sandals. Not here. Maybe I'm just not paying attention.
I'm wearing boots right now, which are better on my bike and the climate is cool enough that they're comfortable.
I hate sandals or any type of open toe footwear myself. Some people have problems with the heat, but I don't count in that group. That's why I am also comfortable here in jeans, which many find too hot.
#45 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Funny, I was just around and over 50% of people where I was were wearing sandals and shorts.
They were middle class people as well, not farmers, just people shopping for electronics.
I agree that most professionals wear shoes, but everyone else appears not to do so.
#46 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
Understanding that most people out here where I live are poor, so they are wearing what's cheap - sandals or flip flops. Lots of flip flops.
But my Thai associates who have money mostly (not exlcusively) where shoes. The white people, on the other hand, mostly wear sandals. I am the only one I know of here who doesn't wear them ever. Probably because I ride a lot and if you put a bike down and you're wearing sandals you're foot is in real trouble.
Of course, I lived in Africa for two years and never wore sandals there either. I don't like them as foot wear (for the same reason I don't like shorts) because they offer no protection to the foot. Personal choice. But I certainly don't find it too hot here to wear closed toe shoes.
#47 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Check out Keens- water shoes. :)
#48 rowankat has been a member since 7/7/2007. Posts: 3
I'm backpacking for 2 months. So far, I plan on bringing:
-Flip Flops for beach
-Sandals for casual walking around
-Closed shoes (boat shoes) for riding motorcycles/going out.
1. Is this too much?
2. Do I need sneakers?
#49 tonysouth has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 5