"About the Right Travel Footwear
and How to Break in Your Shoes"
Choosing the right footwear for your backpacking packing list is essential!
When footwear hurts your feet, every step can be a misery, and your feet may take days or even longer to recover!
That's why it's important to find sandals or hiking boots that are compatible with your feet.
First, what to bring:
Use flip flops for easy day trips, short walks and the beach.
Your flip-flops should be water-proof so you can use them in dirty showers. This way you'll likely avoid fungus which can cause smelly feet.
Use sports sandals when walking longer, rougher distances. Like, when you're traveling overland, trekking trips etc.
There are many types of sport sandals in the stores.
One brand that I love and recommend is Teva (opens in a new window)
I bought my Teva Terra Fi 2 (orange) in 2007, and have worn them so much during my travels.
For men you have Teva Terri Fi 3 and for women Terra Fi Lite.
Another favorite among backpackers is Birkenstocks, since they're great to wear and last a life-time.
During my travels in Asia, I noticed that there are two major brands that most backpackers travel with.
Teva and Birkenstock.
Two of my travel partners wore Birkenstock when we traveled toghether in Asia, and they used these sandals wherever they went! We switched sandals for one day, so I could try it. They're like Tevas - it's like walking on clouds!
So my conclusion is: If you want good sandals, and not just flip-flops I RECOMMEND Teva and Birkenstock :-)
Your goal is to backpack and explore, not to complain about aching feet.
Note: Sports sandals usually don't support your ankles and give less arch support. So, backpackers using sandals need very strong ankles.
If your flip flops wear out, you can find another pair almost everywhere in Southeast Asia.
When it comes to sport sandals, you can get Teva sport sandals in Luang Prabang (Laos). I bought mine on Th Sisavangvong (the shop is on the same side as Scandinavian Bakery towards Th Sakkarin).
Buy hiking shoes if you know that you'll be trekking a lot (mountain, jungle). Otherwise trainers are fine.
Whatever you choose, make sure you break them in before you leave home.
This will allow the new shoes to soften and shape themselves to your particular foot shape. Any problems with the shoes should become noticeable during this break-in period.
When do you need to throw away shoes?
Lightweight footwear is less durable than heavier footwear. The moment you feel sharp rocks under the balls of your feet, that's your queue.
You need this extra length because shoes will shorten after you've worn them a while. Notice that wrinkles will develop on the top of the shoes where the toes bend, and this will shorten the length of the shoe.
If the shoes are the right size, your toes shouldn't feel squeezed when you're walking.
When it's hot or humid, and you've been walking all day long, your feet will swell. And they are some what larger than usual.
So, if I were you, I would deposit the shoes and try them at home. When you get home, try the shoes in the evening. Your feet should not be swollen anymore.
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If you're feeling overwhelmed or have no idea on where to start, then you really need "Map Your Adventure" - it's a step-by-step guide on how to set up an itinerary for Southeast Asia and India - the right itinerary for you.
You'll be surprised to learn that itinerary-making can be fun and easy.
This book is made for you, with 70 pages of itinerary tips and maps, time tables and must-see destinations in the region :-)
"Asia Planners FAQ" is a supplement to "Map Your Adventure" and a compilation of real questions from visitors and answers from travel experts on itineraries found on Backpacking Tips Asia.com. You'll find your answers in this ebook.
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