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Which shoes best for travelling around Thailand/Laos/Cambodia

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Sep 21st, 2013, 09:14 AM
  #1
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Which shoes best for travelling around Thailand/Laos/Cambodia

Hi,

I'm trying to find a good pair of shoes to take me that will be suitable for lots of walking, some trekking and also general use.

I keen being drawn to these Keen shoes. As I've always suffered from my feet overheating I think these look ideal and they also look very durable. I've put a link below(hope it works) of the pair I'm considering buying.

http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/keen-...id_colour=3543

Am I heading in the right direction with my choice of shoe? Are they worth the £85 price tag? Any cheaper but similar alternatives?

Any advice I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.
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Sep 21st, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Welcome to Fodors BooHoo100. Some will see your post here but this is the slowest of all the Fodors boards. You might want to re-post over on the Asia Forum -- simply because more will see/read it plus they will know what sort of terrain you'll face in SE Asia.

To get to the Asia board, see the "Change Forum" pull down menu? Click that and then Asia.
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Sep 21st, 2013, 10:07 AM
  #3
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Hi Janisj,

Thanks for that and thanks for the welcome. Wasnt sure where it was best to post it but will repost in the Asia forum. Thanks
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Sep 21st, 2013, 03:21 PM
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Actually - this IS the board for your sort of topic/question. It is just that it is sort of the 'left over' forum that few folks read. So more will see your post over on Asia. Good luck.
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 09:31 AM
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I'm no expert on men's footwear or travel in Asia (!) but Keen's is what I thought when I saw the title of this thread. They also have a more open but still sturdy 'fisherman's sandal' type style that is very popular and would maybe be even better for the overheating problem.
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 11:57 AM
  #6
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We all wore Keen's similar to these when we traveled around Thailand....and many other places in the world. They are wonderful. Perfect choice. They do tend to run a bit short. Hubby had to move up one size for a good fit.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 11:43 AM
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Thanks a lot for the replies. Sounds like a good choice.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 04:56 PM
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My husband and I both have Keens. He bought his in 2007, I bought mine in 2008, and they are still in good shape. We have worn them in all sorts of places including Bali, Costa Rica, and Mexico. We like that they are durable, have good support, grippy soles, but still allow the feet to breathe - and they are amphibious so we can go in and out of water at will. I've worn then kayaking and canoeing, biking, light hiking, climbing around on ruins...

The only caution is that if you are going to do any real hiking in tropical areas where there may be snakes and other baddies in the forest, you'll want fully enclosed shoes to protect your feet.

I think ours cost about US$100/pair and they were absolutely worth the price.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 07:02 PM
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I walk miles in my Keens everyday for exercise and take them on trips where ever I go. They are the most comfortable shoe ever. I also have Keen hiking boots which give me ankle support on rough terrain and climbing. The Keen sandals have great arch support and sooo much cushion. The only thing I find is that they (the sandals) are not great on some wet surfaces as they tend to slip-slide.

As someone else mentioned, go half size up if buying Keen brand.
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Sep 24th, 2013, 12:32 PM
  #10
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Thanks a lot for the replies.

I googled the Keen Arroyo 2 shoe for reviews. On the whole they get good reviews but read a few reviews that they don't feel completely secure on your foot as you can't tie them like normal laces. Is this something you have experienced?

November_moon.....that crossed my mind straight away when I was looking at the Keen Arroyo 2. On the whole I feel they will be the ideal shoe for city walking, travelling in and most other activities which will cover the majority of the trip but its the trekking aspect where I have a question mark for the reasons you have mentioned.
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Sep 24th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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I have narrow feet and Keens do fit a bit wide - I've never felt that they were not secure on my feet, but I do have extra room in them. That's nice in hot climates though since my feet tend to swell up when it is hot and humid.

If I was going to do any trekking, I would probably take the Keens as a secondary shoe - hiking boots for the actual hiking and then the Keens for getting in the water, wearing when airing my feet out in camp, etc. I haven't done jungle hiking much, but I do this when we hike in the sierras and the coast range here in CA - not for protection from snakes or anything, just because I want more support when doing any real hiking, but then if I want to go wade into a lake or stream, I want something on my feet so that I don't cut them on the rocks.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 04:44 PM
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I had the women's version of these sandals and at first I thought they were great. However, after wearing them a few times I had to get rid of them.

The problem for me is that heel strap (with the yellow stripe in the pic you linked to) is tightened by pulling the elastic lace that also tightens on the top of foot. I found that in order to get the heel tight enough that I didn't slide out the back, it was so tight on the top of my foot that the skin was pinched.

I replaced them with a pair that has separate heel and lace tightening and am much happier.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 04:45 PM
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Actually, looking closer at the pic, these may not be open-heeled, so may not have the same problem as mine, with the open heel, did.
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Sep 27th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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I'm still deliberating over buying these Keen shoes I talked about in my OP or to buy a pair of trail/walking shoes instead.

Yes they will be definitely a lot hotter on my foot to wear that's the downside but I am thinking it a closes shoe, it saves any issues whilst on a trek(whether that be a day long trek or for a few days) with any bugs and any other surprises lurking about.

I'm not going on a heavy trekking expedition or anything like that but I would like to give myself the option of signing up to short trekking trips whilst I'm out there if I so choose.

My theory being the closed shoe option will be best suited to trekking. I can just suffer the hot feet if I decide to wear them for general use.

Does that sound like a good theory?

Thanks again for your help everyone.
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Sep 27th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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Sorry....no, it doesn't quite sound perfect. First thing to think about is how much your feet will swell after flying and in that hot, humid environment. Closed shoes can get really uncomfortable. The hotter your feet, the more they swell.

I trekked through the mud in Tahiti, rode elephants both in and out of the water in Thailand, trekked in Africa, waded ashore all over the world in my Keens. Never once did I find any "surprises" lurking inside. You can always put on a pair of socks with your Keens. You can even wear a pair of water-proof socks like divers use.

Once your hiking boots get soaking wet, it will take forever in the humidity for them to dry. Yuk!!! Wearing wet shoes -- now THAT is a nasty surprise. Keens dry almost instantly and the insole never absorbs water. Just wipe them off and you're good to go again.

I take two pair of shoes: Keen Newport H2 for the closed toe and Chaco Zong sandals for a change that is waterproof and cool. I'm headed to the deltas of Botswana next month with this combination.

http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/pr...!burnt%20henna

http://www.chacos.com/US/en/MensWomensSandals
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Sep 27th, 2013, 09:17 AM
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"The only caution is that if you are going to do any real hiking in tropical areas where there may be snakes and other baddies in the forest, you'll want fully enclosed shoes to protect your feet."

BTW: Snakes don't strike at your toes -- they go for your leg. So unless you are planning on wearing leather boots, laced to your knees........????
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Sep 28th, 2013, 03:52 AM
  #17
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Thanks TC. Appreciate your reply.

I am just a bit concerned about the bugs and other 'surprises' when it comes to wearing Keens. I wouldn't want to put socks on underneath them unless I really needed to. Did you bother to wear socks underneath on your treks?

That said, you have done a hell of a lot more trekking than me(I'm a newbie, not to travelling but certainly to trekking) and like you say, you have not had any issues so that's good advice for me from someone who has been, seen and done it as the saying goes.

Basically, I'm trying to limit my packing to 2 pairs of shoes. 1 pair will be my flip flops( I permanently live in these during the summer, I find them very comfortable to wear) which I can walk miles in anyway but that's just me. The other pair will be whatever I decide to buy which are best suited to the treks, off beaten track type walking and so on so although I am probably over thinking the issue I do want to get it right.

I will get there eventually won't i !!!
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Sep 28th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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I have done a lot of trekking in various places including some long treks in Laos, Borneo and Cambodia and we are are currently on a 6 month trip around South America. It is safe to say that we have encountered most types of trekking from jungle to mountains. Both my wife and I have used Keens exclusively ( I did use Merrells for a brief time but they just wore out too quickly.

Both of us use Keens H2 sandals in hot climates for 'normal' trekking and find them extremely comfortable and hard wearing. My wife just got hers repaired in a market in Bolivia as a cost of £2 after 5 years of extensive use. Not bad going,

The sandals, and the type that you are looking at will be fine for virtually all conditions you will experience in SE Asia and I really would not be concerned re bugs, snakes and things as these wil rarely be an issue. In a very few rainforest type places leeches can be around but they are just as likely to attach themselves to other parts of your body as your feet!

For really rough trekking inc. mountains, I use my Keens Gypsum mid boots which provide great ankle support which I need as I am totally accident prone and have sparined and broken my ankle on several occasions and I need the support.

If you suffer from hot feet then, whatever you choose, avoid goretex as it does make you feet even hotter ( claims of breathability are generally rubbish IMHO). If your feet do get wet, in hot climates it is no big deal and you soon learn to live with it.

One of my pet hates is trying on footwear but in this case it is essential that you do try on several different types in the shop and walk around in them ( and not just for a few seconds) most outdoor shops have those artificial hill things so you can check if the shoes still fit up and down hills. Also, even if you buy sandals, try tem on with socks as they can add to you comfort on longer walks.

I find Keens to be supremely comfortable BUT I do have wide feet so they may not suit everyone.

Finally, it seems you are in the Uk, if so in addition to Cotswolds, check out Go Outdoors and Blacks as they often have some good deals
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Sep 28th, 2013, 09:04 AM
  #19
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BooHoo, Yes, you are circling to a conclusion. You'll get there. The only time I wore socks with my Keen's was if my feet were damp and therefore, cold. I have low blood pressure and my feet get cold even in the warmest of climates. In Africa, the evenings and early mornings are very cool, so socks were in order. I love the fact that the Keen's lace in a way that makes them very adjustable....so, socks or no socks, they fit.

Crellston has given good advice, confirming your initial decision. I agree wholeheartedly.... whatever you are taking, buy them soon and wear them a lot. My hubby wore his Keen's on one whole trip before deciding they were too short. Keen Company exchanged them for him even after a year's wear. To me, that kind of customer service is worth a consideration, too.

Two pair of shoes should be more than sufficient. You will notice many people wearing their Keen's as "dress shoes" in these markets. (Assuming you're a gentleman)....with a simple pair of khakis and a Hawaiian print shirt, you're set for dinner in the best of Thailand. Zip off the pant legs, pull on a tee and you're ready to trek.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 12:11 PM
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Thanks a lot for all the replies. You have all been a great help.

TC....Ive certainly been circling but pleased to announce I could now be on final approach thanks to your help.

Crellston....yes I'm currently in the UK. Go Outdoors don't stock the Keen but Cotswolds online do. I called my local Cotswold store a few days ago. They were very helpful but they didn't have the one I wanted in stock(I wanted to go in the store and see them). I can order online and take back to store for refund if need be. The only issue the person I talked to about this shoe said was they are quite wide fitting. So if I don't have wide feet maybe they won't be suitable. I wouldn't know if my feet are wide or not.

Order a pair and see I guess.
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